What Rising Sea Levels Could Mean for the Bay Area — and What’s Being Done About It

In 1995, the movie Waterworld predicted catastrophic changes to the earth’s sea levels, and painted a picture of the chaos that resulted when the water rose and society collapsed.

The movie was a flop. But it got one thing right: scientists say melting glaciers are already contributing to rising sea levels, and that they’ll melt faster in the next century. Changes in the Bay Area — which has over a thousand miles of shoreline — could be dramatic.

In San Francisco, some scientists say the Bay could rise as much as five feet. That would put the water line in the middle of the financial district. In Oakland, Jack London Square could be more like an aquarium. Cities around the Bay are trying to figure out how to avoid catastrophic changes, and they’ve got some novel ideas.

Last year, Superstorm Sandy opened the eyes of many on the East Coast to the dangers of a rising ocean. Here in California, we haven’t had an event quite like that. But that doesn’t mean people aren’t thinking about it.

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