Photo: Universal screencap
Facebook’s sprawling Menlo Park campus is surrounded by water on three sides. It’s beautiful now, but in a few decades its location could be problematic.According to ClimateWire, Facebook and 256 other Silicon Valley tech companies sit in a dangerous flood zone.
As climate change becomes more of a reality and sea levels rise, they could all be in serious trouble.
“[Facebook is] pretty much surrounded by tidal waters,” Eric Mruz, manager of the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, told ClimateWire. “It’s going to be a huge threat, with sea-level rise projections skyrocketing now. They will definitely have to do something with their levees to protect their property.”
While much of California’s coastline is at risk of rising sea levels, things look particularly bad for the Bay Area. Silicon Valley is already 3-10 feet below sea level, and scientists say that seawater will rise 16 inches by 2050. By 2100, that number is supposed to jump to 65 inches, and the entire area will experience more frequent, hard-hitting storms. If the levees in place are destroyed or overwhelmed by a storm surge, one hard blow could put the 3 million people who live in Silicon Valley in a grisly Waterworld.
“It’s imminent,” Mruz says. “There’s no question in my mind; we’re going to have to do something, at every spot around the Bay.”
Also at risk: Google, Yahoo, LinkedIn, Intel, Cisco, and Oracle.
“Silicon Valley basically backs right up to the bay,” Mruz told CW. “You have all of them, Yahoo, Google, all right there. Without some type of flood protection potentially in front of that, you could flood that whole area. You’re talking billions of dollars.”
Only Intel responded with a comment for CW’s story saying they were “in the process of better understanding the science and implications behind it.”
That’s not to say tech companies aren’t concerned. Google and Facebook, for example, have taken strides to build energy-efficent data centres. And many Silicon Valley companies bus their employees to work, some using biodiesel or other green transportation technologies.