Coastal hazards are a widespread challenge that cost millions (and sometimes billions) of dollars in the U.S. every year due to property loss and spending on mitigation measures. Based on the most recent U.S. Census, over 39% of the U.S. population lives in areas that may undergo significant coastal flooding during a 100-year flood event. Additionally, six of the ten most expensive weather-related disasters in U.S. history have been caused by coastal storms.
As the amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide has increased over recent history, so has the acidity of oceans worldwide. The changing acidity of the ocean has many ecological and economic impacts, one of the most serious being its effects on marine life and fisheries. The impact of ocean acidification is intensified in colder bodies of water such as those off the coast of New England, a region with a large fisheries sector.
Flooding is a perennial hazard for rivers and coasts alike. Every year, flooding results in billions of dollars of damage and the loss of dozens to hundreds of lives across the United States. Efforts to mitigate this hazard rely on the work of geoscientists, planners, and communicators to assess and minimize risks, prepare and inform communities, and ensure that lives and livelihoods are prioritized before, during, and after flood events.