Environment & Science

Crumbling cliffs could become more common with climate change


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We’ve all done it. Gone to the beach. Hunkered up against the cliffs to get out of the sun. And not thought about what’s right above us.

“Even though you’re sitting amongst store fronts, large communities, private residences, it still is a wild place,” said Brian Ketterer, Coastal Division Chief for California State parks. 

It’s normal for cliffs to erode as water, wind and human contact all work to break them down.

“If you’re going to be that close that you can see cracks and fissures in the soil content itself, that probably means that you’re sitting or standing too close to that bluff area,” said Ketterer 

Look out for posted signs and ask life guards if it’s safe, but know that this isn’t going to get better over time. Sea level rise – part of our climate crisis –could mean more erosion, which could mean even more cliff collapses.