Identifying the Scientific Data

We highly recommend beginning your research as soon as possible. The data will provide the information needed to determine the line that will be marked. You will also then be able to share what you learn, including maps, while you are out meeting people in the early stages of community engagement.

Using Scientific Data to Determine the Line

HighWaterLine illustrates how increased flooding, storm surge and sea level rise caused by climate change, will impact communities. Your data should always come from a reliable and reputable scientific source. The data you choose may differ from other HighWaterLine projects. Things to consider when choosing your data include:

  • Find data around sea level rise/flooding/storm surge for your community. You will need to identify data focused on various levels the water will rise from these impacts. This measurement will be a starting point in choosing where to demarcate your line.
  • In our experience people can best relate to data that reflects what will happen within their lifetimes or in their children’s lifetime. The data you choose should ideally reflect this.
  • Also consider how the measurements you decide to use might resonate with the community in which you are working.
Sources of Data
Climate Central Surging Seas Risk Zone Map

Every location and country will have different sources for reliable data.  It will be up to you to determine which respected scientific agency to use for your data.  Some places to begin include:


Many universities now have scientists creating maps projecting how sea level rise or increased flooding will impact the regions where the University is located. Sometimes students helping to create these maps can receive University credit for helping with the HighWaterLine project.

Government Agencies

In the United States, flood and sea level rise maps are available through The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), and NASA’s Climate Center.  In the United Kingdom, The Environment Agency & Local Authorities or similar governmental agencies might also be helpful. In other regions you may have to find agencies working on flood and coastal risks.

Non-Governmental Agencies

There are many non-governmental groups, like Climate Central, who translate scientific data into information more readily accessible and digestible to the public.