Southern California Sea Level Rise and Flood Risks

SC Coastal Sea Level Rise, Flood Heights, and Population at Risk

We use the web site Surging Seas Risk Finder to find projected sea level and flood heights for the Southern California Beach Cities south of Long Beach.

We start with flood risks. For Laguna Beach, the tidal heights use the tidal gauge at La Jolla. There is a 100% risk of a flood over 3 feet between now and 2050. There is a 50% risk to 2040, but only a few percent to 2030. This is with the medium scenario for sea level rise.

Now for sea level rise in the medium scenario. The rise above the 1992 high tide level is: 3.5 ft in 2100; 2.5 ft in 2080; 1.6 ft in 2060; and 0.9 ft at 2040.

A “mild flood” is one that happens once a year. A “moderate flood” is one that is 2.1 feet above the 1992 high tide. We show the table of mild and moderate flood heights in the future.

Year…..Mild Flood….Moderate flood heights:

2020……….2.2 ft………2.1 ft
2040……….2.7 ft………2.6 ft
2060……….3.4 ft………3.0 ft
2080……….4.3 ft………3.8 ft
2100………..5.3 ft………5.7 ft

From the Risk Zone Maps, at 6 feet rise, there is no damage to downtown Laguna Beach. At 7 feet, coast highway is flooded next to main beach. At 8 feet, Ocean and Broadway are flooded a half of the way up to Glen Eyre. At 9 feet, they are flooded two thirds up to Glen Eyre. At 10 feet, downtown is flooded up to Glen Eyre.

For the population at risk who live less than 3 feet above high tide level, we start with Orange County and the 2010 census. There are 6,500 people in Newport Beach, 3,100 in Huntington Beach, and 400 in Sunset Beach. These are people not protected by sea walls.

We start with the 48th Congressional District represented by Republican Dana Rorabacher. It runs along the coast from Seal Beach through Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, and Laguna Beach to Laguna Niguel. The 48th has 10,000 people living below 3 feet, essentially those listed above for Orange County.

The 47th Congressional District covers Long Beach to Westminster and is represented by Democrat Alan Lowenthal. It has 6,000 people living below 3 feet.

The 49th Congressional District runs from San Clemente through Del Mar, stopping at La Jolla. It has only 93 people below 3 feet. It is represented by Republican Darrell Issa.

The 14th Congressional District covers San Mateo and borders the SF Bay and the Pacific Coast. It is represented by Democrat Jackie Speier. It has 73,000 people below 3 feet.

The 2nd Congressional District covers the coast from Marin County to the Northern border. It has 23,400 people below 3 feet. It is represented by Democrat Jared Huffman.

The 9th Congressional District is centered around Stockton and is East of the SF Bay. It is represented by Democrat Jerry McNerney. It has 10,900 living below 3 feet.

These Districts of the State of California have 123,000 people living below three feet above high tide level. We summarize their districts: 14th at 73,000; 2nd at 23,400; 9th at 10,900; the 48th at 10,000; and the 47th at 6,000.

On the other hand, their are 55,000 Stockton residents and 22,800 in Sacramento living less than one feet above high tide, but protected by levees that will be overrun at 3 feet above high tide. This is in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, and includes the 9th Congressional district. Below 3 feet in this area is $7.5 billion of property, 254 miles of roads, 25 schools, and 33 contaminated sites.


Posted in Climate Change, Climate Science, Coastal Flooding, King Tides, Mayor's Climate Action Plan | Leave a comment

Southern California King Tides in 2017/2018

Southern California King Tides in 2017/2018

The winter King Tides for Southern California are in early December and January. At Balboa Pier, Newport Beach, they will occur at the following dates and times, with associated heights above relative mean sea level.


Dec. 2….7.18 AM……6.5 ft

Dec. 3….7:57 AM……6.8 ft

Dec. 4….8:39 AM……6.8 ft

Dec. 5….9:24 AM……6.6 ft

Jan. 1…..7:42 AM……6.8 ft

Jan. 2…..8:28 AM……6.9 ft

Jan. 3…..9:15 AM……6.7 ft

These high tides are as much as 2.8 feet above the evening high tides.

