Sea level has risen over 6 inches nationally since 1950, but recently, its rate of increase has accelerated. In the last five years, sea level has risen 66% faster than the historical rate, and is now rising by an average of one inch every five years.1 While it took 60 years for the sea level to rise about 6 inches nationally,2 scientists now forecast that in just the next 20 years, the sea will have risen by another 6 inches.3
The rate of sea level rise is not the same all over the country. In some towns, the sea level is rising much faster than the national average. On the East Coast and the Gulf Coast, the sea is rising by one inch every three years due to sinking land and a slowing Gulf Stream. On the West Coast, the sea level is increasing at a slower pace than the national average because the land is actually rising due to shifting tectonic plates.