VIPS Learn about Climate Change Impacts along San Francisco’s Outer Coast

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Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, Acting USGS Director Suzette Kimball, and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee took part in a coastal climate change field trip led by USGS research geologist Patrick Barnard on December 18, 2014.

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, Acting USGS Director Suzette Kimball, and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee took part in a coastal climate change field trip led by USGS research geologist Patrick Barnard on December 18, 2014.

The field trip visited two beaches along the outer coast of the San Francisco Peninsula that are within the most rapidly eroding stretch of California’s coast.

Erosion is currently driven primarily by human influences on sand supply, but projected climate-change impacts, including sea-level rise and extreme storms, will increase the vulnerability of this urbanized coast to beach erosion, cliff failures, and coastal flooding, posing threats to private and public infrastructure, including a state highway and a $1.2-billion wastewater-treatment plant.

The USGS has been active in understanding the various coastal processes that control this important section of coastline.

Woman stands on beach below eroded parking area, while some men are standing and looking down at beach.

Secretary Sally Jewell stands on Ocean Beach in San Francisco, where a major part of the road has eroded. USGS research geologist Patrick Barnard (arms crossed) stands at road level, while USGS Office of Communications lead Justin Pressfield takes a photo.

(Credit: Tami Heilemann, DOI. Public domain.)

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