San Francisco – Sea patterns

Sea Level Rise Adaptation

This project is part of the Sea Level Rise / Waterfront component of the Resilience and Sustainability program.

Sea level rise is a slow-moving threat, but it demands immediate action. Global heating creates extreme hazards that cause significant harm to people, homes, infrastructure, and the environment. California, already faces many climate-related impacts: prolonged drought, extreme heat, massive wildfires, hazardous air quality, flooding, and severe weather.  San Francisco Planning is working in collaboration with other City departments and community stakeholders to identify the impacts of coastal flooding due to climate change, and to determine strategies to make San Francisco more resilient in the face of rising sea levels.

By the end of this century, global heating will cause sea levels around San Francisco Bay may rise three to six feet or more. Coupled with more extreme weather patterns, over six percent of San Francisco’s land (about four square miles), called the Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Zone, could be inundated by temporary or permanent flooding. This area is home to more than 37,000 people, 170,000 jobs, and a host of vital infrastructure, including roadways, utilities, emergency services, roads, bridges, transit, parks and open spaces, and the Port of San Francisco.



The Sea Level Rise Vulnerability and Consequences Assessment moves the City forward toward reaching the goals set out in the Sea Level Rise Action Plan (2016). Recognizing the urgent need to adapt our waterfront communities to sea level rise (SLR) and coastal flooding, the City prepared the Sea Level Rise Vulnerability and Consequences Assessment.  The Assessment describes the vulnerability of public buildings and infrastructure to SLR and coastal flooding and the consequences on people, the economy, and the environment. It includes a series of illustrative neighborhood profiles that describe how neighborhoods would be impacted by sea level rise and coastal flooding over time, with a focus on vulnerable communities.  The Neighborhood Profiles consider how different infrastructure categories impact each other and affect the daily lives and well-being of people living and working in these neighborhoods.

The Assessment studied 10 SLR scenarios ranging from 12 to 108 inches to understand the City’s infrastructure vulnerabilities to intermittent and permanent flooding over time if no actions are taken to address SLR.

It identifies City-owned infrastructure within the SLR Vulnerability Zone by sector, including: Transportation, Water, Wastewater, Power, Public Safety, Open Space, and Port Facilities.

The information in the Assessment will be used to advise decision makers, City agencies, and public stakeholders as they develop, prioritize, design, and build appropriate adaptation strategies to enhance San Francisco’s resilience to SLR and coastal flooding.

We will continue to work with communities to develop plans, policies, and projects to adapt the City to SLR, coastal flooding, and other hazards.

The Assessment completes Steps 2 and 3 in the SLR Action Plan process: Assess Vulnerability and Assess Risk.


Download Full Report:  Sea Level Rise Vulnerability and Consequences Assessment

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