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Decision Support Framework for Sea-level Rise Impacts

Loss of land as a result of increasing sea level is among the gravest threats that climate change poses to coastal areas, and one of the most difficult to prepare for because different beaches, barriers, and marshes can respond to sea level rise in various dynamic ways. By distinguishing between areas in the Northeast that are likely to experience flooding as a result of sea-level rise and those that are likely to respond dynamically to sea-level rise by moving or changing, this report offers a resource to support coastal management decisions at both regional and local scales in the context of accelerated change.

Go to the Product(s)

Final report on the decision support framework

Spatial datasets on coastal landscape change and land loss in response to sea-level rise

Additional Resources

USGS Project page for Sea-Level Rise Hazards and Decision Support

USGS Project page for Coastal Landscape Response to Sea-Level Rise Assessment for the Northeastern United States

Funded by the Northeast CSC, which maintains its own project page

Technical description

A USGS and Columbia University team evaluated sea-level rise impacts in the northeastern U.S. The project developed a reconnaissance method to distinguish coastal areas in the northeastern U.S. (Virginia-Maine) that will likely experience a predominantly inundation (e.g., flooding) response to sea-level rise from those that will likely respond dynamically by moving or changing (e.g., landforms such as barrier islands and marshes). They found that areas likely to inundate include urban regions of intense development and/or coastal engineering, as well as bedrock coasts. Alternatively, areas likely to respond dynamically include beaches, unconsolidated cliffs, barrier islands, and wetlands. By distinguishing the response to a variety of sea level projections in these areas, future work can inform appropriate scientific research and decision support efforts.

Project Contact(s):

, Research fellow, U.S. Geological Survey

, Scientist, U.S. Geological Survey

LCC Staff Contact(s):

, Coastal Resilience Coordinator

Decision Support Framework for Sea-level Rise Impacts
Resource Type: Ecosystems
Conservation Targets: Coastal and Marine
Conservation Framework: Assumption-based Research
Threats/Stressors: Climate Change, Sea-level rise and storm impacts
Conservation Action: Habitat and natural process restoration, Site/area management