Common Questions We Get on Sea Level Rise

PHOTO - Florida sea level rise - 01182017 - iStock- 3360x1602_LANDSCAPEQ:  Can you please make me aware of the most recent NOAA documents/predictions regarding sea level rise? 

A:  As you might imagine, there are a lot of resources on this subject and NOAA has different offices that specialize in different aspects of sea level rise science, data, tools, and resources.  Below are a few resources that may help you but please don’t consider this list all inclusive.
Latest on SLR Science from the 4th National Climate Assessment Volume 1, Climate Science Special Report.  Volume 2:  Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States should be coming out in December.
Sea Level observational data including trends, extreme water levels, high tide flooding, etc..
Current water levels and inundation histories –
Quick Facts from NOS, including educational resources
Satellite Altimetry Data (global sea surface heights)
Government Resources  (links to Case Studies and Tools) – not just NOAA
Overview of SLR Science
Visualize Impacts and Get Data for Assessment
Overall NOAA SLR topics:

Q:  I’d like to see the recorded sea levels for South Florida, Miami and other cities from the oldest measurement to the latest. For example, in 1950 (or when they started recording them) what was the recorded sea level (high and low tide). I’d like to see the recorded history at whatever interval it is measured through the most recent levels.

A:  For information on historical trends for sea level, please visit NOAA’s Tides and Currents website.
You will notice the record stops in 1981.  The tide gauge was moved from Miami Beach to the University of Miami Rosenstiel campus on Virginia Key.  In order to establish a statistically significant trend there has to be > 30 years of data.  The new Virginia Key gauge doesn’t have that much data yet.  (established in 1994)
There are a bunch of resources on the SLR trends homepage.

Q:  Hello, is it possible to know the sea level during a hurricane? 

A:  The short answer is yes.  NOAA National Hurricane Center provides forecasts of storm surge for hurricanes.  Storm surge resources from NHC can be accessed here.
Also NOAA provides real-time measurement of water levels during landfalling storms.  These “quicklook” products can be accessed here.

Q:  How many times has NOAA updated it’s sea level rise projections from report OAR CPO-1 (Parris et. al, 2012) ? When was the last one? 

Q:  I have been asked about my opinion about the Gulf of Mexico water levels and how they affect coastal living.  Can you direct me to where I can get accurate and current information?

A:  You can access current water level info here.
And maps showing impacts of SLR for the Gulf of Mexico here.

Q:  Greetings, Just wondering who to contact regarding rising sea water levels on the Oregon coast? Appreciate your efforts in helping as we need this information as soon as possible 

A:  We have a mapping application that shows potential impacts from various sea level rise increments here.  If you have further questions about SLR in Oregon please feel free to contact me.   directly to our tool zoomed into Oregon.

Q:  My husband and I are relocating and are trying to make the wisest decision about where to buy. Any advice is welcome.  I have a lot of information about the the rainfall totals from prior hurricanes and am also concerned about the reliability and location of dams. We are moving from an area that is 20 miles inland and we carry flood insurance. How do we choose? Developers can change the drainage leading to frightening consequences for buyers.

A:  Thank you for your interest in Digital Coast.  We have a couple tools that can help you determine if your community is at risk of coastal and inland flooding for coastal counties.
Our SLR Viewer will show you if the property is at risk from coastal flood or future sea level.
Our Coastal Flood Exposure Mapper will show you the combined risk of both inland flooding and coastal flooding.
Unfortunately Wilson, NC is outside of the area we cover in both of these tools.  I recommend you use FEMA’s Map Service Center to see if you are in the 1% chance floodplain (Special Flood Hazard Area).
Type in your address and then click on view map.


  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you for all that you are doing to help us all understand the various aspects of sea level rise and how it is working for many locations around the U.S.

    I live in Lewes, DE. I am trying to develop materials to persuade government officials at both the City and County that they should include the direct and indirect effects of sea level rise in their comprehensive planning, as well as the ordinances that they develop to implement their plans.

    Our area lies within the Atlantic Coastal Plain, which means that the area is defined by a very direct connection between surface waters and the groundwater that lies, in many cases, just below the surface. I’m currently trying to understand a phenomenon which seems to be called “Groundwater Inundation” . A term which seems to only have limited use in the research community, what research has been done indicates that the inland effects of groundwater inundation, resulting from sea level rise, may affect much greater amounts of land near our shorelines than the more obvious “coastal flooding”, i.e. “bathtub” model kind of flooding. To me, at least it looks to confound such things as stormwater management, particularly those practices that involve the infiltration of captured stormwater back into the ground.

    I am hoping to use your products, coupled with others, to make a case for more carefully considering the future uses of lands along and nearby our Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay Shorelines, as well as the room that we allow around our essential system of wetlands.

    This is a mouthful; but my hope is that with more people using tools such as yours, we might actually make forward-looking decisions that better protect us all from ALL of the impacts which may come from sea level rise.

    Sumner Crosby
    Lewes, DE


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