New research on global warming warns that San Francisco and 11 other major US airports are at risk of getting flooded. A team of scientists found out that the Bay Area is already sinking by just 0.06 inches (2 mm) a year, while other areas are falling at 10 times that rate.


In 2012, during Hurricane Sandy, the rising ocean tried to engulf the marshlands under New York’s LaGuardia Airport. Parts of one of the airport’s runways disappeared under the hurricane’s storming rage. The unseen before flooding was mostly due to sea-level rise, caused by global warming, a high tide and the hurricane – reported the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

New York’s major airports are just a few of the 12 coastal hubs at risk of future floods,  linked to sea level rise, according to a draft federal report, Climate Central wrote. Storms will cause more damage by pushing further inland, as sea levels are rising – threatening critical infrastructure such as highways, airports, power plants, bridges.

Twelve airports have runways rising roughly 12 feet of current sea level – the National Climate Assessment reported. The list includes: Ft. Lauderdale Int’l (FLL), Honolulu International (HNL), John F. Kennedy Int’l (JFK), LaGuardia (LGA), Miami Int’l (MIA), New Orleans Louis Armstrong Int’l (MSY), Newark Liberty Int’l (EWR), Oakland International (OAK), Philadelphia Int’l (PHL), Ronald Reagan Washington National (DCA), San Francisco Int’l (SFO), Tampa International (TPA).


New research on rising seas due to climate change, was published on March 7, in the journal Science Advances. The Bay Area – including the airport – is facing catastrophic flooding, as sea level rises. And it might sink, sooner than later.

“There are many estimates and models for sea-level rise, but they all fall short because they don’t take into account land elevation changes,” stated Manoochehr Shirzaei (assistant professor of Earth and space exploration at Arizona State University and a member of NASA’s Sea Level Change Team).

About 200,000 flights a year land on the runways of the San Francisco Airport. The study found that the large airport is sinking rapidly. By 2100, half of the runways and taxiways will be underwater.

“Flooding from sea level rise is clearly an issue in many coastal urban areas. This kind of analysis is probably going to be relevant around the world, and could be expanded to a much, much larger scale,” co-author Bürgmann says.

There are already many studies that warn about climate change causing floods. For instance, a study published in PLOS One (November 2017) found that 13,000 archaeological sites in the U.S., could be submerged by 2100, thanks to global warming. This includes Jamestown, Virginia – the oldest English settlement in the country.

“The ground goes down, sea level comes up, and flood waters go much farther inland than either change would produce by itself,” Shirzaei concluded.

Question is, will San Francisco itself – the whole metropolitan area – follow, in the years to come? Will the great famous up and down winding streets become a memory of a shinning past?

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