Spearheaded by the Natural Resource Stewardship and Science department of the NPS, the study claims that 79 different seaside national park sites are currently in danger of “permanent flooding” due to climate change induced sea level rise.
“Further warming of the atmosphere will cause sea levels to continue to rise, which will affect how we protect and manage our national parks”
The highest risk locations are along the Gulf of Mexico and Mid-Atlantic. Parts of coastal Texas and areas southern Louisiana are particularly in danger of storm surge while Washington DC has the largest potential for permanent coastal inundation. Other areas in danger include much of the Mid-Atlantic coastline and parts of Florida and northern California.
Figure 1. Sea level trends for the United States based on Zervas (2009), for all available data through 2015. Each dot represents the location of a long-term (>30 years) tide gauge station. Green dots represent stations that are experiencing the average global rate of sea level change. Stations depicted by yellow to red dots are experiencing greater than the global average (primarily driven by regional subsidence) and blue to purple dots are stations experiencing less than the global average.
An example of how areas of inundation appear in ArcGIS. In this example for the Toms Cove area of Assateague Island National Seashore, areas of inundation (RCP4.5 2050) appear in blue. Green shading indicates other low lying areas that are blocked from inundation by some impediment, but nonetheless could experience flooding should the physical barrier be removed or breached.