Tags: Global Warming | What if Global Warming Continues | Climate Change | Pacific Coast | Rising Sea Levels

What If Global Warming Continues? 8 Most Dire Scenarios For America's Pacific Coast

By    |   Monday, 09 February 2015 09:53 AM

If global warming continues, the predicted rise in sea levels will have a dire effect on America's coastlines. Climate change scientists believe sea levels are rising the fastest on the Atlantic Coast. However, the Pacific Coast also faces significant threats from rising sea levels as the oceans warm and land ice continues to melt.

Here are eight dire scenarios for America's Pacific Coast if global warming continues:

1. According to Climate Desk, many national landmarks and monuments are at risk from rising sea levels. "California's Bay Area can expect sea levels to rise by up to 55 inches by the end of the century, putting an estimated 270,000 people and $62 billion worth of San Francisco urbanbling at risk of increased flooding. That presents a major challenge to the three-mile stretch of San Francisco’s downtown Embarcadero district, which features more than twenty historic piers, a bulkhead wharf in twenty-one sections, a seawall built in the late 1800s, and the iconic Ferry Building, fully commissioned in 1903."

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2. According to the National Wildlife Federation, "Given the vast expanse of coastline along the Pacific Ocean and in Puget Sound and the critical role that vulnerable coastal habitats such as marshes, tidal flats, and beaches play in the region's ecology and economy, sea level rise is likely to have a profound impact on the Pacific Northwest."

3. Benjamin H. Strauss from Climate Central presented expert testimony to Congress in 2012. According to Strauss, "All along the Pacific, from Seattle to the Oregon coast to San Francisco to Los Angeles, the component of past and projected sea level rise from global warming more than triples the odds of "century" floods by 2030."

4. The California Coastal Commission is dedicated to reducing climate change impacts on the Pacific Coast. According to the commission, "Protecting existing structures from erosion will be difficult and expensive. When the means of protecting structures involves armoring the coast, there will be an inevitable additional loss of beaches as a result ... The loss of beaches due to armoring and sea level rise results in immense negative impacts, including loss of recreational value, tourism, marine mammal haul-out area, sandy beach habitat, and buffering capacity against future bluff erosion."

5. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service reports that Salmon productivity is sensitive to "climate-related changes in stream, estuary, and ocean conditions." If global warming continues, rising temperatures will cause thermal stress and potentially, "one third of the current habitat for either the endangered or threatened Northwest salmon species will no longer be suitable for them by the end of this century as key temperature thresholds are exceeded."

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6. A global warming report from the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute states, "Coastal infrastructure will come under increased risk to damage and inundation under a changing climate with impacted sectors including transportation and navigation, coastal engineering structures (seawalls, riprap, jetties etc.) and flood control and prevention."

7. The Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associates reported on the impact of global warming as far back as 1998. "Many coastal ports have already been severely damaged. Thousands of square miles of low lying Pacific and Gulf coastal areas are now under water and the coastal wetlands that once supported shrimp, menhaden, crab, halibut, flounder and roughly 50 percent of other commercially fished species have all but disappeared. Fish are increasingly scarce everywhere."

8. In 2009, California Climate Change Center published a report on the impact of rising sea levels on the California coast. According to the report, a "1.4 meter sea‐level rise will put 480,000 people at risk of a 100‐year flood event, given today's population. Among those affected are large numbers of low‐income people and communities of color, which are especially vulnerable."

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If global warming continues, the predicted rise in sea levels will have a dire effect on America's coastlines. Climate change scientists believe sea levels are rising the fastest on the Atlantic Coast.
What if Global Warming Continues, Climate Change, Pacific Coast, Rising Sea Levels
Monday, 09 February 2015 09:53 AM
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