U.S. sea levels projected to rise one foot by 2050

Photo (c) Ashley Cooper - Getty Images

The latest report by the NOAA underscores the current climate crisis in the U.S.

As climate change continues to pose a threat worldwide, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) published the Sea Level Rise Technical Report for 2022. 

Among several important points related to sustainability, the report highlighted that coastlines across the U.S. are likely to see sea levels rise by 10 to 12 inches by the year 2050. 

“This new data on sea rise is the latest reconfirmation that our climate crisis – as the President has said – is blinking ‘code red,’” said National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy. “We must redouble our efforts to cut the greenhouse gases that cause climate change while, at the same time, help our coastal communities become more resilient in the face of rising seas.” 

Rising sea levels can increase flooding

For the report, experts from the NOAA combined data from satellite observations, tide gauges, and findings from the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Their work spanned all 50 states, and the group made projections for what coastlines will look like over the next century and beyond. 

Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the report is the prediction for rising sea levels within the next 30 years. Experts anticipate that sea levels will rise by 10 to 12 inches by 2050, but this figure could vary by region. 

“This report supports previous studies and confirms what we have long known: sea levels are continuing to rise at an alarming rate, endangering communities around the world,” said researcher Bill Nelson. “Science is indisputable and urgent action is required to mitigate a climate crisis that is well underway.” 

In addition to rising sea levels across the country, the report predicts that flooding will also become more prevalent nationwide. The authors anticipate coastal areas will experience the brunt of these floods, with these events occurring more than 10 times as often as they do today, regardless of heavy rains. 

“These numbers mean a change from a single event every 2-5 years to multiple events each year, in some places,” said researcher Nicole LeBoeuf. 

Experts hope this report is helpful to consumers, particularly those who run businesses or live near the coast. The team says having access to this information is critical so that everyone can make the best decisions that positively impact the environment moving forward. 

“This is a global wake-up call and gives Americans the information needed to act now to best position ourselves for the future,” said researcher Rick Spinrad. “As we build a Climate Ready Nation, these updated data can inform coastal communities and others about current and future vulnerabilities in the face of climate change and help them make smart decision to keep people and property safe over the long run.” 

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