Beach erosion will make Southern California coastal living five times more expensive by 2050, USC study predicts

Aerial shot of Newport Beach.

Rising sea levels and urban development are accelerating coastal erosion at an alarming rate in Southern California with significant ripple effects on the region’s economy, a USC study reveals.

The study, published in Communications Earth & Environment, predicts that Southern California’s coastal living costs will surge fivefold by 2050 as a direct result of beach erosion. This erosion will require more frequent and costly beach nourishment projects to maintain the state’s treasured shorelines, consequently driving up the cost of living along the coast.

“Our study presents compelling evidence of the rapid deterioration of Southern California’s coastal landscapes,” said Essam Heggy, a geoscientist in the Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering/Electrophysics at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and the study’s corresponding author.

“The challenges facing Southern California mirror a growing threat shared by coastal communities worldwide. The environmental and economic implications of coastal erosion reach far beyond California’s shores and demand interdisciplinary, global solutions,” he said.

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