Floodwater in the academy halls
Floodwaters in a Naval Academy building were caused by storm surge from Hurricane Isabel in 2003. (Photo credit: U.S. Navy)

In Annapolis, Maryland, where the Severn River enters Chesapeake Bay, the historic U.S. Naval Academy sits nearly surrounded by water. And that water is rising.

John Conger, a former official in the Department of Defense, directs the Center for Climate and Security, a nonpartisan think tank.

Conger: “Annapolis encounters flooding on a regular basis. This impacts the base today and will impact it more in the future.”

As seas rise, high tides are expected to regularly flood sections of the Academy, and as much as half of the campus could be flooded when hurricanes strike.

Conger says the Naval Academy is getting ready. It’s purchasing flood barriers for doorways, designing buildings that can better withstand first-floor floods, and repairing sea walls. It’s work that must be done if the Navy is going to continue training future generations of officers at Annapolis.

Similar problems are emerging at military bases around the world, and Conger says that military personnel are responding.

Conger: “To the extent that climate change is going to affect how they do their job and whether they can do their mission and how resilient they are, they are going to pay attention to this issue.”

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Diana Madson

Diana Madson contributed regularly to Yale Climate Connections from 2014 to 2021. She enjoys exploring U.S.-based stories about unexpected and innovative solutions to climate change. In addition to her...