Coastal communities face fast-rising sea levels in Bay Area

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The Tampa Bay Climate Science Advisory Panel is painting a bleak picture of the next eight decades.

They say a worst-case scenario would be an 8.5-foot rise in sea levels in the Bay Area by the year 2100. The best case: A rise of about two feet.

Either way, it's bad news.

”Two feet does make a drastic change, particularly for our barrier island communities and our barrier island communities are a significant portion of our tax base,” said Maya Burke, a panel member.

Burke recently presented the panel's findings to Bay Area policymakers.

She says the problems are already getting worse. Since the group's first report in 2015, their sea level rise predictions have been increased by 1-1.5 feet, on average.

”You might not believe in some of these future projections but we have measured almost eight inches of sea level rise right here in our back yard,” Burke said.

Pinellas County Commissioner Janet Long says cutting down carbon emissions doesn't have to be a costly venture.

“We can do it and offer great economic opportunity to our citizens and business community,” Commissioner Long said.

“I have faith we can come together and find solutions that are palatable to folks regardless of their persuasions,” said Burke.