About Section
Our Sea Level Rise Program

Sea Level Rise

Our flagship sea level project, two years in the making, allows you to search or navigate interactive maps to see areas below different amounts of sea level rise and flooding — down to neighborhood scale — matched with area timelines of risk. The tool also provides statistics of population, homes and land affected by city, county and state, plus links to reportsfact sheetsaction plansembeddable widgets and more.

Quick Links

Sea Level 101 | Major Expansion | Risk Finder | Reports | In the Media | Our Content | Our Team

Sea Level 101

Global warming has raised global sea level about 8 inches since 1880, and the rate of rise is accelerating. Rising seas dramatically increase the odds of damaging floods from storm surges. A Climate Central analysis finds that sea level rise from warming has already doubled the odds of "century" or worse floods over widespread areas of the U.S., and the problem is growing by the decade.These increases threaten an enormous amount of damage. Across the country, nearly 5 million people live in 2.6 million homes at less than 4 feet above high tide — a level lower than the century flood line for most locations analyzed. And compounding this risk, scientists expect roughly 2 to 5 more feet of sea level rise this century — a lot depending upon how much more heat-trapping pollution humanity puts into the sky.

A Major Expansion

On the 1-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, Climate Central released a new and improved interactive map for New York and New Jersey, with Florida and eight other states coming online shortly after, showing areas vulnerable to flooding from combined sea level rise, storm surge, and tides, or to permanent submergence by long-term sea level rise. 

The new map incorporates the latest, high-resolution, high-accuracy lidar elevation data supplied by NOAA, displays points of interest, and contains layers displaying social vulnerability and population density. It provides the ability to search by location name or zip code. 

Climate Central will launch the web tool for all U.S. coastal states on a state-by-state basis, starting in 2014. 

Currently Available for: 
Alabama | California | Connecticut | Delaware |  Florida | GeorgiaLouisiana | Maine | Maryland | Massachusetts | Mississippi | New Hampshire | New Jersey | New York | North CarolinaOregon | Rhode Island | South Carolina | Texas | VirginiaWashington | Washington, D.C.


Surging Seas Risk Finder

In addition to the new map, Surging Seas' recent expansion includes an interactive searchable data toolkit that shows populations, infrastructure, and assets exposed to coastal flooding aggravated by sea level rise.

The Risk Finder incorporates the latest, high-resolution, high-accuracy lidar elevation data supplied by NOAA and assesses exposure of over 100 infrastructure and other elements — from airports to road miles, from schools to hospitals to wastewater treatment plants — in order to allow users to explore vulnerability from zip code through city, county and state levels. It provides the ability to compare risk across areas, as well as the ability to analyze the likelihood of coastal flood and sea level threats occurring in the future by decade.

Currently Available for: 
California | Connecticut | DelawareFlorida | GeorgiaMaine | Maryland | Massachusetts | New Hampshire |
New Jersey | New York | North CarolinaOregon | Rhode Island | South Carolina | VirginiaWashington | Washington, D.C.

Our Sea Level Rise Reports, Fact sheets, & Peer-Reviewed Papers

Cities Under Future Seas:
Sea Level Rise ‘Locking In’

U.S. cities that will fall below the future tide depending on how much more carbon we emit.
Surging Seas:  
State-by-State Fact sheets

Simple, quotable sea level rise facts and findings along with research notes and reusable graphics.
Our Peer-reviewed 
Scientific Papers

These scientific studies, published in 2012, were the basis for the Surging Seas interactive tool.
Sea Level Rise Maps and Embeddable Widgets
A serious of interactive and static maps illustrating current and future sea level rise and coastal flood risks.
Sea Level Rise Threatens 100's
of U.S. Energy Facilities

A report, complete with interactive map, illustrates facilities threatened by sea level rise & coastal flooding.

Climate Central & Sea Level Rise in the Media

Ben Strauss on PBS NewsHour
July 7, 2015

Ben Strauss' Senate Testimony
on Sea Level Rise, April 19, 2012

NY Times Op-Ed By Ben Strauss
November 25, 2012

Coverage of our report,
Surging Seas, Inundates the Nation

Our Sea Level Rise Content







Our Sea Level Rise Science Team

Ben Strauss, Ph.D.
Vice President for Sea Level
and Climate Impacts

Tim Grandia
Director of the Program
on Sea Level Rise

Claudia Tebaldi, Ph.D.
Science Fellow, Climate Statistics

Dan Rizza
Strategic Relations Liaison

Scott Kulp
Computational Scientist and
Senior Developer


Our Other Programs

Climate Science




CO2 Hits Climate Milestone April was the first month in human history with average CO2 levels above 400 ppm.

View Gallery