Sea-Level Rise Visualization for Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida

About this project

This pilot project is a collaborative effort of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coastal Services Center and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Wetlands Research Center and the USGS Mississippi Water Science Center .

Sample of inundation layer

Sea-Level Rise Viewer

The areas shaded in blue show lands vulnerable to sea-level rise for the coasts of Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida (from the Alabama state line to the eastern bounary of St. Mark's National Wildlife Refuge). The visualization tool illustrates the scale of potential flooding, not the exact location, and does not account for erosion, subsidence, sediment accretion, or future construction. Water levels are shown as they would appear during an average high tide (the inundation data are referenced to the mean higher high water [MHHW] datum). Rising sea levels will cause daily high tides to reach farther inland.

Inundation data

The inundation data displayed in this map viewer were developed by K. Van Wilson, P.E., at the USGS Mississippi Water Science Center.

The inundation zones were derived from a 3-meter resolution light detection and ranging (lidar)-based digital elevation model (DEM). The DEM is referenced to the North American Vertical Datum of 1988. All cells in the DEM grid below 1 to 6-foot thresholds were designated as inundated by potential sea-level rise regardless of hydrologic connectivity, which is similar to a 'bath-tub' model. The map viewer does not provide inundation data for Mississippi’s barrier islands.

Sample of population layer

The population map overlay depicts population counts from the year 2010 within U.S. Census Bureau blocks. This information was included to help identify locations where large numbers of residents are vulnerable to inundation by potential sea-level rise.

Uncertainties in Elevation Data

The user of this viewer should keep in mind the given water surface elevation plus and minus 1.2 ft for Alabama & Mississippi and plus and minus 0.8 ft for Florida in estimating inundation areas for upper and lower extremes based only on the accuracy of the LiDAR. The use of the 1 ft increments of sea level rise inundations shown on this viewer can be used to assist the user in visualizing the upper and lower extremes for a selected sea level rise. For example, for a sea level rise inundation of 3 ft, the user could select the 4 ft and 2 ft sea level rise inundations to help show the upper and lower extremes of the possible inundation. The user should also keep in mind that there are errors in some areas for these selected inundations that could be larger than 1.2 ft.

Katrina Maximum Storm Tide data

The Katrina maximum storm tide data was developed by K. Van Wilson, D. Phil Turnipseed, James E. Hathorn, Dean Tyler, Jason Stoker, and Robert R. Mason, Jr.   For more information on this data, please see the abstract “Internet Map Serving the Hurricane Katrina Maximum Storm Tide in Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana” from the Gulf Coast Science Conference.