Climatic Change

, Volume 109, Supplement 1, pp 229–249 | Cite as

Potential impacts of increased coastal flooding in California due to sea-level rise

  • Matthew Heberger
  • Heather Cooley
  • Pablo Herrera
  • Peter H. Gleick
  • Eli Moore
Article

Abstract

California is likely to experience increased coastal flooding and erosion caused by sea-level rise over the next century, affecting the state’s population, infrastructure, and environment. As part of a set of studies on climate change impacts to California, this paper analyzes the potential impacts from projected sea-level rise if no actions are taken to protect the coast (a “no-adaptation scenario”), focusing on impacts to the state’s population and infrastructure. Heberger et al. (2009) also covered effects on wetlands, costs of coastal defenses, and social and environmental justice related to sea-level rise. We analyzed the effect of a medium-high greenhouse gas emissions scenario (Special Report on Emissions Scenarios A2 in IPCC 2000) and included updated projections of sea-level rise based on work by Rahmstorf (Science 315(5810): 368, 2007). Under this scenario, sea levels rise by 1.4 m by the year 2100, far exceeding historical observed water level increases. By the end of this century, coastal flooding would, under this scenario, threaten regions that currently are home to approximately 480,000 people and $100 billion worth of property. Among those especially vulnerable are large numbers of low-income people and communities of color. A wide range of critical infrastructure, such as roads, hospitals, schools, emergency facilities, wastewater treatment plants, and power plants will also be at risk. Sea-level rise will inevitably change the character of California’s coast; practices and policies should be put in place to mitigate the potentially costly and life-threatening impacts of sea-level rise.

