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Sea Level Rise

As surface temperatures rise, oceans absorb heat and expand and inland ice sheets and glaciers melt. The confluence of these factors creates sea level rise. Due to topographic and geologic characteristics, regions are affected differently by this rise. At Newport, the sea level has risen 9 inches since 1930, a rate that surpasses the global average. It is expected to rise an additional 1 to 4 feet by 2100. In Rhode Island, 6, 13, and 20 sq. miles of coast will be permanently flooded with 1, 3, and 5 feet of sea level rise, respectively.

Sea level rise is occuring at an accelerating rate. The Ocean State, with its many coasts and watersheds, is likely to see widespread coastal flooding and erosion. Watershed Counts reports provide a deeper dive into both the economic and environmental facets of sea level rise in Narragansett Bay.

RI's Coastal Resources Management Council’s Beach SAMP (Shoreline Area Management Plan) has an interactive mapping tool for looking at sea level rise impacts on coastal Rhode Island: