Toolkit: Oceans and Coastlines

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Coastal areas are having increased exposure to storms, increasing sea level, and ocean acidification which have consequences for living things on both land and sea. Changes to marine systems can have far-reaching effects, not only on coastal parks, but on the adjoining ecosystems and human communities. Here are a few resources to help illustrate possible implications.
EPA: Climate Impacts on Coastal Areas
This Environmental Protection Agency site provides an overview of climate impacts on coastal areas. It addresses broad consequences for sea level rise, storm surge, changing water temperature, and ocean acidification at a regional context.
The National Ocean Acidification Program is NOAA’s effort to understand and predict changes to Earth’s marine environments. Of particular use are the sections on monitoring ocean chemistry, looking at socio-economic implications of changes when they occur, and the animations, videos, and presentations available for educators and communicators about ocean issues.
Ocean Surface Topography from Space
Learn about how oceans influence our daily lives from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab. Among other interesting features, this site illustrates how sea surface temperatures are monitored and graphed by satellites measuring the height of the ocean from space. Regional patterns like El Nino and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation are discussed.
Reviewing the Impact of Increased Atmospheric CO2 on Oceanic pH and the Marine Ecosystem, [PDF]
This paper is one good resource that outlines some the possible effects that higher carbon dioxide in the atmosphere may have on the ocean, and upon ocean organisms. In particular, it describes the consequences of higher acidity on marine systems, and the need to find out whether marine ecosystems can adapt to the predicted changes in CO2 and pH.
Surging Seas
This interactive tool was developed through sea level rise analysis by Climate Central. By typing in a zip code, it allows the user to model various levels of sea level change for specific communities around the coast. Also includes population and socioeconomic demographic overlays. One of many resources available at Climate Central.
NOAA: Is Sea Level Rising?
A straight-to-the-point-page from NOAA, a fact sheet which contains the latest sea level rise facts and figures.

Importance of Coastal Change Variables in Determining Vulnerability to Sea- and Lake-Level Change [PDF]
A fairly recent study involving national parks along the coasts throughout the US. This research includes a detailed methodology and vulnerability assessments for parks service-wide. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico parks have the highest vulnerability, Pacific, Great Lakes and oceanic islands have moderate vulnerability, and Gulf of Alaska parks have relatively low vulnerability to sea level changes comparatively.

Last updated: September 22, 2016

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