Resources for Addressing Sea-Level Rise
While not exhaustive, this list contains some useful resources for analysis and evaluation of sea-level rise-related impacts, including maps and GIS layers, surveys, studies, and assessments. This list will be updated as new information becomes available.
State of California Sea-Level Rise Guidance 2018 Update (Ocean Protection Council, 2018)
Rising Seas in California, an Update on Sea-Level Rise Science (OPC Science Advisory Team, 2017)
Sea-Level Rise for the Coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington: Past, Present, and Future (National Research Council, 2012)
Guidance and Assistance
Adaptation Tool Kit: Sea-Level Rise and Coastal Land Use (J. Grannis, 2011)
This tool kit provides local and state governments and their citizens with practical knowledge to help adapt to sea-level rise in a prudent and balanced manner.
Adapting to Climate Change: A Planning Guide for State Coastal Managers (NOAA Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, 2010)
This guide offers a framework for state coastal managers to follow as they develop and implement climate change adaptation plans in their own states.
Adapting to Rising Tides (San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission and NOAA's Office for Coastal Managment)
This collaborative planning project provides staff support, guidance, tools, and information to help agencies and organizations understand, communicate, and begin to resolve complex climate change issues, with a focus on the Alameda County shoreline.
Adapting to Sea-Level Rise: A Guide for California’s Coastal Communities (N. Russell and G. Griggs, 2012)
This guidebook assists managers and planners in California's coastal cities and counties in developing sea-level rise adaptation plans for their communities.
Application of Land Use Practices and Tools to Prepare for and Adapt to Climate Change (Center for Ocean Solutions, 2011)
This guide provides a description of adaptations in action, including how land use practices and tools are currently used in California and elsewhere.
California Coastal Commission Sea Level Rise Synthesis Report (CCC, 2016)
Released in 2016, the Statewide Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Synthesis Report summarizes key findings of the analysis of existing vulnerability assessments for all 15 coastal counties with on the ground knowledge/expertise provided by Coastal Commission District staff.
California Residential Adaptation Policy Guidance (CCC, 2018)
The intent of this Guidance is to build on the 2015 Sea Level Rise Policy Guidance by providing more specific details on how a community can address sea level rise impacts as it relates to residential development through Local Coastal Programs (LCPs), general plan updates, and Coastal Development Permits, which are essential planning tools for fully implementing sea level rise adaptation efforts.
Combatting Sea-Level Rise in Southern California: How Local Governments Can Seize Adaptation Opportunities while Minimizing Legal Risk (M.M. Herzog and S.B. Hecht, 2013)
This article identifies how local governments can harness legal doctrines to support aggressive, innovative strategies to achieve successful sea-level rise adaptation outcomes for Southern California while minimizing legal risk.
Final Draft Guidelines for Coastal Flood Hazard Analysis and Mapping for the Pacific Coast of the United States (FEMA, 2005)
This document provides guidance for coastal flood hazard analyses and mapping specific to the Pacific Coast of the United States.
No Day at the Beach: Sea-Level Rise, Ecosystem Loss, and Public Access Along the California Coast (M. Caldwell and C.H. Segall, 2007)
This document presents the Center for Ocean Solutions’ transferable engagement framework designed to evaluate viable climate adaptation planning alternatives using spatial analysis and data visualization techniques.
Rising Seas in California, an Update on Sea-Level Rise Science (OPC, 2017)
Produced by a working group of the CA OPC Science Advisory Team (OPC-SAT), supported and convened by the CA OST. The State of California SLR Guidance doc—adopted in 2010 and updated in 2013—provides guidance to state agencies for incorporating SLR projections into planning, design, permitting, construction, investment, and other decisions.
Rolling Easements (J.G. Titus, 2011)
This document provides a primer on more than a dozen approaches for ensuring that wetlands and beaches can migrate inland, known as rolling easements, as people remove buildings, roads, and other structures from land as it becomes submerged.
Sea-Level Rise Policy Guidance (California Coastal Commission, 2015)
This document provides an overview of the best available science on sea-level rise for California and recommendeded methodology for addressing sea-level rise in Coastal Commission planning and regulatory actions.
State of California Sea-Level Rise Guidance Document (Ocean Protection Council, 2018)
This guidance document provides information and recommendations to enhance consistency across agencies in their development of approaches to sea-level rise.
What Will Adaptation Cost? An Economic Framework for Coastal Community Infrastructure (NOAA Coastal Services Center, 2013)
This report provides a framework that community leaders and planners can use to make more economically informed decisions about adapting to sea-level rise and storm flooding. The four-step framework can be used holistically assess the costs and benefits of different adaptation approaches across a community, or to focus on select infrastructure. The report also discusses the expertise needed for each step in the process.
Mapping / Visualization Tools and Data
A tool that displays coastal flooding from a 1.4-m (55-in) rise in sea-level, as well as areas inundated by a 100-year flood event along the California coast. These maps do not account for existing protective structures, such as levees.
California Coastal Records Project
Provides yearly high-resolution aerial photos of the entire coastline and information on shoreline trends in California.
California King Tides Project
A rich and diverse archive of photographs that highlight the changes in California's shoreline communities and ecosystems during king tide events.
