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Destruction from sea level rise could exceed state’s worst wildfires and earthquakes

Rosanna Xia, Los Angeles Times, March 13, 2019

• “In the most extensive study to date on sea level rise in California, researchers say damage by century’s could be far more devastating than the worst earthquakes and wildfires in state history.

“A team of U.S. Geological Survey scientists concluded that even a modest sea level rise could overwhelm communities when a storm hits at the same time.

“In the USGS study, published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports, researchers [combined] models that examined wave action, tides, coastal erosion, and flooding in California under sea level rise scenarios ranging from 0 to 6.6 feet, then added four different storm scenarios: average daily conditions, typical annual storm, 20-year storm, and 100-year storm.

They then overlaid the dynamic model with population data, property assessments, and data from various state agencies, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Defense.

Translating sea level rise into economic risk and property loss advances a tricky issue that many communities have been reluctant to confront. A blockbuster study last year by the Union of Concerned Scientists analyzed Zillow data and found that hundreds of thousands of homes across the nation are at risk of chronic flooding in the coming decades. A Stanford study found that downtown Annapolis, Maryland, lost 3,000 visits in 2017 due to high-tide ‘sunny-day’ flooding — as much as $172,000 in revenue for local businesses.

Read the full article here.

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