Coastal Flooding and Climate Change


floods in st. michaels after hurricane isabel

Flooding and land erosion have prompted worry throughout Maryland’s history, causing damage to buildings and loss of life.

But as earth’s climate changes and sea level rises, flooding is expected to worsen along the state’s coastlines. Maryland Sea Grant is working with coastal communities to help them prepare.

Studies show that sea levels are already rising around Maryland for many reasons. Some are global in reach, like increasing ocean temperatures and melting glaciers and polar ice caps. It doesn’t help that land in the Chesapeake Bay region is sinking, enhancing the effect of the rising water.

As sea level rises, coastal flooding during storms is expected to worsen. Homes and buildings near the water face more damage than in the past. The effects of Hurricane Isabel in 2003 on the Chesapeake Bay and Hurricane Sandy in 2012 on coastal New York and New Jersey are sobering examples of the future risks our communities might face.


Learn More

cover, sea level rise report

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 underway or under consideration. An online interactive page offers videos, photos, and an interactive map showing where flooding is predicted to occur.

Magazine: Ready for Rising Waters? Another issue of Chesapeake Quarterly examines severe storms and their possible effects on coastal flooding in Maryland.

Visualization: See a visualization by Maryland Sea Grant of what the Inner Harbor of Baltimore and other Maryland landscapes might look like if the water rose by the amount predicted in some analyses.

Video: Watch this video produced by Maryland Sea Grant about the reasons discovered by scientists that sea level in Maryland's coastal waters has risen at a rate more than three times that of the global average. (And read the accompanying news article for more details.)



Photograph, top of the page, courtesy of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum

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