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As those states seek to incorporate projections of sea-level rise into coastal planning, they asked the National Research Council to make independent projections of sea-level rise along their coasts for the years , , and , taking into account regional factors that affect sea level.


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Sea level along the U. Regional projections for California, Oregon, and Washington show a sharp distinction at Cape Mendocino in northern California. South of that point, sea-level rise is expected to be very close to global projections.


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However, projections are lower north of Cape Mendocino because the land is being pushed upward as the ocean plate moves under the continental plate along the Cascadia Subduction Zone. However, an earthquake magnitude 8 or larger, which occurs in the region every few hundred to 1, years, would cause the land to drop and sea level to suddenly rise.

Committee member Gary Griggs is featured in this video about the report. Animation produced by Earthguide with support from the Kavli Foundation.

Sea-Level Rise for the Coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington: Past, Present and Future

As sea levels rise, the ocean will slowly erode sand from many beaches along the California coast. If a beach is trapped between rising seas and coastal development, it cannot retreat inland, so it will become narrower and narrower. The loss of beach space cuts down on recreational space for people and results in loss of habitat for many beach inhabitants, such as shorebirds, sand crabs and beach hoppers. Beaches generally have a shallow slope; so, even a small amount of sea level rise can overtake a large portion of beach width and dramatically impact our beaches.

Suggestion: Learn about the critters who inhabit the sand or read about climate change success stories. Skip to main content.

Explore how seasonal conditions and sea level rise will affect beach erosion and the beach face.