Saturday, November 03, 2012

One Thing You Notice Quickly about the Shore Back East

Having grown up in beach Southern California, I have noticed a huge difference in the coastal areas of the East Coast (Florida, North Carolina, New Jersey, Long Island, Cap Cod, Louisiana) that is very very different from the West Coast.  And this difference makes it particularly venerable to Hurricanes and rising Sea Levels.
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The Coast back east is flat - relatively.  Look at this picture of New Jersey's Atlantic City area after Sandy.  It's gone, but it is gone in large part by high tides and water.  Same with New Orleans (which is actually lower than Sea Level in many places.  Even Texas.  Houston is 60 miles form the Gulf but only a few feet above Sea Level.
Atlantic City this week

North Carolina Barrier Island after an earlier storm
Now  they are "islands"
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Contract this with California.  There are cliffs and mountains that run down to the Ocean in most areas. Laguna Beach, Huntington Beach even Redondo Beach.  Malibu, Big Sur, San Francisco.  None of these places are at sea level.  Hell the Hills of San Francisco are legendary.  Downtown Los Angeles, less than 15miles from the Ocean both towards the West and the South is at 233 feet.  That is higher than the entire state of Florida south of Orlando!
Santa Monica with Malibu Hills in the background

The Coastal Drive on Big Sur (between LA and San Francisco)

The Cliffs above Laguna Beach and Dana Point
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This is going to make the East Coast particularly difficult to stabilize as sea level rise and storm intensities grow.  Which is happening, regardless of weather you are a realist or a climate changing denialist.  It is going to be tough to stop East Coast storms and ocean surges from a 1 - 2 punch as we continue to have "100-year storms" every couple of years.

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