MSU helps write a guide for handling sea level rise
BILOXI, Miss. -- Mississippi State University and Sea Grant’s efforts to help coastal communities prepare for expected sea level rise has now produced an application guide to assist decision-makers and community planners.
The recent 2022 Sea Level Rise Technical Report projects an average of around 1.5 feet of higher waters along the Mississippi coastline by 2050. The report was released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Renee Collini, MSU assistant professor of Extension at the Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi, was lead author on a guide to support application of the updated science in the technical report. She said the guide is designed to help individuals and organizations use the available data on this subject.
“Communities along the Gulf Coast are facing the constant challenges of heavy rains and tropical storms being exacerbated by rising seas,” Collini said. “This application guide is the first of its kind that helps decision-makers wade through scientific data and local considerations to arrive at the best approach for their community.”
The Resilience to Future Flooding project focused on addressing communication and financial barriers to sea-level rise resilience in the northern Gulf of Mexico. The application guide takes it one step further.
“Sea-level rise science and best practices for using that information is rapidly advancing, making it difficult for coastal decision-makers to understand what options they have to address changing flood risk,” Collini said.
The application guide is designed for use nationwide and provides broad guidance for decision-makers on how to start the process of planning for sea-level rise resilience using updated data. The guide also includes recommended practices for using the data in the face of uncertainty.
“Of particular interest is the narrower range and greater certainty provided by the technical report regarding the amount of sea-level rise in 2050,” Collini said. “The application guide helps users understand that greater certainty and how to use that information for coastal projects.”
The Resilience to Future Flooding project was funded by a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Regional Coastal Resilience Grant of almost $500,000. The project was led by the MSU Extension Service and Sea Grant’s Program for Local Adaptation to Climate Effects: Sea-Level Rise, Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant, Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Gulf of Mexico Alliance, NOAA, Climate and Resilience Community of Practice, University of Florida IFAS Extension, Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, and Louisiana Sea Grant.
Find the Application Guide for the 2022 Sea Level Rise Technical Report at https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/hazards/sealevelrise/sealevelrise-tech-report-sections.html#application-guide.