Feb 15, 2011

Implications of recent sea level rise science for low-elevation areas in coastal cities of the conterminous U.S.A.

by
Jeremy L. Weiss, Jonathan T. Overpeck, Ben Strauss
,
Climatic Change
  • Applies a new geospatial dataset to calculate low-elevation areas in coastal cities of the conterminous U.S.A. potentially impacted by SLR in this and following centuries
  • Finds that, in total, 20 municipalities with populations greater than 300,000 and 160 municipalities with populations between 50,000 and 300,000 have land area with elevations at or below 6 m and connectivity to the sea, as based on the 1 arc-second National Elevation Dataset
  • Finds that, on average, approximately 9% of the area in these coastal municipalities lies at or below 1 m — this figure rises to 36% when considering area at or below 6 m
  • Finds that areal percentages of municipalities with elevations at or below 1–6 m are greater than the national average along the Gulf and southern Atlantic coasts
  • Results show that SLR will potentially have very local, and disproportionate, impacts on low-elevation areas in coastal cities of the conterminous U.S.A.