Climate Change Could Cause Flooding in Los Angeles

Climate Change Could Cause Flooding in Los Angeles

Major flood would hit Los Angeles Black communities disproportionately hard, study finds

L.A. could see up to 8 inches of rain in the next 30 years, according to climate models.

The impact on Los Angeles’s African-American population would be catastrophic.

The study by UCLA and the University of Southern California was the first of its kind to evaluate the likelihood of extreme floods caused by climate change over the first three decades. It found that the probability of flooding would rise considerably, and that some parts of L.A. would be more impacted than others.

“Our findings indicate that climate change has the potential to cause devastating flooding and inundation of large portions of cities in the Greater Los Angeles Area,” said lead author Yann LeCouterre, an Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UCLA. “We hope that residents and policy makers can focus their efforts on building resilience in urban areas that are most affected by flooding.”

UCLA and USC researchers examined three climate models that simulate the sea level rise and extreme weather events that will result from global warming: the European Center Model, the U.S. National Climate Change Adaptation Research Program model and the Community Earth System Model, or CESM. All these models showed that Los Angeles is more vulnerable than cities or regions with smaller populations.

However, the likelihood of widespread flooding in the Los Angeles metropolitan area is much greater than what the models project, according to the study.


Researchers found that a combination of sea level rise and storm surge would submerge areas with high concentrations of black residents like Watts and Boyle Heights, and the study looked specifically at two potential solutions to deal with the flooding: constructing flood walls and modifying the elevation of buildings.

“We found that we can do more with flood mitigation,” said LeCouterre. “The question is when, how much and how effectively.”

The study found that a combination of sea level rise and storm surge will inundate up to 60 percent of Watts, 45 percent of Boyle Heights, 45 percent

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