The sea level around Alabama is 11 inches higher than it was in 1966.1 This increase is mostly due to Alabama’s sinking land, and it’s causing major issues. The shorelines of the state’s barrier islands are receding by as much as 12 feet per year and important habitats are disappearing.2 As the sea level rises, it makes existing coastal flooding more severe and it erodes beaches, eventually submerging both wetlands and dry land. On Dauphin Island, over 50 years of land erosion has already caused the island’s mass to decrease by 16%, with a total of 350 feet of the beach destroyed to date.2 There are already over 7,000 properties at risk from frequent tidal flooding in Alabama.3 The state is planning over $24 million in sea level rise solutions, which include shoreline restoration and protection, stormwater mapping, and seawall repair.
Sea level rise is speeding up
Although the sea has only risen by 11 inches since 1966, its speed of rise has accelerated over the last ten years and it’s now rising by over 1 inch every 2 years.1 We know this because the sea level is measured every 6 minutes.4 Scientists use different equipment like satellites, floating buoys off the coast, and tidal gauges to accurately measure the local sea level as it accelerates and changes.
SEA LEVEL MEASUREMENT FROM DAUPHIN ISLAND AREA TIDE GAUGE SINCE 1950