Document Type



Rappahannock Community College

Publication Date

Spring 2017


There is currently an upward trend of sea level rise in the Chesapeake Bay region and many other areas around the world. Sea level rise in itself is a major impact on the environment and humans, and it has become a factor in the severity of other natural disasters like hurricanes. With increasing sea level rise, storm surges are much higher, and together with wind driven waves will cause more destruction to the coast. The 1933 hurricane was considerably stronger than Hurricane Isabel, creating record high tide level from storm surge, but because of the 42.7 cm increase in average tide level over the next 70 years, Hurricane Isabel comparatively seemed equal in power to the 1933 hurricane. Using the 2016 Middlesex County Geography Information System, land value of both waterfront and inland properties were taken and recorded, along with the amount of acreage that is associated with the value. Using the sea level trend data from NOAA, graphs were created that modeled actual tide level from historic hurricanes with the addition of projected sea level rise for Middlesex County, Virginia. The mean hurricane water level is estimated to rise from 98.01 cm to 111.38 cm, with a projected sea level increase of 13.37 cm in 30 years. Data show that at all three locations waterfront properties were statistically much more valuable compared to inland property values. Waterfront property owners should be aware of how much more susceptible their property is to flooding due to future sea level rise. Increases in development along the shorelines raises vulnerability of infrastructure, and changes in city planning are essential to mitigate the effects of floods and erosion.


Jason Chen won the 1st place Spring 2017 Student Research Paper Award from the Rappahannock Community College Library for this paper.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.