By: NOAA National Ocean Service
Community planners and decision makers now have an application guide to help them plan for the significant sea level rise the United States is expected to see in the next 30 years.
The guide is a response to the 2022 Interagency Sea Level Rise report, which projected about a foot of higher waters, on average, along U.S. coastlines by 2050. That is as much sea level rise in 30 years as the country witnessed in the previous century.
For each community, and for each project, there are many factors to consider. The Application Guide for the 2022 Sea Level Rise Technical Report is a first-of-its-kind effort to help individuals and organizations wade through various local considerations to arrive at the best approach for their community. In this way, they can advance coastal resilience on their own terms and adopt planning and adaptation initiatives that make the most sense for their situation.
The application guide represents a unique collaboration of NOAA’s National Ocean Service, Sea Grant programs (Georgia, Florida, Mississippi/Alabama, California, Washington and Hawai'i), Mississippi State University, EcoAdapt, and the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve. The writing team brought experience with sea level rise planning in diverse geographies, and worked closely with authors of the 2022 Sea Level Rise Technical Report to ensure scientific accuracy.
Sea Grant-affiliated authors of the application guide include:
Renee Collini, Ph.D., Coastal Climate Resilience Specialist, Mississippi State University, Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium and Florida Sea Grant
Laura Engeman, Coastal Resilience Specialist, California Sea Grant
Katy Hintzen, Coastal Resilience Specialist, Hawaiʻi Sea Grant
Jill Gambill, Coastal Community Resilience Specialist, Georgia Sea Grant
Rachel Johnson, Coastal Resilience Sea Grant Knauss Policy Fellow, NOAA National Ocean Service, and
Ian Miller, Ph.D., Coastal Hazards Specialist, Washington Sea Grant
Additional Sea Grant staff also served as external reviewers of the guide, providing essential suggestions to enhance the entire document.
National in scope, the application guide includes examples from different geographic regions, providing broad guidance regarding where to start and how to consider the right approach for using projection data. Also included are recommended practices for using these data in the face of uncertainty. The guide does not include regulatory or engineering guidance.
The application guide includes four sections:
A description of the content within the technical report
An in-depth discussion of items to be considered when planning for sea level rise
Approaches for integrating the 2022 sea level rise scenarios into community planning initiatives; and
Additional resources to be used as communities explore next steps
Intended audiences include coastal decision makers and professionals who need to understand, communicate, and apply the best available sea level rise information.