Coastal Data Information Program
Provides extensive modern and historic wind, wave, and water temperature data, as well as wave and swell models and forecasting information. Tables, graphs, and maps are available.
A visualization and decision-support platform where ecological, social, and economic information can be viewed alongside sea-level rise and storm surge scenarios to develop risk-reduction and restoration solutions in Ventura, Monterey, and Santa Barbara counties.
Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS)
CoSMoS makes detailed predictions (meter-scale) of storm-induced coastal flooding, erosion, and cliff failures over large geographic scales (100s of kilometers).
Lifting the Fog
Provides a detailed look at several national and statewide sea-level rise tools (including some listed here) to help coastal decision-makers determine which tools are useful for addressing the impacts of sea-level rise in their areas.
NOAA's Digital Coast
A centralized repository of information and resources, including data, tools, trainings, and case studies that focus on coastal and ocean issues for coastal managers and technicians.
NOAA's Sea-Level Rise and Coastal Flooding Impacts Viewer
A tool that displays potential future sea-levels for coastal communities; the data do not account for coastal processes, such as erosion and subsidence.
NOAA's Tides and Currents
Provides recorded and predicted tidal measurements along the coast, including bays. For tidal datums, click on “Products” then “Datums.”
NOAA's Tides and Currents: Sea-Level Trends
Provides historic sea-level rise rates using the nearest tide gauge or gauges, including mean sea-level trends for California.
Our Coast, Our Future
Provides maps and tools to predict impacts from sea-level rise and storms within San Francisco Bay and the outer coast, from Half Moon Bay to Bodega Bay.
Pacific Institute Sea-Level Rise Maps
Provides three sea-level rise maps. The Google Map and Hazard Maps show coastal flood and erosion hazard zones. The Thematic Maps show the impacts of sea-level rise onto vulnerable populations, roadways, railroads, electric power plants, wastewater treatment plants, and wetlands on the California coast.
Sea-Level Rise Affecting Marshes Model (SLAMM)
Simulates the dominant processes involved in wetland conversions and shoreline modifications from long-term sea-level rise.
Shows threats from sea-level rise and storm surge to all coastal towns on an interactive map.
USGS Maps, Imagery, and Publications
Provides many different types of maps (e.g., topographic [historic and digital], out of print, geologic, hydrologic, county, and state.) that can be used to inform a wide range of uses, including emergency response, outdoor recreation, scientific research, and resource management.
USGS: The National Assessment of Shoreline Change: A GIS Compilation of Vector Cliff Edged and Associated Cliff Erosion Data for the California Coast
Provides GIS data layers for cliff edges and associated rates of cliff retreat along the California coast.
USGS: The National Assessment of Shoreline Change: A GIS Compilation of Vector Shorelines and Associated Shoreline Change Data for the Sandy Shorelines of the California Coast
Provides shoreline data and shoreline change rates for sandy beaches along the California coast.
Completed Adaption Plans and Vulnerability Assessments
City of Santa Barbara Sea-Level Rise Vulnerability Study (G. Griggs and N. Russell, 2012)
City of Santa Cruz Climate Adaptation Plan (2012-2017)
City of Santa Cruz City Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment (G. Griggs and B. Haddad, 2011)
Developing Adaptation Strategies for San Luis Obispo County: Preliminary Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment for Social Systems (S.C. Moser and J. Ekstrom, 2012)
Sea-Level Rise Adaptation Strategy for San Diego Bay (ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability USA, 2012)
Coastal / Shoreline Surveys and Assessments
California Coastal Armoring Report
Summarizes the impacts of shoreline armoring on coastal erosion and provides policy recommendations to address such impacts.
Coastal Sediment Management Workgroup's Library
Provides studies categorized by topic: coastal erosion, coastal engineering, economic studies, environmental, outreach/public information, planning and policy, regional sediment management, sea-level rise, sediment assessments, and miscellaneous. Studies include “California Beach Erosion Assessment Survey 2010,” “Impact of Sand Retention Structures on Southern and Central California Beaches,” and coastal regional sediment management plans.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Coast of California Studies
Provides links to studies from the Solana Beach-Encinitas Shoreline, Santa Clara River Watershed, and Malibu Creek.
USGS: National Assessment of Shoreline Change Part 3: Historical Shoreline Change and Associated Coastal Land Loss along Sandy Shorelines of the California Coast
Summarizes historical shoreline change and coastal land loss along the California coast.
USGS: National Assessment of Shoreline Change Part 4: Historical Coastal Cliff Retreat along the California Coast
Summarizes historical erosion along California's coastal cliffs by region.
European Overtopping Manual
Describes available methods for assessing overtopping and its consequences. Provides techniques to predict wave overtopping at seawalls, flood embankments, breakwaters, and other shoreline structures. Supported by web-based programs for the calculation of overtopping discharge and design details. Provides pictures and videos of overtopping processes, graphical presentations, case studies, and examples of calculations.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Coastal Engineering Manual
Provides tools and procedures to plan, design, construct, and maintain coastal projects. Includes basic principles of coastal processes, methods for computing coastal planning and design parameters, and guidance for formulating and conducting studies in support of coastal flooding, shoreline protection, and navigation projects. Link directs to Engineer Manual database; type “coastal” in search box.
Legislation and Governance