The state of California could see a sea level rise of 10 feet by the end of this century, according to new reports. The state’s Ocean Protection Council announced their predictions this past Wednesday, April 26.
According to ABC News, the newest climate-change findings in California show that the rising Pacific Ocean could also lead to high tides and storms hitting harder, and researchers are slightly alarmed at this prediction. Although they were previously aware that this may be the case, the severity of the situation nevertheless came as something of a surprise.
The sea level rise causes severe concern when it comes to the most highly populated areas of the state; airports, highways and communities will be most affected by this change in ocean climate. Given that all of these are low-lying, the escalation of water towards them is most certainly something of a safety issue, of which scientists are said to be looking into thoroughly.
The change, reports Scientific American, is mostly due to the melting ice sheets in Antarctica, a problem which has been rapidly increasing in its severity. Ninety percent of the Earth’s ice is in the world’s most southernmost continent, and as such this depletion is quite worrying. California’s sea level rise issue stems from fossil-fuel emissions warming the planet’s atmosphere, and as such the melting Antarctica ice results in the state’s water level being raised “even more than for the world as a whole” of its 1,100 mile coastline.
The Huffington Post has revealed that Jerry Brown, Governor of California, issued a mandate shortly after the publication of the sea level rise study, in which he insisted that state agencies factor in this issue while creating plans and budgets in the area. State council will now take under consideration various decisions, such as to elevate buildings near the coast and bays or whether to write them off completely. Zoning laws will also be brought back onto the table for discussion, given that the rising sea level may well affect where certain buildings continue to sit.
At this point in time, there is both a worst and best case scenario when it comes to how the situation will look at the end of this century. Waters will either rise by between one and 2.4 feet, or by a whopping 10. The first outcome will only be possible if a crackdown takes place regarding climate-changing fossil-fuel emissions, an environmental route which is still heavily in the works around the world.
By Lorelai Zelmerlow