San Diego, CA

What will San Diego Look Like if All Ice on Earth Melts? Here’s Your Answer

Toni Koraza
Image by OpenStreetMap contributors

San Diego is one of the southernmost cities in sunny California. It’s the seat of San Diego County, the fifth most populous county in the United States.

With beautiful views, multiple naval bases, and a population of over a million, personality is not lacking. Sitting sixty-two feet above sea level is a problem when sea levels are perpetually rising. Leaving out damages caused by storm surges, San Diego could rack up $335 million in damages due to rising sea levels alone.

With just 10 feet of sea-level rise, the beautiful beaches of San Diego would be gone–as would a lot of its water infrastructure.

But that is the best-case scenario. The truth is, even if we halted all emissions today, climate change would continue to get worse. And since we are not about to convince anyone to get anything done promptly, let’s look at some worst-case scenarios.

A Grim Scenario

First, we will look at Naval Base San Diego and Point Loma, two of the most important naval bases in the country. Historically, San Diego was one of the main bases for recruit training, although these days, that's usually reserved for the base in North Chicago. Point Loma has five submarines and their support staff. NBSD has three aircraft carriers.

All told, a good chunk of the Pacific Fleet is usually moored somewhere in the waters around San Diego. But if sea levels rose even 100 feet, most of that infrastructure would be completely underwater. All ways to get in or out of Point Loma by land would be cut off. The North Island Naval Air Station would be gone because there would be no North Island.

The Final Result

But the USGS says that sea levels could rise as much as 230 feet if all the ice on Earth melted. And if that happened, it would not just be the naval bases and the beaches affected. San Diego as a whole would be unrecognizable. La Jolla would disappear, Mission Valley would be a lake, and Chula Vista would be a scuba diving destination.

That is over a million climate refugees waiting to happen, right there.

Are you worried about the rising sea level?

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