Science Serving Maryland's Coasts

Rising Sea Level

village street flooded

The water surrounding Maryland's coasts is slowly but steadily creeping up. Sea level rise, a consequence of global climate change, threatens property, livelihoods, and even lives on Maryland’s coasts. Studies show that sea levels are already rising around Maryland.

Scientists have forecasted an increase of as much as 2.1 feet in the Chesapeake Bay by 2050. And by the end of this century, that number could be 3.7 feet or higher. Scientists have identified several reasons:

  • As oceans around the world grow hotter, they also expand because of the chemistry of salt water.
  • Glaciers and ice caps, including the icy regions around Greenland, are melting.
  • Since the end of the last ice age, the land around Maryland has been naturally sinking a tiny bit each year — a trend that has accelerated over recent decades.

Maryland Sea Grant Extension specialists partner with local governments, state and federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, and residents to support local efforts for improving coastal climate resilience. We work with coastal communities to help them understand the effects of climate change and sea level rise and prepare for climate-related hazards. We also assist communities with identifying areas of vulnerability and incorporating climate adaptation into their planning efforts. Through workshops, surveys, and town-hall meetings, we share information about coastal resilience work to facilitate partnerships and collaborations among interested parties throughout the region.

Find out more about our efforts to support climate adaptation in coastal communities.

 

Come High Water

cover, sea level rise reportA special report, Come High Water: Sea Level Rise and Chesapeake Bay, offers a comprehensive look at the causes and consequences of increasing flooding along Maryland’s coasts. This package, produced by Maryland Sea Grant's magazine Chesapeake Quarterly in partnership with Bay Journal, examines the scientific understanding and projections of the rate of sea level rise in the Chesapeake region; effects on people and the environment; and adaptations and policy responses that are under way or under consideration. An online interactive page offers videos, photos, and an interactive map showing flooding that is predicted to occur.