Georgia and the Surging Sea
Floods exceeding today’s historic records in the Savannah area, about 3.5 feet above the local high tide line, are likely to take place by 2040 under a mid-range sea level rise scenario. Low-range projections lead to a better than even chance of floods exceeding 3 feet over the same period – levels not seen in the last half-century. Under high-range projections, there is a near-certain chance of floods above 8 feet by end of century. The southern Georgia coast faces a very similar risk of 3- and 8-foot floods.
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 http://sealevel.climatecentral.org/ssrf/georgia.