San Fran’s catch-22: Sea levels are rising and coastal areas are sinking

Study predicts 165 square miles will be lost by 2100

(Credit from back: PxHere; joiseyshowaa/Flickr)
(Credit from back: PxHere; joiseyshowaa/Flickr)

“If the right one don’t get you then the left one will”– the famous lyric pretty much sums up the results of scientists’ recent study about the effect of rising sea levels on the Bay area.

The threat of changing sea levels is the devil many know, but subsidence, or the rate at which land sinks, is a compounding, lesser known factor that will have a big impact going forward. Essentially, the sea is getting higher and the land is sinking lower; around 2100, the two will meet and San Fran will loose an estimated 165 square miles to the ocean, according to Wired.

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Scientists say humans have caused subsidence by draining naturally-occurring aquifers and the eventual flooding of coastal cities is basically unavoidable at this point — save moving inland — and will effect cities globally, including New York.

“There is no permanent solution to this problem,” geophysicist and author of the paper Manoochehr Shirzaei told Wired. “I’m not so sure there’s a good way to avoid it.”

Based on data collected between 2007 and 2011, the Bay area’s coast is sinking at a rate of 2 millimeters per year. [Wired]Erin Hudson