Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Unified Sea Level Rise Projection for SE Florida

Summary from the Report  LINK

The Work Group recommends the use of the NOAA High Curve, the USACE High Curve (USACE, 2015) and the median of the IPCC AR5 RCP8.5 scenario (IPCC, 2013) as the basis for a Southeast Florida sea level rise projection for the 2030, 2060 and 2100 planning horizons. In the short term, sea level rise is projected to be 6 to 10 inches by 2030 and 14 to 26 inches by 2060 (above the 1992 mean sea level). Sea level has risen 3 inches from 1992 to 2015. In the long term, sea level rise is projected to be 31 to 61 inches by 2100. For critical infrastructure projects with design lives in excess of 50 years, use of the upper curve is recommended with planning values of 34 inches in 2060 and 81 inches in 2100. Sea level will continue to rise even if global mitigation efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are successful at stabilizing or reducing atmospheric CO2 concentrations; however, emissions mitigation is essential to moderate the severity of potential impacts in the future. A substantial increase in sea level rise within this century is likely and may occur in rapid pulses rather than gradually.

The recommended projection provides guidance for the Compact Counties and their partners to initiate planning to address the potential impacts of sea level rise on the region. The shorter term planning horizons(through 2060) are critical to implementation of the Southeast Florida Regional 14 Climate Change Action Plan, to optimize the remaining economic life of existing infrastructure and to begin to consider adaptation strategies. As scientists develop a better understanding of the factors and reinforcing feedback mechanisms impacting sea level rise, the Southeast Florida community will need to adjust the projections accordingly and adapt to the changing conditions. To ensure public safety and economic viability in the long run, strategic policy decisions will be needed to develop guidelines to direct future public and private investments to areas less vulnerable to future sea level rise impacts.