Study warns of mass beach erosion in Southern California

March 28, 2017

Beach erosion for La Jolla Shores predicted by the CoSMoS COAST model

A study published in a United States geophysics journal warns 31 to 67 percent of Southern California beaches could disappear by the year 2100 as a result of climate change.

The study uses a newly-developed computer model called Coastal Storm Modeling System — Coastal One-line Assimilated Simulation Tool (CosMoS-COAST) to predict shoreline change because of both sea level rise and changing storm patterns. The model factors in 3.3 to 6.5 feet of sea level rise and limited human intervention in predicting that about one third to two thirds of Southern California beaches would erode up to sea-cliffs or existing coastal infrastructure.

A press release issued by the American Geophysical Union, which published the study in its Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, states historical trends show 72 percent of Southern California beaches are getting larger. However, future projections show nearly all beaches will experience erosion as a result of accelerated sea-level rise.

Shoreline change is very hard to predict, the news release states. But, scientists are confident in the accuracy and reliability of the CosMoS-COAST model because of how it accurately reproduced the historical shoreline change between 1995 and 2010.

The lead author of the study, Sean Vitousek, said human efforts will be needed to preserve Southern California’s beaches. Vitousek was a post-doctoral fellow at the USGS at the time of the study and is currently a professor at the University of Illinois, Chicago in the the civil and materials engineering department.

“Beaches are perhaps the most iconic feature of California, and the potential for losing this identity is real,” Vitousek said. “The effect of California losing its beaches is not just a matter of affecting the tourism economy. Losing the protecting swath of beach sand between us and the pounding surf exposes critical infrastructure, business and homes to damage.”

Patrick Barnhard, a USGS geologist and coauthor of the study said massive and costly interventions will be necessary to preserve Southern California beaches.

“Beaches in Southern California are a crucial feature of the economy, and the first line of defense against coastal storm impacts of the 18 million residents in the region,” Barnhard said.

California Coastal Commission Executive Director John Ainsworth also weighed in on the study, saying the prospect of losing so many beaches to sea level rise is unacceptable.

“We must do everything we can to ensure that as much of the iconic California coast is preserved for future generations,” Ainsworth said.


The beaches have been eroding forever and always will. At the same time new beaches are constantly being created. Humans are part of nature just as are cows and other animals. For some it is necessary to blame humans and then spend vast resources trying to fix the problem. Every human caused problem can be solved by having less humans on the planet. So any of these preachers of “we must stop our evil ways or else” crowd must immediately euthanize themselves and their offspring or they are hypocrites.


What tree did your computer/smart phone grow on? Humans aren’t just part of nature. We shape it to our will. We are active players. We are POWERFUL BEINGS. If you want to be part of nature than head to the nearest beach, bury your head in the sand, and wait for sea level rise to sweep you out to sea. I’ll do whatever is necessary to secure a stable and productive future for my children while you sneer from the sidelines.


The climate changes. Man has little to do with it. It is “God made” climate change and computer models can’t predict God. BTW, perhaps God is handing us a blessing by destroying the nests of the coastal elite.


Maybe God is in the computer.


No that is skynet.


Who made the people who made those computer models and gave them the intelligence to do so?

Also, your statement about those who live near the coast are not only overly broad generalizations but show a distinctly un-Christlike attitude towards your fellow man. (If you are not a Christian, I apologize for calling you out on that.)


RonHolt my man.

Answer to question one: God.

Response to question two: I’m using what is called “irony” and “humor”… something liberals don’t understand.


Slosum says:”Answer to question one: God.”

False, The false concept of a “being” making beaches (or the whole world) is a tool used by the elite to control the masses to get them to pay for the expensive coastal homes.


Mankind has everything to do with it, “God made” anything is a fantasy meme used to avoid reality by those who are supplying the elite with cash and votes.


Ah yes my good kettle. The religion of science and environmentalism. The height of elitism.


“A study published in a United States geophysics journal warns 31 to 67 percent of Southern California beaches could disappear by the year 2100 as a result of climate change”

Now if only they could tell us with any accuracy what the weather will be like in 6 weeks. Notice how all of these doom and gloom give us more grant money predictions predict an outcome that take place 100 years from now when we are all dead and can’t get our grant money back?

oy vey…what is next?


The difference between weather and climate can be found here if you are interested:


Well good…when we master weather forecasting than I will be able to give more weight to climate forecasting.


Invest for the future… Atascadero: tomorrow’s beachfront property.




You mean Atascadero Beach?

Noodly Appendages

I think you can ‘study’ all sorts of fallacious BS. You can even get a degree in religion! The fossil record is a little tough to explain away though. The ridge I live on is 15 miles inland and 1100′ elevation. Sea shell fossils are everywhere you dig. I assume from the ‘experts’ and their ‘facts’ that all the sea shell fossils at this height and distance from the current seashore must have been deposited from the period of warming many millions of years ago caused by dinosaurs’ and their hopped up diesel trucks and the farts of their livestock . Yeah, that explains it.

{voice of Al Gore}

I’m super serious guys, it’s manbearpig!


I honestly don’t understand your message here. Can you explain more please?


Maybe the downvoters can tell me what I did wrong here? All I did was ask for clarification.


The “debate” about climate change is so fascinating to me. Human beings are defined by our ability to manipulate the environment to better suit our needs. We drain swamps, level mountains, create entire bodies of water, clear forests, and so on. So whether or not climate change is caused or contributed to by humans (which it is), why do some people all of a sudden invoke nature “just doing her thing?” Hmm… Mother Nature never stopped us before, so if there is a way we can influence the climate to our advantage (which there is) let’s roll our sleeves up and get to work already!


