Santa Monica at Risk from Rising Sea Level, Climate Change

A report from USC predicts a sea level rise due to climate change that will impact coastal areas.

Getty Images
Getty Images

By City News Service

Residents of Los Angeles County's low-lying communities, such as San Pedro and Wilmington, as well as those with older buildings and high numbers of renters, such as Venice and Santa Monica, would be most affected by flooding stemming from a rising sea level, according to a report released Tuesday by USC.

The Abbot Kinney corridor and Ballona wetlands would be particularly at risk. However, the region’s wide sandy beaches, if maintained, can provide a valuable bulwark against higher waters.

Current projections say a sea level rise of as much as two feet will occur in Los Angeles by 2050 due to climate change.

The report does not specifically mention Santa Monica as the study looks specifically at Los Angeles neighborhoods, but a similar study that looks at all of Los Angeles County coastline has been commissioned for later on this year.

Santa Monica beaches generate more than $1.5 billion in tourism, according to the Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Other key findings from the report include:

  • The city’s wastewater management, storm water management and potable water systems are highly vulnerable to sea level rise;
  • The Port of Los Angeles and the city's energy infrastructure would be mostly unaffected by the rise in sea level due to a replacement schedule that will allow the city to prepare for future needs to change infrastructure;
  • Projected flooding and erosion damage to roads along the coast could impede emergency services;
  • Many cultural assets located along the coast, including museums, historic buildings and the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, could face damage.
Alexander Nguyen contributed to this report.

Curtis Plumb January 09, 2014 at 06:49 PM
Fantasy and Science Fiction was a popular genre during the fifties. It's making a comeback. ☺
Teri Redman Kahn January 10, 2014 at 06:11 PM
I find it hard to believe that there are still some who deny the science behind climate change (above comments). My question is this--does LA have a plan to deal with sea level rise? I think the public should be made aware of such plans. We need to start these programs now while we still have some time.
pilot_rick January 10, 2014 at 06:44 PM
Teri Redman Kahn, You should be ashamed of yourself. As a high school teacher you perpetuate this "global warming" myth all so rich fat cat liberals can get rich off so called green energy. The truth is that the the earth's climate has always been changing. It's never been consistent. The sea levels rise and the earth's temperature constantly changes. Wether it's a manmade phenomenon is of no consequence. The only thing science teaches us is that there is no consistency when it comes to climate.
Oswaldo Busquets January 10, 2014 at 09:19 PM
Fanaticism and a faith-based approach to climate prevents some people from understanding that science is predicated on theory not consensus. That is why it is hard for some to believe that there are diverging views on a hot topic like this.
Kim Miller January 10, 2014 at 11:29 PM
The problem with climate change is that it always does change-duh. All these predictions of doom for planet fails, everytime. This as the Midwest has record cold and Antarctica has record ice levels


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