Bay Area Climate Change Hotspots

Ten places where climate change touches the Bay Area

Our NBC Bay Area meteorologists fanned out across the Bay Area to get a read on problems climate change is creating in the waters that surround us, our forests, our rivers and streams, and the air we breathe. We’ve talked with the scientists or environmental advocates who are studying and working on solutions for the problems. 

Click on the different points on the map below to learn more about each Bay Area hotspot, or scroll down the page for a complete list.


One of the trouble spots in the San Francisco Bay Area when it comes to climate change is West Oakland. It has 19 miles of coastline that are particularly vulnerable to rising seas because it lies at a lower elevation. NBC Bay Area meteorologist Kari Hall meets with Heather Cooley, a climate scientist from the Pacific Institute, at the point where the water meets the land in West Oakland to talk about what’s happening and what needs to be done to save the coastline.
San Francisco is vulnerable to what climate change will bring - the rising waters of the Bay. It's surrounded by water on three sides and much of that coastline could change drastically by the end of the century. NBC Bay Area meteorologist Kari Hall meets with climate scientist Heather Cooley from the Pacific Institute on Ocean Beach to discuss what’s in store for both the beach and the Embarcadero.
Wildfire season used to begin in August and wrap up in November. In 2021, we’ve already had a red flag alert in January. Cal Fire says climate change is fueling this troubling trend, giving us an average of 75 extra burn days a year. NBC Bay Area meteorologist Rob Mayeda walks in the Woodward fire zone in Point Reyes with scientist Margaret Torn who examines what climate change is doing to the Earth that’s sparking these wildfires.
Climate change is not only lengthening our fire season but it’s creating hot, fast-moving vicious fires which are unstoppable and includes the new phenomena known as “firenadoes.” NBC Bay Area meteorologist Rob Mayeda talks to Craig Clements about what climate change is doing to the forest that’s creating this problem.
It used to be the redwoods in Marin County soaked in fog for an average of 12 hours a day. Now it’s just nine hours. Scientists blame that on climate change. NBC Bay Area's Vianey Arana talks with Todd Dawson, an integrative biology professor at U.C. Berkeley about what the shift is doing to the trees and the redwood forests in which they live.
Salmon have struggled in California because the state has diverted so many of the streams they swim up to spawn. Now climate change is creating a new challenge - it’s diminishing the snowpack that feeds those waterways. Kate Poole, an attorney who fights to protect and restore freshwater ecosystems, talks to NBC Bay Area meteorologist Rob Mayeda about the problem that’s compounded by the way we manage our water system in California.
When you look out over the San Francisco Bay it looks blue and beautiful. However, if you follow the waterway all the way up to Discovery Bay in the summer, you’ll see huge toxic algae blooms that are choking it and turning it green. NBC Bay Area's Vianey Arana interviews senior scientist Jon Rosenfield from the San Franciso Baykeepers about the role climate change is playing in the explosion of the algae blooms and what’s got to be done to keep the entire bay from turning into a toxic pea soup.
In 2020, the Bay Area endured a record number of spare the air days. Smoke from a record fire season filled our skies and one day, turned the skies orange. NBC Bay Area chief meteorologist Jeff Ranieri talks to climate researcher Zeke Hausfather, of the Breakthrough Institute, about the troubling trend spreading in the air we breathe.
It used to be the city of Berkeley had 15 days above 85 degrees. Now the average is 30 days a year. The longest standing weather station in Berkeley, which is located at UC Berkeley, recorded the climate change trend as it happened over the last 100 years. NBC Bay Area chief meteorologist Jeff Ranieri talks with Zeke Hausfather, a Breakthrough Institute researcher, about the trend and what it’s doing to daily life here in California.
Climate change is throwing a wrench into our rainy season. The storms are shorter and the droughts are longer. NBC Bay Area chief meteorologistJeff Ranieri talks about what all that is doing to our water supply while he walks with Zeke Hausfather, a Breakthrough Institute researcher, around Lafayette Reservoir.

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