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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Sea Level Rise and Its Impacts


A reconnaissance study distinguishes coastal areas of the northeastern U.S. (approx. Virginia to Maine) that will experience an inundation-dominated response to sea-level rise from those that will respond dynamically due to physical and bio-physical sedimentation and erosion processes. Areas that will be dominated by inundation include urban regions of intense development and/or coastal engineering, as well as bedrock coasts. Areas that will respond dynamically include beaches, unconsolidated cliffs, barrier islands, and wetlands. Distinguishing which processes are relevant to sea-level rise impacts in these areas aids prioritization of scientific research and decision support efforts.

Also see Dr. Robert Thieler's Research and Decision Support Framework to Evaluate Sea-level Rise Impacts in the Northeastern U.S.

Project Investigators

Robert Thieler (USGS)
Nathaniel Plant (USGS)
Christopher Little (Princeton University)



  • R. Horton. "Tipping Points and Surprises" USGCRP Webinar on the Climate Science Special Report, August 2, 2018
  • R. Horton. "Sea Level Rise and Other Extreme Events", ACCL Law Event, NY, NY, April 27, 2018
  • R. Thieler, E. Lentz, R. Horton. American Geophysical Union Annual Meeting in San Fransisco, CA, December 15, 2014.
  • R. Thieler, R. Horton. American Geophysical Union Annual Meeting in San Francisco, CA, December 15, 2014.
  • R. Horton. University of Colorado in Boulder on March 5, 2014.
  • R. Horton. UNAVCO conference in Bloomfield, CO, March 4, 2014.
  • R. Horton. Hurricane Sandy Task Force Resilience Incentive Prize Workshop, NY, NY, May 8, 2013.
  • R. Horton. USGS-NPS Strategic Sciences Group Meeting on Hurricane Sandy, NJ, March 2013.