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The Golden Gate Barrage: New Ideas To Counter Sea Level Rise

Soulskill posted about 8 months ago | from the a-rising-tide-lifts-all-boats-and-all-houses-and-oh-god-run dept.

Earth 341

waderoush writes "What do Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Oracle, LinkedIn, and Intuit have in common? They're just a few of the tech companies whose campuses alongside San Francisco Bay could be underwater by mid-century as sea levels rise. It's time for these organizations and other innovators to put some of their fabled brainpower into coming up with new ideas to counter the threat, Xconomy argues today. One idea: the Golden Gate Barrage, a massive system of dams, locks, and pumps located in the shadow of the iconic bridge. Taller than the Three Gorges Dam in China, it would be one of the largest and costliest projects in the history of civil engineering. But at least one Bay Area government official says might turn out to be the simplest way to save hundreds of square miles of land around the bay from inundation."

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341 comments

So... (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 8 months ago | (#44718301)

Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Oracle, LinkedIn, and Intuit need to snap to it, then. If they started now they could get it in place in a few years, before the seas come rushing in. They've got the funds. Money, meet mouth.

Re:So... (5, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 8 months ago | (#44718389)

I'm sort of neutral about Google, but drowning those other three companies in salt water sounds like a net plus to me.

Keep the heat on. Lets put a whole bunch more shrimp on the barbies! (They'll probably go extinct in a couple of decades anyway).

Re:So... (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 8 months ago | (#44718417)

Three, four, so much for basic counting in the morning....

Re:So... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44718637)

Our *three* weapons are fear, and surprise, ruthless efficiency...and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope

Re:So... (5, Insightful)

jythie (914043) | about 8 months ago | (#44718701)

With cash reserves like their's, they can just move instead. There is nothing special about the land they are using... the historical reason such projects made sense in the past was they were reclaiming farmable land, which is not quite as interchangeable as corporate parks.

Re:So... (1)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | about 8 months ago | (#44718919)

Agree. China has built a huge very high speed rail network with the sort of money spaffed by Facebook on a picture sharing app.

PS:

With cash reserves like their's

apostrophe not required.

Re:So... (5, Insightful)

TheNastyInThePasty (2382648) | about 8 months ago | (#44718743)

This article is one of the dumbest things I have read in a long time. Not only is the dam system stupid but there's no way these companies would actually do this. It's so much cheaper and easier to just move to a new location.

Re:So... (5, Insightful)

roc97007 (608802) | about 8 months ago | (#44718771)

Well, of course. Even if for some reason the companys elected to stay, they'd naturally expect the government to build the structures using taxpayer money.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44718869)

Not to mention that none of those companies will be around in their current form in 2050-2100 anyway. Apple and Microsoft are old, but a lot of their peers are long gone.

Or... (5, Insightful)

nick357 (108909) | about 8 months ago | (#44718331)

...maybe put that brainpower into solving the actual global problem, rather than finding a bandaid solution to the local symptom....

Re:Or... (2, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 8 months ago | (#44718403)

Umm, yeah, not going to happen. The powers that be in the US have pretty much decided they don't care about global warming, because it would cut into the profits of major industries like coal and oil and be expensive and unpleasant for everyone else.

Re:Or... (0, Troll)

dlt074 (548126) | about 8 months ago | (#44718471)

when and if sea level actually starts to rise... we'll talk.

Re:Or... (4, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 8 months ago | (#44718523)

You are aware, I trust, that it is rising.
http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/sealevel.html [noaa.gov]

It's more pronounced in some areas than others, but still, it's rising. So if you live in a low-lying coastal area, then this ought to be of concern to you.

Re:Or... (3, Informative)

bhlowe (1803290) | about 8 months ago | (#44718591)

Why is it more pronounced in some areas? There is only one ocean.... A rise in the pacific ocean will raise the level of all other "oceans". Could it be that some land masses are sinking? An 3-4" rise over the next 100 years is unlikely to impact anyone currently alive and living in the Bay Area . Wake me up when ocean front property stops going up in value.

