I regret to inform you that nature has decided that beaches in Southern California will no longer have their services required in the future. A massive new study was recently released, conducted in part by scientists working with the U.S. Geological Survey as well as public and private research institutions across the country, and warns that without significant—and wildly expensive—beach management intervention, as much as 67 percent of Southern California’s beaches will be completely eroded and subsumed under the surf by 2100.
What does that mean?
Picture the majority of beaches from Point Conception southward free of sand, with surf breaking against cliffs or pouring into the existing beachside infrastructure built up today—homes, streets, bustling seaside restaurants, and shops.
Also: where the hell is anybody going to surf? This isn’t like when you imagine some horrifying calamity like California falling into the sea and now the deserts of Arizona have all these incredible pointbreaks or something. These scientists are predicting a total scouring-away of beach sand, leaving only cliffs and 100 years of all the crap we’ve built up along the shoreline for surf to pound up against.
This will not happen all at once, but it will happen faster than we’d like. Due to beach management practices we’ve engaged in for decades, lots of beaches have actually grown over the years in Southern California, but it’s a trend that’s about to reverse in a really big way.
What will stop it? Ha, I don’t know. Probably nothing. “Massive intervention” is pretty much all the report says, as far as I can tell, so imagine endless sand relocation projects, sea walls, and lord knows what else.
And before you start dismissing the claims as “fake news,” you should know that the same models these researchers used to generate this depressing and terrifying prediction perfectly match the sea level rise and beach erosion that actually occurred between 1995 and 2010.
Climate scientists and geologists have been waving their arms and warning that sea level rises will be wreaking havoc on California’s coastline sooner than we’d like, and it sure looks like they were right.
Hug your local sandbars.
Hug them tight.