With its 3,100 miles of tidal shoreline and low-lying rural and urban lands, "The Free State" is one of the most vulnerable to sea-level rise. Historically, Marylanders have long had to contend with rising water levels along its Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean and coastal bay shores. Shorelines eroded and low-relief lands and islands, some previously inhabited, were inundated. Prior to the 20th century, this was largely due to the slow sinking of the land since Earth’s crust is still adjusting to the melting of large masses of ice following the last glacial period. Over the 20th century, however, the rate of rise of the average level of tidal waters with respect to land, or relative sea-level rise, has increased, at least partially as a result of global warming. Moreover, the scientific evidence is compelling that Earth’s climate will continue to warm and its oceans will rise even more rapidly.
Recognizing the scientific consensus around global climate change, the contribution of human activities to it, and the vulnerability of Maryland’s people, property, public investments, and natural resources, Governor Martin O’Malley established the Maryland Commission on Climate Change on April 20, 2007. The Commission produced a Plan of Action1 that included a comprehensive climate change impact assessment, a greenhouse gas reduction strategy, and strategies for reducing Maryland’s vulnerability to climate change. The Plan has led to landmark legislation to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions and a variety of state policies designed to reduce energy consumption and promote adaptation to climate change.
Original Publication Citation
Boesch, D. F., Atkinson, L. P., Boicourt, W. C., Boon, J. D., Cahoon, D. R., Dalrymple, R. A., . . . Sommerfield, C. K. (2013). Updating Maryland’s Sea-level Rise Projections. Special Report of the Scientific and Technical Working Group to the Maryland Climate Change Commission, 22p. Cambridge, MD: University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.
Boesch, Donald F.; Atkinson, Larry P.; Boicourt, William C.; Boon, John D.; Cahoon, Donald R.; Dalrymple, Robert A.; Ezer, Tal; Horton, Benjamin P.; Johnson, Zoe P.; Kopp, Robert E.; Li, Ming; Moss, Richard H.; Parris, Adam; and Sommerfield, Christopher K., "Updating Maryland's Sea-level Rise Projections" (2013). CCPO Publications. 154.