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Responding to Changes in Sea Level . Engineenng Implications Committee on Engineenng Implications of Changes in Relative Mean Sea Level Marine Board Commission on Engineenng and Technical Systems National Research Council National Academy Press Washington, D.C. 1987

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NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW Washington' DC 20418 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the panel responsible for the report were chosen Or their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Frank Press is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the Na- tional Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciencce the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Robert M. White is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Samuel O. Thier is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Rceearch Council waa-organised by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences sued the National Academy of Engineering in providing aer~ricea to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academica and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Frank Press and Dr. Robert M. White are chairman and vice-chairmu~, respectively, of the National ResearcIL Council. This report represents world supported by Cooperative Agreement Nos. 14-12-001-30301 and 14-12-0001-30228 between the Minerals Management Service of the U.S. Department of the Interior and the National Academy of Sciences. library of Cougrece Catalog -Publication Data National R - Arch Council (U.S.). Committee on Engineering Implications of Changes in Relative Mean Sea Laurel. Responding to changes in sea level. Bibliography: p. Includes index. 1. Coastal engineeringUnited States. 2. Sea levelUnited States. I. National R - earch Council (U.S.). Marine Board. II. Title. TC223.N37 1987 627 87-21965 ISBN ~309-03781-6 Printed in the United States of America First Pnuting, September 1987 Second Printing, July 1988 Third Printing, September 1991

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COMMITTEE ON 1:NGINEERING IMPLICATIONS OF CHANGES IN RELATWE MEAN SEA LEVEL ROBERT G. DEAN, Chairman, University of Florida ROBERT A. DALRYMPLE, University of Delaware RHODES W. FAIRBRIDGE, Columbia University STEPHEN P. LEATHERMAN, University of Maryland DAG NUMMEDAL, Louisiana State University MORROUGH P . O 'BRIEN, University of California, Berkeley ORRIN H. PILKEY, Duke University WILTON STURGES TIT, Florida State University ROBERT L. WIEGEL, University of California? Berkeley Government Liaisons JACK E. RANCHER, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration SUZETTE KIMBEL, Department of the Army PAUL G. TELEKI, U.S. Geological Survey JAMES G. TITUS, Environmental Protection Agency Staff MARTIN ~ . FINERTY, JR., Staff Officer, July 1985-January 1987 AURORA GALLAGHER, Senior Staff Officer to July 1985 ANDREA CORELL, Editorial Consultant JOYCE B. SOMERVILLE, Administrative Secretly - . 111

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THE MAR[r{1: BOARD WILLIAM C. WEBSTER, Chairman, University of California, Berkeley, California RICHARD T. SOPER, Vice-chairman, American Bureau of Shipping, Paramus, New Jersey ROGER D. ANDERSON, Cox's Wholesale Seafood, Inc., Tampa, Florida KENNETH A. BLENKARN, Amoco Production Company, Tulsa, Oklahoma DONALD F. BOESCH, Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, Chagrin, Louisiana C. RUSSELL BRYAN, U.S. Navy (retired), St. Leonard, Maryland F. PAT DUNN, Shell Oil Company, Houston, Texas JOHN HALKYARD, Arctec Offshore Corporation, Escondido, California EUGENE H. HARLOW, Soros Associates Consulting Engineers, New York, New York CHARLES D. HOLLISTER, WOODS Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts PETER JAQUITH, Bath Iron Works, Bath, Mane KENNETH S. KAMLET, URS Dalton, Washington, D.C. DON E. KASH, University of Oklahoma WARREN LEBACK, Puerto Rico Marine Management, ~c., Elizabeth, New Jersey ERNEST L. PERRY, Port of Los Angeles (retired), Sun City, Arizona RICHARD J. SEYMOUR, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolia, California SIDNEY WALLACE, U.S. Coast Guard (retired), Reston, Virginia Staff CHARLES A. BOOKMAN, Director DONALD W. PERKINS, Associate Director RICHARD W. RUMKE, Senior Program Officer CELIA CHEN, Program Officer C. LINCOLN CRANE, Program Officer DORIS C. HOLMES, Administrative Associate AURORE BLECK, Senior Secretary JANET CROOKS, Senior Secretary OYCE B . S OMERVILLE, Administrative Secretary 1V

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Preface A large and growing proportion of the nation's population, facilities, and development is located along the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific coasts. Maintaining a sensitive balance of land with local sea levels may become more and more difficult in view of an increased rate of rme in worldwide sea level that has been predicted through the turn of the next century due to the projected global ware g. The National Research Council's Board on Atmospheric Sci- ences and Climate (BASC) and others have estimated that worId- wide sea level may rise 70 cm (~25 percent) by the year 2075 as a result of thermal expulsion, the melting of alpine and Green- land glaciers, and possible disintegration of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (National Research Council, 1983~. Such a rise would have significant implications for coastal communities and coastal eng~- neer~g, the discipline that must address the problems of erosion and structural protection. This study was initiated because of the potential consequences of such a rise to human life, communities, facilities, and the en- vironment, and considering the large investment in developing coastal areas. The study's goal was to establish a basis for coastal planners, engineers, and government agencies to carry out their responsibilities ~ the presence of an anticipated increase in the v