A teachable lesson is that the present day King Tides give an impression of where normal high tides will be 50 years from now due to sea level rise from global warming. The warming melts glaciers and landed ice packs in Greenland and Antarctica. Also, when the 95% of the warmth goes into the ocean, it heats and expands the oceans.

It is much more important to emphasize that the water damage will not come from the creeping sea level rise, but from storms with high tides, and storm surges plus high storm waves.  There may also be overflowing rivers and canyons from extreme Pineapple Express rainfalls, and perhaps extra El Niño sea level rise from warmer waters and winds from the West.

The NOAA website gives the data that nearly 200,000 Californians live in low-lying coastal areas lower than one foot below sea level. 873 miles of coastal roads are at hazard from King Tides or storm surges. Coastal tourism accounts for 39% of California’s $17.6 billion coastal economy. Floods could interfere with transport to jobs accounting for $662 billion in wages and $1.7 trillion in GDP.

A Government Accounting Office study projected that heavy rains and rising sea level could increase flood losses in coastal communities in the US by $23 billion per year by 2050.

Part of the King Tides comes from the fact that the earth is in an elliptical orbit, with the sun at one of the ellipse’s foci. The earth is at the closest point to the sun (the perihelion) around January 2.

The normal tides point to and away from the moon as the earth and its oceans daily rotate completely around. The moon rotates around the earth in its own elliptical orbit every 29 days. Tides are highest when the moon is at its closest point to the earth, or perigee.

Near when perihelion occurs, when the moon’s perigee occurs and the moon is aligned between the earth and the sun, the highest tides occur.

Tides are extremely complicated. On earth, they depend on the uneven depth of the ocean, the continents pushing the oceans around as the earth rotates, ocean currents, weather, which side of the earth is closest to the moon, centrifugal force from the earth’s rotation, and location, location, location. The moon’s orbit is also variable in distance around the ellipse, there is the precession of the ellipse, the 5 degree tilt of the moon’s orbit, the relative location of the sun, and other effects. The tides depend on the declination of the sun and the moon, and the season, due to the tilt of the earth’s axis.

Despite this complexity, some sealife reproduction is timed to high tides and certain full moons, such as coral reproduction, turtle egg laying, and grunion reproduction. It behooves us to maintain beaches for the other species on the earth, besides just for ourselves.



Posted in California Water, Climate Change, Climate Science, Coastal Flooding, King Tides, NOAA, Sea Level Rise | Leave a comment

My Disappointments with President Trump and the Republican Congress

My Disappointments with President Trump and the Republican Congress

I have been avoiding commenting on daily Trump mayhem, but to the extent this blog has any historical value, I want to record briefly some of the ways that Trump or the Republican Congress has been disappointing me on standards of government integrity. They are not in any great order. I will not delve heavily on the Russian influence, because it is so vast, and new contacts and influence emerge even daily that were sworn not to exist.

Just one thing about Russian contacts. Trump won by three states with less than a 1% lead, being Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania. In the recounts, Trump’s lawyers fought to keep the voting machines from being examined, including the software, and they won. Now that we see how Russia influenced all social media, and easily hacked computers, it would have been nice to examine the voting machines.

I am really disappointed that Trump is giving away lifetime federal judgeships to four young conservatives who were essentially given F’s by the American Bar Association as to any qualifications to be a federal judge.

I am upset that one of the unqualified judges did not list a conflict when his wife turned out to be the chief of staff to the White House member in charge of choosing judges.

I am upset that the Republicans in Congress, many of whom have been educated in the best law schools, and by the best professors in the country, have slavishly followed Trump in his continued denigration of the judiciary, to a person.

I am upset that in the one year after Trump won the presidency, he has logged 1,300 lies, about four a day.

I am upset with aspects of the tax bills that pick on blue states to fund tax cuts mostly for rich people.

I am upset that while coastal Republican states can deduct losses from floods, Western coastal Democratic states cannot deduct damages from earthquakes and wildfires, which we are most subject to.

I am upset that taxes are leveled against graduate students’ tuition grants. We need their valuable teaching and research, at lower pay than they could earn in industry.