Re:Or... (4, Informative)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 8 months ago | (#44718631)

Why is it more pronounced in some areas?

Because the ocean isn't perfectly even. Tidal forces, wind and waves, currents, plate activity, volcanoes, it's constantly flowing every which way. I'd be surprised if the sea level rose exactly the same amount in Oahu and Cardiff.

Re:Or... (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44718757)

Because the ocean isn't perfectly even. Tidal forces, wind and waves, currents, plate activity, volcanoes, it's constantly flowing every which way. I'd be surprised if the sea level rose exactly the same amount in Oahu and Cardiff.

Strictly speaking, if the ocean is constantly moving then you can't actually measure if it's rising or falling. Because it would need to stop moving to measure it.

Re:Or... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44718767)

Nor is the land all even. Some areas are above mean sea level, others are not. Low areas are affected first. I suspect places like Maldives or Louisiana will have trouble by mid to end century.

Re:Or... (4, Interesting)

jittles (1613415) | about 8 months ago | (#44718733)

Why is it more pronounced in some areas? There is only one ocean.... A rise in the pacific ocean will raise the level of all other "oceans". Could it be that some land masses are sinking? An 3-4" rise over the next 100 years is unlikely to impact anyone currently alive and living in the Bay Area . Wake me up when ocean front property stops going up in value.

When I was in school I took a class called "Violent Weather" and the textbook for that class indicated that the Western Pacific has more water volume than the Eastern Pacific because wind and currents pool the water up in the east, and that the water must be pushed deep under the surface to go back West. This water current typically releases its flow off the coast of Chile/Peru, if I remember correctly.

Re:Or... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44718635)

Are you aware of Groundwater-related subsidence and tectonic plate subduction?

You would think all the hot air would be up lifting...

Re:Or... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44718533)

I used to joke that nobody in the US would want to do anything serious about global warming even if Manhattan was under water, but that stopped being funny when it actually fucking happened last year.

Re:Or... (4, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 8 months ago | (#44718651)

when and if sea level actually starts to rise... we'll talk.

Human activity does not just raise temperatures. It also raises the rate of increase. If you have taken calculus, and know what a derivative is, then it is not "h" that is increasing but dh/dt. So if we wait till sealevel rises, it will be too late. It is like refusing to get off the railroad tracks until you can actually see the train hit you.

The denialists made the same "show me the evidence" remark about the ice caps a decade ago. Today there is a million square miles of open water where there was previously ice for more than ten thousand years.

Re:Or... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 8 months ago | (#44718485)

A "Golden Gate Barrage" doesn't sound cheap to me.

Then again... the taxpayer's going to pay for it so they don't care. Keep that petroleum pumping, guys!

Re:Or... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44718643)

Umm, yeah, not going to happen. The powers that be in the US^H^Hworld have pretty much decided they don't care about global warming, because it would cut into the profits of major industries like coal and oil and be expensive and unpleasant for everyone else.

FTFY.

China, India, and damn near every other non-first-world nation don't want you to let them off the hook.

Sorry that doesn't fit into what appears to be your bog-standard anti-US playbook.

Re:Or... (1)

tnk1 (899206) | about 8 months ago | (#44718669)

Global warming wouldn't do anything to the profits of oil and coal. Those would still remain uniformly high. You still need to burn something to get energy.

Global warming, or rather, programs to counteract that effect would, however, have a big effect on energy generation companies that would have to figure out how to keep CO2 emissions down from burning those hydrocarbons.

I expect that forward looking oil and coal companies with any intelligence will be looking at diversifying into other resource or energy segments. It is understandable that they will be conservative on moving forward with a program that seems to require them to do most of the changing of their business model, but even companies eventually come around. Companies are made up of people, and people will eventually come around to a manifest fact, especially if they can still make a profit.

