Rising Seas: The Series

A slow-moving emergency is lapping at California’s shores— climate-driven sea-level rise that experts now predict could elevate the water in coastal areas up to 10 feet in just 70 years.

Every California state agency and most cities are busily crafting plans and prioritizing projects, totaling up what will ultimately be hundreds of billions of dollars in costs to build barriers, restore wetlands and—somehow—raise or relocate roads, bridges, railroads and power plants away from the onrushing Pacific.

Unlike blue-state California, deeply crimson Louisiana shuns climate talk as it gets on with the task of battling rising seas.

Within California’s gargantuan bureaucracy there is a group of experts that more or less counts the grains of sand on state beaches? Pretty much.


  • The 2017 sea-level science report to the California Ocean Protection Council
  • The 2017 report by the U.S. Geological Survey on Southern California beaches
  • The 2015 climate change report of the state Senate Committee on Environmental Quality
  • The 2014 legislative report of the Assembly Select Committee on Sea Level Rise and the California Economy
  • The 2012 report to the California Energy Commission on San Francisco Bay impacts