Sea-level rise linked to higher water tables along California coast

Credit: University of Arkansas

In the first comprehensive study of the link between rising sea levels and inland water tables along the California coast, researchers found an increased threat to populated areas already at risk from rising water tables, and the possibility of flooding in unexpected inland areas.

In the new study, researchers modeled the effects of rising sea level along the entire California coastline. While results varied with local topography, the study indicates rising sea levels could push inland water tables higher, resulting in damage to infrastructure and increased severity of flooding.

"Increased roadway fatigue, reduced sewer and septic drainage, and the potential for mobilizing contaminants in soils currently above the water table will eventually be triggered farther inland as the water table rises with higher sea levels," researchers concluded.

Kevin Befus, assistant professor of geosciences at the University of Arkansas, is the first author of the study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

While many coastal areas are focused on overland flooding as a result of sea level rise, the threat of rising groundwater tables, known as "shoaling," is not as well known or understood. Shoaling occurs when rising seawater pushes inland. The denser marine […]

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Sea-level rise linked to higher water tables along California coast
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Study indicates rising sea levels could push inland water tables higher, damaging infrastructure and increased severity of flooding.
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