I am a coastal hazards specialist at the NOAA Coastal Services Center in Charleston, South Carolina. This means I love to study natural disaster impacts on humans and how to build back smarter and better. I also am a big time weather geek.
Wow there is a lot of Post-Sandy data out there!
So when I came to work today, a lot of my work colleagues asked me why the roads on the way to our office were flooded and why the water level in the Cooper River was in the back yard of the Coastal Services Center. It wasn’t raining, and we weren’t having a major storm. So what was the deal?
Over the course of my career, I have heard many people incorrectly refer to both observed water levels and topographic heights in terms of “mean sea level.
At some point in the climate adaptation planning process you might have to choose a sea level rise scenario(s). One(s) that incorporate global projections and local change rates. Most plans use a span of 100 years or time horizon of 2100 as the endpoint.
Just as the surface of the Earth is not flat, the surface of the ocean is not flat. For instance, the absolute water level height is higher along the West Coast of the United States than the East Coast. The surface of the sea changes at different rates around the globe.