How to Choose: A Primer for Selecting Sea Level Rise Projections for Washington State
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How to Choose: A Primer for Selecting Sea Level Rise Projections for Washington State

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  • Description:
    As global sea levels rise — and preparing for these and other consequences of climate change increases in priority — we have seen an increasing demand for detailed local sea level rise projections and for guidance that supports their use in planning, policy development and project design. Recognizing gaps in existing sea level rise (SLR) information for Washington state, in 2018 a team of scientists developed updated projections for Washington’s coast under the auspices of the Washington Coastal Resilience Project (WCRP). These projections show a range of SLR magnitudes that Washington state could experience, associated with different potential climate change futures driven by society’s choices about greenhouse gas emissions. The 2018 SLR projections provide more insight into the potential range of SLR that Washington state could experience than has been available before, bringing new information to potential users. However, using these projections requires careful consideration of certain choices described in this primer when selecting values to use in planning and design. The next step after selecting values from the 2018 SLR projections for use in planning, policy, or project design, is to determine how to adapt those plans, policies, or projects to reduce the potential impacts of SLR. There are multiple options for adapting to higher water levels, including moving projects, modifying project designs, refining building codes, or requiring existing building codes in new at-​risk locations. Selecting adaptation options will depend on how sensitive the area or project is to flooding and other impacts of SLR.
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