Maryland and the Surging Sea: A Vulnerability Assessment with Projections for Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flood Risk

Climate Central has launched the Surging Seas Risk Finder tool for the state of Maryland, along with this high-level summary report of findings on coastal flooding risk and sea level rise impacts for the state. The report presents some of the major categories and highlights, with a focus on exposure below 5 and 9 feet. The Surging Seas Risk Finder presents thousands of combinations of analysis results by geography, water level, and variable. The tool has much more detailed and localized findings for Maryland - accessible via:

The results of this assessment represent the high concentration and wide range of populations, property, infrastructure, buildings, and potential contamination sources in low lying coastal areas. Climate Central found that in the densest areas of Maryland’s coast, the most socially vulnerable populations are exposed the most.

A Submergence Risk Map accompanies this report, which is an online interactive feature visualizing social vulnerability levels in areas that are physically vulnerable to coastal flooding and sea level rise.

Climate Central’s research shows that an intermediate high sea level rise scenario leads to significant chances of record-breaking coastal floods within the next 60 years in the Baltimore and Annapolis areas, and as soon as 20 years in other parts of the state. Under a slower scenario, floods are still likely this century to reach dangerously more than 5 feet above the high tide line throughout the state. Under a high sea level rise scenario, floods are likely to top 9 feet statewide.

The assessment finds that $19.6 billion in property value and 41,000 homes sit on land less than 5 feet above the local high tide line. Greater than double the property and housing are on land below 9 feet: $42.3 billion and 94,000 homes. More than 55,000 people are residents in the homes below 5 feet, and some 132,000 are residents below 9 feet.

In March 2012, Climate Central released its first analysis of sea level rise and coastal flood threats in the U.S., publishing two scientific papers in a peer-reviewed journal; a national report; fact sheets for each coastal state; and the comprehensive website and mapping tool -  Surging Seas.

The Surging Seas Risk Finder Tool is now available for California, Connecticut, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington.

Publication Date: September 2014

Authors or Affiliated Users:

  • Ben Strauss
  • C. Tebaldi
  • S. Kulp
  • S. Cutter
  • C. Emrich
  • Daniel Rizza
  • D. Yawit

Related Organizations:


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Assessment

States Affected:


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