Sea Level Rise & Climate Science

High Stakes of Sea Level Rise and Planning for the Future

The goal of the Sea Level Rise and Climate Science Program area is to understand the causes and impacts of sea level and climate changes and to apply this advanced knowledge to practical use for coastal planning.

The research program incorporates basic science questions and observations surrounding sea level rise and connections between climate-sensitive coastal ocean, glacial, and atmospheric components of the climate system. Faculty conduct research on areas ranging from coastal ocean and geophysical dynamics (e.g., subsidence), meteorological events such as coastal storms, tidal flooding and storm surges, rainfall climatology, and development of systems to understand and ultimately predict coastal hazards.

The program’s scientists conduct applied research on climate impact assessments and decisions that inform coastal communities, environmental quality, and the management of coastal resources. The program coordinates close scientific relationships with NOAA, the USGS, Army Corps of Engineers and state, regional, and international research groups.


Among the long-term goals of the program, three fundamental challenges are a focus

Terms of Reference

Sea Level and Climate Science program goals.
  • Conduct periodic reviews of the state of knowledge of sea level rise and climate change, identify research gaps, and seek opportunities to collaborate with fellow scientific parties.
  • Advise on the use of situational, remote, and other monitoring systems of sea level changes.
  • Foster the use (and improvement) of state-of-the-art scientific data, models, and predictive analytics for sea level and climate impacts.
  • Facilitate the assessment of impacts on coastal communities and ecosystem resources in other program areas (built environments, social systems, and health dimensions).
  • Advance the education and training of scientists, practitioners, and managers using sea level and climate data and information.

Resources Content

  • Tides and street flooding
  • NASA CAIR demo study
  • Extreme rainfall
  • Septic systems and sea level rise
  • Recent events (wind tides in Back Bay and the southern rivers)