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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Probabilistic projections of local sea level rise and vulnerability along the Northeast coastline


Global mean sea level rise of ~3 mm/year during the last decade was likely the highest rate since 1900, and continues to accelerate. It is therefore critical that coastal communities begin to develop adaptive responses to changing shorelines. We will update local sea level rise projections along the Northeast US coastline using a probabilistic model of future sea level distribution, combined with analysis of local trends and extreme sea level events from tide gauge records, to create regionally-appropriate projections. A similar approach has already been successfully implemented for the state of Massachusetts. This project builds on previous work to improve the scale and continuity of the ice-sheet analysis, and spatially extending the framework to assess the vulnerability of the entire Northeast coastline. We will disseminate the spatial impact of these regional sea level projections by producing web-accessible maps of coastal inundation and 100-year flood expansion, and explore the intersection of future flood risk with socioeconomically vulnerable residents and exposed ecosystems. These maps will include public facilities and environmentally regulated and hazardous sites where projected inundation will further impact vulnerable coastal communities.


DeConto et al. (talk) and Halberstadt et al. (poster); PREEVENTS PI Meeting, NSF Headquarters, Sept 20, 2018