I am upset at Trump’s repetitive statements that he will get nothing out of it (except his family’s billion dollar tax cut).

I am upset that all Republicans are lying about the dominance of tax relief to the rich.

I am upset that Trump threw in a cut on health care, which will force 13 million out of the ACA.

I am upset that Trump has not moved to remove bump stocks after the Las Vegas massacre.

I am upset that Trump has not moved on closing the gun show loophole and Internet sales.

I am upset that Trump has moved to allow Elephant trophies of Babar’s mother to be imported to the US.

I am upset that Trump gets away with calling the reputable media as “fake news”, and that his followers follow him on this belief.

I am upset that Trump continued his grade-school mocking by calling Kim Jong Un FAT and short. Trump is just lucky to be tall, but should not disparage all others who are shorter, include many of his voters. Trump is also fat, but can hide it by being tall. Many of his voters may also be overweight.

I am still upset because Trump tries to lower overhead on research contracts from the standard 30% to lower values like 10%. This is just another attack by Trump on experts, knowledge, research, and science. America grows on new research and well trained Ph.Ds.

I am leaving out his slavishness to the fossil fuel oligarchs in killing our clean energy programs, but I complain about this in most of my articles.

And these complaints are just the recent ones.


Posted in 2016 Election, California Federal Funding, Clean Energy, Congress, Donald Trump, Fire Risks, Gun Control, Health Care, Politics, Russia, Trump Administration, Wealth | Leave a comment

International College Students in the US

A major increase in American education is the influx of college and high school students from other countries. They help our financing of colleges since they pay tuition at private colleges or a high out-of-state tuition at public universities. They also enter private high schools, and help fund them. It helps the high school students become accustomed to American ways, improve their English, and improving their college applications. They give our own students and other international students the many experiences and culture of a vastly diverse world. In the UC system, we still take the same percentages of students from state high schools as always. The extra students from out-of-state allow us to support our own state’s students better, and grow as a university.

We present enrollment data for international college students and students for the 2016/17 year from the 2017 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange by the Institute of international Education

There are 20 million college students in the US. 5.3% of them are international students, at 1,078,822. This is an increase of 3.4% from last year.

The academic levels break down as 439,019 undergraduates, 391,124 graduate students, 72,984 non-degree, and 175,695 optional practical training. Of the graduate students, 124,705 are doctoral students, and are doing valuable research for the US and the world.

The leading 10 countries of origin of the international students are:

China:                350,755. 32.5%
India:                  186,267. 17.3%
South Korea:       58,663. 5.4%
Saudi Arabia:       52,611. 4.9%
Canada:                27,065. 2.5%
Vietnam:              22,438. 2.1%
Taiwan:                21,516. 2.0%
Japan:                  19,060. 1.7%
Mexico:                16,835. 1.6%
Brazil:                   13,089. 1.2%

The breakdown of student majors taken by international students follow:

Engineering.                                           230,711
Business and Management:                200,312
Math and Computer Science:              167,180
Other Fields:                                             87,577
Social Sciences:                                        83,046
Physical and Life Sciences:                    76,838
Fine and Applied Arts:                            61,506
Health Professions:                                  34,395
Intensive English:                                     30,309
Communications and Journalism:        21,913
Education:                                                   17,993
Humanities:                                                17,561
Legal Studies:                                             15,306
Agriculture:                                                 12,602

Iie presents a list of the top 25 US universities in foreign student enrollment. Starting with the leading private university, NYU, we just list the California Universities in the list, and their foreign student enrollment.

1 NYU        17,326
2 USC.       14,327
7 UCLA.    12,199
11 UCSD     9,065
15 UCB.      8,000
25. UCI       6,792


Posted in California University Rankings, Education, International Students, UC Admissions, UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, University Funding, University Rankings | Leave a comment

The Climate Action of the US at the Bonn Conference

The Climate Action of the US at the Bonn COP23 Conference

Michael Bloomberg, former Mayor of New York City, noted that the US Climate Action effort called America’s Pledge involved 20 states, 110 cities, universities, and 1,400 businesses.   The businesses have over $25 trillion in market capitalization.

