Potential for Shoreline Changes Due to Sea-Level Rise Along the U.S. Mid-Atlantic Region

In 2007, thirteen scientists convened for a two-day meeting to exchange  information and develop a consensus opinion on potential future coastal changes for the mid-Atlantic coast in response to sea-level rise. This 2007 report is the result of this workshop, providing an overview of how sea level rise could impact mid-Atlantic coast landforms, from New York to Virginia. Four different scenarios for sea level rise were considered and applied to specific areas of the Atlantic coast: a) the long-term sea-level rise rate observed over the 20th century would persist over the 21st century; b) the 20th century rate would increase by 2 mm/yr; c) the 20th century rate would increase by 7 mm/yr; and d) sea-level would rise by 2 m over the next few hundred years. The mid-Atlantic coast was divided into four geomorphic compartments: spits, headlands, wave-dominated barriers, and mixed-energy barriers.

The assessment explains how geology will affect relative difference in sea level rise, and provides an index of the differences in risks that will be seen across coastal regions.  Additionally, the potential impacts of sea level rise to local ecosystems are reviewed, including erosion, and the submergence and loss of beach and coastal barrier island habitats.  The results of this assessment are depicted graphically on maps of the study area.

Publication Date: 2007

Authors or Affiliated Users:

  • Benjamin T. Gutierrez
  • S. Jeffries Williams
  • E. Robert Thieler

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  • Assessment

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