Incorporating Sea Level Change Scenarios at the Local Level

Just as ooding threats need to be factored into coastal community planning initiatives, so too should sea level change. Unfortunately, the “one size ts all” approach does not work.

The level of uncertainty represented in sea level projections is one challenge. Furthermore, universal projections can’t be uniformly applied to all communities because of the many local variables. These variables include subsidence or uplift, and changes in estuarine and shelf hydrodynamics, regional oceanographic circulation patterns, and river ows. Local calculations are needed.

Then add in the local response, where many variables come into play as well. Even if two communities have similar projection numbers, their responses are likely to be widely di erent because of the external factors speci c to their locations that must be considered, such as anticipated local risk, community will, and the type of planning process in which the numbers will be used.

Incorporating sea level change into planning processes involves more than selecting a number. That is why this document advocates the scenario approach.

Using the information provided here, communities can develop a process that incorporates a range of possibilities and factors. With this information various scenarios can be developed, both in terms of projections and responses, to meet the speci c circumstances of a community. Moreover, working through the scenario development process provides the data and information that o cials will need to make communities readily adaptable to changing circumstances. 

 

Inundation Analysis Tool

Tool Overview: 

The Inundation Analysis Tool is a web-based tool that analyzes how frequently and for how long high tide events have historically occurred, allowing users to better understand saltwater inundation and flooding trends for certain elevations and locations. Users select the site (must be a NOAA CO-OPS tide station), time period of interest, and the elevation for inundation pattern analysis (e.g., mean high water, mean tide level).

Flood Inundation Mapper

Tool Overview: 

The USGS Flood Inundation Mapper is an online flood mapping tool. Once a community develops a flood inundation map library through a collaborative effort with USGS, inundation maps are uploaded to the web-based mapper for broader viewing and access. Users can select a specific location and explore several different data sets, including current stream conditions, the estimated extent of historic flood events, and theoretical flooding scenarios.

Extreme Water Levels

Tool Overview: 

Extreme Water Levels in an online product that allows users to analyze the likelihood that local tides will exceed a given elevation (mean high or low water) at different monthly and yearly time scales. Extreme Water Levels calculates these likelihoods based on over 30 years of monitoring data, and provides viewers with a rough idea of extreme tide heights expected every year, every other year, every 10 years, and every 100 years.

Coastal Flood Exposure Mapper

Tool Overview: 

The Coastal Flood Exposure Mapper helps communities understand their risks and vulnerability to coastal flooding. The mapper was first developed following Hurricane Sandy to provide a tool to show areas susceptible to coastal flooding, storm surge, and inundation, and to inform communities and local authorities about the risks their communities face. Users are able to explore maps that show how natural resources, communities, and infrastructure and development will be exposed to coastal flooding hazards.

Coastal Change Hazards Portal

Tool Overview: 

The USGS Coastal Change Hazards Portal allows users to explore and interact with data, models, and tools related to three primary coastal hazard categories: severe storms, shoreline change, and sea level rise. The portal hosts an on online visualization tool for all three hazard categories, and users can download all source data, publications, and relevant resources for external use. In addition, users can group data and resources from different hazard areas to explore synergistic interactions of different coastal hazards.

Cambridge Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment - Part 2

CCVA - Part 2 focuses on the risks from sea level rise and storm surges.  The summary report and two technical reports describe the methods and results from applying the Boston Harbor Flood Risk Model, which is based on the Advanced Circulation (ADCIRC) model, in a vulnerability assessment of key assets and populations in Cambridge, MA.  The Part 2 report complements the Part 1 report, which focuses on the risks from increasing temperatures and precipitation.  The two CCVA Reports form the technical foundation for the Cambridge Climate Change Preparedness & Resilience Plan that is being developed.

Rapid Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Strategies for the National Marine Sanctuary and Territory of American Samoa

This report summarizes the results of a rapid vulnerability assessment (July 2016) and adaptation strategy planning (September 2016) workshops for 10 focal resources in the Territory and National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa by engaging with stakeholders, including village leaders, community members, resource managers, local government representatives, and business owners that rely on the resources with the goal of increasing climate resilience in the region. 

Relocation Report: Newtok to Mertarvik

This report presents work to date towards the development of a Strategic Management Plan (SMP) for the relocation of the village of Newtok to a new site at Mertarvik. Newtok is a growing 350-person coastal village fronting on the Ninglick River in western Alaska. The Ninglick River is rapidly eroding and consuming community land and facilities as it advances. The most recent prediction from 2007 is that the river could reach the school by 2017 and several houses in between even sooner.

In general, this project’s scope of work spans two phases. Phase 1, the focus of the preparation of background planning information. Phase 2 focuses on the development of the guiding principles and overall framework for relocation and the production of a SMP, which will be issued later this year. However, this Phase 1 report previews the beginnings of the SMP, hence the title Relocation Report.

Communicating Sea Level Rise

Three quarters of the world’s large cities are located on coasts. As climate change causes oceans to warm and expand, and triggers vast influxes of water from melting ice sheets and glaciers, by the end of the 21st century, as many as 650 million people globally may be below sea levels or subject to recurrent flooding. Human beings have always faced threats from coastal storms and flooding, but never have so many of us and so much of our societal infrastructure been in harm’s way. With entire nations facing forced emigration, international online media are framing sea-level rise as a human rights concern. Yet sea-level rise suffers from generally low media attention and salience as a public issue. Coastal communities tasked with developing adaptation strategies are approaching engagement through new forms of risk visualization and models of environmental decision making. As a subfield of climate communication that addresses a variety of other anthropogenic and natural phenomena, sea-level rise communication also calls upon the less politicized field of natural hazards risk communication. This review explores media analyses, audience research, and evaluation of communication outreach and engagement, finding many remaining gaps in our understanding of sea-level rise communication.