As of June 1, 2017, 383 US Climate Mayors were committed to adopt, honor, and uphold the Paris Climate Agreement goals. The Mayors represent 68 million Americans. Bloomberg said that the involved group would be the world’s third largest economy, and about half of the US economy and population. Even though Trump plans to withdraw from the Paris agreement or renegotiate it, he is destroying the Clean Power Plan, and being challenged in court. The US cannot officially withdraw until the end of his term, anyway.

As of June 20, 2017, 7,400 International mayors, including the US mayors, had signed on to Obama’s goals for the Paris Climate Agreement.  This is quite an honor shown to President Obama’s leadership in solving the climate problem.

The association of states is called the US Climate Alliance.  It’s website is      The state’s that list their best practices are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.  The Alliance has more than 36% of the US population.  They have a GDP over $7 trillion, and 1.3 million clean energy jobs.

Note: In quoting data, I have copied from the LA Times, the NY Times, USA Today, Climate Websites, and several Wikipedia articles.  I have added a conglomerated view and some ideas of my own.

The Obama administration goal was to cut emissions at least 26% below 2005 levels by 2025. Due to the low price of natural gas, we have already reduced emissions by 11.5% between 2005 and 2015. Gov. Brown of California and Bloomberg claimed that the coalition can achieve this plan. (Others dispute that. We should note that there are still 5 years between the next President in 2020 and the end of 2025.)

While the goal of the Paris Climate Agreement is to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius, it is already about 1 degree Celsius. But we are still aimed toward 3 degrees Celsius total rise. Drastic cuts will be needed, and soon.

This showed the importance of Laguna Beach’s participation in the older Mayor’s Climate Action Plan. By 2009, over 1,000 mayors representing 86 million people had joined. The goal in 2005 was to reduce emissions by 5.2% from 1990 levels by the year 2012. This is already past, and a lesser goal than the Paris plan. Laguna Beach voted in August 2017 to join the new US Mayors Climate plan, and to match the US Paris Agreement goals.  The danger is that 67% of Southern California beaches could be lost to sea level rise by 2100.

The cities in the US Climate Mayors include Los Angeles, Boston, New York City, Houston, Chicago, Seattle, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Denver, Detroit, Memphis, Miami, Miami Beach, Nashville, New Orleans, Newark, Oakland, Orlando, Portland, Raleigh, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Fernando, San Francisco, San Jose, South Miami, St. Petersburg, Tallahassee, Tucson, Vancouver, Urbana, Ventura, Washington D.C., etc. We see there are a large number from the South, and from Republican states.

Locally, there are Laguna Woods, Long Beach, San Diego, Santa Ana, Santa Monica, etc. The Climate Mayor’s website and list is at

Governor Brown spoke, and cited that California had 32 million cars driving 335 billion miles a year, for an average of about 10,500 miles per car. He pointed out that we are a leader in fighting pollution. He might have said more except for extra-liberal protestors.

Estimates are that we would need about 40% more energy generation to replace our cars with all-electric cars.

There are many strategies to lessen transport. Probably some of them will be adopted as more efficient use of worker’s and shopper’s time, without even being considered as carbon pollution savings. First there are transport savings by web shopping, saving comparative shopping and pricing at many separated outlets, and the time involved. Then there is the efficiency of a mail delivery system that covers many residences or businesses in a linearized distribution system. Then there are setting up local offices in the suburbs where many workers live. There is building new housing projects about mass transport systems.

Then there is computerized carpooling using algorithms similar to Uber. As people get more used to being driven by average people, that breaks down barriers to carpooling. As more cars become automatically driven, there is less need to buy a show-off muscle car, and more incentive to buy a fuel saving car. As traffic accidents almost disappear with intelligent cars, people will not have to buy massive cars for safety protection.

Airplane travel is one of the forms that may remain as fossil fueled.  Hopefully, the increase in web communications will less the need for business travel.  Wit new forms of virtual reality, maybe cultural travel can also be decreased.  With increasing wealth, many cultural sites are very crowded, and developing waiting lines.

