Climate change

‘Overnight Disaster’: New Climate Change Model Shows Coachella Valley Underwater As Sea Levels Rise


There’s a new warning about the growing climate change crisis: that the Coachella Valley could one day be underwater due to sea level rise as temperatures warm globally.

Notable new scientific predictions from the nonprofit Climate Central research group show that major coastal cities are largely submerged in the ocean. The base of the Statue of Liberty and the Santa Monica Pier would be submerged.

“What we do over the next 10, 20, 30 years is going to trigger what will happen over the next 100,000 years,” said Benjamin Strauss, CEO and Chief Scientist at Climate Central.

Strauss predicts that if global emissions are not halved over the next decade, the global average temperature will warm by 3 degrees Celsius within a century.

If the earth warms by 4 degrees Celsius, models show the Coachella Valley could also be inundated.

“The valley is really low – the Salton Sea is below sea level, but it’s protected by the mountains,” Strauss said. “The problem is, if the sea level rises enough, the ocean can connect from the south … You would be facing a disaster overnight because everything could fill up very quickly.”

Cindy Yanez, 24, of Cathedral City, is a graduate researcher in Earth Systems Science at UC Irvine. Last year, she published a climate change study predicting big hits to local tourism due to rising temperatures.

She said the extreme heat in our area will only get worse. “The extreme heat in itself would cause great stress in people’s lives and jobs,” Yanez said.

Experts say this is currently a turning point in the growing global crisis, offering responsibility and an opportunity to change climate change.

“What we do can affect countless generations into the future,” Strauss said. “We have a change to improve all of these lives through the decisions we are making right now.”

The potential impacts are made more urgent with the United Nations Climate Summit to be held on October 31 in Glasgow, where world leaders will discuss how aggressive they are with the new climate policy.


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