Texas Sea Level Rise

Sea Level Rise

Data Limitations

The tide-gauge network is sparse, so there is a lack of tide data for many coastal communities and inconsistent periods of records for locations that do have gauges. Satellite measurements provide better coverage, but do not provide a long-term record. Therefore, it can be difficult to obtain local long-term trends. Sea level rise projections include uncertainties in the rate of ice sheet melting in Greenland and Antarctica, changes in the Gulf Stream and land motion, and future greenhouse gas emissions.

Definition and Description

Sea Level Rise
Definition

Long-term increases in mean sea level, the arithmetic mean of hourly heights observed over some specified period (AMS 2020).

Description

Sea level rise occurs due to a combination of melting glaciers and ice caps and from thermal expansion. A vast amount of water is stored in ice caps, primarily in Antarctica and Greenland, which accounts for 50 times the volume of water compared to all the available surface water in lakes, rivers, and seasonal ice and snow. As global temperatures warm, ice sheets are melted which add their water to the surface level of the oceans.

As the temperature of water warms, molecules push farther apart, known as thermal expansion. Thermal expansion creates as great a contribution to sea level rise as does melting ice sheets.

Over the past 100 years, global sea level has risen, on average, 4-8 inches. Half of this is due to thermal expansion and the other half from glacial melt. Sea level is projected to increase by at least 3-4 feet by the end of the 21st century. This is enough to move the shoreline inward by 1,000 feet on average and to inundate 7,800 square miles of North America.

Historical Data

Gulf Tree

(Time frame varies by product) Northern Gulf of Mexico Sentinel Site Cooperative, Gulf of Mexico Climate Resilience Community of Practice, & Gulf of Mexico Alliance Resilience Team

This decision support site guides users to the sea level rise tools and resources they need along the Gulf Coast through several filters of information, including how much time and effort they’re willing to spend on the tool.

1. Choose a Filtered Search to look through all filter categories on one page or choose Guide My Search to walk through questions step by step to achieve what you’re looking for. 2a. If you chose the Filtered Search, first navigate to Geographic Scope. Click the Texas drop-down menu and choose Shoreline to select all coastal counties or choose specific one(s). 2b. Under Tool Function, select what you’d like to use sea level rise information for. 2c. Under Cost, choose Free. 2d. Under Level of Effort, choose from low, moderate, or high (will determine how advanced the tool is). 2e. Under Climate Change Themes, select the box for Sea Level Rise. 2f. Under Climate Change Topics, select the drop-down for Flooding, then check the box for Sea Level Rise if you are interested in flooding associated with sea level rise. Explore other drop-down menus in this section to add more filters for additional topics. 2g. Click View Tool Matches on the top right to go to the results page. Click any of the tools or resources to go to that site.

3a. If you chose Guide My Search, Gulf Tree will walk you through the same filters by asking 6 questions. For step 1 (Tool Function), check the box for why you need a sea level rise tool, then click Submit. If you’re not sure which option to use, you can Skip this step. 3b. Step 2 (Topic Area) includes a filter for what aspect of the topic you’re interested in. Click the drop-down menu for Flooding and check the box for Sea Level Rise if you are interested in flooding associated with sea level rise. Then, click Submit. 3c. On Step 3 (Location), click the Texas drop-down menu, then choose Shoreline to select all coastal counties or choose specific one(s). Then, click Submit. 3d. For Step 4 (Level of Effort), choose how much effort you’d like to put into the tool, which will determine how advanced the tool is. Then, click Submit. 3e. For Step 5 (Tool Cost), choose Free, then click Submit. 3f. Click Leave Guided Search and View Matches to go to the results page or go back to a previous page on the left menu to change your selected options. Click any of the tools or resources to go to that site. 4. To create a new search, click Reset All Filters at the top right of the results page.

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