This interactive map created by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration serves as a highly useful tool in understanding where rising sea levels are occurring throughout the US and their effects. Using a vertical slider this website visualizes how sea levels ranging from 1 to 10 feet could affect coastal areas. It also includes information about the varying risk levels of counties along the coast in regards to flooding and possible damage. On a more local scale, the website allows users to select “local scenarios” to observe the projected sea levels for that specific area by year. In Richmond, our current intermediate level is approximately 0.5 feet, however according to the map, by 2100, this number is estimated to be 3.87 feet. Additionally, this map provides information about high tide flooding and the alteration of marsh areas over time
This information on this site can be used for both educational and preventative purposes. Data on what areas will suffer the most from rising sea levels and the approximate timeframe for when areas will become “high risk” can be used by both the local and national governments to create plans for mitigating these consequences. Not only will this provide a baseline for when and when actions must be taken, such as building floodwalls or elevating surrounding infrastructure, but I also helps people visualize this rapidly growing threat. Illustrating how many people and ecosystems are at risk due to rising water levels is an extremely effective way to get people to understand the severity of this situation, regardless of one’s education on climate change.