California Against the Sea: Communicating Sea Level Rise

Join Los Angeles Times environment reporter Rosanna Xia and Scripps Institution of Oceanography coastal resilience specialist Laura Engeman as they discuss the science and impacts of sea-level rise in California. Xia, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, reads from her book “California Against the Sea,” which recently won the Golden Poppy Award for nonfiction. Engeman explains how Scripps is using cutting-edge technology to predict and adapt to these changes.

Xia emphasizes that sea-level rise isn’t just a future problem; it’s happening now, with more frequent flooding during high tides and storms. Engeman points out how advanced tools like LiDAR and drones are helping scientists track these changes in real-time, providing crucial data for effective adaptation strategies. They both agree that making the issue relatable and urgent to the public is a big challenge.

They discuss the importance of community involvement. Engeman mentions how local observations and historical records are essential for accurate models and forecasts. Xia stresses that while the science is critical, public awareness and political will are equally important. Communities need to engage in planning and decision-making to address both immediate and long-term impacts.

Their conversation highlights how tackling sea-level rise requires a mix of scientific research, community engagement, and informed policymaking. By working together, California can better protect its coastal communities and navigate its evolving relationship with the ocean.

Watch California Against the Sea: Reflections on Communicating Sea Level Rise.