LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) — One of the icons of California could look drastically different by the year 2100 without human intervention.
A new study predicts that 31 percent to 67 percent of Southern California beaches could completely erode back to coastal infrastructure or sea cliffs by the year 2100 with sea-level rises of 3.3 feet (1 meter) to 6.5 feet (2 meters).
“Beaches are perhaps the most iconic feature of California, and the potential for losing this identity is real,” the study’s author, Sean Vitousek said in a statement. “Beaches are natural resources, and it is likely that human management efforts must increase in order to preserve them.”
The study released Monday used a new computer model to predict shoreline effects caused by sea level rise and changes in storm patterns due to climate change. Although Southern California beaches are a complex mixture of dunes, bluffs, cliffs, estuaries, river mouths, and urban infrastructure, the model is applicable to virtually any coastal setting, according to the U.S. Geological Study.
The study has been accepted for publication by the American Geophysical Union’s Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface.
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