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NOAA Tool Supports San Francisco Climate Policies

April 15, 2013
NOAA’s Sea Level Rise Viewer

NOAA's Sea Level Rise Viewer enables communities to visualize potential impacts from sea level rise.

San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission staff were recently trained to use NOAA's Sea Level Rise Viewer and associated data to assess proposed coastal projects and conduct regional planning efforts. San Francisco Bay's primary planning document, the San Francisco Bay Plan, contains new policies that require changes in sea levels to be considered when the Commission considers projects within the Bay, an area that spans 52 municipalities and nine counties. The NOAA tool and data will also be used to communicate information about sea level rise impacts to project and permit applicants and the public.

Being able to visualize potential impacts from sea level rise is a powerful teaching and planning tool; the Sea Level Rise Viewer brings this capability to coastal communities. The tool features coastal flooding scenarios with visualizations of local landmarks, uncertainty maps, flood frequency information, and social and economic vulnerability information.

The Sea Level Rise Viewer is also useful for those responding to natural disasters. Recently geographic coverage was expanded to include New Jersey and Delaware in response to the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Most coastal regions should be represented in the Viewer by the end of the fiscal year.