FIGURE 1.2 Expected inundation of low-lying areas, including the San Francisco International Airport (center), in the San Francisco Bay Area with a 40 cm rise in sea level (light blue shading). SOURCE: Bay Conservation and Development Commission, <>.


Assessments are intended to yield a judgment on a topic, based on review and synthesis of scientific knowledge. Beginning in 1989, the primary assessments of global sea-level change have been carried out by thousands of scientists working under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). IPCC assessments, which are made every 5 or 6 years, evaluate observations, models, and analyses of climate change, including sea-level change. For Task 1, this report summarizes the latest IPCC (2007) findings on global sea-level rise and its major components, then updates them with more recent results.

For Task 2, the committee drew on published research on sea-level change along the west coast of the United States and also carried out its own analyses. Prior assessments of the rate of local sea-level rise have been made for Washington (Mote et al., 2008)

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