Mayor Villaraigosa, UCLA release groundbreaking climate change temperature forecast
BY: CIty Of Los Angeles
Post ID: 35274 | POSTED ON: Jun 21, 2012
LOS ANGELES — Mayor Villaraigosa today joined UCLA, the Los Angeles Regional Collaborative for Climate Action and Sustainability (LARC), and environmental organizations to release results from the groundbreaking study “Mid-Century Warming in the Los Angeles Region,” a critical part of the Villaraigosa administration’s AdaptLA framework. Commissioned by the City of Los Angeles, funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, and conducted by the UCLA Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, the study is the first of its kind, providing detailed forecasts of rising temperatures for the metropolitan area between 2041-2060.
“UCLA’s model projects climate changes down to the neighborhood level, allowing us to apply the rigor of science to long-term planning for our city and our region,” said Mayor Villaraigosa. “With good data driving good policies, we can craft innovative solutions that will preserve our environment and quality of life for the next generation of Angelenos.”
Previous climate change models have proven too imprecise for City and regional planners, breaking up the globe into 100-200 kilometer grid cells. In contrast, the new UCLA study forecasts temperature changes down to a two-kilometer resolution. With unique predictions for neighborhoods as close as Porter Ranch and Pacoima, City and regional planners can begin preparing for Los Angeles’ changing climate.
“The changes our region will face are significant, and we will have to adapt,” said UCLA Professor Alex Hall, climate change expert and lead author of “Mid-Century Warming in the Los Angeles Region. “Every season of the year in every part of the county will be warmer. This study lays a foundation for the region to confront climate change. Now that we have real numbers, we can talk about adaptation.”
Results of the study indicate that temperatures will increase between 3.7°F and 5.4°F across the City by mid-century. Rising temperatures will be most notable during the summer and fall, with the number of “extreme heat” days above 95°F tripling in downtown Los Angeles and nearly quadrupling in the San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys. Extreme heat is of particular concern for planners and policymakers because of the associated public health consequences.
“Higher temperatures bring higher health risks,” says Dr. Richard Jackson of the Fielding School of Public Health at UCLA. “Longer, harsher heat waves will cause more cases of heat stroke and heat exhaustion – even among otherwise healthy people who believe they’re immune – and higher temperatures mean more smog, with consequences for respiratory health as well.”
To confront the challenges posed by climate change, the City has developed a two-pronged strategy. First, the City continues its efforts to mitigate climate change by lowering emissions, conserving energy and enhancing sustainability. The City’s aggressive GREENLA plan has and will continue to help mitigate LA’s carbon footprint. The UCLA study found that aggressive mitigation efforts could reduce mid-century warming by about 30%.
At the same time, however, Los Angeles has begun to prepare to adapt to changes in the climate that are already underway and cannot be reversed. The City has established a framework for adaptation planning called AdaptLA to address the risks that climate change poses to public health, quality of life, and public and private property.
“This is the best, most sophisticated climate science ever done for a city,” said UCLA Professor Paul Bunje, executive director of UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability Center for Climate Change Solutions. “Nobody knew precisely how to adapt to climate change because no one had the data – until now.”
Many of the actions the City has taken to mitigate climate change, such as its aggressive green-building standards, tree-planting program, and dramatic increase of green and open space, will also help the City adapt to climate change. The new data will enable the City develop a comprehensive plan to deal with all of the impacts of climate change effectively and efficiently.
The AdaptLA framework has four major components: 1) science-based evaluation of the impacts of climate change; 2) assessment of the vulnerability of and risks to City infrastructure and assets; 3) regional collaboration; and 4) public engagement. A fact sheet detailing the AdaptLA framework and additional City initiatives is attached.
In keeping with the established AdaptLA framework, Villaraigosa has instructed relevant City departments to prepare vulnerability and risk assessments based on the UCLA data. To promote regional collaboration, Villaraigosa will continue his commitment to LARC and its development of a regional Climate Adaptation Strategy. To facilitate and encourage public engagement on the issue of climate change, the website c-change.la has been created, providing both scientific information and ways to get involved on the ground.
“Mid-Century Warming in the Los Angeles Region” is the first study completed as part of UCLA’s ongoing research project “Climate Change in the Los Angeles Region.” Future studies will cover other elements of climate change including precipitation, Santa Ana winds, soil moisture, and coastal fog.
The complete study, “Mid-Century Warming in the Los Angeles Region,” along with interactive maps and ways to get involved, is available online at c-change.la. For b-roll, interviews, maps and other press materials, please contact Alaine Azcona via email at email@example.com.
About the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability (IoES)
IoES is an educational and research institute that unites disciplines: physical, life and social sciences; business and economics; public policy and urban planning; engineering and technology; and medicine and public health. IoES includes multiple cross-disciplinary research centers, and its environmental science undergraduate degree program is one of the fastest growing majors at UCLA. IoES advises businesses and policymakers on sustainability and the environment and informs and encourages community discussion about critical environmental issues. More at www.environment.ucla.edu and http://newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/climate-change-in-la-235493.aspx
About the Los Angeles Regional Collaborative for Climate Action and Sustainability (LARC)
LARC is a regional network developing the science and strategies to address climate change. LARC brings together leadership from government, the business community, academia, labor, and environmental and community groups to encourage greater coordination and cooperation at the local and regional levels. The goals are to share information, foster partnerships, develop system wide strategies to address climate change, and promote a green economy. The collaborative is housed at the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability and governed by the LARC Steering Committee. More at www.laregionalcollaborative.org
C-CHANGE.LA serves as a clearinghouse for information about climate change and its impacts on Southern California. In 2012, C-CHANGE.LA will publish the groundbreaking studies included in the project “Climate Change in the Los Angeles Region” and provide the public with the tools to understand the scientific research and a variety of options to get involved in efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change. C-CHANGE.LA is hosted by the Los Angeles Regional Collaborative for Climate Action and Sustainability, and published by Climate Resolve, a project of Community Partners.
About The Author