The ups and downs of sea level rise

Two intriguing articles released recently proving, once again, that there are two sides to every story.  As with many of the expected results of climate change, there will be winners and losers in the sea level rise story.

Sea Level Rise to Alter Economics of California Beaches

“Rising sea levels are likely to change Southern California beaches in the coming century, but not in ways you might expect.”

Rising seas don’t have to be bad news

“To this day, Provincetown continues to grow at the expense of the beaches to its south. And that process is likely to accelerate as rising sea level exacerbates erosion.”

What’s interesting about these articles is the dichotomy of the effects of sea level rise – even at the same location.  For example, the very same California beach may lose significant beach-related revenues from “long-term losses in beach size caused by a 1-meter rise in sea level over the next 100 years” but may also experience increased beach-related revenues from “short-lived beach erosion resulting from a year of severe winter storms and high tides associated with sea level rise” due to losses from other beaches and shifted patterns of use.  Similarly, while sea level rise may be contributing to the accretion of the Providence hook, it is also threatening the infrastructure that serves it (see below figure of potential flooding of Routes 6 and 6A at Pilgrim Lake east of Provincetown):

Areas potentially impacted by sea level rise: Weiss JL, Overpeck JT, Strauss B (2011) Implications of recent sea level rise science for low-elevation areas in coastal cities of the conterminous U.S.A. Climatic Change DOI 10.1007/s10584-011-0024-x.

This entry was posted in beaches, climate change, coastal erosion, environment, flooding, planning, sea-level rise, shoreline erosion and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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