Coastal Sensitivity to Sea Level Rise:
Part IV: National Implications and a Science Strategy for Moving Forward
U.S. Global Change Research Program
Other EPA-sponsored Climate Change Science Program Synthesis and Assessment Reports
- SAP 4.4: Preliminary Review of Adaptation Options for Climate-Sensitive Ecosystems and Resources
- SAP 4.6: Analyses of the Effects of Global Change on Human Health and Welfare and Human Systems
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in collaboration with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), has released a report that discusses the impacts of sea level rise on the physical characteristics of the coast, on coastal communities, and the habitats that depend on them. The report, Coastal Sensitivity to sea level Rise: A Focus on the Mid-Atlantic Region examines multiple opportunities for governments and coastal communities to plan for and adapt to rising sea levels.
Download specific chapters from Part IV: Preparing for Sea Level Rise
- Chapter 13: Implications of sea level rise to the nation (9 pp, 7.1MB)
- Chapter 14: Science Strategy (11 pp, 2.3MB)
Climate change and effects such as sea level rise have global implications and will increasingly affect the entire nation. While this Product focuses primarily on the mid-Atlantic region of the United States, many of the issues discussed in earlier chapters are relevant at the national scale.
Chapter 13 draws on findings from the mid-Atlantic focus area that have relevance to other parts of the United States, provides an overview of coastal environments and landforms in the United States, and describes the issues faced in understanding how these environments may be impacted and respond to sea level rise. The diversity of U.S. coastal settings includes bedrock coasts in Maine; glacial bluffs in New York; barrier islands in the mid-Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico; coral reefs in Florida, the Caribbean, and Hawaii; one of the world’s major delta systems in Louisiana; a widevariety of pocket beaches and cliffed coasts along the Pacific coast; Pacific atolls; and a number of arcticcoastline types in Alaska. In addition, the large bays and estuaries around the country also exhibit a diverse range of shoreline types, large wetland systems, and extensive coastal habitats.
Understanding how the different coastal environments of the United States will respond to future climate and sea level change is a major challenge. In addition, as highlighted in earlier Parts of this Product, human actions and policy decisions also substantially influence the evolution of the coast. The knowledge gaps and data limitations identified in this Product focusing on the mid-Atlantic have broad relevance to the rest of the United States.
Chapter 14 identifies opportunities for increasing the scientific understanding of future sea level rise impacts. This includes basic and applied research in the natural and the social sciences. A significant emphasis is placed on developing linkages between scientists, policy makers, and stakeholders at all levels, so that information can be shared and utilized efficiently and effectively as sea level rise mitigation and adaptation plans evolve.
- For previous reports focused on the implications of rising sea level, go to More Sea Level Rise Reports.