What Will Adaptation Cost? An Economic Framework for Coastal Community Infrastructure

Created: 10/10/2013 -



Coastal areas across the United States are beginning to incorporate sea level rise adaptation into their community planning. One of the most challenging aspects of adapting to sea level rise is understanding the economic implications of future inundation risk, and the costs and benefits of different adaptation options. Communities are already grappling with difficult decisions about how to locate, maintain, and protect expensive community infrastructure such as roads, hospitals, and wastewater treatment plants.

This report provides a framework that community leaders and planners can use to make more economically informed decisions about adapting to sea level rise and storm flooding. The four-step framework can be used to perform a holistic assessment of costs and benefits of different adaptation approaches across a community, or to focus in on select infrastructure. The report also discusses the expertise needed at each step in the process.

This guide helps communities:

  • Understand baseline risk
  • Assess what to do differently
  • Calculate costs and benefits
  • Make a decision


NOAA is an agency that enriches life through science. Our reach goes from the surface of the sun to the depths of the ocean floor as we work to keep citizens informed of the changing environment around them. From daily weather forecasts, severe storm warnings and climate monitoring to fisheries management, coastal restoration and supporting marine commerce, NOAA’s products and services support economic vitality and affect more than one-third of America’s gross domestic product.


Document Type
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy
Target Climate Changes and Impacts