West Coast
San Diago shoreline with coastal cliffs in view.

Report: San Diego has unique edge to tackle climate change

The Earth’s coastal and polar areas are on thin ice, a new climate report warns, but San Diego may be in a better place than others to weather those changes if it acts swiftly, several authors said.

“The Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate,” released last week by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, explored the effects of warming on the world’s oceans and frozen places.

San Diego is grappling with rising seas, coastal erosion and marine heat waves, periods when seawater hits record-high temperatures. However, natural variability in the region’s sea level, ocean temperature and chemistry may position coastal cities to stay ahead of future changes, several authors said. Understanding the risks specific to San Diego can help with that.

“Every community has different vulnerabilities, so it’s useful to downscale these risks to your specific communities,” said Mark Merrifield, a contributing author of the report and director of the Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Center at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego.

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