Flooding and Sea Level Rise
Over the last century, mean sea level in the Bay Area has risen more than 8 inches (20 cm).
Recent projections show a likelihood of an addition 1.1ft (0.33m) by 2050, and between 2.5 and 3.5 ft (0.74 to 1.37 m) by 2100. When projections for ice melt from a major Antarctic ice sheet are factored into the calculations, sea level could rise up to 10.2 ft (3.1 m) by 2100. Flood risks from extraordinary events like king tides or major storms pose additional threats on top of these figures and threaten people, property and infrastructure onshore. Even if emissions levels are significantly reduced, recent studies indicate that a minimum of 6.54 ft (2 m) of sea level rise over the next several centuries is effectively inevitable.
Without any additional protections in place, 3 ft (0.91 m) of sea level rise would likely pose serious flood risks to vulnerable areas in and around the city of San Francisco, including parts of the Embarcadero, most of San Francisco and Oakland international airports, and parts of Corte Madera and San Rafael along Highway 101. In response, many municipalities are planning to implement measures to mitigate or protect against these threats. A recent ballot measure was approved to fund reinforcements to the Embarcadero seawall, which protects the eastern shoreline of San Francisco. Studies on sea level rise scenarios have been completed for several neighborhoods in the city of Oakland, and the municipality is also developing a new 2030 Equitable Climate Action Plan that is being discussed within the City Council.
Read more in the San Francisco Bay Area Summary Report from California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment.
Learn more about the Oakland 2030 Equitable Climate Action Plan.