The Past
Sea Level
The Present
The Future
How much will sea level
rise in the next century?

a.  2 cm
b.  40 cm
c.  10 m

he key climatic processes affecting a coast are rainfall that brings sediment from the watersheds and waves that erode the coast and transport sediment along the beach.

In Climate Change, we describe how wet and dry climate cycles have influenced wave climate and sediment flux to the littoral cells of southern California. The competition of erosive (wave energy) and depositional (sediment flux) processes is played out where the sea meets the land. This dynamic interface -- sea level -- has changed dramatically with past climates, and its future rate of change will determine the evolving features of the coast.

El Niño storm strikes the Marine Room, a landmark at La Jolla Shores Beach, 1983.
Photograph by Brian Muñoz. Image used with permission.
Within this century, climate warming is expected to alter rainfall patterns and storm tracks. It also will accelerate the rate of sea level rise.

Explore the four pages of Climate Change to see how these processes shape the southern California coast.

Coastal Morphology Group • Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Last modifed Wednesday, October 20, 2003

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