They diverge significantly past midcentury, the study said.
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By the turn of the century in San Francisco under the lowest estimate, the sea would rise 1 foot. It could climb as much as 6. In La Jolla, the ocean would lift 1. The report also said those estimates might fall far below what actually transpires, however. It describes one that could bring a foot rise to California by the turn of the century. Some speakers at the meeting, including a California Coastal Commission representative, expressed concern that the low estimates in the report could mislead some people.
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The low scenarios don't account for the latest science on ice sheet loss, she said. Cavalieri praised the report for including the extreme scenario with the possible feet scenario, saying it is important for planning to protect critical infrastructure. Coastal Commission staff members currently are working on adaptation blueprints with more than 30 cities out of 76 local governments located in the sea-level rise zone, she said.
His agency likely will increase rates to fund adaptation, he said, so clarity is essential.
10-foot rise possible
Gavin Newsom, California lieutenant governor and chairman of the State Lands Commission, at the meeting expressed frustration with how to deal with the study results. There are planning issues the state needs to think about, not just on the coast but in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the system that provides a large share of the state's drinking water, Cayan said.
The delta has leveed islands. If those are overtopped, he said, the circulation and the salinity gradient would change.
California also is considering a massive project installing tunnels beneath the delta to carry water to Southern California instead of the current pumping system. The state might need to carefully study the design and the height of the pipes that would draw the water, Cayan said, to make sure they are high enough.
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