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Seattle Office of Sustainability and Environment

Overview

The Office of Sustainability and Environment has been hard at work coordinating and developing policies and initiatives to protect Seattle's environment for over 10 years now.

We don't do this work alone though; many – in fact, most – departments at the City have a role in making Seattle a greener, more sustainable place for everyone. This site is organized to help you find out about all the great environmental programs throughout the city, as well as the programs managed out of our office.

And of course, we know that Seattle's residents are very interested in taking actions that help the environment, so we've included information on how you can “lower your impact” throughout this site.

Adaptation work: 

Climate change will affect Seattle even though we are lowering emissions. Some of the ways that climate change may affect Seattle include hotter, drier summers, a decrease in the amount of snow that falls in the mountains, and an increase in the intensity and frequency of storms. In addition, sea level is expected to rise, which could lead to an increase in flooding along Seattle’s waterfront. The City is working to plan for these potential impacts, particularly on the City’s capital projects and existing infrastructure, such as buildings, roads, and drainage systems, as well as on things like our water supply and ecosystem health.

OSE has been coordinating with other City departments to assess potential short- and long-term impacts of sea level rise, precipitation changes and temperature increase on the City’s current and future projects. 

The most significant changes projected for the Pacific Northwest will be to temperature, precipitation, and sea level:

  • Sea level - increase in base sea level and high tides
  • Temperature - increase in average temperatures, minimum temperatures, and the frequency & duration of extreme heat event
  • Mountain snowpack - reductions in snowpack and shifts in the timing of stream flow
  • Precipitation - little change in annual precipitation but wetter winters, drier summers, and more extreme precipitation events

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