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Visualizing Sea Level Rise

Find information on this topic from the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) StormSmart Coasts Program.

Visualization tools can be used to improve understanding of potential impacts from sea level rise and assist planning efforts in coastal communities. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) developed inundation layers to enable coastal communities to visualize potential impacts from sea level rise at high tide. These layers are available on NOAA’s Sea Level Rise Viewer as well as the Massachusetts Ocean Resource Information System (MORIS), which allows users to interactively view the data with other information such as aerial photographs, assessor maps, public facilities and infrastructure locations, and natural resource areas. The data in MORIS show current mean higher high water plus one foot increments of sea level rise up to six feet. Confidence (80%) of the mapped inundation area is also available and is based on the accuracy of the elevation data and the mean higher high water tidal surface. With MORIS, users can quickly create and share maps. See the following tips for using the Coastal Inundation Scenarios in MORIS:

  • Adjust the opacity of the Coastal Inundation Scenarios data layer to see the underlying aerial photograph. Access the opacity slider by right clicking Coastal Inundation Scenarios in the "Active Data Layers" pane.
  • View important Coastal Inundation Uncertainty data by adding data layers from the Coastal Hazards > Sea Level Rise > NOAA Coastal Inundation folder in the "Available Data Layers" pane. Add the Uncertainty data layer of interest along with the Legend for Coastal Inundation Uncertainty.
  • To learn more about these data, please see the metadata for these layers. Right-click the name of the data layer of interest in the "Available Data Layers" pane or "Active Data Layers" pane and click "View metadata."
  • Click the "Help" icon (the "?" in the blue circle) in the upper right corner of the MORIS browser to access the user guide.

Launch Coastal Inundation Scenarios in MORIS

Coastal inundation data layers are not available for download in MORIS. Datasets for use in desktop GIS are available on the NOAA Digital Coast Sea Level Rise Inundation web page