Sea levels will rise in the coming decades as a result of melting of mountain glaciers, ice caps, and ice sheets. Rising sea levels will encroach on land that is home to families, businesses, and communities. A 5-foot increase in sea level would put an estimated half-million Californians at risk of losing their homes to flooding. The most damaging events, however, will occur when storm surges combine with rising seas to inundate coastal areas.
How does climate change affect sea levels?
As global temperatures rise, melting glaciers and ice caps are causing sea levels to rise worldwide. Ocean waters are also warming, causing it to expand and compound sea level rise. California's iconic coastline is particularly vulnerable to impacts from sea level rise.
How does sea level rise impact health?
Sea level rise increases the risk of coastal and low-lying inland communities losing their homes and becoming displaced. In addition, sea level rise may corrupt drinking water, sanitation, and road infrastructure for communities.
Who will be most affected?
- Those who live near coastal waters
- Communities more vulnerable to disasters who:
- have limited access to private vehicles
- may not speak English
- live near hazardous waste facilities