Coming Soon, A Major Expansion of Surging Seas
In March 2012, Climate Central drew widespread national attention and praise for its Surging Seas web tool, which allowed users in the U.S. to calculate their vulnerability to coastal flooding due to the combination of storm surge and sea-level rise — the phenomenon that caused so much devastation from Hurricane Sandy.
Thanks to a partnership with the Hazards and Vulnerability Research Institute (HVRI) at The University of South Carolina, and support from organizations such as the Kresge, Rockefeller, Island and Schmidt Family Foundations, we’ve begun working on a major new venture to help visualize and quantify sea level rise risk.
Where Surging Seas simply shows the numbers of people and homes in danger of flooding by location, our new web tool will go much further, sorting at-risk populations by social vulnerability, ethnicity, property value, and urban versus rural status. Using high-resolution lidar-based elevation data from NOAA, we are developing a tool that will use simple interactive maps, reusable graphics, downloadable data, and accessible written analysis of social vulnerability integrated with exposure to sea-level rise and coastal flooding, efficiently providing comprehensive, tailored information for planners, municipal officials and the public. The tool will show vulnerable points of infrastructure, including transportation, energy, communications, medical, emergency, and military facilities; cultural facilities and landmarks; EPA-listed hazardous-materials sites; protected land, and more.
Our new web tool will calculate these exposures not only by city, county and state (as Surging Seas currently does), but also by congressional districts, federal agency regions, state agency districts, state legislative districts, zip codes, and more. We will launch our tool on a state-by-state basis, with the first states coming out in the summer of 2013.
We’re convinced that these improvements will prove invaluable for planners, educators, decision-makers, and anyone curious about how their community will be affected by rising seas. For more information, please contact Ben Strauss at firstname.lastname@example.org.