The city of Los Angeles is known for its wide sandy beaches, mild temperatures, and lack of humidity.
The combination of cool winters and warm summers sets it apart from almost every other city in the nation.
“Los Angeles is a hedonist’s paradise,” Matthew Kahn wrote in his 2010 book Climatopolis.
But rising temperatures are already putting that paradise at risk.
“Climate change will likely degrade LA’s ideal climate,” wrote Kahn. “In the future LA’s climate will look like Jacksonville, Florida’s, climate today.”
Sea level rise also threatens L.A. county’s famous beaches, piers, and boardwalks, which attracted almost 41 million tourists who accounted for more than $US16 billion in expenditures in 2012, according to a study by the University of Southern California Sea Program.
We’ve outlined some of the most significant effects of climate change today and how this will affect the L.A. region in the future.
Los Angeles County, which includes the city of Los Angeles, covers a land area of 4,000 square miles (shown in red). It stretches north along the coast past Malibu, south to include Long Beach, and includes two islands, 88 cities, and Angeles National Forest.
Los Angeles County is home to about ten million people, making it among the most populated counties in the U.S.
From 1878 to 2005, Los Angeles temperatures rose 4 degrees on average, climbing from around 62 degrees to 66 degrees.
The people in the poorest parts of L.A. are expected to be hit the worst since many live in some of the most intensely warming areas and may not have access to air conditioners.
California's extreme drought isn't helping. Local groundwater sources only meet 30 to 40% of the county's demands.
To make up the difference, Los Angeles imports water from northern California among other areas. But Los Angeles County isn't the only rain-starved region in California. Almost all the state's reservoirs were at less than 50% capacity this January.
Lack of rain and high temperatures are triggering more and more wildfires. 'This year fire season never ended in Southern California,' Daniel Berlant, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, told The New York Times.
Wildfires will remain a growing threat to the Los Angeles region. Most models predict that warming will cause more frequent and larger fires by the end of the century.
More wildfires and hot days could lower air quality. This is because smog is created when pollutants, like those from cars, interact with heat and sunlight.
One concern in coastal areas is sea level, which is expected to rise anywhere from 5 to 24 inches from 2000 to 2050, according to the National Resource Council.
This could affect coastal infrastructure including two wastewater treatment plants, two power plants, and the Port of Los Angeles.
Los Angeles is taking actions to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions that lead to warming, especially in the transportation sector.
In 2012, the Southern California Association of Governments released a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from passenger vehicles by 13% by 2035.
California as a whole is also off to a good start with its year-and-a-half-old cap and trade program. The program aims to reduce carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, with the cap shrinking by 3% each year.
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