Charleston map
The online tool shows the predicted Charleston population density (66,760) that may be affected by 4 feet of sea-level rise.

The water is rising in Charleston, South Carolina, and the city floods often – even when there’s no rain.

George: “It’s an undeniable reality that something is going on.”

Albert George of the South Carolina Aquarium says it’s likely to get worse. Charleston may see more than four feet of sea-level rise by the end of the century.

To help residents visualize that, the aquarium recently released an online tool. It allows people to see which areas are likely to flood as seas rise.

People can also use the tool to document flooding that’s happening now. And their reports can identify problems that the models do not.

For example, as seas rise and storms intensify, the stormwater system can back up. George says one nearby monument is on high enough ground that it should be dry, but it frequently floods.

George: “And so those are the nuances that we wanted to be able to capture.”

Scientists can use the data from the tool to improve predictions about which areas are most likely to flood. And residents can use the information to push for action:

George: “Once they understand the risks, if the citizenry stand up and say, ‘this is what we need, and these are the things you should be attending to,’ then the hope is you can see the type of change that’s needed.”

Reporting credit: Ariel Felton/ChavoBart Digital Media.