Communicating Future Sea-Level Rise Scenarios for Coastal Federal Lands

Release Date:

Low-lying public lands along the northern Gulf of Mexico coast are vulnerable to sea-level rise. Coastal planners and resource managers in the region have requested customized information that can be used to communicate local sea-level rise scenarios and identify potential impacts to the missions of resource management agencies.

Aerial view of a southeast Louisiana coastal marsh

Aerial view of a southeast Louisiana coastal marsh.(Public domain.)

In a project funded by the Southeast CASC, the Northern Gulf of Mexico Sentinel Site Cooperative partnered with the USGS Wetland and Aquatic Research Center and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to produce customized two-page fact sheets on sea-level rise (SLR) scenarios for federal coastal refuges, parks, and reserves across the northern Gulf of Mexico. A total of 53 fact sheets, covering coastal federal lands in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida, are now available for download.

The fact sheets draw upon an interagency report that provides updated global and regional SLR scenarios for the United States and accounts for the latest advancements in scientific understanding of climate change and the complex processes that drive SLR. Each fact sheet displays site-specific information on SLR scenarios, comparing SLR estimates for each site to the global average, under six scenarios: low, intermediate-low, intermediate, intermediate-high, high, and extreme SLR. In addition, each fact sheet includes:

  • A graph displaying relative SLR scenarios through 2100
  • A map showing which areas of the site could flood, based on an intermediate SLR scenario projection
  • Information on how to incorporate these scenarios into SLR planning
  • Information on how the probability of each scenario was calculated

The Template

A template is also available for practitioners wishing to develop their own fact sheets on SLR scenarios and future high tide flooding for additional sites in the coastal U.S. This downloadable resource includes a Data Analysis Helper file that automatically calculates the information for the Sea-Level Rise Scenarios template. The data are based on two NOAA Technical Reports: Global and Regional Sea Level Rise Scenarios for the United States and Patterns and Projections of High Tide Flooding Along the U.S. Coastline Using a Common Impact Threshold.

Information calculated and displayed in this template includes:

  • The percentage difference between projected SLR at the site and the projected global average
  • The current trend in SLR at the nearest trend station – a location that has sufficient historical SLR data for measuring trends.
  • A graph displaying the projected future number of days of minor flooding, under six SLR scenarios (ranging from low to extreme)

Download:

  • The 53 fact sheets produced for the northern Gulf of Mexico can be downloaded here and here.
  • The fact sheet template, instructions, and Data Analysis Helper file can be downloaded here (see "Download Instructions" box).

This work was funded by the Southeast CASC project “Communicating Future Sea-Level Rise Scenarios for Gulf Coast National Wildlife Refuge and National Park Lands”.

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