NEW YORK — By adopting a new computer design, investigators predict that up to 67 percent of Southern California shores are severely damaged by increasing sea levels over the next 80 years.
A new investigation printed in the Journal of Geophysical Research informs that 31 to 67 percent of Southern California strands are at risk of total depletion by the year 2100 under prognosticated scenarios of sea-level increase of three to six feet. In addition to ravaging the local tourist economy, the ruined beaches will reduce a robust support for the 18 million people who live adjacent the shoreline. The lead creator of the study, Sean Vitousek from the US Geological Survey and the University of Illinois at Chicago, says large and expensive intrusions will be needed to preserve the 310 miles of coastline that’s poised to change.
“Beaches are conceivably the most iconic trait of California, and the potential for losing this uniqueness is real,” noted Vitousek in a release. “The effect of California squandering its beaches is not just a matter of changing the tourism economy. Losing the protecting strip of beach sand between us and the pounding surf exposes critical infrastructure, businesses, and homes to collapse. Beaches are natural reserves, and it is likely that human administration industries must increase to preserve them.”
For the research, Vitousek and his associates used a computer modeling method called CoSMoS-COAST. This device is explicitly designed to foretell how shorelines will respond to the effects of climate change in the 21st century. The model can include virtually any coastal setting, including sophisticated features such as dunes, bluffs, cliffs, bays, river mouths, and even urban infrastructure.
The researchers applied CoSMoS-COAST to investigate sand transportation along and across 310 miles of coastline, portioning in such variables as waves and the anticipated sea-level rise. The operation also used traditional shoreline positions to get a sense of how beaches change in response to waves, winds, and weather cycles such as El Niño. Los Angeles’ beaches were hit unusually hard by El Niño, including Cabrillo Beach which now features a predominantly rocky shoreline.
Preserving the beaches from the normal levels of decay will be time-consuming and precious. Potential countermeasures include the construction of jetties, breakwaters, and wall-like structures called groins. Even the act of depositing boulders on shorelines can help, though they’re hideous and they kill the beach-going vibe. Lately, residents of Malibu’s Broad Beach allocated $31 million to add 2,000 truckloads of dirt to their coastline, but the sand is plainly assumed to last about ten years. Strong textiles and control mats can also be used on the beach itself to promote the growth of erosion-fighting plants. Santa Monica is currently recovering its beach with native plant landscaping for this very purpose.
It’s a very dangerous state of affairs and a shame that local homeowners have to take such drastic actions. Sadder yet that the federal government is turning a blind eye to the apparently never-ending consequences of climate change.