Good News on Sea-Level Rise?

By Dave Fratello | March 20th, 2009
If you tune in to the science and politics of global warming/climate change from time to time, you know it's much grimmer than the financial news of the past 6-18 months.

Against that backdrop, maybe we can muster some good news: Manhattan Beach does not appear to be much threatened by the sea-level rises that are projected as a byproduct of climate change. At least for the balance of this century.

This is a conclusion drawn from computer models published as part of a recent report by the Pacific Institute (click to go to the main page for the report).

Multiple maps are available (click for the map page), including an interactive Google map that shows the areas of coastal and inland areas at risk of flooding with higher sea levels. (A very cool tool – zoom in a bunch and grab swaths of coastal California to move them around to view which areas are at risk.)

The local dog trainer (LAT) last week published a couple pics of areas of Venice and Marina Del Rey that would get hit with higher sea levels, but, provincial blog that MBC is, we were really just wondering about MB.

So here's what the computers told us: With a sea-level rise of 1.4 meters (4 feet, 7 inches to those stuck on English measures) – the high end of what's expected by the year 2100 – MB's beach will be less wide, but The Strand looks fairly safe, as do all inland parts of town. (Blue represents areas "at risk" now in a "100-year coastal flood event," while purple areas become riskier with the sea level rises.)

Maybe that's what you'd expect if you know the topography of our beaches, but it's nice to know that the pocket-protector crowd agrees.

By contrast, the Hermosa Strand looks sketchier. Maybe building further west than MB did wasn't so wise.

Further south, chunks of Huntington Beach and Seal Beach go underwater fairly easily in a "100-year coastal flood event," even more after sea-level rises. Way south, Imperial Beach gets a bath.

To our north, Pt. Mugu gets inundated. Way north, Santa Cruz gets bisected and the SF Bay Area loses both major airports and lots of coastal development inside the bay. (If you think we're burying the lede here, don't worry, Bay Area folks do not give a rat about anything bad that happens to the LA area.)

So once again, MB is better off than some. The best news may be that your kids or grandkids might still have that patch of dirt you're living on to call home later.

But do reduce your carbon footprint anyway. There's more to life than the sand between your toes.

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