An intermediate high sea level rise scenario leads to better than even chances of record-breaking coastal floods within the next 60 years in the Baltimore and Annapolis areas, and as soon as 20 years in other parts of the state. Under a slower scenario, floods are still likely this century to reach dangerously more than 5 feet above the high tide line throughout the state. Under a high sea level rise scenario, floods are likely to top 9 feet statewide.
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/maryland.