- Causes of Future Sea Level Rise
- Elevation Maps
- Will we really lose all that land?
- Sea Level Rise Planning Maps
More Sea Level Rise Reports
In the last few years, Americans have come to recognize that humanity is changing the earth's atmosphere in ways that we will not be able to reverse over the next century. Some say we should immediately reduce our emissions, while others say we should wait.
This web page is devoted to a third, middle view, which is often overlooked: We must prepare now for rising sea level and other consequences of changing climate. Like many middle views, this "adaptationist" perspective dodges the fundamental emissions issue and instead focuses on ideas that all sides should agree on. Environmentalists concerned about the coastal environment and energy producers who oppose controlling emissions should both be able to agree that society should take measures to make our coastal development and ecosystems less vulnerable to a rise in sea level. On Wall Street, this would be known as a "profitable hedge" for all sides of the issue.
The papers on this site and elsewhere demonstrate that numerous low-cost measures, if implemented, would make the United States (and other nations) less vulnerable to rising sea level. The lack of awareness, not the cost of implementation, appears to be impeding the speed at which these measures are adopted. In the last year, however, the idea of adapting to climate change is starting to take root.
For the last 25 years, the US EPA has been assessing the implications of rising sea level and opportunities to prepare for the possible consequences. This site includes (or links to) the material available on the agency's Sea Level Rise Reports website and key reports from other government agencies. But we also provide information that you will not find on government web sites.
- Rolling Easements. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. EPA‑430‑R‑11‑001 (2011).
- Explanation concerning the "unpublished study" mentioned in some news stories (2010)
- State and Local Governments Plan for Development of Most Land Vulnerable to Rising Sea Level along the U.S. Atlantic Coast - Environmental Research Letters (2009)
- The Bush Administration's final word about rising level: Coastal Sensitivity to Sea Level Rise: A Focus on the Mid-Atlantic Region - U.S. Climate Change Science Program (2009). Online excerpts, entire report (PDF, 320 pp, 10 MB), or brochure (PDF 1.1 MB)
- Report of the Coastal Elevations and Sea Level Federal Advisory Committee to the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (pdf) (16 pp, 99 KB)(2008)
- EPA's published Bush-era sea level rise study: Background Documents Supporting Climate Change Science Program Synthesis and Assessment Product 4.1: Coastal Elevations and Sensitivity to Sea Level Rise - U.S. EPA, EPA-430-R-07-004 (2008).
- Maps of Lands Close to Sea Level along the Mid-Atlantic Coast: An Elevation Dataset to use while waiting for LIDAR (PDF) (44 pp., 2,150 KB) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Associated paper on Uncertainty Ranges (PDF)(66 pp., 962 KB) (2008).
- Maps that Depict the Business As Usual Response to Sea level rise in the Decentralized United States of America Originally published by Organisation for Cooperation and Development. Global Forum on Sustainable Development: Development and Climate Change - Background Papers (2004).
- Does Sea Level Rise Matter to Transportation Along the Atlantic Coast? (PDF, 17 pp., 5 MB) In Department of Transportation Center for Climate Change and Environmental Forecasting, The Potential Impacts of Climate Change on Transportation (2003).
- Climate change impacts on U.S. Coastal and Marine Ecosystems (pdf) (16 pp., 212 KB). Originally published in Estuaries 25:149-64 (2002) Research, CR 18:205-228 (2001).
- Maps of Lands Vulnerable to Sea Level Rise: Modeled Elevations along the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf Coasts. - Climate Research, CR 18:205-228 (2001).
- Does the U.S. Government Realize that the Sea is Rising? How to Restructure Federal Programs so that Wetland and Beaches Survive (PDF, 68 pp., 4.3 MB) - Golden Gate University Law Review, Vol. 30, Number 4 (2000).
- Rising Seas, Coastal Erosion, and the Takings Clause: How to Save Wetlands and Beaches Without Hurting Property Owners - Maryland Law Review, Volume 57, 1279-1399 (1998).
- The Risk of Sea Level Rise: A Delphic Monte Carlo Analysis in which Twenty Researchers Specify Subjective Probability Distributions for Model Coefficients within their Respective Areas of Expertise - Climatic Change, 33: 151-212 (1996) (html).
- The Probability of Sea Level Rise - U.S. EPA, EPA-230-R-95-008 (1995).
- Anticipatory Planning for Sea-Level Rise Along the Coast of Maine - Maine State Planning Office and U.S. EPA, EPA- 230-R-95-900 (1995).
- The Costs of Climate Change to the United States - originally published in Global Climate Change: Implications, Challenges and Mitigation Measures (1992)
- Greenhouse Effect and Coastal Wetland Policy: How Americans Could Abandon an Area the Size of Massachusetts at Minimum Cost - Environmental Management, Vol. 15, 1:39-58 (1992) ((html) (pdf)).
- Greenhouse Effect and Sea Level Rise: The Cost of Holding Back the Sea - Coastal Management, 19:171-204 (Abstract), (html), (pdf) (1991).
- Projected Impact of Relative Sea Level Rise on the National Flood Insurance Program - originally published by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Flood Insurance Administration (1991).
- Strategies for Adaption to Sea Level Rise - originally published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Response Strategies Working Group (1990).
- Evolution of the US Response to Sea Level Rise: 1982-89 - originally published in Changing Climate and the Coast, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (1990).
- Strategies for Adapting to the Greenhouse Effect - Journal of the American Planning Association, Summer:311-323 (1990) (html) (pdf).
- Greenhouse Effect, Sea Level Rise, and Land Use - Land Use Policy, Vol 7: issue 2, pp:138-53 (1990).
- Greenhouse Effect, Sea Level Rise, and Barrier Islands: Case Study of Long Beach Island, New Jersey - Coastal Management, 18:65-90 (1990) (html).
- The first nationwide assessment of the impacts of sea level rise. Appendix B: Sea Level Rise (from EPA's 1989 Report to Congress: Potential Effects of Global Climate Change on the United States , EPA-230-05-89-052 (1989)
- Policy Implications of Sea Level Rise: The Case of the Maldives. Paper in Proceedings of the Small States Conference on Sea Level Rise. MalÃ©, Republic of Maldives. Edited by Hussein Shihab. (November 14-18, 1989).
- When the North Pole Melts Originally performed by Captain Sea Level (with the U.S. EPA Chorus) (1988).
- Greenhouse Effect, Sea Level Rise, and Coastal Wetlands - U.S. EPA, EPA-230-05-86-013 (1988).
- Greenhouse Effect, Sea Level Rise, and Coastal Drainage Systems - Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, Vol. 113, No. 2., March 1987.
- Saving Louisiana's Coastal Wetlands: The Need for a Long-term Plan of Action - U.S.EPA and Louisiana Geological Survey, EPA-230-02-87-026, April 1987).
- Greenhouse Effect, Sea Level Rise, and Salinity in the Delaware Estuary - U.S. EPA and the Delaware River Basin Commission (1986). (Abstract), (html), (pdf).
- Potential Impacts of Sea Level Rise on the Beach at Ocean City, Maryland - U.S. EPA (1985), Chapters 1 and 2.
- Greenhouse Effect and Sea Level Rise: A Challenge for this Generation - (Van Nostrand Reinhold Company Inc, 1984). forward by William D. Ruckelshaus