Climate Adaptation and Sea Level Rise

San Francisquito Creek Pump Station pumps water into the Bay

Climate adaptation refers to the actions taken to improve a community’s resilience when confronted with the impacts of climate change. Actions that reduce the net amount of greenhouse gas emissions are emissions reductions or climate mitigation. Climate adaptation planning is most effective at the local level. Effective adaptation planning and management entails dealing with uncertainty. It is a long-term process that should allow immediate action when necessary and adjust to changing conditions and new knowledge.

Sea Level Rise

One focus of climate adaption is sea level rise. The State of California anticipates that relative sea level rise projections stemming from GHG emissions and related climate change pose significant economic, environmental and social risks to communities along the San Francisco Bay Shoreline, including the City of Palo Alto. Sea level rise in San Francisco Bay is anticipated to range between three feet to more than ten feet by 2100 with rising tides likely thereafter. In Palo Alto, many City services and infrastructure that are essential to the City’s public health, safety, and economy are located within areas that are predicted to be inundated by Bay water if adaptation measures are not implemented.

Prepare for a Wildfire

Another focus of climate adaption is preparation for and protection from wildfires. Climate change is expected to increase the frequency, intensity, and duration of wildfire events, especially here in California. On the West Coast, it is projected that an average 1 °C temperature increase could increase the median burned area per year as much as 600 percent in some forests.

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