While the Trump Administration’s offer to Bonn was fossil fuel promoters, nobody is looking to increase coal usage, especially with fracked natural gas being cheaper. Fast reacting natural gas plants will be even more necessary to even out power as more renewable solar and wind energy is being established. The Trump Administration is also pushing nuclear power. This would be useful for the 40% of new power needed to charge electric cars, especially at night. Yet, only a few new generation reactors are being built in the US, and many old ones will be retired.

Posted in Al Gore, Autos, Bonn Climate Conference, Clean Energy, Climate Change, Climate Science, Donald Trump, Electric Power, Fossil Fuel Energy, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Laguna Beach Energy Savings, Mayor's Climate Action Plan, Paris Climate Accord, Paris Climate Agreement, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy, Trump Administration, Trump on Climate Change, US Climate Mayors, Wind Energy | Leave a comment

Southwestern Temperature Increases with Climate Change

The Fourth National Climate Assessment includes projections for temperature increases that can cause cause droughts and decrease the winter storage of water to cover summer needs.

The report uses the do-nothing RCP 8.5 projection, and calculates the temperature increases for 2050 and 2100 for various areas in the US. We concentrate on the Western temperatures. Here are some results for temperature increases in degrees C, from Table 8.2 of Chapter 8.

Area/Date.          2050.     2100

Rockies.                 1.1.         4.5

Sierra Nevada       1.1.         4.5

Western US.          1.3.        5.2

The 5.2 degrees C increase is 9.36 degrees F.


The report also shows the decline with time of the water equivalent of the snow pack in the do-nothing future of RCP 8.5.

Area/Date.           2050.     2100

Rockies.                 -17%.     -65%

Sierra Nevada.     -22%.     -89%

Western US.         -22%.     -70%


Since Southern California gets water both from the Colorado River from the Rockies, and from the Sierra Nevada through the California Water Project, we have to do our best to slow climate change and to encourage to help others to do so. The California population is also rapidly increasing.

About the increased forest fire activity, the report says that there is a low to medium confidence for a detectable human climate change contribution in the Western US. However, housing developments in forest and brush areas, as well as more power lines, can contribute to the fires.

Posted in California Water, Climate Change, Climate Science, Irvine Water | Leave a comment

Climate Change, Flooding, and West Coast Cities

This summer we saw that nature does not go gentle into that good night.

The gentle global mean sea level rise predictions in the Fourth National Climate Assessment Intermediate case are 1.1 feet to 2050, but then they sharply increase to 3.3 feet by 2100, and 9.2 feet by 2200.  The US West Coast gets an additional 2-3 feet in Relative Sea Level rise by 2100. But the destruction of floods only needs to occur once, for a few hours, when rarer conditions coalesce. In the do-nothing projection RCP 8.5, Atmospheric River days are expected to increase 50% to 600% by 2100. This allows a possible flood down the Laguna Canyon. Note the river delta shape of the downtown area. Add daily high tides, related storm surges, cliff undercutting, steep hill saturation, only clogged Coast Highway transport with a flooded Canyon, flood downed power lines, and you have a really good disaster movie. So, write this off, except Newport Beach had floods in 1969, 1978, 1980, 1983, 1992, 1995, 1998, and 2005. We still do not have sufficient drainage under the Coast Highway to prevent a flood.

Of course, beach property and Laguna Businesses are highly valuable, and often get rebuilt or remodeled. As long as they have flood insurance, they can be repaired or rebuilt. So flood scenarios are not going to drive them away or lower their values. However, this summer’s catastrophic storms could cost up to $200 billion. There is little source for funding the flood insurance, since many who are required to buy it, do not.  The amount of coverage is limited to $250,000, and full payment is not guaranteed.  There is also little allocation in FEMA aid.

The world has, so far, only warmed a fraction of that expected by 2100, and the sea has only risen a fraction of that expected by 2100.  The year 2100 is a very, very, long way off (actually, 20 more Presidential terms). And we haven’t had much flooding, so why bother?

