California “Sea the Future” Tool

The “Sea the Future” tool was developed by the State of California to help the state’s local planners and residents understand and be able to select from among a dozen different sea-level rise and flooding visualization tools that may be useful in efforts to plan for sea-level rise. Sea the Future provides summaries and information on tool features, similarities and differences across tools, and advantages and disadvantages of each tool so that end-users can make an informed decision about which tool(s) to use to support decisionmaking.

Local planners can use this tool to help evaluate differences between sea-level rise and flooding visualization tools in order to select the tool(s) most appropriate for their planning needs

The Sea the Future (STF) tool was developed to help users understand the differences among 12 sea-level rise and coastal inundation information and mapping tools applicable to California. STF has a web page for each tool that gives a brief description of the tool, key features, geographic scope, release date, fact sheet, examples of the visualizations provided by the tool, and finally, a link to the tool itself. STF also provides information on: 

  • general properties of each tool;
  • sea-level rise and flood projections and metrics and what shoreline processes are included;
  • whether the tool includes human or natural systems or assets exposed to flooding;
  • what reports or data are provided; 
  • the sea-level rise model used by the tool; and
  • 3 strengths and limitations for each tool.

STF also includes a tool comparison function. This feature allows users to select from a range of filters related to geographic scope, shoreline processes covered, exposure analysis (impacts of flooding to different types of assets), and projected flood information (other than sea-level rise flood extent) and then compare two or three tools that provide the information selected using the initial filters. The comparison displays the information above for each of the selected tools, side-by-side.

The tools summarized in the Sea the Future are:

  • Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) “Adapting to Rising Tides Bay Shoreline Flood Explorer”
  • BCDC “East Contra Costa Shoreline Flood Explorer”
  • Cal-Adapt “CalFloD-3D Sea Level Rise Viewer”
  • Climate Central “Coastal Risk Screening Tool”
  • Climate Central “Surging Seas Risk Finder
  • National Fish and Wildlife Federation (NFWF) “Coastal Resilience Evaluation and Siting Tool”
  • National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) “Coastal Flood Exposure Mapper
  • NOAA “Sea Level Rise Viewer
  • Point Blue Conservation Science/ U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) “Our Coast Our Future/CoSMoS
  • The Nature Conservancy “Coastal Resilience Mapping Portal”
  • University of California Irvine “FloodRISE”
  • USGS “Hazards Exposure and Reporting Analysis (HERA)”

STF was developed and is hosted by the California State Coastal Conservancy in partnership with the San Francisco Sentinel Site Cooperative and with funding and technical support provided by NOAA's Office for Coastal Management. 

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  • Mapping tool
  • Tool (general)

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