EXPLORATION 3B

Florida’s Future Sea Level

As people who live in coastal areas learn more about rising sea levels, one of the first questions they may ask is, “How will my home and community be impacted by rising seas?” As a way to help communities, including private citizens and decision-makers, visualize these changes will look like, NOAA has developed a tool called Digital Coast: Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding Impacts Viewer . This tool allows anyone to see a visualization of projected sea levels along the U.S. coasts.

For this activity, you will use the viewer to answer the following questions.

  1. Launch the Digital Coast application showing the Miami area in Florida.
    1. Notice the areas highlighted with bright green on the map. What does the legend indicate that these areas represent?
    2. Where are the majority of these areas?
    3. Move the slider on the left over one unit to 1 foot of sea level rise. How did this change the amount of surface area covered by bright green?
    4. SLR ToolContinue to move the slider. At what height of sea level do the majority of bright green areas turn light or dark blue, indicating that these areas are underwater?
    5. Describe the changes that occur when sea level is 6 feet higher than today.
  2. Tide GaugeLook at tide gauge under Flooding Frequency and click on the symbol for the Tide Gauge near Key Biscayne . Hold the cursor over the bars in the figure to fill in the table below. 

Sea Level Rise (SLR) (m) and Coastal Flooding

Coastal Flooding

Current

 

0.5 m SLR

1.0 m SLR

Events per year

 

   

Days per year

 

 

 
    1. Why do you think there are more flooding events than days in the year when sea level is 0.5 meter higher?
    2. Why do you think there are less flooding events with 1.0 meters of sea level rise than 0.5 meter of sea level rise?
    3. Refer to the figure in Exploration 2. Approximately what year will sea levels be 0.5 meter higher than today and how old would you be?
    4. Consider your answers in the table and the previous question. How different might lifebe in South Florida with this level of flooding?
  1. Provide some examples of ways that decision-makers and community leaders might use this tool in their communities.