New data reveals dangerous rising sea levels across the U.S.


Hunter Berube

Suffolk Climate Watch graphic

Rising sea levels along the U.S. will bring significant increases in flooding across the country, according to a new report.

According to a Feb. 15 report conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Admiration, sea levels may rise between 10 to 12 inches by 2050. ABC News reports that coastal communities will be the most at risk. 

The East Coast is expected to see an increase of 10 to 14 inches in sea level rise, while the West Coast will see a smaller rise of 4 to 8inches, according to CBS News. The Gulf Coast will see the most extreme increase of between 14 to 18 inches.

“All of New England, especially Massachusetts, has a unique combination of geographic factors that push water farther inland in response to high tides,” said Lori Mitchener, a lecturer for the Center for Urban Ecology and Sustainability at Suffolk University. “This also worsens flooding that occurs during coastal storms like Nor’easters.”

The February report is an update from 2017, which now allows for federal, state and local agencies to utilize this research in order to anticipate the effects of rising sea levels, NASA reported. An online mapping tool has been developed by NASA’s Sea Level Change Team, which will look to make U.S. sea level rise projects as attainable as possible.

“Sea levels are continuing to rise at an alarming rate, endangering communities around the world,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson in a statement Tuesday. “Science is indisputable and urgent action is required to mitigate a climate crisis that is well underway.”

The newest update includes various scientists from agencies such as the United States Geological Survey and the Environmental Protection Agency, according to CBS News. In their research, satellite data, model projections and other methods for mapping possible environmental impacts of climate change were used to discover their findings. 

These rising sea levels are causing extreme weather events, such as damaging high tides, coastal erosion and storm surges, to escalate, ABC News reported. Coastal areas may face extremely severe high tides, later affecting wastewater systems and infrastructure, further adding to storm cleanup costs. 

“Add sea level rise due to glacial melt, and we have a recipe for a major reshaping of the coastline,” said Mitchener.