California Study Shows 5 Feet Oceanrise By End Of Century

The ocean is expected to rise nearly 5 feet along California's coastline by the end of this century, hitting San Francisco Bay the hardest of all, according to a new state study.

Nearly half a million people and $100 billion in property are at risk of major flooding, researchers found in the comprehensive study of how global warming will alter California's coastal areas.

Some of the infrastructures put at risk by rising sea levels along the California coast include roads and highways, hundreds of hazardous waste sites, schools, and two Bay Area airports. The 99-page state-commissioned report was conducted by the Pacific Institute.

Healthy wetlands that nourish fish and birds and act as a buffer against flooding will be inundated, and constructing seawalls and levees, if needed, could cost $14 billion plus an annual maintenance cost of $1.4 billion, the study said.

The study shows a greater sea-level rise for California than previous studies because it takes into account recent changes in glaciers and ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland. Low-income citizens will be disproportionately vulnerable to sea level rise, according to the report.

Published: March 25, 2009