Impacts of climate change on the coasts of Washington State
Huppert, D.D., A. Moore, and K. Dyson. 2009. Impacts of climate change on the coasts of Washington State. Chapter 8 in The Washington Climate Change Impacts Assessment: Evaluating Washington's Future in a Changing Climate, Climate Impacts Group, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.
Climate change on the Washington coast will trigger significant physical and chemical stressors: (a) inundation of low-lying areas by high tides as sea level rises; (b) flooding of coasts during major storm events, especially near river mouths; (c) accelerated erosion of coastal bluffs; (d) shifting of beach profiles, moving the position of the Mean High Water line landward; (e) saltwater intrusion into coastal freshwater aquifers; and (f) increased ocean temperature and acidity. Similar forces will be working everywhere, but shore areas will respond differently depending upon substrate (sand versus bedrock), slope (shallow versus steep cliffs), and the surrounding conditions (exposed versus sheltered from storms).
UW Climate Impacts Group