RCP 8.5 Business as Usual Scenario
The average ring represents the average annual moisture in the upper layer of the soil during 1950-2005. For every 3% increase in annual soil moisture the rings are darker and further apart, for every 3% decrease the rings are lighter and closer together. In the 2090s soil moisture will average 15% less than during the last half of the 20th century. For more info see technical notes.
1975 North City West Plan
Until 1975, most of the land to the east of Torrey Pines State Park was undeveloped. The initial award-winning plan envisioned commercial centers accessible to pedestrians surrounded by high-density housing, public transportation, a park, and small local schools. But everyone, from builders to lenders, were used to old ways of doing things so little by little the plans were abandoned.
Coastal Chaparral Disappears
Colorful spring blooms of ceanothus, sage and other species that comprise coastal maritime chaparral and sage scrub are increasingly scarce, as San Diego’s coastal areas no longer provide suitable habitat. Plants with broad distribution survive further north. Will many species endemic to San Diego be able to move so quickly? MORE
2004 Interstate 56 Completed
Until construction began in 1987 only a dirt road connected Interstate 5 with Interstate 15. But as new homes replaced chaparral, pressure mounted to complete construction. Despite loss of marshlands and wildlife habitat, people needed a way to get to work.
2070 Ocean Acidification
The ocean absorbs excess CO2 thereby becoming more acidic and lowering saturation levels of calcium carbonate. Low saturation levels make calcium carbonate unavailable for the construction of the shells and exoskeletons of many invertebrates. What happens to the biodiversity hotspots located off the coast of San Diego?
2016 Bark Beetles
Bark beetles killed over 10% of Torrey pines during the recent multi-year drought. The last beetle infestation occurred about 25 years ago killing 12% of the trees. What frequency of drought can the trees withstand?
1971 I-5 Completed
Construction of Interstate 5 in San Diego County took place between 1954-1971. In 1970 state Proposition 18, which would have allowed highway funds to be used to build mass transit, was defeated. How might San Diego's freeways and mass transit look today if that proposition had passed?
2090 Massive Heat Waves
From 2090-2100 the temperature along the coast exceeds 89 degrees F an average of 85 days per year. Residents longingly imagine the mild climate of a century earlier, when temperatures only reached such extremes four days per year.
2017 Donald Trump elected president
and within days any mention of climate change and renewable energy disappeared from the White House web site, even though 2016 was the hottest year on record. Will this blatant denial galvanize Americans to demand that green house gas emissions be limited? Or will we allow decisions that cause unstoppable warming?
Flooding Inundates Wetlands and Homes
A massive storm occurring during king tides floods much of Mission Beach, and other low lying communities from Imperial Beach to Oceanside. Coastal lagoons are inundated; nests of endangered clapper rails and least terns destroyed. Predictions that half of Mission Beach could be underwater at high tide by 2050 are increasingly credible.
2015 Warming Seas
Watching a sea gull peck at an emaciated live baby seal lying beside its mother, many visitors to La Jolla's Children's beach exclaimed, "Why doesn't the life guard do something?" What could he do? Warmer water was causing thousands of baby marine mammals to die because of diminished food supplies.
2003 Disappearing Species
East of Torrey Pines, residents used to see lots of rattlesnakes. Now they don't see rattlesnakes or even deer. They seldom hear frogs, unless there is a good rain. Horned toads are rare. Development brought black Argentinean ants, which replaced the red ants that were their food source.
Mosquito bites bring fear! Outbreaks of West Nile virus, yellow fever, dengue, Chikungunya, Zika, and more become increasingly common.