Finally, our Congressman, and the Trump Administration, and the dominant Republican Congress, do not even believe in warming, or in fossil fuels as the cause.  They have rewritten government websites, and silenced scientists attending meetings.  They are retiring or reassigning government scientists.  They are decreasing climate science funding or clean energy funding wherever it may be found.  They have no White House Science Advisor, and nobody in the White House Office of Science.  So, soon, we may hear nothing more about climate change.  Except from all the, now free, climate scientists who they have dismissed.

Posted in Coastal Flooding, Coastal States, Houston Flooding, Mayor's Climate Action Plan, NOAA | Leave a comment

Extreme Storm Predictions for the West Coast

Extreme Storm Predictions for the West Coast

From Chapter 9 of the Fourth National Climate Assessment.

It is predicted that there will be an increase in tropical cyclones in the Eastern North Pacific.

Atmospheric Rivers (ARs) from the Western sub-tropical Pacific are narrow atmospheric flows of high water content, which provide 30-40% of the precipitation in the West Coast states, and that fraction of the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada.  “ARs are critical to ending drought in West Coast states”.

They will be more frequent and more intense in the future.  By the year 2100, in RCP 8.5 projections, AR days will increase from 50% to 600%.  They will have greater intensity because they can carry more water or have an increased specific humidity in a warmer atmosphere.  They may shift poleward by a few degrees of latitude from southern North America.

Extreme events above 95% will increase 30-40% also.




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Projections for Sea Level Rise

Projections for Sea Level Rise in the Forth National Climate Assessment

We summarize the data on past Global Mean Sea Level (GMSL) rise, on the recent increase in the rate of rise, and future projections for a century and two. The source is the Climate Science Special Report (CSSR) at
This is from the Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4), Volume I. Sea Level Rise is Chapter 12.

From 1901-1990, the GMSL rise was 4-5 inches. But since 1993 the rise quickened, rising about 3 inches over the 25 years from 1990-2015, giving a total 7-8 inches since 1900. Since 2005, about one third of the GMSL rise has been from thermal expansion of the ocean, and about two-thirds from land ice melting and other contributions.

The Pacific Coast ocean level rose slower, and the western Pacific rose faster, due to winds blowing westward. This has reversed since about 2012.

We look at projections for GMSL rise to 2050, 2100, and 2200, above the 2000 level, under various scenarios. The sceanarios relate to the Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP) 8.5, 4.5, and 2.6 climate forcings in Watts/meter-squared increase over the pre-industrial average, that we might have in 2100. The RCP 8.5 is possibly the do-nothing projection, which it seems we can avoid as a result of the Paris Agreement, and State and City actions in the US.  This is from Tables 12.2 and 12.5.  The numbers are in feet of rise.



Int. Low………0.8……..1.6………3.1


Int. High……..1.4……..4.9……..17



The GMSL projected for 2050 is disruptive, but the rapid increases by 2100 and 2200 are truly shattering.

According to Table 12.3, the Intermediate-Low scenario is the middle of the likely range under RCP 2.6. The other ones depend on the possibility of ice cliff instabilities.   With the instabilities, Intermediate is the middle range of RCP 4.5, Intermediate-High is the middle range of RCP 8.5, and High is the high end of the very likely range of RCP 8.5.

To me it implies the Venice model, where we all move back into the hills, raise all the low roads, abandon the first floors, and hire gondolas and gondoliers.

From maps of the US, we can see that on the US West Coast, the decade in which the 5-year flood event becomes a 0.2 year flood event, under the Intermediate scenario, becomes about 2040.

The additional Relative Sea Level (RSL) height above average highest tide in GMSL is about 2-3 feet on the West Coast for 2100. The Gulf Coast level rises an extra 4-6 feet, the Florida coast 3-4 feet, and the Eastern Coast rises an extra 4-5 feet.

The extra rise surrounding the US is due to Antarctic ice loss.

In my own opinion, we are presumably intelligent enough to avoid wars and become a sustainable and equitable civilization by 2100. However, the costs of adaptability and repairing damages might overwhelm funds needed for mitigation or clean energy conversion.

Posted in Climate Change, Climate Science, Paris Climate Accord, Paris Climate Agreement, Sea Level Rise | Leave a comment