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Vulnerability to Inundation and Climate Change Impacts in California: Coastal Managers' Attitudes and Perceptions

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Coastal California has witnessed persistent sea-level rise (10-20 cm) along its southern and central open ocean coastal sections and in San Francisco Bay over the past century. This paper aims to understand the perceptions of local coastal managers in California of current inundation-related risks, the added risks from climate change, and vulnerability to the growing coastal problems. We also explore the extent to which coastal managers are beginning to think about and tackle these increasing management challenges.

Survey results presented here suggest that inundation already creates critical management challenges in California, but other, non-inundation-related coastal problems also vie for managers' attention. Despite high awareness of global warming and moderately good understanding of potential impacts of climate change on coastal areas, currently pressing issues and limited staff time and resources constrain their ability to begin dealing with the growing risks from sea-level rise. The sobering conclusion is that California is inadequately preparing for the impacts of climate change on coastal areas at this time. Local government will need substantial support from state and federal agencies if the level of preparedness for climate change and other inundation-related risks is to be elevated in the future.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 December 2006

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  • The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.
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