'Grim' Choices Facing California as the Pacific Ocean Rises

The Los Angeles Times published a massively ambitious account of the sea-level threat facing California.

2 minute read

July 8, 2019, 10:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Jack and Laura Dangermond Preserve

NOAA Nature Library / Flickr

California's golden era of growth and prosperity, which started in the 19th century by lasted throughout much of the 20th century, occurred during a "rare confluence of favorable winds and cooler water," according to the context for a massive new feature on sea-level rise in California, penned by Rosanna Xia.

Now California has to come to terms with reality. "In the last 100 years, the sea rose less than 9 inches in California. By the end of this century, the surge could be greater than 9 feet."

The massive feature includes deep dives on specific case studies along the cost, like in Pacifica, which has already been forced to undertake a controversial strategy of managed retreat. Xia also details the environmental impacts seawalls. While some argue that seawalls can save coastal cities, environmentalists call them a coastal crisis. States like Oregon, North Carolina, and Maine have imposed serious restrictions on them. In San Francisco, the placement and replenishment of seawalls will reflect hard choices about which parts of the city can survive a large storm event, and the ensuing floods. There are more sections on beach replenishment, managed retreat, and a town that has already begun to slip into the ocean.

There's also an interactive game included in this sea-level and climate change extravaganza, which allows users to play at planner and make choices that can either save or doom a town from sea-level rise.

Monday, July 8, 2019 in Los Angeles Times

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