In the meantime, if "global warming" is a political problem for allocating money for R & D and infrastructure, I am sure it can be justified in other ways. I am certain that the Defense establishment is very interested in not having to rely on foreign oil to run its wars. That's one reason that there's all these nuclear powered ships running around.

If you're really interested in stuff to prevent global warming, but a little tired of the political bickering, identify technologies and practices with other practical advantages and work on those with other justifications. It is amazing how you can repurpose technology to have a different effect. And if you pick the right tech, you might have the singular amusement of same people who are opposing global warming policies, instead be the ones who are enthusiastic about what you are doing.

Re:Or... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44718881)

perhaps you were unaware of the fact that the USA is no longer the leading producer of carbon in the atmosphere?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_carbon_dioxide_emissions

Note the US is at fault, but not solely as your post seems to suggest. Note also that your statement seems to suggest that not only is the US solely at fault but that the US is the only one that could solve the problem.

Re:Or... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44718921)

The reference quoted also shows that the US production of atmospheric CO2 is roughly flat over the years from 2008 through 2011 while China's has been steadily increasing. In 2011 according to that data, China was producing something like 55% MORE than the USA.

I know it is fashionable to bash the USA and it is a fun sport, but every now and again it may pay to take off the tinfoil hat and look at real data.

Re:Or... (1)

BaronM (122102) | about 8 months ago | (#44718405)

If it were a matter of brainpower, there wouldn't be an issue.

On the other hand, if they use a few billion dollars to buy off every politician that opposes effective regulation and taxing of carbon, they might actually make a difference.

Re:Or... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44718529)

They're already using that money to spread the big lie of AGW.

Re:Or... (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 8 months ago | (#44718723)

Problems should be solved because they need to be solved; equally, elected officials should do what's best for the people who elected them, not whichever industry organization gives them the biggest kickback.

To that end, why should, say, Missouri politicians give a rat's arse about coastal flooding? Hell, if the sea level rises enough it could very well be to our advantage; ocean-front property in Branson would bring in some serious bucks :)

(in case you were wondering, yes, I am being half-assed satirical.)

Re:Or... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44718439)

...maybe put that brainpower into solving the actual global problem, rather than finding a bandaid solution to the local symptom....

A phenomally expensive band-aid that will likely tear apart in an earthquake, adding an inrushing wall of water to the rest of the problems.

Re:Or... (2)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about 8 months ago | (#44718559)

A phenomally [sic] expensive band-aid that will likely tear apart in an earthquake, adding an inrushing wall of water to the rest of the problems.

Because no one would think to anticipate earthquakes in the vicinity of San Francisco when designing such a structure? Or do you have some other insight that I'm missing?

Re:Or... (4, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 8 months ago | (#44718467)

I've kind of given up on that. Between the noxious attacks by oil company shill organizations like the Heartland Institute, halfwits who buy into anything that means they can fool themselves for a few more years, and a total lack of meaningful political will, I think we're fucked.

Re:Or... (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44718541)

...maybe put that brainpower into solving the actual global problem, rather than finding a bandaid solution to the local symptom....

These comments really bother me. You do both simultaneously. Given the longevity of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, we'd still have a problem if we became an overnight net zero carbon society. A cardiologist doesn't refuse a stent because the patient lives an unhealthy lifestyle. You do both - fix the problem AND treat the root cause. It's not one or the other.

Re:Or... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44718673)

wasn't one of the points made by Bjørn Lomborg that in the short term bandaids was the most cost effective and the long term solution could then be done at a more relaxed pace as technology allows without crashing the world economy from lack of energy

Re:Or... from the article, it's inevitable (1)

idioto (259918) | about 8 months ago | (#44718565)

it's not really a band aid solution, but a practical one, verbatim:

After weighing the potential benefits and costs, the commission came down pretty squarely against the idea. “Given the enormous cost, limited effectiveness, questionable feasibility, and probable significant adverse economic and ecological impacts of such a project, it does not seem prudent to seriously further consider such a proposal,” the report concluded.

