Data Guide

Sea Level Rise

Tristan Ballard

Tristan Ballard

Created: Jan 1, 2023 - Updated: Aug 21, 2023

Global mean sea level increased by approximately 20cm in the past century, with 1 meter or more of rise expected by 2100. The major physical impacts of rising seas include coastal flooding, erosion of beaches, saltwater intrusion into aquifers, inundation of deltas, and loss of biodiversity in marshes and wetlands.


Future Sea Level Rise

Metric: Expected Sea Level Rise in meters from historic baseline sea levels, within 5km of an asset location.

This indicator quantifies the change in sea level across different climate scenarios and is consistent with projections from the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report. We base our modeling of projected sea level rise on climate model simulations from CMIP6.

Projected sea level rise from CMIP6 climate models incorporates the effects of thermal expansion from warming of the ocean, melting of Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, melting of glaciers and ice caps, and local land subsidence and rebound. Land elevation rebound, whereby land elevation increases in response to ice melt, is more common in high latitude, polar regions.

This indicator reflects sea level rise relative to a 1995-2014 baseline period for assets within 5km from the coast. An asset’s distance to the nearest coastline is derived using 0.01 degree resolution, satellite-derived estimates of coastline locations from NASA’s Ocean Color Group.

Observed Sea Level Rise This indicator reflects observed sea level changes based on satellite data from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab. The satellite data tracks sea surface height anomalies from a collection of different satellite sensors. This product has global coverage (-80 to 80 latitude) from 1993 to present. The data does not incorporate local land subsidence or rebound.

Known Limitations

The Sea Level Rise indicator shows the largest sea level rise experienced within 5km of an asset. This is in contrast to coastal flood products, which show flooding at an exact asset location.

Sample Assessment

United States Counties

Projected mean annual sea level rise risk exposure over 1980-2010 (left) and 2022-2052 (right) with SSP5-RCP8.5 scenario.

US Counties with top sea level rise exposure over 2022-2052      
State Score (1980-2020) Score (2022-2052) Percent Change
New Jersey 0.16 0.28 79
Pennsylvania 0.13 0.28 117
Delaware 0.16 0.28 79
Virginia 0.16 0.28 78
Maryland 0.16 0.28 78

Indian Towns

Projected mean annual sea level rise risk exposure over 1980-2010 and 2022-2052 with SSP5-RCP8.5 scenario.

Indian Towns with top sea level rise exposure over 2022-2052      
Region Name Score (1980-2020) Score (2022-2052) Percent Change
Baleshwar 0.19 0.23 16
Bhadrak 0.19 0.23 16
Jagatsinghapur 0.18 0.22 16
Kendrapara 0.19 0.22 16
North 24 Parganas 0.19 0.22 17

Data Sources

Water Stress