Stunned by Sandy's devastation, the city of New York undertook an ambitious project: to update its long-term sustainability plan using the latest climate science. Their goal was to understand how much sea level could rise, how soon, and just how vulnerable the city would be if some of the more extreme climate change projections turn into reality.

(VIDEO) Within months of its opening, Ivar Johnson's restaurant on Panini Bay was devastated by Sandy. As he and his family rebuilt their dream, he talked with scientist Lisa Auermiller about how to face the future rise in sea level that would accompany global warming.

At various locations on New Jersey's Barnegat Bay Island, Norb Psuty talks with Climate.gov about how humans' desire for permanence on barrier islands is at odds with natural processes. But preserving or restoring key dune and beach features can help communities weather some storms.

(VIDEO) For many New Jersey residents and businesses, "resilience" means recovering from storms like last fall's Sandy. Lisa Auermiller with the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve talks about the factors that spur people to take a longer-term view.

Global average sea level in 2012 was 1.4 inches above the 1993-2010 average, which was the highest yearly average in the satellite record. Sea level has been rising over the past century, and the pace has increased in recent decades.

In 2011, global sea levels fell below the long-term trend of sea level rise, but as La Niña waned late in the year, global ocean levels began rising rapidly.

The total amount of water on Earth isn’t increasing, but the volume of liquid that fills the ocean is growing as ice and snow on land melt. The water is also getting warmer, which makes it expand. 

NOAA Coastal and Ocean Climate Applications funding

The Coastal and Ocean Climate Applications (COCA) program addresses the needs of specific decision makers grappling with pressing climate-related issues in coastal and marine environments. This program strengthens initiatives to support interdisciplinary applications research aimed at addressing climate-related challenges in coastal communities as well as coastal and marine ecosystems.

Grants are available annually for researchers and decision makers.

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