Climate change projections of sea level extremes along the California coast

Daniel R Cayan, Peter D Bromirski, Katharine Hayhoe, Mary Tyree, Michael D Dettinger, Reinhard E Flick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


California’s coastal observations and global model projections indicate that California’s open coast and estuaries will experience rising sea levels over the next century. During the last several decades, the upward historical trends, quantified from a small set of California tide gages, have been approximately 20 cm/century, quite similar to that estimated for global mean sea level. In the next several decades, warming produced by climate model simulations indicates that sea level rise (SLR) could substantially exceed the rate experienced during modern human development along the California coast and estuaries. A range of future SLR is estimated from a set of climate simulations governed by lower (B1), middle–upper (A2), and higher (A1fi) GHG emission scenarios. Projecting SLR from the ocean warming in GCMs, observational evidence of SLR, and separate calculations using a simple climate model yields a range of potential sea level increases, from 11 to 72 cm, by the 2070–2099 period.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-73
JournalClimatic Change
StatePublished - Jan 26 2008


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