This paper aims to discuss rising sea levels at the global, regional, and community scale and illustrate the necessity for public comprehension and involvement. It also aims to demonstrate geographic information systems (GIS) as an efficient tool for modeling and disseminating information with the expectation that coastal communities will benefit by joining in a process to integrate this knowledge into broad‐based decision making.
GIS is capable of creating, analyzing, and displaying sea level rise scenarios enabling local officials to address the negative effects of elevated sea levels by allowing them to identify both built and biotic communities that are at risk, assess the situation, and develop mitigation strategies. The paper makes use of a case study of Daytona Beach, Florida, to examine the impacts of storm surge.
A GIS model, produced for south Florida integrating land use and elevation data to illustrate locations that lie below five feet, reveals that heavily populated urban areas in Miami‐Dade County could be inundated during extreme high tide and storm surge events. The GIS also indicates that much of the Florida Keys has elevations below five feet and is at risk of flooding if sea levels rise at projected rates.
The case study of Daytona Beach, Florida, can be replicated at other coastal locations by using GIS to assimilate spatial data and generate meaningful graphic models to be interpreted by those responsible for minimizing the risks from rising sea levels.
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