Coastal erosion researcher quoted in news coverage of fatal California cliff collapse

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USGS researcher quoted in major news stories about the August 2 coastal cliff collapse that killed three people on a beach in Encinitas, California

Research geologist Patrick Barnard of the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center was quoted in major news stories about the August 2 coastal cliff collapse that killed three people on a beach in Encinitas, California. The stories include articles in The Guardian (August 7) and the Los Angeles Times (August 9), and an interview with Barnard on National Public Radio’s “Here & Now” program (August 7). Barnard leads a USGS project investigating the impacts of climate change and sea-level rise on the U.S. west coast, including the erosion of beaches and sea cliffs. He pointed out that although California cliffs retreat about a foot per year, that retreat is highly sporadic and unpredictable. As sea level rises, he noted, cliff failures will become more common.

Photograph shows eroding cliff in Isla Vista, California, with parts of houses hanging over edge.

Cliff failures along the vulnerable edge of a coast, like this one in Isla Vista, California, can be dangerous and deadly for beach-goers. A recent coastal cliff collapse killed three people on a beach in Encinitas, California.

(Credit: Patrick Barnard, Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center. Public domain.)

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