Coordinated by the Florida Center for Environmental Studies at
Florida Atlantic University

Sea Level Rise In Our Lifetime

 

The increase in Earth’s sea level is a truly tangible and visible consequence of changes in climate. How much sea level rise (SLR) might you expect to see in your own lifetime? What’s at stake for you based on your personal situation and characteristics?

Under the guidance of Florida Atlantic University’s (FAU) Center for Environmental Studies’ (CES) Mary Beth Hartman and Keren Bolter, this educational photo exhibit was created using local students as models. The group ranged in age from five to 22 years old and the locations chosen depict the cities in the U.S. that are most vulnerable to the effects of sea level rise.

Before the photographs were taken, the students used sea level rise modeling equations and calculated the projections for their individual locations. The calculations took into consideration their age, gender and life expectancy. Using a permanent marker and yardstick, they marked the water level locations on their bodies and headed into the water. Please see below the photos for more information about these calculations.

CES worked with each student individually to position them properly and to match the water line to the sea level mark to create the common visual theme. Many longtime local residents were consulted before choosing the east side of Clear Lake, in West Palm Beach, as the possibility of alligator sightings were a major consideration.

This project was created as an educational exhibit for the CES’s Sea Level Rise Summits and has been subsequently viewed by thousands in a variety of public venues. It was gratifying to see how quickly the students went from the role of ‘model’ to active participant in their desire to understand and engage in the science behind the issues of sea level rise.

CES is currently seeking sponsors to enable other groups or organizations to replicate and expand upon this project.


  Doug   Nisa   Khoa   Taryn
  When Doug reaches his life  expectancy (2064), sea level in  Cape May, NJ will be 26 inches higher than today.

When Nisa reaches her life  expectancy (2064), sea level in  Cape Cod, MA will be  23 inches higher than today.  

When Khoa reaches his life  expectancy (2064), sea level in  Boca Raton, FL will be 21 inches higher than today.  

When Taryn reaches her life  expectancy (2063), sea level in  Manhattan, NY will be  23 inches higher than today.  

  Liz   Lizette   Jeremy   Lauren
When Liz reaches her life  expectancy (2062), sea level  in  Los Angeles, CA will be  12 inches higher than today.

 

  When Lizette reaches her life  expectancy (2067), sea level in  Sarasota, FL will be  29 inches higher than  today.  

When Jeremy reaches his life  expectancy (2061), sea  level in  New Orleans, LA will be  32 inches higher than today.

 

  When Lauren reaches her life  expectancy (2078), sea level in  Miami Beach, FL will be  36 inches higher than today.
  Ariel   Sarah   Roy   George
  When Ariel reaches her life  expectancy (2068), sea level  in  Cape Canaveral, FL will be  29 inches higher than today.  

When Sarah reaches her life  expectancy (2068), sea level in  Portland, OR will be  26 inches higher than today.

 

  When Roy reaches his life  expectancy (2076), sea level in  New Orleans, LA will be  39 inches higher than today.   When George reaches his life  expectancy (2078), sea  level in  Richmond, VA will be  35 inches higher than today.

 

These photos depict individuals for whom personal SLR projections have been calculated based on age, gender, and SLR projections:

  1. AGE and GENDER: Individuals must input their age and gender to a life expectancy calculator that will pinpoint which decade to use for the projected lifetime SLR.
    For example, a 10 year old boy’s life expectancy is until 2078; for a 10 year old girl it is 2083. So any 10 year old would be rounded up to 2080.
  2. GLOBAL SLR PROJECTIONS*: For these photos, the medium projections were used (that go up to 40 inches by 2100), based on Vermeer and Rahmstorf (2009) with these descriptions:

      ♦"Low" corresponds with sharp reductions in carbon pollution, and some good luck 

      ♦"Medium" corresponds with medium reductions in carbon pollution, and some medium luck 

      ♦"High" corresponds with continuing our current path, and some bad luck

      ♦Luck means: does the effect of temperature on sea level turn out to be toward the low (good luck) or high (bad luck) end of what we expect.

  1. LOCAL SLR PROJECTIONS*:  To determine local effects, global rise was removed from the total observed local sea level increase over a 50-year period at each of the 55 stations analyzed. In our projections. It was assumed that each local component will continue at a constant rate into the future.
    LOCATION: Zip codes for individuals homes were matched to the nearest water level station to match up to local projections

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON METHODS, GO TO
http://sealevel.climatecentral.org/research/methods/projecting-sea-level-rise/

All photographs taken by Mary Brandenburg.


For more information contact:
Mary Beth Hartman, Conference & Outreach Coordinator
Center for Environmental Studies at Florida Atlantic University
Mary Beth Hartman
or 954-236-1203
 
 
 Last Modified 11/8/16