Climate Solutions Corner: Rising Sea Levels and Groundwater - September 2020

Climate Solutions Corner: Rising Sea Levels and Groundwater - September 2020

Sea level rise
Blog Post

With this “Corner”, I have tried to focus on solutions, but this month I want to instead bring up a topic that hasn’t been discussed much to highlight that climate change matters and why we all need to rise up to this existential challenge and cut our green-house gas emissions.

Two articles have come out in the last week about rising sea levels. The first is from the California’s Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO), “What Threat Does Sea-Level Rise Pose to California?” The second is from the LA Times, 8/18/20, “Way past the beaches and berms”. I am providing both links because these articles are truly worth your time to read.

The LAO article describes scientific projections of sea level rise (SLR) in California to be at least 6 inches in 2030, and 2 feet by 2050.  The image of waves coming up higher and higher so that we won’t be able to walk along many beaches comes to mind with SLR. Higher seas will bring the more obvious prospect of flooding in lower lying areas with damage to highways and buildings, and seacliff erosion. But there are a lot more problems that are below the surface. SLR will push salty groundwater inland forcing the fresh groundwater up.

The LA Times article describes how, with SLR, the slow, inland creep of salty groundwater is expected to cause rising water tables, flooding, or salt contamination. We haven’t heard too much about this shallow groundwater contamination since people don’t drink it. But salty groundwater damages agricultural fields, like the Oxnard Plain, and buried infrastructure, like sewage pipes, among others. Many airports, like our own in San Diego, are vulnerable, being on low lying land near the sea.  Even if you live in inland San Diego County, there are so many aspects of our lives that are will be impacted by SLR. We are all at risk.

Please vote for people that take climate change seriously.  Please ask candidates (in every election) questions about plans for reducing green-house gas emissions, what they want to do to address rising seas, or what solutions they see for climate change.

In 2020, Election Day is the real Earth Day.

Issues referenced by this article: 
League to which this content belongs: 
North County San Diego