Blog » sea level rise
- May 9, 2011
On May 4 SPUR released a major report, "Climate Change Hits Home," that lays out what the Bay Area must do to start preparing for the coming effects of climate change. This project, a multi-year effort by a team of top climate scientists and government leaders, represents a turning point for SPUR. We have long worked to stop climate change, but now we are also addressing the reality that some climate change is inevitable, despite our best efforts. Even if we stopped producing greenhouse gases tomorrow, emissions already in the air would continue to warm the atmosphere.
By 2050, we'll have nearly eight times as many dangerously hot days as we did in the 20th century. Sea levels are expected to rise 55 inches by 2100. And we need to start readying our railroads, highways, water supply, public health infrastructure and energy grid for the changes to come. Ours is the first report to map out specific actions that Bay Area governments need to take to protect our systems.
News of the report has appeared on KQED radio, KGO and KRON TV and in the San Francisco Chronicle, The Bay Citizen and the San Francisco Examiner. We hope local government agencies will give our recommendations the same degree of attention.
- February 25, 2010BY TESSA
Climate change is a global problem, and the San Francisco Bay Area is especially threatened. Around one thousand miles of shoreline frame the region, so we will be greatly affected by sea level rise and intensified storm activity.
Given our particularly risky situation, the Bay Area is on the forefront of climate change action. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District and the Institute for Local Government have collaborated to release the San Francisco Bay Area Climate Action Portal, a web based tool designed to provide local governments with the resources they need to take action on climate change.
The site provides access to a wide variety of information including climate change policy, science and current news, inventory and statistical information, project examples throughout the Bay Area, and goals already accomplished. The portal also has an interface for climate change communication, linking people together for meetings, events, online discussion forums, list-serves, and blogs.
While attacking climate change may often require extremely site-specific strategies, there are many issues such as transportation that we need to approach as a megaregion. The Climate Web Portal allows Bay Area cities to learn from one another, while also helping local governments discover their own unique needs.
- December 18, 2009BY LAURA TAM, SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT POLICY DIRECTOR
A paper this week in what is arguably the world's most prestigious scientific journal, Nature, says that the last time the Earth warmed up as much as it will under climate change, sea levels rose about 8 meters. This means that global sea level rise over the coming decades may be about twice as worse as we thought. When we published two articles in the Urbanist last month on the topic of sea level rise, we reported that sea level rise might possibly be 5-7 m higher in 300 years, and very likely 1.5 m by 2100. (these were the most well-documented worst-case scenario numbers I could find).
This new paper - a great analysis here - says sea level rise is very likely going to rise 20-30 feet (6-9 m) if we hold temperature to about 3.6 degrees F higher than today. We don't know when we'll get these levels. We only know we'll be committed to them even if we somehow manage to slow down climate change.
As of today's proposals in Copenhagen, the temperature in 2100 is going to be 7 degrees F hotter.
- November 16, 2009BY LAURA TAM, SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT POLICY DIRECTOR
This Wednesday, join the Alaska Conservation Foundation for an evening with National Geographic photographer James Balog. Mr. Balog, an award wininng photographer for over 25 years, will share his groundbreaking work to capture the reality of climate change by photographing the world’s shrinking glaciers. Through time-lapse footage, Mr. Balog will share his efforts to design equipment, underwrite, and produce one of the world’s most convincing records of climate change. For more information (and stunning photographs), visit www.extremeicesurvey.org. Half of the U.S. coal reserves, by the way, lie in Alaska—making it a very important front line for stopping global climate change.
Event details: Wed, Nov. 18, Fort Mason Officer's Club, 1 Fort Mason, San Francisco
Program (Free, but RSVP required): 6:30-7:30 pm
RSVP: Lorraine Guyer, at email@example.com
, or call (907) 276-1917.
- October 8, 2009BY LAURA TAM, SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT POLICY DIRECTOR
A climate conference in Oxford concluded last week that whatever we can do to slow carbon emissions, it won't be enough to stop accelerated sea level rise. In fact, a German scientist who's widely regarded as one of the world's foremost experts on sea level rise, said his best guess was 1 meter this century (a lowball figure compared to the latest projections for California), and 5 meters in 300 years. Expect a lot of bleak climate news to be revealed over the next few months, as the world prepares for the U.N. climate change conference taking place in Copenhagen in December. The conference's web site is a great source of daily climate news from around the globe. And if you don't like what you see coming out of Copenhagen, try visiting Hopenhagen instead.
- May 20, 2009BY JULIE KIM
Just wanted to point your attention to the Bay Conservation Development Commission's upcoming design competition. The jury is seeking ideas inspired by "the common characteristics of estuaries" to prepare and adapt shoreline cities to the challenges of sea level rise. Entries will be displayed in the Ferry Building on July 14-19. Designers: still time to enter your proposal! Here's an excerpt from the competition brief:
Some techniques for dealing with sea level rise are fairly obvious. Other ideas, however, are less tested and still other concepts may not yet have been conceived. The best ideas will be products of innovation and creativity, be it by expanding upon traditional design solutions, such as seawalls and levees, or by offering an entirely new perspective. Proposals may involve any type of project within the built and natural environments, at any scale relative to an estuary like the San Francisco Bay. Your idea may address sea level rise for a particular shoreline element or structure, or it may address the larger issues related to a site, a neighborhood, commercial districts, public infrastructure, transportation systems or an entire watershed.
SPUR is currently outlining an upcoming issue of the Urbanist on cities and rising tides. Stay tuned for details...