But that was before the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that a three-foot rise in sea levels is almost CERTAIN by 2100.

Re:Or... (1)

jythie (914043) | about 8 months ago | (#44718775)

The problem with solving the global problem is that it requires some legal system to make everyone play the same, countries have an incentive to cheat or hope other countries do more about the problem then they do. While I think a project like this is kinda silly, it is within the scope of what they CAN do something about, all the land is contained within a single state which has the power to enforce whatever is decided.

SanFran would be the new NOLA. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44718345)

Let's build an extremely complex system of levees in an area prone to high magnitude earthquakes.

What could possibly go wrong?

Re:SanFran would be the new NOLA. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44718445)

It would be the new New Orleans. Only instead of a bowl under sea level subject to hurricanes, it would be a bowl under sea level subject to earthquakes.

Re:SanFran would be the new NOLA. (2)

rickb928 (945187) | about 8 months ago | (#44718727)

Imagine building all this to keep the sea out, and then to find that the wave you weren't expecting is coming from the shore. After the Big One. Tsunami. Crushing your system from the other side.

At least it won't have a thousand miles to travel. Traffic around LA is a beast.

A Very American Solution? (1)

Antony T Curtis (89990) | about 8 months ago | (#44718371)

With how American Politicians almost uniformly deny global warming and sea level rise, I am surprised that none of them have yet suggested building a couple of large gigawatt nuclear power station barges and huge pumps then pump seawater into the middle of Antarctica where it may freeze...

Re:A Very American Solution? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44718665)

And another way to raise taxes.

hahaha (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44718385)

hahah *gasp* heh *gasp* *snort*

good one.

You propose saving hundreds of miles of land at a cost of hundreds of billions.
I propose a cheaper alternative, move. Build a big tower inland and move there.

Move to Greenland... (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 8 months ago | (#44718649)

hahah *gasp* heh *gasp* *snort*

good one.

You propose saving hundreds of miles of land at a cost of hundreds of billions.
I propose a cheaper alternative, move. Build a big tower inland and move there.

I hear Greenland is finding themselves with an increasing area of land these days. Seems like the obvious place to relocate to; added benefit is that the Danish government actually seems to be promoting both the environment AND technology [slashdot.org].

So, who pays? (5, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | about 8 months ago | (#44718399)

In general it is good to make people accountable for the costs of their own actions. In the case of global warming, many of the people who burned much of the fossil fuel will be dead by the time the consequences occur, and in addition it's a global cause.

I wonder if we wouldn't just be better off writing some laws now that say, "look, don't come crying to us when your expensive beach-front property goes underwater. Factor that into the price before you buy."

We need a carbon tax just to speed the transition to less less-polluting energy sources; if we instead use that money to repair thousands of miles of coastline and keep burning fossil fuel, we solve nothing.

Re:So, who pays? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44718679)

I wonder if we wouldn't just be better off writing some laws now that say, "look, don't come crying to us when your expensive beach-front property goes underwater. Factor that into the price before you buy."

That should also be done for beach front homes in hurricane prone areas. No more of this being declared a "disaster area" and getting a check from Uncle Sam.

Re:So, who pays? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 8 months ago | (#44718819)

We need a carbon tax just to speed the transition to less less-polluting energy sources; if we instead use that money to repair thousands of miles of coastline and keep burning fossil fuel, we solve nothing.

Problem is, under any of the currenlty-being-considered carbon tax proposals, megalithic corporations can just bribe the government into letting them pollute as much as they want, and the money from the bribes goes into the general fund, not any special 'fix the shit they break' trust.

In short, I don't disagree with the concept, I just don't trust the oligarchs to do it right and not fuck the world over for their own, personal profit.

Re:So, who pays? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44718825)

While that would be a fair law... good luck with that. We have people who live in cities below sea level, and when something happens they just cry about it and everybody gets all up in arms about how racist and insensitive we are for not bailing out "those poor people".

