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Evaluation of Dynamic Coastal Response to Sea-level Rise Modifies Inundation LikelihoodSea-level rise (SLR) poses a range of threats to natural and built environments, making assessments of SLR-induced hazards essential for informed decision making. We develop a probabilistic model that evaluates the likelihood that an area will inundate (flood) or dynamically respond (adapt) to SLR. The broad-area applicability of the approach is demonstrated by producing 30x30m resolution predictions for more than 38,000 sq km of diverse coastal landscape in the northeastern United States. Probabilistic SLR projections, coastal elevation and vertical land movement are used to estimate likely future inundation levels. Then, conditioned on future inundation levels and the current land-cover type, we evaluate the likelihood of dynamic response versus inundation. We find that nearly 70% of this coastal landscape has some capacity to respond dynamically to SLR, and we show that inundation models over-predict land likely to submerge. This approach is well suited to guiding coastal resource management decisions that weigh future SLR impacts and uncertainty against ecological targets and economic constraints.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Goddard Space Flight Center
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
External Source(s)
Lentz, Erika E.
(Geological Survey Woods Hole, MA, United States)
Thieler, E. Robert
(Geological Survey Woods Hole, MA, United States)
Plant, Nathaniel G.
(Geological Survey Saint Petersburg, FL, United States)
Stippa, Sawyer R.
(Geological Survey Woods Hole, MA, United States)
Horton, Radley M.
(Columbia Univ. New York, NY, United States)
Gesch, Dean B.
(Geological Survey Sioux Falls, SD, United States)
Date Acquired
March 30, 2016
Publication Date
March 14, 2016
Publication Information
Publication: Nature Climate Change
Publisher: MacMillian
ISSN: 2331-1258
Subject Category
Meteorology And Climatology
Report/Patent Number
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Climate-change impacts
Projectiona and prediction
Climate-change ecology

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