San Francisco Bay and Sea Level Rise

The water in San Francisco Bay has been photographed and reproduced around the world- but have you seen it through the eyes of NASA? Or through the eyes of projected sea level rise? A new study from the scientists at NASA’s own Ames Research Center near the Bay looks at how sea level rise resulting from climate change may affect the entire Bay, including the NASA facility.

San Francisco Bay
San Francisco Bay

NASA used historic local temperature, precipitation and sea level rise data to apply global projections to the southwestern part of San Francisco Bay. Their results also indicate that by 2050 we could see an average temperature rise of 2-4 degrees Fahrenheit, a 6-9 inch sea level rise and a precipitation rise or fall of up to 15%.


Map showing an agency-projected 16 inches of sea level rise in the San Francisco Bay. via KQED source article. You can view more detailed maps of these projections on the BCDC site.


“This is the first time we’re actually working with our scientists and taking the data that’s usually at hundreds of miles by hundreds of miles and bringing it down to the local level.” — Olga Dominguez, assistant administrator for NASA’s Office of Strategic Infrastructure.

Dominguez was at NASA Ames on Friday for a conference on climate change impacts in the South Bay.

Will Travis, executive director of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC), welcomed NASA’s science, ideas and solutions, saying:

“This conference is showing how NASA can be doing that at a facility level, and that information and techniques and those approaches are great models for other businesses and other communities in the Bay Area.”

Photo Credit: Franco Folini under CC via Flickr

Note: It’s a pleasure to be writing with Important Media, and back on the pages of Blue Living Ideas. When I used to guide outdoor trips, the first thing I did when visiting an area again was look around and establish a sense of place. In that spirit, my first post for 2011 is a look at the water situation in San Francisco Bay.

Written by Scott James

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