Sure, we all know that large areas of Florida and some Pacific islands are forecast to disappear beneath rising sea levels, but SACRAMENTO?
Those of us who have to endure the ongoing introduction of stupid legislation in California’s capital city might view inundation as an improvement. Sadly, many of today’s politicians there will have died from natural causes before the flood occurs. The flooding may take “a few hundred years, or even 2,000 – but the eventual, permanent flooding of low-lying areas in Sacramento is guaranteed if greenhouse gases are not deeply reduced, according to new research.”
Rising sea levels as the result of climate change (global warming) are expected to dramatically alter the landscape of many of the world’s coastal areas, in the future. A new study show that the largest U.S. cities that are highly threatened by future rises in sea level are Miami FL, Virginia Beach VA, Jacksonville FL, and Sacramento CA! Although Sacramento is not a coastal city, it has many waterways, which make it especially vulnerable. Remember, the nearby, inland city of Stockton is a MAJOR seaport!
In Sacramento, a 5-foot rise in water level would be inevitable, even with deep cuts in emissions, according to experts. Sacramento would be affected by a sea level rise working its way up the Sacramento River (photo above, near Old Town Sacramento).
A peer-reviewed study in the current issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences concludes the Earth is already “committed” to 7.5 feet of sea level rise in the next 2,000 years, assuming a conservative 1-degree Celsius increase in global temperature.
The study was led by Anders Levermann at the Pottsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany and includes co-authors in the United States. It was funded by grants from the German government and the National Science Foundation in the United States.
In the same journal, researchers at Climate Central, a nonprofit educational group in New Jersey, took the research a step further. By combining the sea level predictions with land elevation data, they estimated which U.S. cities will eventually be flooded.
One of those cities is Sacramento. In particular, the city’s Pocket neighborhood will be flooded if 7.5 feet of sea level rise occurs. Parts of Natomas will also go under, particularly neighborhoods along Truxel Road.
These areas are also forecast to flood with a smaller sea level rise – as little as 2 feet in the case of the Pocket.
The conclusion of the Climate Central group is that a significant portion of Sacramento’s population lives on land that will be underwater in a few hundred years – 2,000 – years at most, if global carbon emissions are not cut deeply.
“It could be a great deal sooner,” said Benjamin Strauss, author of the commentary and a scientist at Climate Central.
One reason for the uncertainty is that the “worst-case scenario” of emissions is now considered to be conservative. Developed in 2000, the scenario was the highest possible future rate of emissions agreed on by an international panel of scientists. Many scientists now recognize emissions have actually exceeded this worst-case scenario, meaning it could underestimate how fast the climate is changing. <emphasis mine>
If the current trend of global carbon emissions continues unabated, Sacramento is one of several large U.S. cities that will be “locked-in” by the year 2100 to a future under the sea, Climate Central says.
Locked-in means “there’s nothing you can do about it,” said Wiles <Richard Wiles, director of research at Climate Central>
“It’s like when you put an ice cube on a table, I can guarantee you it will melt completely – I just can’t tell you exactly when.”
Scientists extimate that if the ENTIRE Greenland ice sheet were to melt, global sea levels would rise 23 feet – a global catastrophe, since 1/3 of the world’s population lives in a coastal zone. Sacbee.com continues:
“What would you recommend if there was 23 feet of sea level rise?” wondered Francis Chung, an expert on climate modeling at the California Department of Water Resources. “I say pack and run. That’s unthinkable.”
Chung said his department has been planning for a sea level rise of about 4 feet, the maximum California scientists expect by 2100.
There goes “the Pocket” of Sacramento!
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