Several NOAA offices (CSC, NGS, COOPS, and OCS) have collaboratively released a new handbook to help communities adopt to sea level rise.
From the introduction:
Just as flooding threats need to be factored into coastal community planning initiatives, so too should sea level change. Unfortunately, the “one size fits all” approach does not work.
The level of uncertainty represented in sea level projections is one challenge. Furthermore, universal projections can’t be uniformly applied to all communities because of the many local variables. These variables include subsidence or uplift, and changes in estuarine and shelf hydrodynamics, regional oceanographic circulation patterns, and river flows. Local calculations are needed.
Then add in the local response, where many variables come into play as well. Even if two communities have similar projection numbers, their responses are likely to be widely different because of the external factors specific to their locations that must be considered, such as anticipated local risk, community will, and the type of planning process in which the numbers will be used.
Incorporating sea level change into planning processes involves more than selecting a number. That is why this document advocates the scenario approach.
Using the information provided here, communities can develop a process that incorporates a range of possibilities and factors. With this information various scenarios can be developed, both in terms of projections and responses, to meet the specific circumstances of a community. Moreover, working through the scenario development process provides the data and information that officials will need to make communities readily adaptable to changing circumstances.
“Incorporating Sea Level Change Scenarios at the Local Level” is a “low-tech” companion for a technical report created by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The original document, Technical Considerations for Use of Geospatial Data in Sea Level Change Mapping and Assessment, can be found on the following websites: