Sea Level Rise
Sea level rise can have direct impacts on coastal communities and the surrounding ecosystems. We used the NOAA Tides and Currents, webpage which contains data from the Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services. The stations are operated by the National Water Level Observation Network (NWLON) and are distributed around the globe to collect detailed information on tides and local sea levels. For the GoM, we used the existing NWLON reporting stations, with the exception of Freeport and Galveston, TX; Eugene Island, LA; and Mobile State Docks, AL due to breaks in the data. The stations are spread throughout the study area, and report the mean sea level (MSL) trends at each point. The MSL trends reported are local rather than global trends with seasonal trends removed, and there is noticeable variation between sites. The data were averaged by year at each station and then averaged by state. Alabama and Mississippi were combined due to the low number of stations.
The station in Grand Isle, Louisiana recorded the greatest rate of sea level rise over the past seven decades, with a mean increase of 9.05mm/year or approximately 1 m of sea level rise per century. Port Mansfield, TX reported the lowest rate of sea level rise in the northern GoM, at 1.93mm/year over the past four decades. The remaining stations around the GoM also showed significant increases in sea level, but at slower rates. All states show a positive trend, but Texas and Louisiana exhibit the steepest rise in mean sea level over time. Changes in sea level can affect the stability and safety of coastal communities and can also have impacts on coastal ecosystems by affecting the extent of various habitat types.
Data: NOAA Tides and Currents