What is sea level rise?
Image of Los Angeles County shoreline
Los Angeles County shoreline

Sea level rise happens when the world’s ocean levels increase due to global warming. Global warming is caused by fossil fuels, which releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and increases the global temperature. The oceans become warmer and ice caps and glaciers melt at an accelerated rate. This results in ocean levels rising worldwide.

Which parts of Los Angeles County will be affected by sea level rise?
Image of the Sea Level Rise Impact Areas Map from LA County General Plan 2035. Click on the image to see the full size PDF map.
Sea Level Rise Impact Areas Map

The Los Angeles County General Plan 2035 indicates the coastal areas of LA County to be at risk of sea level rise. This Sea Level Rise Impact Areas Map was adopted in 2015 and represents areas inundated by unimpeded Pacific coastal flooding under a 1.4 meter sea level rise scenario. Click on the image to see the full sized map.

How do I find out if I am in a sea level rise hazard area?

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Sea Level Rise Viewer has the most current data that will show you if your property will be affected by sea level rise under various scenarios. Visit coast.noaa.gov/slr to access this application.

How does sea level rise affect residents and communities?

As sea level rise gets worse over the years, it can have negative impacts to residents and communities. Private properties along the shoreline will be impacted as sea level starts to rise and inundate and flood homes.

For the larger communities, sea level rise erodes the shoreline and decreases the access to public beaches, which is an important blue space for recreation.

“Beaches are part of who we are as Californians, so much so that beach access is a constitutional right for all Californians regardless of zip code. The coast is one of the few places inland residents can go to escape the heat without spending a lot of money. This is an issue of environmental justice. Moreover, our more than $44 billion a year coastal economy depends on maintaining those beaches and protecting the coast from being swallowed up by sea level rise.” (Source: CA Coastal Commission)

How does climate change affect sea level rise?

Over the last century, the oceans have been becoming warmer and glaciers and ice caps melting covering Greenland and Antarctica are melting at a fast rate. This is due to the overall increase in the global temperature from carbon dioxide and other gases trapped in the atmosphere. These effects contribute to the rising sea level.

What is Los Angeles County doing to address sea level rise?

Los Angeles County will be preparing a Climate Vulnerability Assessment and adaptation strategies for climate-induced hazards, including sea level rise. Since sea level rise is a threat that will take decades to see the impacts, it is important that the County consider adaptation strategies for the long-term growth of its unincorporated communities. Adaptation strategies can range from shoreline armoring to managed retreat.

What can I do to prepare for sea level rise?

Since sea level rise is closely tied to the global temperature rise, individuals who may not be directly impacted by sea level rise can do their part by cutting greenhouse gas emissions from their daily lives.

Residents who will be directly impacted by sea level rise can research sea level rise adaptation strategies and the impact sea level rise will have on your property. Early education on this topic will prepare residents on what action will be needed.

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