NC Office of Geospatial and Technology Management Floodplain Mapping Program


NORTH CAROLINA has been identified by NOAA as one of three states with significant vulnerability to sea level rise.  The state possesses the second largest estuarine system in the United States (the Albermarle-Pamlico Estuarine System), with an extensive barrier island chain, and over 2,300 square miles of coastal land vulnerable to a 1 m rise in sea level (Poulter et al, 2009).  The large exposure of North Carolina to the affects of sea level rise necessitates an evaluation of the potential system-wide impacts to built and living assets.  In recognition of this need, the North Carolina Division of Emergency Management received a grant from FEMA to comprehensively study the change in exposure and potential impacts to built and living systems, and to develop science-based mitigation and adaptation strategies that may pro-actively reduce future impacts. 

Initiated in 2009, the North Carolina Sea level Rise Impact Study (SLRIS) is completing an assessment of potential flood consequences posed by sea-level rise (SLR) and changes in storminess associated with climate change in coastal North Carolina. The overarching goal of this study is to inform State and Federal policymakers on the subject of the SLR impacts and foster development of cost-avoidance management policy. At its core, the SLRIS will answer four high-level questions:

  1. What changes to coastal flooding hazards will possibly occur between 2009 and 2100 as a result of changes in storminess and sea level (with assessments at interim time steps of 2025, 2050, and 2075)? 
  2. What built and living systems will be exposed to coastal flooding from changes in storminess and sea-level rise?
  3. What possible impacts and/or consequences will occur on the exposed built and living systems?
  4. What short- and long-term strategies will result in efficient and effective prevention and/or alleviation of exposure and consequences from changes in storminess and sea-level rise?


This study is independent of the sea-level rise policy efforts introduced by the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR), Division of Coastal Management (DCM) and the Coastal Resources Commission (CRC). The North Carolina Sea Level Rise Impact Study is being undertaken by the North Carolina Office of Geospatial and Technology Management, administered under the Division of Emergency Management. For more information on the DCM and CRC efforts, please visit the following site:


The study effort has completed and the final report and products are currently in review. Please check back for further updates.