This image shows a portion of the New Jersey coast and the location of Panini Bay Restaurant within the Climate Explorer. To explore flood hazards and the potential for inundation from sea level rise in this area, click the image and the Climate Explorer will open in a new browser window. Explore on your own, or return to this window for suggestions for examining and interpreting the map.
Explore the impacts of sea level rise
Within the Climate Explorer's list of layers, check the box to turn on the Inundation from Sea Level Rise (1ft) layer. You'll see a visualization of land areas that will be covered by water during high tides after one foot of sea level rise. Click the i symbol to see the layer's legend.
During high tides, ocean water will be fairly deep over dark blue areas of the map. Only a few inches of sea water will cover the lightest blue areas. Green areas do not have an opening to the ocean, but they will be below the indicated sea level, so they may fill with precipitation or groundwater.
Turn on additional Inundation from Sea Level Rise layers to explore the predicted extent of high tide flooding with progressively higher sea levels. Zoom out or pan to other areas of the map to explore how the coastline will change with sea level rise.
Explore current coastal flood hazards
Turn off all Inundation from Sea Level Rise layers and scroll down in the layer list under Climate Stressors. Turn on the Flood Hazard Zones overlay and display its legend. NOTE: This layer is only visible at neighborhood-scale zoom levels, so you may need to zoom in until it shows on the map. Drag the horizontal bar below the layer's name to adjust its tranparency so you can see the map beneath it.
Blue areas on this map have been designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as having 1% Annual Chance for flooding. Another way of saying this is that every location within the zone has a 1 in 100 chance of being flooded in any year. Though people sometimes describe this by saying that a flood could be expected in this zone once every hundred years, this is not the same as a recurrence prediction: "hundred-year" floods can occur at the same location multiple times within a decade. Orange areas on the map lie within the 0.2% Chance Flood Hazard Zone: locations in this zone have a 1 in 500 chance of being flooded in any year.
Where are coastal flooding hazards the greatest?
The Coastal Flood Hazard Composite layer shows the relative hazard of flooding at locations on the map—turn on this layer and display its legend. This overlay shows the total number of flood hazard zone designations (from zero to six) at each point along the coast, as defined in federal datasets compiled by FEMA and NOAA.
The darker the red color at any location on this map, the higher the number of federal datasets that have designated it as being susceptible to flooding. Areas shaded in the darkest red are included in all six federal datasets that identify flood hazard zones. Lighter shades of red and orange indicate areas that are designated as flood zones in two to five of the datasets. Areas shaded in yellow have been designated as a flood zone in just one of the six federal datasets considered.
Who and what are at risk from coastal flooding?
The lower portion of the layers list offers overlays of People and Assets Impacted by flood hazards. You can explore these to visualize where people live close together (population density), a composite measure of neighborhoods' social vulnerability, the locations of critical facilities and other infrastructure, and land cover such as developed areas, crops, and natural vegetation. To explore them, turn on one of these layers at a time and examine its legend to interpret the map.
You can pair the view of people or assets with one of the flood hazard or inundation from sea level rise layers, and then adjust the transparency slider to look for locations where people and assets intersect with flood hazards.
For instance, a view of the Flood Hazard Zones and Land Cover (2011) layers, with Land Cover set to 50% transparency, reveals that large areas of medium- to high-intensity development along the coast are within the 1% Annual Flood Risk zone. Pairing the Coastal Flood Hazard Composite with the Social Vulnerability Index layer shows that some of the areas in Tuckerton with the highest number of flood hazard designations also have the highest social vulnerability. Sliding the transparency controls back and forth or turning layers on and off can help you visualize conditions where flood hazards exist.
Explore coastal flood hazards at other locations
You can use the same layers and techniques described above to explore flooding hazards at other coastal locations in the contiguous United States (except the Great Lakes). Zoom out and pan to your location of interest on the map and then zoom in again.