- Causes of Future Sea Level Rise
- Elevation Maps
- Will we really lose all that land?
- Sea Level Rise Planning Maps
EPA's Unpublished Sea Level Rise Study
Recent stories in Mother Jones, Slate, Grist, Wired and the Portsmouth Herald mention an unpublished EPA study of the impacts of sea level rise on the US Atlantic coast, and suggest that the study is on this web site. We do not have the whole study but we do have all the maps. And the maps tell most of the story. We also have state-specific and county-specific summaries. Locality-specific discussions are online for Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, DC, and Connecticut. For the other states, you have to go to the state-specific summary, and then open a pdf with the state-specific report and scroll down to your locality. This site has all of the products that have either been published in the peer reviewed literature or can be reasonably cited as an unpublished product of a peer-reviewed report.
Here we provide a quick guide to what is and what is not on this web site. Below are a couple of lists of the products, but if you simply want to take a look at what we have, just go to either the elevation maps, the planning maps, or the planning summary text, and pick a state.
Parts of the "unpublished study" found on this web site
- Sea level rise planning maps show which lands are likely to be protected as sea level rises, based on land use data, land use plans, and the careful site-specific review by land use planners from 130 local governments.
- Elevation maps. A fairly polished product is available for the mid-Atlantic states at various scales. County-specific maps are posted for Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina.
- Tables showing area of low land by county and state. These tables quantify the area of vulnerable land based on the maps. The tables provide uncertainty ranges based on the design accuracy of the data used to create the maps
- State and Local Governments Plan for Development of Most Land Vulnerable to Rising Sea Level along the U.S. Atlantic Coast* The short paper from the journal Environmental Research Letters which summarizes the sea level rise planning study and makes a legal argument that many permits for shore protection violate the Clean Water Act
- Technical reports* documenting the elevation maps and associated uncertainty ranges
- GIS data for the elevation and planning studies. If you have the GIS skills, make your own map. Or add this data set to a mapping tool
- State-specific summaries of the planning studies
- Basis for the sea level rise planning maps at the county scale. See the state-specific summaries and pick a state.
- Wetlands accretion*: The surfaces of wetlands often rise as the sea rises. But can they keep pace with the expected future rise in sea level?
Parts of the "unpublished study" not on this web site.
- An overall vision of the problem and what the study did to motivate a solution
- The estimates of coastal wetlands loss. This part of the study combined the elevation, shore protection, and wetland accretion data to estimate an uncertainty range for future wetland loss. It also created maps showing the fraction of wetlands that must keep pace with rising sea level to achieve no net loss. Some of the authors hope to prepare and submit a journal article in the next year or so
- Estimates of the population that live close to sea level.
- The Likelihood of Shore Protection. We have extracted large portions of that 2000-page report, where useful to explain state-specific results. But we do not publish the report as a whole.
- Elevation maps for New England.
- Regional summaries that integrate all the results