We'd be better off creating a fund now to pay for the eventual evacuation of those areas. Of course, once it got big enough, Congress would just raid it for some entitlement program or something, but at least we'd get something out of it. Free condoms or something maybe.

Another New Amsterdam (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44718413)

just ask help to the Dutch

Re:Another New Amsterdam (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44718693)

Yes, and I always get my sin, too.

This Begs the Question (1, Interesting)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 8 months ago | (#44718419)

Which is cheaper, the Space Elevator or building dams and pumping stations using fossil fuels?

Re:This Begs the Question (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 8 months ago | (#44718497)

In the short or long term? Remember, in this world of corporate profits, the long term is absolutely fucking meaningless. Long term to the sociopaths we've put in charge of the global economy is no more six to eight quarters.

Re:This Begs the Question (2)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about 8 months ago | (#44718799)

I forget, how does "the Space Elevator" address sea level rise? Do we just put all of the water on the elevator?

Those places must suck to work in today... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44718461)

If they're going to be "underwater" by 2050 that means that they're flooded right now. The worst case scenarios from reputable sources put the sea level of 2050 two feet above where they are today.
 
Better idea still? Move further inland.

Re:Those places must suck to work in today... (5, Insightful)

Comrade Ogilvy (1719488) | about 8 months ago | (#44718589)

Or add four feet of dirt.

The water portion of the SF Bay was once twice the size it is right now. The reason those pieces of commercial (and residential) real estate are vulnerable is they are built on areas that once were 6 inches underwater at hide tide. They are not underwater every single day because dirt was shipped in.

They shipped in four feet of dirt to create the problem. How about we solve the problem with four more feet of dirt?

As for the barrage, the ecological costs would be enormous. A few merely massive pumping stations is not going to prevent the bay water from becoming a smelly cess pool polluted by agricultural runoff and much worse from the residential areas. It is a fun idea for civil engineers, but we are wealthy enough here to employ less tricky solution that will be more reliable.

Amazing (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44718465)

According to NOAA, the actual average sea level rise over the last 100 years has been about 2 MILLIMETERS per year, or 200mm/century, or about 8 inches per 100 years. Here's the official data http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrends_station.shtml?stnid=9414290. If you look at the chart you'll see that the trend has actually dropped to about zero mm / year for the last 30 years.

So, in light of this, we need the biggest engineering project in history?

Re:Amazing (2, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 8 months ago | (#44718527)

I can save them a few trillion dollars: move to higher ground.

Re:Amazing (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 8 months ago | (#44718595)

Because moving the coastal sections of a major North American urban center to new territory, some of which almost certainly is going to be privately owned, won't cost nearly as much.

Re:Amazing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44718785)

nope especially if you move to a state further inside where state tax difference will probably offset the move cost.

Re:Amazing (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44718575)

Can you think of a better way to funnel money to union construction workers?

Re:Amazing (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 8 months ago | (#44718587)

I think you need new glasses. I'm looking at that graph and it's an upward trend. That's a helluva a spin you put on it, but even the graph itself shows that sea level has not slowed to nothing at that station in the last 30 years.

Re:Amazing (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 8 months ago | (#44718685)

It's an upwards trend over 100 years, but over the past 30 it's almost totally flat (on average). Which is exactly what the AC said.

Not that sea level rise isn't going to be a problem: it is, but it's actually one of the more minor and easily soluble problems global warming introduces, because it's slow. You can re-build an entire city in less time than it takes for the water to rise significantly (and in fact, many many cities have). All you have to do is move inland. Or, as one of the posters above suggest, bring in a couple of feet of dirt. Problem solved for the next 100 years.

Re:Amazing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44718793)

Looking at all that "noise" in the data, its hard to see what curve would fit it. Linear ( as shown )? Downward opening parabolic? Decaying exponential?

same link as above, but clickable. [noaa.gov]

Re:Amazing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44718681)

So, in light of this, we need the biggest engineering project in history?