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V1 PREFA HE rate of sea level rise over the next several decades. To focus this effort the Committee on Engineering Implications of Changes in Relative Mean Sea Level outlined the following objectives: . examine knowledge concerning mean sea level changes; establish the rate of relative sea level change around the continental United States, based on tide gauge results; project sea level rise for engineering use over the next 100 years; examine the likely responses of sandy shorelines and wet- innds to sea level rise; examine the potential effects on engineering works and built facilities; review measures for both preventing erosion and adapting to it; and determine whether new technologies are required. Aspects of sea level change that do not have specific engineer- ing implications, such as biological effects and land use planning, are outside the scope of the study, and are not directly discussed. A committee of nine members was formed with expertise in coastal geomorphology, coastal engineering, and physical oceanog- raphy (see Appendix A). Representatives of four government agen- cies with specific interests ~ the subject were designated as liaison members to the committee. The principle guiding the constitution of the committee and its work, consistent with the policy of the National Research Council, was not to exclude members with pm tential biases that might accompany expertise vital to the study, but to seek balance and fair treatment. The committee reviewed a variety of background materials from a variety of sources, including the International Geological Correlation Program 2()0 Project; Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level, Bidston Observatory, United Kingdom; Commission on Shorelines of the International Union of Quaternary Research; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; and the National Research Council. The committee met several times over a 2-year period. Two workshops were also held in Washington, D.C. to review in- formation presented by representatives of the private and public sectors, in addition to many other pane! meetings over a 3-year- period. The issues addressed included climate and oceanic models,

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PREFACE . V11 instrumentation for measuring sea level change, analysis of avail- able records, potential contributors to change, economic implica- tions of various scenarios of sea level rise, coastal drainage with rising sea level, coast protection techniques and structures, and physical processes of land loss in marshlands. A commissioned study was sponsored to investigate the effect on mean water levels in bays. Based on comrn~ttee activities and the professional experience of the members, the committee's conclusions and recommenda- tions are presented in the Executive Summary and Chapter 9.

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Contents EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 1 RELATIVE MEAN SEA LEVEL 9 Past Changes ~ Relative Mean Sea Level, 12 Methods of Observing Relative Mean Sea Level, 19 2 ASSESSMENT OF CHANGES IN RELATIVE MEAN SEA LEVEL Estimates of Future Mean Sea Level Rise, 24 Scenarios Used in This Report, 28 3 RELATIVE SEA LEVEL RISE EFFECTS AND RESPONSES 4 AFFECTED HYDRODYNAMIC PROCESSES 34 Storm Surge, 34 Tidal Ranges and Currents, 36 Waves, 37 5 EFFECTS OF SEA LEVEL RISE IN THE COASTAL ZONE 40 Sandy Coastlines, 45 Bluff and Cliff Retreat, 61 Tidal Inlets, 62 Wetlands, 64 24 31 1X

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x 6 ALTERNATIVE RESPONSES .................... Coastal Structures and Protective Techniques, 72 Retreat, 91 Controlling the Rate of Sea Level Rise, 94 7 ASSESSMENT OF RESPONSE STRATEGIES FOR SPECIFIC FACILITIES AND SYSTEMS.. CONTENTS ..72 .96 Airports, 98 Levees, 98 Sedimentation of Seaports and Harbors, Navigation Channels Turning Basins, and Docking Areas, 102 Breakwaters, Sea Weds, and Jetties, 105 Navigation Gates, 106 Piers and Wharves, 106 Dry Docks and Wet Docks, 107 Highways, Railroads, Bridges, and Vehicular Tunnels, 108 Commercial and Industrial Buildings, 109 Power Plants, 109 Pipelines, 110 Flooding and Storm Drains, 110 Hotels and MaDs, 112 Residential Centers, 112 Water Supply Systems, 113 Landfi~Is and Waste Disposal Sites, 115 Offshore Platforms and Artificial Islands, 115 8 DECISIONS FOR THE FUTURE ........................ Strategic Decisions, 117 Environmental Factors, 120 National Policy Decisions, 121 9 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS. REFERENCES . . APPENDIXES A. Summary of Committee Expertise B. Acknowledgments. - INDEX. 117 122 ...126 137 141 143

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Responding to Changes in Sea Level Engineering ImpZicahons

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