City of Santa Barbara, California Sea-Level Rise Vulnerability Study

This study assesses the vulnerability of the City of Santa Barbara to future sea?level rise and related coastal hazards (by 2050 and 2100). It also evaluates the likely impacts of coastal hazards to specific areas of the City, analyzes their risks and the City’s ability to respond, and recommends potential adaptation responses. This white paper was prepared by the University of California, Santa Cruz - which is a part of a larger study funded by the Public Interest Environmental Research Program of the California Energy Commission.

The first section of this report introduces climate change and sea-level rise, with a thorough review of the known and projected impacts on the California coast. The vulnerability assessment details findings on the specific processes of: sea-level rise, coastal storm damage and erosion, cliff retreat, shoreline or beach retreat, runoff and flooding, and tsunami hazards. The third section provides a risk assessment of sea-level rise and associated coastal hazards for Santa Barbara. The 'Probability of Occurrence' and 'Magnitude of Consequence' is detailed for each of the impacts described in the preceding vulnerability assessment.  After determining which hazards are likely to cause the greatest losses, the risk assessment focuses on identifying those areas and facilities, structures, and infrastructure that are most vulnerable to future sea-level rise.

The final section addresses adaptation, including the known adaptive measures for the region, and specific adaptive capacities and adaptation strategies for the city. Table 4.2 presents the "Possible Adaptation Actions for Each Sea-level Rise-related Issue Facing the City of Santa Barbara."

The study determines that by 2050, the risk of wave damage to shoreline development and infrastructure in Santa Barbara will be high - with limited options, moderate adaptive capacity, and retreat being the most viable long?term option - and that by 2100, the risk will become very high.



Publication Date: July 2012

Authors or Affiliated Users:

  • Gary Griggs
  • Nicole Russel

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Resource Types:

  • Assessment

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