Planning for the Impacts of Sea Level Rise and Climate Change in North Carolina

Created: 12/19/2010 - Updated: 3/02/2020


In early 2007, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Research (CSCOR) invited North Carolina coastal managers and stakeholders to participate in a workshop to identify and discuss the utility of modeling and mapping tools in planning for and mitigating the regional impacts of rising sea levels and increasing storm intensity. The purpose of the workshop was to help scientists design user-friendly tools that will facilitate management planning for the effects of long-term climate changes.


In early 2007, over 50 coastal zone managers and stakeholders from North Carolina were invited to participate in a workshop to help plan for and mitigate the regional impacts of future sea level rise and increased storm intensity. The goal of the workshop - Planning for the Impacts of Sea Level Rise and Climate Change - was to solicit input from the coastal management community for designing scientifically informed modeling and mapping tools.

The purposes of the workshop were to:

  1. Identify potential applications of sea level rise and climate change modeling to inform hydrodynamic and ecological impacts modeling;
  2. Identify user groups for modeling information;
  3. Solicit input from users on the desired content and format of products and decision-support tools; and
  4. Share knowledge and findings from modeling projects, and solicit feedback to guide next steps.


Workshop participants were presented with information about the NOAA Sea Level Rise Project and, based on this information, identified four priority applications for scientifically informed decisions:

  1. Incorporate information from scientific research and modeling into planning, policies, and regulations – tools should incorporate information that can easily be applied by managers, planners, and decision makers;
  2. Possible loss of important habitats – tools should forecast likely habitat changes, especially those important for ecological services;
  3. Local government education and translation – tools need to be easy to translate to decision makers; and
  4. Understand risks and related hazards – tools should enable clear understanding of the potential risks to people and infrastructure due to flooding and other coastal hazards.

Outcomes and Conclusions

The workshop was considered a success and a model NOAA initiative. A satellite advisory group, the Sea Level Advisory Group, was formed for managers interested in keeping up with progress on NOAA’s Sea Level Rise Project. The results from the workshop and final report Planning for the Impacts of Sea Level Rise and Climate Change were intended to help scientists design useful management products (e.g., user friendly mapping and modeling tools), and directed the development of the final modeling tools employed in the North Carolina Sea Level Rise Project in 2009.


Information collected through publications. Last updated December 2010.


Kershner, J. (2010). Planning for the Impacts of Sea Level Rise and Climate Change in North Carolina [Case study on a project of NOAA's Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Research]. Product of EcoAdapt's State of Adaptation Program. Retrieved from CAKE:… (Last updated December 2010)

Project Contact(s)

The Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Research (CSCOR) uses a multi-disciplinary approach to understanding and predicting the impacts of natural and anthropogenic influences on coastal regional ecosystems, communities, and economies.


Scale of Project
State / Provincial
Sector Addressed
Development (socioeconomic)
Land Use Planning
Target Climate Changes and Impacts
Habitat extent
Sea level rise
Climate Type
1-3 years
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy
Capacity Building
Design or reform institutions
Coordinate planning and management
Create/enhance resources and tools
Governance and Policy
Effort Stage

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