Climate Change: Impacts on Coastal Resources

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from the EPA:

Impacts on Coastal Resources

Climate change is damaging the Northwest coastline. Projections indicate an increase of 1 to 4 feet of global sea level rise by the end of the century, which may have implications for the 140,000 acres of the region that lie within 3.3 feet of high tide.[2] Sea level rise and storm surge pose a risk to people, infrastructure, and ecosystems, especially in low lying areas, which include Puget Sound. Warming waters and ocean acidification threaten economically important marine species and coastal ecosystems.[2]Map of Seattle showing areas projected to fall below sea level during high tide by end of the century. The high (50 inches) and medium (13 inches) estimates are within current projections. The highest level (88 inches) includes the effect of storm surge.Many areas of Seattle are projected to fall below sea level during high tide by the end of the century. Shaded blue areas depict three levels of sea level rise, assuming no adaptation. The high (50 inches) and medium (13 inches) estimates are within the range of current projections, while the highest level (88 inches) includes the effect of storm surge. Source: USGCRP 2014[6]

Flooding, seawater inundation, and erosion are expected to threaten coastal infrastructure, including properties, highways, railways, wastewater treatment plants, stormwater outfalls, and ferry terminals. Coastal wetlands, tidal flats, and beaches are likely to erode or be lost as a result of seawater inundation, which heightens the vulnerability of coastal infrastructure to coastal storms.

Some coastal habitats may disappear if organisms are unable to migrate inland because of topography or human infrastructure. This is expected to affect shorebirds and small forage fish, among other species. Warmer waters in regional estuaries, including Puget Sound, may contribute to an increase in harmful algal blooms, which could result in beach closures and declines in recreational shellfish harvests. Ocean acidification is also expected to negatively impact important economic species, including oysters and Pacific salmon.

For more information on climate change impacts on coastal resources, please visit the Coastal Resources page.

At present, this information can be found on the EPA site here. In the future, the work of our scientists is purportedly going to be reviewed by politicians before it can be released.

–Malcolm

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4 responses

  1. Hadn’t realized it might be that bad.
    We lived in Seattle for 14 years and one of out sons own property there.
    That map was hard to look at.