Obviously the ocean has been trying to sneak up on us, but with the heightened attention it's staying really still hoping we'll look away so it can strike.

Re:Amazing (1)

intermodal (534361) | about 8 months ago | (#44718773)

NOAA must be biased and full of Republicans. Everybody's saying the sea will rise 3 feet in short order, so it must be true.

In all seriousness, these NOAA numbers are lot more convincing than the various theories in the three feet range. The biggest mistake seems to be the assumption that the changes from which they derive this "three feet" number won't be offset in various ways by other changes.

It's how a lot of fearmongering in the economics world works as well. Point out something that would change and then pretend nothing else will change around it. In fact, we're hearing it right now from the Department of Justice in their argument against the US Airways/American Airlines merger, acting as if the reduction to three so-called "legacy carriers" would create an oligopoly, despite Southwest, JetBlue, Virgin America, and so forth being major forces in the marketplace at this point.

Why not just move? (2)

jelwell (2152) | about 8 months ago | (#44718489)

Why not just move? Sea barriers is literally pushing the problem around. That solves nothing.
Joseph Elwell.

Re:Why not just move? (2)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 8 months ago | (#44718547)

Letting the air out of your tires to fit under a low bridge ignores the possibility of having someone pay you to design and construct a much nicer, taller bridge. If you're not the one paying for it, you may as well go for the splashiest (!) solution you can dream up.

Re:Why not just move? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44718593)

Why move? Build foot bridges to connect the buildings. A Venice-style corporate campus sounds awesome.

Re:Why not just move? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 8 months ago | (#44718903)

Why move? Build foot bridges to connect the buildings. A Venice-style corporate campus sounds awesome.

Sure, until it starts to sink into the festering cesspool surrounding it.

So, you know - not much different than current corporate culture.

huh (3, Funny)

phantomfive (622387) | about 8 months ago | (#44718491)

Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Oracle, LinkedIn, and Intuit have in common? They're just a few of the tech companies whose campuses alongside San Francisco Bay could be underwater by mid-century as sea levels rise

And all this time I thought Global Warming would be a bad thing. Is there any way we can speed this up, get those companies under water faster?

Don't fix it (1)

stewsters (1406737) | about 8 months ago | (#44718493)

Let nature retake it. Before humans settled there and paved the swamps it was a great haven for all kinds of animals. Constantly pumping to avoid moving up the hill a bit is really wasteful and all it takes is a dam failure to have another Katrina style disaster.

dig a deeper ocean (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44718531)

dihydrogen monoxide sequestration

Easier and cheaper solution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44718573)

Just pump the water out, desalinate it, and send it to Los Angeles. Solves a couple of problems.

What about people? (2)

Princeofcups (150855) | about 8 months ago | (#44718645)

So we have to build this to protect companies. Actually, company property. OK, no, actually the property that they rent, since they probably don't own it. What about the PEOPLE that will be flooded. Why should I care about protecting companies? Is our mindset really so fucked up that companies come first? Rhetorical question.

Please think of the children (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 8 months ago | (#44718905)

Without those companies, how will those people be able to afford their environment-saving Telsas? And send their kids to private schools so they don't have to mix with the proels. Please, please think of the children.

Massive pumps (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about 8 months ago | (#44718659)

Without truly massive pumps it's not going to work because the Bay doesn't just receive water from the ocean, but also from the Sacramento River and other minor waterways (plus storm drain runoff from most cities by the Bay).

The Sacramento River peak volume during a flood event (such as might be seen during a tropical storm with heavy rainfall) is 650,000 cubic feet/second [familywateralliance.com] (18,000 m^3/sec). The pumps are going to have to pump at least that much water up over the sea wall or the Bay is going to fill up from behind.

NYC faces the same problem with any Sea Wall plan - the Hudson and East Rivers are going to fill in the sea behind the sea wall, so even though the Sea Wall might keep out a high storm surge, you can't keep it closed for long or you'll be flooded anyway.

