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Storm Surge and Sea Level Rise: Cities at Risk

Since the late 19th Century, global sea level has risen an average of 8 inches. As the climate continues to warm from the emission of greenhouse gases, ocean water will further expand and glaciers and ice sheets will continue to melt, causing sea level rise to accelerate through this century. By the end of this century, an additional rise between 1 and 4 feet is expected, with many scientists thinking these amounts are on the conservative side. As the Atlantic hurricane season gets underway this week, sea level rise adds to the threat imposed by hurricane storm surge.

Even if there were no immediate increase in the strength of hurricanes from climate change, continued sea level rise means storm surge will be more destructive. As little as 8 inches can be the difference between water just getting into a home and water flowing into electrical outlets. This puts several important U.S. cities at risk from advancing waters.