"One of the most important problems in applied coastal geology today is determining the physical response of the coastline to sea-level rise. Prediction of shoreline retreat and land loss rates is critical to planning future coastal management strategies. To date, long-term planning for the Nation's shoreline has been done piecemeal, if at all (National Research Council, 1990, 1995). Consequently, entire communities are being developed without adequate consideration of the potential costs of erosion, flooding, and storm damage related to sea-level rise. Predicting future coastal evolution and vulnerability to change is difficult because many factors are involved. No standard method is used by scientists to predict coastal change. In order to address these problems, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is implementing a fairly simple classification of the relative vulnerability of different U.S. coastal environments to future rises in sea level (fig. 1)."
U.S. Geological Survey: http://www.usgs.gov/