Stories From The Field

Creating a Customized Sea Level Rise Viewer to Assist Planners in Florida

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Issue

The Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding Impacts Viewer helps local planners identify infrastructure that is vulnerable to sea level rise to consider in future planning. To better serve planners in the Tampa Bay area, University of Florida researchers wanted to expand upon the Sea Level Rise Viewer to incorporate more data, such as critical infrastructure and land use information, integrate different vulnerability indices, estimate system vulnerability, and provide methods to prioritize adaptation options under a series of sea level rise scenarios. This type of viewer, with data and capabilities specific to the Tampa Bay area, would help planners develop more resilient coastal adaptation plans and perform vulnerability assessments in the region.

Process

A customized viewer was designed using the inundation data provided by the Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding Impacts Viewer. These data formed the base for flood mapping and the scenario analysis within this new University of Florida Sea Level Rise Viewer. Transportation, institutional, and emergency infrastructure data from the Florida Department of Transportation and the Florida Division of Emergency Management were then incorporated and, with input from local planning professionals, a weighted vulnerability index was integrated into the tool.

Impact

The customized viewer helps local planning agencies and other institutions in the Tampa Bay area better understand infrastructure vulnerability to sea level rise. Using the University of Florida Sea Level Rise Viewer, non-experts can easily view the estimated vulnerability using 1-foot, 2-foot, and 5-foot scenarios. Local planners are able to quantify and compare the potential benefits of adaptation options, taking a step further toward detailed adaptation planning.

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Infrastructure vulnerable to 2-foot sea level rise inundation.

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