References

  1. Adams C, Witt E, Wang J, Shaver D, Summers D, Filali-Meknassi Y, Shi H, Luna R, Anderson N (2007) Chemical quality of depositional sediments and associated soils in New Orleans and the Louisiana Peninsula following Hurricane Katrina. Environ Sci Technol 41(10):3437–3443CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Airports Council International (2008) Airport traffic reports. Microsoft Excel spreadsheet document at http://www.aci-na.org/stats/stats_traffic.
  3. Allison I et al (2009) The Copenhagen diagnosis: 2009, updating the world on the latest climate science. The University of New South Wales Climate Change Research Centre (CCRC), Sydney, 60 ppGoogle Scholar
  4. Battalio R, Baek S, Revell D (2008) California coastal response to sea level rise: coastal base flood elevation estimates. Technical memorandum to the Pacific Institute. Phil Williams and Associates, San FranciscoGoogle Scholar
  5. California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (2006) California licensed health care facilities. Digital data files from California Spatial Information Library. http://casil.ucdavis.edu/casil/.
  6. Cayan D, Tyree M, Dettinger M, Hidalgo H, Das T, Maurer E, Bromirski P, Graham N, Flick R (2009) Climate change scenarios and sea level rise estimates for California. 2008 Climate change scenarios assessment. California Climate Change Center paper CEC-500-2009-014-F.Google Scholar
  7. Chao BF, Wu YH, Li YS (2008) Impact of artificial reservoir water impoundment on global sea level. Science 320(5873):212CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Christensen M (2008) “Protecting America’s busiest port from seismic impacts.” Presentation at University of Southern California’s Megacities Workshop. Los Angeles, California. November 10, 2008. http://mededonline.hsc.usc.edu/research/workshop-2008/session-5-christensen.htm
  9. Farris MT II (2008) Are you prepared for a devastating port strike in 2008? Transportation Journal, Winter 2008Google Scholar
  10. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) (2006) Hazards U.S. Multi-Hazard (HAZUS-MH). Computer application and digital data files on 2 CD-ROMs. Jessup, Maryland. www.fema.gov/plan/prevent/hazus/
  11. Flick RE, Murray JF, Ewing L (1999) Trends in U.S. tidal datum statistics and tide range: a data report atlas. Scripps Institution of Oceanography, San DiegoGoogle Scholar
  12. Gleick PH, Maurer EP (1990) Assessing the costs of adapting to sea-level rise: a case study of San Francisco Bay. Pacific Institute, OaklandGoogle Scholar
  13. Heberger M, Cooley H, Herrera P, Gleick P, Moore E (2009) The impacts of sea level rise on the California coast. California Climate Change Center, Sacramento, California. Paper CEC-500-2009-024-FGoogle Scholar
  14. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2000) Special report on emissions scenarios. Cambridge University Press, UK. 570 ppGoogle Scholar
  15. Knowles N (2009) Potential inundation due to rising sea levels in the San Francisco Bay region. California Climate Change Center paper CEC-500-2009-023-F. Sacramento, CaliforniaGoogle Scholar
  16. Meehl GA, Stocker TF, Collins WD, Friedlingstein P, Gaye AT, Gregory JM, Kitoh A, Knutti R, Murphy JM, Noda A, Raper SCB, Watterson IG, Weaver AJ, Zhao Z-C (2007) Global climate projections. In: Solomon S, Qin D, Manning M, Chen Z, Marquis M, Averyt KB, Tignor M, Miller HL (eds) Climate change 2007: the physical science basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  17. Metropolitan Transportation Commission (2004) Regional goods movement study for the San Francisco Bay area. Oakland, California. 26 pages. http://www.mtc.ca.gov/pdf/rgm.pdf
  18. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) (2004) Population trends along the Coastal United States: 1980–2008. Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  19. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) (2009) NOAA Sea Levels Online, http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrends_station.shtml?stnid=9414290
  20. National Research Council (1987) Responding to changes in sea level: engineering implications. National Academies Press, Washington, DC, www.nap.edu/openbook/0309037816/html/
  21. Neumann JE, Hudgens D, Herr JL, Kassakian J (2003) Market impacts of sea level rise on California coasts. Appendix VIII in: Global climate change and California: potential implications for ecosystems, health, and the economy. California Energy Commission, PIER program. Publication Number 500-03-058CFGoogle Scholar
  22. Pilkey OH, Cooper JAG (2004) Climate: society and sea level rise. Science 303(5665):1781–1782CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Rahmstorf S (2007) A semi-empirical approach to projecting future sea-level rise. Science 315(5810):368CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Revell DL, Battalio R, Spear B, Ruggiero P, Vandever J (2011) A Methodology for Predicting Future Coastal Hazards due to Sea-level Rise on the California Coast. Climatic Change, doi:10.1007/s10584-011-0315-2
  25. TeleAtlas (2008) TeleAtlas Dynamap, Geographic data files. Lebanon, New HampshireGoogle Scholar
  26. Titus J, Park R, Leatherman S, Weggle J, Greene M, Brown S, Gaunt C, Trehan M, Yohe G (1992) Greenhouse effect and sea level rise: the cost of holding back the sea. Coast Manag 19:219–233Google Scholar
  27. United States Census Bureau (2000) Census 2000 Summary File 3 (SF3). http://factfinder.census.gov
  28. United States Department of Transportation (2006) Top 50 U.S. Foreign trade freight gateways by value of shipments: 2005. Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Washington, D.C. www.bts.gov/programs/international/
  29. United States Environmental Protection Agency (2008) EPA geospatial data access project. Digital data files, accessed November 2008. http://www.epa.gov/enviro/geo_data.html
  30. United States Geological Survey (2006) Flood hazards—a national threat. 2-page factsheet at http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2006/3026/2006-3026.pdf
  31. Yohe G (1989) The cost of not holding back the sea: Phase 1 economic vulnerability. In: The potential effects of global climate change on the United States. Report to Congress. Appendix B: Sea Level Rise. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. EPA 230-05-89-052Google Scholar
  32. Yohe GW, Schlesinger ME (1998) Sea-level change: the expected economic cost of protection or abandonment in the United States. Clim Chang 38:447–472CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Yohe G, Neumann J, Marshall P, Ameden H (1996) The economic cost of greenhouse-induced sea-level rise for developed property in the United States. Clim Chang 32(4):387–410CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew Heberger
    • 1
  • Heather Cooley
    • 1
  • Pablo Herrera
    • 1
  • Peter H. Gleick
    • 1
  • Eli Moore
    • 1
  1. 1.Pacific InstituteOaklandUSA

Personalised recommendations