Friday, December 11, 2009

Rise in sea levels threatens California ports

Ronald D. White in the Los Angeles Times: Global warming and a resulting rise in sea levels present a direct threat to the world's seaports -- and many of California's harbors are nowhere near ready, state officials say. Sea levels in California are expected to increase 16 inches over the next 40 years, causing flooding and endangering facilities throughout the state, according to a report by the California State Lands Commission. By 2100, the ocean could rise as much as 55 inches, the report said.

Most of the 40 ports and shipping hubs surveyed by the state said they were not prepared for the rise in sea levels. At the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, rising water could damage ground-level facilities and toxic-waste storage sites, said Geraldine Knatz, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, the state's largest.

In Oakland, the site of the state's third-biggest port, higher water could cause flooding and impede the movement of goods on highways and by rail, officials said in response to questions in the survey. "We need to start planning for these things now, so that we're not caught having to do a lot of remedial repair work 15 years to 20 years into the future," Knatz said in an interview Wednesday….

Port of Oakland, from Alameda, California, shot by Eugene Zelenko, Wikimedia Commons, under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2

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