Coastal Flooding in the Northeast United States Due to Climate Change

This report assesses the affects of sea level rise (SLR) on storm surge and flooding in the northeastern United States.  In this study, historical sea level information for storm surge anomalies at five sites in the region (from Massachusetts to New Jersey) was compiled and the impacts of climate change and local sea level effects were then added to this analysis. The change in recurrence intervals of storm surges due to possible SLR scenarios is estimated. Also, the study compares the boundaries of a 100-year coastal storm flooding event in Boston developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with the flooding boundaries of these estimated storm surges for 2005 and 2100 to further prepare for the potential social and economic impacts of climate change on coastal areas.

The results of this study predict that climate change-driven sea level rise will lead to significant elevation increases in storm surges by at least 2050 at all locations in the region, but particularly at Boston, Massachusetts and Atlantic City, New Jersey. Other sites evaluated included Woods Hole, Massachusetts, New London Connecticut, and New York City.

Publication Date: December 2007

Authors or Affiliated Users:

  • Chris Watson
  • Paul Kirshen
  • Ellen Douglas
  • Allen Gontz
  • Jawon Lee
  • Yong Tian

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  • Assessment

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