Model evaluates vulnerability of 104 wetlands to sea level rise

Posted April 28, 2017

SCCWRP and its partners have developed a vulnerability index model that predicts how Southern California coastal wetlands of all types and sizes could be impacted by sea level rise over the next century.

The two-year modeling project, completed in late 2016, is intended to help the State Coastal Conservancy and its management partners prioritize efforts for wetland restoration, as well as set goals for long-term wetland management.

The vulnerability index model was applied to 104 low-lying coastal wetland areas to understand their relative vulnerability to climate change. The model found that small coastal lagoons will be less vulnerable to sea level rise than large, complex systems.

Overall, the modeling work found that without any management intervention,
nearly 70% of coastal wetlands and mudflats could be lost if sea levels rise by 1.6 meters, as they are predicted to do by 2100.

However, with aggressive planning and interventions, wetland managers would be able to allow wetland areas to migrate farther inland, allowing coastal Southern California to experience a net gain of wetland area, according to the analysis.

The most dramatic impacts to coastal wetlands from sea level rise are predicted after 2050, giving managers time to respond and prevent dramatic losses of wetland areas.

More news related to: Climate Change, Sea Level Rise