Future beachgoers in L.A. County will have a little less sand to sprawl out on as sea levels are expected to rise as much as 6.6 feet by 2100, according to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration study released Thursday.
In the best-case scenario, ocean levels will rise at least 8 inches and as much as 6.6 feet in the worst-case scenario. Over 8 million people will be at risk of coastal flooding in the U.S., according to NOAA. If sea levels rise more than 6 feet, about two percent of homes in Redondo Beach would be affected.
“It is certain that higher mean sea levels increase the frequency, magnitude, and duration of flooding associated with a given storm. Flooding has disproportionately high impacts in most coastal regions, particularly in flat, low-lying areas. Regardless of how much warming occurs over the next 100 years, sea level rise is not expected to stop in 2100,” the report states.
Statewide, 3.5 million Californians live within three feet of sea level. Many small beaches, such as Redondo Beach and Torrance Beach, may be almost completely wiped out, and storms may shift sands to other wider Southern California beaches, such as Manhattan Beach or Venice Beach, according to a March 2012 study conducted by Duke University that analyzed 51 public beaches in L.A. County.
The study concluded that coastal communities in Southern California beaches could lose as much as $63 million a year in revenue per year—up to $10 million per year, in Redondo's case—due to decreased tourism because of sea level rise. And, winter storms, combined with higher tides, may lead to accelerated beach erosion.
The NOAA report was compiled at the request from the U.S. National Climate Assessment Development and Advisory Committee to help policy makers mitigate the risks associated with climate change.