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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Global Warming Will Submerge Ocean Beach at Little Cost to San Francisco

Posted By on Tue, Sep 13, 2011 at 5:10 PM

First, the bad news: Ocean Beach will likely sink, thanks to global warming. But the good news is, it won't suck nearly as bad as it will for our neighbors down in Southern California.


The reason for this is that our beach is kinda lame, according to a new study. Therefore, San Francisco won't lose nearly as much recreational value when seas eventually rise. According to SF State economist Philip King, who just issued a report called "The Economic Cost of Sea Level Rise to California Beach Communities":

The

 air

 temperature

 at

 Ocean

 Beach

 is

 generally

 cooler

 than

 other

 

areas

 of

 San

 Francisco

 and

 often

 windy.

 Ocean 

Beach

 is

 also

 subject

 to

 many

 foggy

 days,

 

particularly

 in

 the

 summer.

 Hazardous

 rip

 currents

 throughout

 the

 year,

 coupled

 with

 cold

 

nearshore

 waters

 due

 to

 upwelling,

 provide

 unsafe

 and

 unpleasant

 swimming

 conditions.


The bottom line is this: San Francisco will lose $8.4 million in recreational value by 2050 under the  worst case scenario where sea levels rise above two meters.

To put that into context, the Southern California town of Cerpinteria, which has a much gnarlier,

warmer beach, would lose some $20 million in recreational value, the

study said. Zuma Beach, even gnarlier still, would lose $60 million and Venice Beach, meanwhile, will suffer a total bummer, losing $75 million in recreational value.


Here are the numbers:

click to enlarge Global warming scenario at a not-so-gnarly beach (click image to enlarge)
  • Global warming scenario at a not-so-gnarly beach (click image to enlarge)
click to enlarge Global warming scenario at a very gnarly beach (click image to enlarge)
  • Global warming scenario at a very gnarly beach (click image to enlarge)
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Matt Smith

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