Total Water Levels Tool
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This website was designed and created to provide a user-friendly visualization tool for those who make coastal decisions. This website can be used to promote enhanced resilience and land use planning decisions with considerations for possible future conditions.
The NEW and IMPROVED NJFloodMapper includes:
The data and maps in this tool illustrate the scale of potential flooding, not the exact location, and do not account for erosion, subsidence, or future construction. Water levels are shown as they would appear during the highest high tides (excludes wind driven tides). The data, maps, and information provided should be used only as a screening-level tool for management decisions. As with all remotely sensed data, all features should be verified with a site visit. The data and maps in this tool are provided “as is,” without warranty to their performance, merchantable state, or fitness for any particular purpose. The entire risk associated with the results and performance of these data is assumed by the user. This tool should be used strictly as a planning reference tool and not for navigation, permitting, or other legal purposes.
Funding for the development of this website was provided by NOAA’s Cooperative Institute for Coastal and Estuarine Environmental Technologies (CICEET), New Jersey Recovery Fund, New Jersey Sea Grant, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station and the NERRS Science Collaborative.
Website composed by the Rutgers’ Grant F. Walton Center for Remote Sensing and Spatial Analysis (CRSSA), Edward J Bloustein School for Public Policy and Planning – Environmental Analysis and Communications Group, New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station – Office of Research Analytics, Rutgers Climate Institute and the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve (JC NERR), and in collaboration with the NOAA Office for Coastal Management (OCM), © 2019.
The Total Water Levels (TWL) Tool helps you develop flood exposure analyses using the best available science for sea-level rise (SLR). You can analyze neighborhood, municipality-wide, and regional exposures to future flood hazards. You should NOT make site level engineering and design decisions.
Using the TWL tool you can create maps that illustrate three flooding types: permanent inundation (i.e., the future Mean Higher High Water line); high tide flooding (i.e., sunny-day flooding, nuisance floods); and extreme coastal flooding from storms (i.e., hurricanes and nor’easters). The TWL method is based on NOAA’s “What Will Adaptation Cost” guide and is consistent with the 2019 Science and Technical Advisory Panel report for sea-level rise in New Jersey.
Step 1 - Choose the nearest tide gauge to your analysis area OR select the ‘most suitable’ tide gauge based on your own judgment. For example, southern Monmouth County, NJ coastal flood height characteristics could be more similar to Atlantic City, even though the Sandy Hook gauge is in Monmouth County. If you are unsure of which gauge to choose, you should use the two closest gauges, and then choose the one that generates the highest water levels exposure analysis.
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Step 2 - The amount of future sea level rise is dependent on the amount of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Higher GHG emissions lead to larger and more rapid global temperature changes, resulting in higher SLR numbers.
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Step 3 - Customize your planning horizon which is the decade you want to use for your analysis. Developing water levels for several different planning horizons is beneficial. As an example, you might choose:
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Step 4 Analyzing at least two sea-level rise estimates is beneficial. Choosing one estimate in the ‘likely’ range, along with the ‘high-end’ estimate will allow you to see how a range of SLR scenarios change community level exposures to flooding.
You can choose between the following SLR estimates:
There is less than a 5% chance of exceeding the SLR height value indicated. Using a high-end estimate is especially important for planning assets with long lifetimes (e.g., a bridge), or limited ability to move out of harm’s way (e.g., a wastewater treatment plant).
There is at least a 95% chance of exceeding the SLR height value indicated.
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Step 5 - Choose between Flood Events Height using tide gauge specific data:
Flood event water levels are specific to each tide gauge and come from NOAA’s Extreme Water Levels statistics program. Mean Higher High Water reflects permanent inundation, or where residents’ feet will be wet on an almost daily basis. Selecting other water levels reflects recurring floods (i.e., the 99% AEP) or episodic flood events that could result from coastal storms (i.e., the 1% AEP). You can also choose historic flood events (like Sandy) to see how previous storms would look like in the future.
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Tide Gauge: Atlantic City, NJ Tide Gauge Total Water Levels Table
Emission Scenario: Moderate emissions
Timeframe: 2030 Planning Horizon
SLR Estimate: 83% Probability - 0.6 ft
Total Water Level Estimate: N/A ft.
Total Water Level Estimate Mapper: N/A ft.
Results - The resultant Total Water Level is rounded to the nearest whole foot. The TWL inundation map represents ‘still water‘, which reflects the astronomical tide, the storm surge, and limited wave setup caused by breaking waves.
The Total Water Level does not portray wave runup, the movement of water up a slope. Therefore, the inundation mapping more closely corresponds to FEMA’s Still Water Flood Elevations (SWEL), not the Base Flood Elevation (BFE). Therefore, this analysis could under-represent the amount of inundation, as the calculations do not consider wave velocity and other dynamic effects from storms.