Wide, sandy beaches are an iconic part of Santa Monica’s coastline. Did you know the beaches weren’t always this wide? Look towards Pacific Coast Highway and see how high the water reached in the 1930’s!
Even with today’s wide, sandy beaches, the City of Santa Monica is still vulnerable to impacts from climate change and sea level rise along its coast. A severe coastal winter storm today could cause the entire beach to become flooded.
Here, we see the shoreline during a typical day at the beach with about 6 feet of future sea level rise.
With a severe winter storm on top of 6 feet of sea level rise, we could see waves pushing up all the way to the back of the parking lot.
Here’s the good news: Santa Monica is starting to plan today for these future impacts. Let’s look at how natural approaches, such as building sand dunes, can help provide protection for our coasts.