Re:Massive pumps (1)

gewalker (57809) | about 8 months ago | (#44718781)

Given that the bay is 400-1600 sq. miles (depends what you count as part of the bay). 400 sq mile is 11,151,360,000 sq ft. So 650,000 cu ft/sec corresponds to a rise of 5.83e-6 ft/sec -- about 2 inches for a 24 hours period. Maybe they won't have an immediate emergency if they fall behind just a little in their rate of pumping.

Re:Massive pumps (2)

hawguy (1600213) | about 8 months ago | (#44718851)

Given that the bay is 400-1600 sq. miles (depends what you count as part of the bay). 400 sq mile is 11,151,360,000 sq ft. So 650,000 cu ft/sec corresponds to a rise of 5.83e-6 ft/sec -- about 2 inches for a 24 hours period. Maybe they won't have an immediate emergency if they fall behind just a little in their rate of pumping.

That's just one inlet, don't forget to add in the square mileage from all of the cities that dump their storm drains into the bay, rain entering the bay from other, smaller waterways, as well as rain falling on the bay directly - Sandy dumped 8 - 12" of rain in many places. So if you close the gates 2 days before the surge hits you may have a few feet of water behind the gates before the surge even comes.

Re:Massive pumps (1)

gewalker (57809) | about 8 months ago | (#44718855)

Rats, flipped a number, about 5 feet in 24 hours at max flooding rate if you assume the minimum 400 sq. miles -- 5 feet is too high (really more than 400 sq miles), but the margin for error in pumping is not what I thought it was.

Global Dimming (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44718675)

Inject particulates into the upper atmosphere. It worked for Pinatubo: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/Volcano/

Move to new offices somewhere else? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44718697)

Maybe a little radical and untested an idea, but maybe moving above sea level to somewhere else might be a little easier than building a massive system of dams, locks and pumps in an area that is prone to major earthquakes. I'm surprised nobody writing the article considered this for a nanosecond or two.

dams (1)

kqc7011 (525426) | about 8 months ago | (#44718707)

Thought this article was from the Onion for a bit, there are rivers running into S.F. Bay. Does the dam back the water up until it reaches Stockton, which runs somewhere around 10 to 30 feet above sea level? So might not every foot of dam will have the same amount of water on both sides after awhile. Oh, yeah I forgot there are going to be big pumps putting all that water on the other side of the dam. Wonder what is going to power those pumps? Will it eventually look like the Ninth Ward in New Orleans after Katrina?

King Canute (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44718709)

So our solution to global warming it to copy King Canute. Great.

this makes no sense at all (3, Insightful)

sribe (304414) | about 8 months ago | (#44718753)

So, in order to protect against a rise in sea level of no more than 1 foot in the absolute worst case, they need to build a system of dams, locks and pumps greater than 600 feet high???

Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers (2)

McGruber (1417641) | about 8 months ago | (#44718791)

This is a stupid article:

There is only one way for ocean water to go in and out, and that’s through the Golden Gate, a 300-foot-deep gap in the Coastal Range that was originally gouged out thousands of years ago by a mighty river.

As a result of this lucky geological accident, it would be possible in theory to control the water level in the Bay—to put a stopper in the bathtub drain—by building a massive tidal gate, more or less in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge. The ideal location, based on tidal velocities and the topography of the Bay bottom, would be about half a mile east of the bridge, as shown in the graphic above.

The author overlooked the Sacramento & San Joaquin Rivers, both of which drain into the San Francisco Bay. You don't put a "stopper in the bathtub drain" when you cannot turn off the faucet flowing into that bathtub.

Address effects, not cause. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44718935)

Yet another marvelous idea to treat the effect of sea rise without facing and treating the cause.

Treating the cause would be bad for the economy, so let's all die for capitalism, and consumerism !

Beurk !

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