U.S. Tidal Wetlands Vulnerable to Sea-Level Rise

July 9, 2021
Photo of Morro Bay

Rich Ambrose (UCLA)

A large proportion of tidal wetlands in the contiguous U.S. are vulnerable to sea-level rise (SLR), according to SW CASC research recently published in Earth’s Future. Based on future scenarios, the researchers examined the ability of wetlands to move vertically (which can be outpaced by a rapid rate of SLR) and their ability to move inland (which can be restricted by topography and land use). They found that 43-48% of current contiguous U.S. wetland areas—mostly those located along the Gulf of Mexico and Mid-Atlantic coasts—are subject to limitations both vertically and laterally. The researchers hope that these results will help direct future research, planning, and mitigation efforts at a national scale.