Tuesday, July 26, 2011

If the Pacific keeps a-rising....

The name of this blog is HistoryLosAngeles, not FutureLosAngeles. But in fifty years, today will be a point in history. And in 2060, will we fondly recall the days when the ocean stayed off the coast of Redondo, Hermosa, Venice, and all other beaches?

As this NRDC fact sheet points out, the ocean level along our shore has been rising about 2/3 of an inch per decade for a while. If that trend continues, by 2100 the sea will have risen by at least 20, and maybe as much as 55 inches.

That would not inundate many areas--but there would be a big danger of storm surges. Surges would go further inland than they do now. Folks along the beach in Redondo and Hermosa in the early days,from the 1890s all the way into the 1950s, described storms taking out oceanfront property--homes and shops. Even into the 1980s, I recall a few restaurants destroyed--the Lady ALexandra, I think, and cluba near Seaside Lagoon. Imagine that kind of destruction, and imagine it being much worse.

The storms in 90 years could ravage Superfund sites, waste treatment plants, and eight power plants that currently stand along the California coast. The San Pedro, Wilmington, and Long Beach port areas would be vulnerable to flooding.

Aquifers near the coast would be damaged by saltwater intrusion as the sea rose. Since slight rises in temperature and longer drought periods are also predicted, the loss of aquifers means less fresh water available: bad.

Miles and miles of roads would also be at risk. It seems weird to think that we might not have moved our roads by then, especially since the sea would be steadily rising....but looking at the current political gridlock, the woeful lack of funding for infrastructure, and the opportunistic nature of planning in this area, I can imagine a pretty nasty scenario, and a city where the wealthy have protected themselves--and themselves alone.

But maybe I'm wrong on a lot of counts.

1 comment:

Judy Herman said...

I'm afraid you're all too right.