6.1 Introduction: Sea Level Rise
This chapter provides information on sea level rise and adaptation design strategies to alleviate the flooding impacts of this threat to the coastal communities of the United States. One of the impacts of climate change to coastal communities is the sea level rise. Sea level rise, an increase in the average surface level of oceans, is caused by thermal expansion and melting of polar ice caps due to climate change and temperature increases, thus adding to the existing volume of water in the oceans (IPCC, 2007; Warrick and Oerlemans, 1990; Withey et al., 2016). Climate change and sea level rise could lead to increased precipitation, storm surges, and higher occurrence of flooding to the residential and commercial infrastructure of many coastal cities throughout the world. This infrastructure must be adaptive to these conditions as our reliance on the coast is not something that will change.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimated that sea level would rise by an additional 0.6–1.9 ft (0.18–0.59 m) by 2100 (Meehl et al., 2007; Solomon et al., 2007). However, the 2007 IPCC projections are conservative, and additional research showed higher estimates of sea level rise greater ...