The sea level off California’s coast is over 6 inches higher than it was in 1950.1 This increase is mostly due to ice melting into the ocean2 and thermal expansion,3 and it’s causing major issues. Solutions in California can be complicated because the state has more coastal residents than any other in the U.S.4 as well as habitats and billions of dollars worth of real estate at risk. The state is planning over $6 billion in sea level rise solutions, which include seawall improvements, flood mitigation for major roads, and wetland restoration and fortification.
Sea level rise is speeding up
Although the sea has only risen by 6 inches since 1950, its speed of rise has accelerated over the last ten years and it’s now rising by about 1 inch every 10 years.1 Scientists know this because the sea level is measured every 6 minutes using equipment like satellites, floating buoys off the coast, and tidal gauges to accurately measure the local sea level as it accelerates and changes.6
Sea level measurement from San Francisco area tide gauge since 1950