Hot Topics: Climate Change and Sea Level Rise
The impacts of climate change have already been observed here in New Jersey. New Jersey coastal areas, including the Barnegat Bay estuary, are already experiencing one of the highest rates of sea-level rise in the continental United States. Current observations have shown recent rates of approximately 4 mm per year (about 16 inches per century) of sea level rise.
Though these rates seem small and perhaps of little immediate concern to many people, these modest rates are recognized by national and regional experts to be of sufficient magnitude to transform the character of the mid-Atlantic coast, with a large-scale loss of tidal wetlands and possible disintegration of barrier islands. Of equally great concern, future rates of sea-level rise in the region are projected to nearly double. Estuaries and coastal areas are particularly vulnerable to sea-level rise and other aspects of climate change (e.g., higher temperatures, more precipitation, invasive species and more frequent and intense storms).
View a video by Rutgers University about local officials preparing for climate change and sea level rise.
Increasingly, the impacts of sea-level rise and our changing climate on New Jersey’s coastline is receiving the collective attention of the BBP and our many stakeholders. Recognizing Barnegat Bay’s vulnerability to climate change impacts, the BBP received funding through the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s “Climate Ready Estuary Program” to support research, planning, and outreach activities to address future impacts of climate change. BBP has also established a Climate Change Workgroup to guide local efforts.
New Jersey residents can get up-to-date information about coastal flood risk information from FEMA. FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) is committed to providing accurate flood hazard information and Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) to help communities and their residents plan for and reduce the risk from flooding. FEMA's message is "Know your risk, Know your role, Take action."
- International Panel on Climate Change
- USEPA Climate Change website
- USEPA Climate Change Kids websiite
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
- United States Fish and Wildlife Conservation in a Changing Climate
- New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and Energy - Office of Climate and Energy