Increase in average sea level rise affects certain hydrologic processes such as storm surge. Storm surge is a coastal high water level caused by wind from storms. Many of us have become familiar with the effects of storm surge from the images and videos captured after Hurricane Sandy. Rising sea level can cause damage to coastal communities in Florida because it exacerbates storm surge generated by hurricanes. Buildings and critical infrastructure along the coast will be impacted by the flooding, higher waves, and faster flows associated with storm surge. The impacts of increased storm surge will most likely occur before other effects of sea level rise are seen. Utilizing the opportunity that exists to create adaptation strategies for infrastructure is imperative to mitigate impacts and preserve the cultural and economic vitality of coastal communities.
Below is an image of Cedar Key Fire Chief Robert Robinson walking on a section of a floating dock that broke loose during a storm surge from Tropical Storm Debby in Cedar Key, Fla., on Sunday, June 24, 2012.