There is a big reason why we should be cautious about meddling with climate.

We don’t know the consequences of climate change well enough to predict all the effects — or even all the major ones — with accuracy. We have learned a lot in the last 20-30 years about it but it is still an inexact science. What we have learned is that potential consequences of rapid change could be highly disruptive to human society. Do we take a chance that they won’t be or try to limit them to reduce the odds of a major disaster?

Generally, our society doesn’t see or think very far into the future. Many are only concerned with the present and the immediate future. If the economic downsides of minimizing climate change are significant and reasonably predictable, they aren’t going to worry about what may happen a decade or two down the line. In fact some will buy into anything anyone says to rationalize ignoring the dangers — even if those speaking have blatant economic or political interests that are served by doing so.



The problem with your “Mother Nature never stopped us before, so if there is a way we can influence the climate to our advantage (which there is) let’s roll our sleeves up and get to work already!” call of duty is Mother Nature, as you call it, has a natural balance order to it and when we f*** with it that balance is tipped.

We are not and can never completely destroy Mother Nature, all we are currently doing is destroying ourselves, do you get that? Our arrogance, typified by your above call of duty, is our main down fall; combine that with our self induced blind ignorance and our future generations will only suffer from our sins.

We are currently reproducing at rates that have never been seen and now all indicators show that the Earth’s population will increase by a third by 2050 (from about 7.1 billion to almost 10 billion); not only will this strain our food supplies, deplete some natural resources to the breaking point (clean water for one) it will also more than double our carbon output if we don’t look for and refine renewable non-carbon based energy supplies.

Remove man from Mother Nature and she not only does quite well she thrives! Put us, man, into the mix and our know-all do-anything mentality f***s every natural procession of things up…

My life is at that point where I count every day as a lucky one to be here, but, my son is only 15 and I’ll be damned if I don’t try to do my small part in leaving him a planet that is a healthy one, one that he can not only live on but enjoy and be a natural part of.

Jorge Estrada

Don’t forget to put in for property tax reductions as the sand you paid for is now gone. Have your sand separately assessed and assigned a separate APN in advance so when that portion of the sum is gone the tax bill can be adjusted for what no longer exists. Just thinking out loud….there is a win win somewhere.


Mother nature is playing a big part with the changing temperature trends going on. Interglacial periods have occurred in the past that have resulted in some glaciers melting and the ocean water levels rising.

While assisting a friend buying some vineyard property in the Paso Robles area there were soil test holes dug to analyze the condition of the soil. This particular property was at the 900′ elevation and north of the Paso Robles airport, some distance inland from the current coastline. At about 2′ from the surface there was an area of soil that was beach type that consisted of grainy sand, sea shells and the odor of the remnants of salt water.

Granted mankind may be contributing to the cause but mother nature is on board here and you will never beat mother nature.


Apparently you don’t know much about where sand comes from. It comes from mountains, not beaches. (Rivers carry it to the ocean, and it gets deposited on beaches.) Your vineyard was in the Salinas Valley, a huge alluvial deposit from the mountains. So, that’s where your sand came from, not the beach. How the heck would it have got there from the beach, anyway? The Chumash would never have bothered to haul it basket-by-basket.


The original source of sand is as you say. However, after the sand reaches the oceans, it can be raised up again by earth movements (quakes) to surprisingly high altitudes over millions of years. That is entirely possible in most areas of the Central Coast. The sea shells in the sand to which rukidding referred did not “come down from mountains.”


First of all north of the Paso Airport is not the Salinas Valley. You are right that sand is on the beaches. How did it get from the beach? You answered your own question, it was the beach and that is why the sea (ocean) shells are there and that is why it smells like the ocean. The conclusion is that is where the beach was and something happened way back to cause the shoreline to lower 900′. Now could that have been global warming?

I wish Al Gore and friends were there to explain this one even if Al hadn’t invented the internet then.


Are you familiar with the geological concept of uplift that occurs when one of the earths tectonic plates slowly slides under another and raises it? Most mountain ranges are formed this way and larger valleys came later via erosion. I doubt there is enough unmelted snow/ice in the world to raise the general sea level 90′ — a worst-case scenario of global warming.

Also, most people talking about valleys in a geological sense include all lands draining into the central river. The Salinas Valley extends from the Santa Lucia Mountains on the west to the Tremblor Range on the East (except for the California Valley which doesn’t drain anywhere).


Oh shit, now y’all did it! Ya had to bring it up, huh? Climate change; yea that one! The SLO conservative community is impervious to climate change, didn’t you hear? Yep! As long as the climate in their heads is foggy with chance of a storm of ignorance you’ll only confuse them more with more definitive proof.

Just look at this and then compare it to what is happening in more parts of the world than just good ol’ Cali’ and you’ll see what the informed world is so concerned about!


That’s what happens when you build a city on the coast below sea level. ; )


Take some time and access places like New York, Florida and other states on that same sight…

And take a minute or two and read about the “partial myth” you ascribe to in regards to New Orleans…

And no one is saying that climate change (warming or cooling) doesn’t happen naturally but the truth of the matter is man HAS accelerated it.

; )…..


My Raiders are moving to Las Vegas so I won’t have to worry about their stadium being under water for years : )