New Study Finds Most Southern California Beaches Will Be Gone in 2100


Nearly 70-percent of Southern California's beaches will be gone in less than 100 years. A new research suggests beaches will be lost to complete erosion due to sea-level-rise by 2100.

The study published online by the American Geophysical Union in their Journal of Geophysical Research said that 31 to 67-percent of Southern California beaches might succumb to soil erosion under sea-level rise scenarios of 0.93 to 2.0 m. The conclusion was arrived at by employing "CoSMoS-COAST" (Coastal Storm Modeling System - Coastal One-line Assimilated Simulation Tool). It is a newly-developed computer model that is capable of predicting the amount of coastal erosion event resulting from rising sea-levels including changing storm patterns brought about by climate change, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Lead author of the study Sean Vitousek said that losing the protective swath of beach sand and the pounding surf exposes critical infrastructure, businesses, and homes to damage. It is important to note that California's beaches are natural resources that must be increasingly managed in order to be preserved.

The researchers also noted that consequences of losing coastal beaches would be plenty. It would not only be detrimental to scenery; it also represents serious implications for public safety, not to mention the serious impact it would have on the tourist economy.

John Ainsworth, executive director of the California Coastal Commission chimed, that the prospect of losing Southern California beaches to sea-level rise is unacceptable. He says that their beaches are their public parks and the economic heart and soul of their coastal communities.

Though shoreline changes may be notoriously hard to predict, the U.S. Geological Survey has a good track record. Scientists involved are confident in the accuracy and reliability of CoSMoS-COAST predictive capability applied to the period 2010-2100. This is because the model was able to accurately reproduce Southern California's historical shoreline change from 1995 to 2010.

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