Report gauges LA's vulnerability to sea level rise with climate change

Feb. 19, 2014 at 4:18 PM
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LOS ANGELES, Feb. 19 (UPI) -- Los Angeles, as a large coastal city, needs to prepare for sea level rise of as much as 2 feet by 2050 due to climate change, researchers say.

Researchers from the University of Southern California partnered with the city in a study to gauge the impact of the rising tides on local communities and infrastructure, the university reported Tuesday.

While sea level rise will inevitably threaten some areas of the city, proactive planning and early identification of adaptation measures can protect at-risk assets, the report authors said.

"Some low-lying areas within the city's jurisdiction, such as Venice Beach and some areas of Wilmington and San Pedro, are already vulnerable to flooding," said Phyllis Grifman, lead author of the report and associate director of the USC Sea Grant Program.

"Identifying where flooding is already observed during periods of storms and high tides, and analyzing other areas where flooding is projected are key elements in beginning effective planning for the future."

Wastewater management, storm water management and potable water systems in Los Angeles are highly vulnerable to sea level rise, the researcher found.

In addition, many cultural assets along the coast, including museums and historic buildings, could face damage, they said.

However, 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, the researchers said.

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