Delaware and the Surging Sea

Claudia Tebaldi, Scott Kulp
Posted on: 5/31/2019 - Updated on: 3/06/2020

Posted by

Tera Johnson



Under a low-range sea level rise scenario, Delaware is likely to see record-breaking coastal floods within the next 20 years, and near certain to see floods more than 5 feet above the high tide line by 2100. Under a rapid rise scenario, the state is near certain to see floods above 9 feet by end of century.

Sea levels are rising at an accelerating rate, and the scientific community is confident that global warming is the most important cause. Higher sea levels translate to more and higher coastal floods. To forecast future risk, this analysis integrates historic local sea level trends and flood statistics with global sea level rise scenarios, developed by a multi-agency federal task force led by NOAA in support of the recent U.S. National Climate Assessment.

This report is being released as a high-level summary of findings and methods, coincident with the online launch of a Surging Seas Risk Finder tool for the state, providing much more detailed and localized findings, and accessible via


Strauss, B., C. Tebaldi, S. Kulp, S. Cutter, C. Emrich, D. Rizza, and D. Yawitz (2014). Delaware and the Surging Sea: A vulnerability assessment with projections for sea level rise and coastal flood risk. Climate Central Research Report. pp 1-29.

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Climate Central scientists publish peer-reviewed research on climate science; energy; impacts such as sea level rise; climate attribution and more. But our work isn't confined to scientific journals. We investigate and synthesize weather and climate data and science to equip local communities and media with the tools they need to visualize the threat of climate change and the need for practical solutions.