Abstract

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. 

 

Published On
Organization(s)

U.S. Department of Commerce

The Department of Commerce promotes job creation and economic growth by ensuring fair and reciprocal trade, providing the data necessary to support commerce and constitutional democracy, and fostering innovation by setting standards and conducting foundational research and development.

Keywords

Scale
National / Federal
Sector Addressed
Culture/communities
Land Use Planning
Policy
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy
Capacity Building
Conduct scenario planning exercise
Monitor climate change impacts and adaptation efficacy
Infrastructure, Planning, and Development
Community Planning (developing climate-smart communities)
Create or modify shoreline management measures
Target Climate Changes and Impacts
Sea level rise
Habitat/Biome Type
Coastal
Region
Coasts