New flood damage framework helps planners prepare for sea-level rise

Illustration of coastal flood response strategies Credit: D. J. Rasmussen, Maya K. Buchanan, Robert E. Kopp, Michael Oppenheimer

Scientists agree that sea levels will continue to rise this century, but projections beyond 2050 are much more uncertain regarding exactly how much higher ocean levels will be by 2100. While actions to protect against 2050 sea-level rise have a secure scientific basis, this range in late-century estimates makes it difficult for coastal communities to plan their long-term adaptation strategies.

Princeton University researchers at the Center for Policy Research on Energy and the Environment have developed a new framework allowing urban planners and policymakers to consider a combination of responses to sea-level rise (e.g., levees, storm surge barriers, elevating buildings, retreat) and, if hard structures, how high these protections should be…

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