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Tampa study aims to prepare city for 8 feet of sea-level rise in 80 years

On Tuesday, the City of Tampa gave an update to an ongoing study looking at the impact of sea-level rise in the region. The City expects up to 8 feet of sea-level rise by the year 2100 and hopes to shape regulations and policy to be ready for it.

“We’ve measured 7.8 inches of sea-level rise at the St. Petersburg tide gauge since we first started reporting sea levels back in 1946,” Burke said.

All the Way Up

But projections show that number is about to go way up. While the last 75 years might’ve seen less than a foot of rise, Tampa Bay Climate Science Advisory Panel shows the next 75 will see at least two feet of rise. And that’s on the low end. Burke said there’s a 96-percent chance it’ll be higher. The recommended projection is 8.5 feet of rise in a little under 80 years. Humans can largely thank themselves.

“We are explicitly acknowledging the connection between our human behaviors, our choices,” Burke said. “And those effects that we’re likely to see with respect to sea-level change.”

Curbing greenhouse gas emissions could mitigate rise. The 8.5-feet projection assumes emissions stay at the current level and accounts for ice sheet instabilities. It’s the high end for the “very likely” scenario. According to those projections, sea level around the bay area could rise nearly two feet by 2040 and close to four by 2060.