Sea Level Rise Visualization and Measurements of Subsidence and Accretion Rates for the Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida Coastlines

Author(s): Wilson, K.

Coastal communities throughout the U.S. are in the initial stages of planning and/or creating climate adaptation plans. Emergency managers, developers, and the general public have a need to understand the potential effect of a rising sea level, whether the land surface is subsiding or accreting, and how these phenomena may influence plans for developing future critical infrastructure and for habitat restoration and conservation.

The Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida Gulf of Mexico Coastal Internet Map Server (http://gom.usgs.gov/slr/index.html) was developed to provide an interactive online tool for the public to visualize the effects of sea level rise along coastal communities. This server was based an existing server which was built principally to display the maximum storm tide crest resulting from Hurricane Katrina (2005). This server quickly and easily projects 1-, 2-, 3-, 4-, 5-, and 6-ft sea level rises onto a 3-meter digital elevation model constructed from Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data procured before Hurricane Katrina for Alabama and Mississippi and after Katrina for Florida from the Alabama line to the east side of the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, east of Apalachicola, Florida.

To determine rates of land surface subsidence or accretion due to sea level changes, surface Elevation Tables (SETs) were installed (and readings began) in late 2010 at six sites along the Mississippi and Alabama coasts. Each site has four SETs dispersed within the local area of the site. Three years of data will be collected to provide an estimate of the current rates of subsidence or accretion in the coastal marshes by comparing the leveling rates of vertical displacement to established National Geodetic Survey benchmarks.
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Technical Sessions

1 Best Management Practices #1
2 Delta Water Assessment
3 Flood Assessment & Mgmt.
4 Wetlands
5 Watershed Mgmt. #1
6 Non-Point Source Assessment
7 Modeling
8 Water Quality
9 Best Mgt. Practices #2
10 Delta Water Conservation
11 Sedimentation
12 Storm Water
13 Watershed Mgt. #2
14 Public Water Systems
15 Surface Water Assessment & Evaluation

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