How Might Global Climate Change Affect Life on Earth?
ESU501  Coastal Area Impacts

Impacts to oceans from climate change are expected to include increases in sea surface temperature and global sea level. As a result of rising sea levels, many coastal areas will experience increased flooding, accelerated erosion, intrusion of seawater into freshwater areas, and the loss of wetlands. Other anticipated changes include changes in wave conditions, ocean circulation patterns, and decreases in sea-ice cover.

Range of projected sea level rise expected by the year 2100.


Global warming is expected to cause a rise in sea level because of expansion of ocean water due to heating, melting of mountain glaciers, and melting of the Antarctic and Greenland Ice Sheets. The IPCC estimates that sea level will rise between 9 and 88 cm by the year 2100.

Environmental Protection Agency: Sea Level

Coastal Area Links

US Global Change Research Project: Coastal Impacts

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change: Sea Level & Coastal Areas

National Assessment of the Impacts of Climate Change (Summary): Coastal Areas