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Is San Diego Ready For Rising Sea Levels

Audio

Aired 4/19/09

A federal agency has released a report on rising sea level and the effect on coastal areas like San Diego. The report says possible damage includes erosion of local beaches and more intense coastal flooding. KPBS Environmental Reporter Ed Joyce has more.

The Environmental Protection Agency, in collaboration with other agencies, issued a report assessing the potential effects of rising sea level on coastal communities.

Scripps Institution of Oceanography researcher Dan Cayan worked on a recent study that spelled out how well San Diego County is prepared to handle the effects of rising sea level.

He says the EPA report doesn't shed new light on the physical phenomenon but...

Cayan : It takes on the issue of are we prepared for it, how would we adapt and plan and mitigate this problem.

While the report focuses on the east coast, he says there's value for the west coast too.

Cayan says winter storms here, like storms on the east coast, will cause increased damage when combined with rising sea levels.
 

The EPA report says some ways to prepare for rising sea levels include adding seawalls and other shoreline armoring; elevating buildings, beaches and wetlands; and allowing shorelines to change and moving structures out of harm's way. 

Sea level is predicted to rise because of the expansion of ocean water due to warming and the melting of glaciers and ice sheets.

Ed Joyce, KPBS News.

 

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