Coastal sensitivity to sea level rise: A focus on the mid-Atlantic region


Courtesy of US EPA - Environmental Protection Agency

The U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) was launched in February 2002 as a collaborative federal interagency program, under a new cabinet-level organization designed to improve the government-wide management and dissemination of climate change science and related technology development. The mission of the CCSP is to “facilitate the creation and application of knowledge of the Earth’s global environment through research, observations, decision support, and communication”. This Product is one of 21 synthesis and assessment products (SAPs) identified in the 2003 Strategic Plan for the U.S. Climate Change Science Program, written to help achieve this mission. The SAPs are intended to support informed discussion and decisions by policymakers, resource managers, stakeholders, the media, and the general public. The products help meet the requirements of the Global Change Research Act of 1990, which directs agencies to “produce information readily usable by policymakers attempting to formulate effective strategies for preventing, mitigating, and adapting to the effects of global change” and to undertake periodic scientific assessments.

One of the major goals within the mission is to understand the sensitivity and adaptability of different natural and managed ecosystems and human systems to climate and related global changes. This SAP (4.1), Coastal Sensitivity to Sea-Level Rise: A Focus on the Mid-Atlantic Region, addresses this goal by providing a detailed assessment of the effects of sea-level rise on coastal environments and presenting some of the challenges that need to be addressed in order to adapt to sea-level rise while protecting environmental resources and sustaining economic growth. It is intended to provide the most current knowledge regarding the implications of rising sea level and possible adaptive responses, particularly in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States.

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