DURHAM, N.C., Feb. 28 (UPI) -- Rising sea levels will change Southern California beaches in the coming century, researchers say, but that could be good news for some beach communities.
Researchers said many beaches may shrink or possibly disappear while others will remain relatively large, with varying economic gains and losses for coastal beach towns.
"Some beaches actually stand to benefit economically from sea level rise, creating winners and losers among California beach towns," Linwood Pendleton, director of ocean and coastal policy at Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, said in a release Tuesday.
"We found, as relatively small beaches shrink more due to sea level rise, people will stop visiting them, opting for wider beaches."
The researchers modeled the effect of climate change on beach size, beach attendance and beach-goer spending at 51 public beaches in Los Angeles and Orange counties.
Though the models indicated beach size had a significant influence on whether people chose to visit a beach, the study found other amenities such as additional lifeguards, convenient parking and improving water quality could help make up for some of the lost beach area.
"While the focus is often on battling nature to protect sand, it may be far easier and cheaper for beach towns to look to other amenities that are within their control," Pendleton said.