Rising Seas

Education Modules > Module 3 > High School > Rising Seas > Impacts

Impacts—The New Waterfront

Summary: Climate induced sea level rise can lead to erosion and flooding events that threaten natural and human communities, establish new coastlines, and change ecosystems. What are the predicted impacts of sea level rise for a given area on the Oregon coast?

Concepts to teach:


  1. Sea level rise poses a threat to many coastal communities.
  2. Coastal hazard models use geographic, historic, and economic information to predict future impacts

Standards: NGSS Performance Expectations

  • HS-LS2-6. Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.
  • HS-ESS3-1. Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity

Specific Objectives:
Students will be able to:

  1. Use topographic maps, sea level rise viewers and other online resources to obtain information about the risks, if any, that specific coastal communities face from erosion and/or flooding.
  2. Report whether impacts from coastal hazards have changed over time and/or are predicted to change in the future for a given community.
  3. Identify how climate change affects coastal hazard risks.

Activity Links and Resources:

  • Sea Level Rise—In this Lesson 4.1 from Waquoit Bay NERR's Bringing Wetlands to Market curriculum , students are provided with topographic maps of a coastal area and are asked to draw new shorelines based on predicted sea level rise for that area. They then discuss implications for shoreline changes for that particular area.
  • NOAA Coastal Services Center's Digital Coast is a resource that includes predicted sea level rise information around the globe, as well as Coastal County Snapshots that can help students asses impacts of sea level rise.
    • Sea Level Rise Viewer—NOAA Coastal Services Center displays potential future sea levels in an interactive map.
    • Coastal County Snapshots—Obtain a profile of a coastal county to find out its flood exposure, how it benefits from wetlands, and the extent to which its economy depends on the ocean.
  • Oregon King Tide Photo Project—Citizen photo-document the impacts of coastal flooding during extreme high tides. Check the Flickr page to see if there is a photo for your target community, or contribute your own photo to the dataset.


  • Students write or present an oral report about potential erosion and flood risks in a given coastal community, and whether/how climate change is predicted to impact these risks.
  • Prior to a coastal field trip, have students research the area and describe potential impacts of sea level rise on that area.
  • Participate in the King Tide Photo Project to document the degree of flooding during extreme high tide events.