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Maps of a rising water table: The hidden component of sea level rise

Map-based data viewers have been available for several years that reveal where coastal flooding is likely to occur as oceans warm and ice sheets melt. Recently, geologists have begun to study the influence of sea level rise on groundwater, and have concluded that in some coastal areas, as much or more land could flood as a result of rising groundwater than will flood directly from saltwater. Yet almost no coastal areas have maps available of depth to the water table, below which soils are saturated with water. My students and I have recently made a map of depth to the water table around San Francisco Bay, and this map reveals previously unrecognized vulnerabilities to sea level rise. By taking groundwater into account, we have revealed some potential problems with adaptation that relies on seawalls and levees alone, and developed an alternative strategy for urban areas that might allow us to live with higher water. This talk will present both the new maps of coastal groundwater depth and some strategies for urban adaptation.

Speaker: Kristina Hill, UC Berkeley

Tuesday, 12/04/18


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Doe Memorial Library

UC Berkeley
Room 190
Berkeley, CA 94720