Florida’s coastal areas are great places to live, work and play. Unfortunately, these areas are feeling the effects of changing air and water temperature, rising sea level, and changes in the amount of rainfall and severity of storms. Scientific evidence collected over decades–and scientific consensus–demonstrates the reality of sea-level rise and climate change. Sea level measurements tell us how much the oceans have risen, and historical records from various sources, including ice cores, confirm that atmospheric carbon dioxide has increased rapidly during the last century.

While science can tell us that our seas are rising and climate is changing, science cannot give us very accurate assessments of the speed or scale of these changes. Trends in climate change and sea-level rise may present different impacts for different communities, so local governments and environmental managers must assess their vulnerability and rely on the best available science.

Florida Sea Grant offers several resources to help governments and managers prepare for climate change. In addition to our Coastal Planning and Natural Systems web pages, Florida Sea Grant has staff members dedicated to this issue. Thomas Ruppert, coastal planning specialist and attorney, assists local governments with legal and planning issues. Sea Grant faculty Alicia Betancourt, Libby Carnahan, and Holly Abeels all work with their respective counties and with broader audiences on climate-change-related and sea-level-rise-related topics.

sea-level rise photo

Sea-Level Rise

thomas ruppert coastal planning photo

Coastal Planning & Policy Tools


Flood Insurance

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Hazard Resilience


Funded Projects



Helpful Resources

  • Frequently Asked Questions on Global Warming Developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Climate.gov, this document assembles categories of questions about climate change and global warming and gives simple, non-technical answers.
  • Climate Change: Evidence and Causes This document, a cooperative publication of the United States National Academy of Science and the Royal Society, provides a readable format that provides plain-language answers to many common questions about climate change. The material was developed by scientists at the two cooperating scientific academies and reviewed by numerous climate scientists and others. This is also now available in an interactive format.
  • Climate Change: Evidence, Impacts & Choices Published by the National Research Council, this booklet is intended to help people understand what is known about climate change.
  • Assessment Report 5 Physical Basis Summary for Policy Makers Published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, this is the first section to be released of the most recent assessment of climate research.

Faculty and Staff

Holly Abeels
Sea Grant Agent, Brevard County

urban environment
Libby Carnahan
Sea Grant Agent, Pinellas County

urban environment
Thomas Ruppert
Coastal Planning Specialist

urban environment