Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Study for the City of Los Angeles

Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Study for the City of Los Angeles

Over the next century, sea level rise in the Los Angeles (L.A.) region is expected to match global projections with an increase of 0.1 - 0.6 m (5 - 24 inches) from 2000 to 2050 and 0.4 - 1.7 m (17 - 66 inches) from 2000 to 2100. Tides, wave-driven runup and storm surge sometimes cause coastal flooding in Southern California, especially when big wave storms occur at or near peak high tides. Sea level rise will potentially exacerbate the impacts from these events.

The City of L.A. owns and maintains coastal infrastructure that includes two power plants, two wastewater treatment plants, and the Port of L.A., one of the busiest in the world. All of these are situated about ten feet above sea level. A major component of L.A.'s economy is dependent upon beach tourism. In 2012, the Los Angeles region attracted over 41 million tourists, who accounted for more than $16.5 billion in expenditures.

The City of L.A., along with a team of science and outreach experts, developed a science-based and stakeholder-supported adaptation planning process to begin planning for the impacts of climate change. The Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Study for the City of Los Angeles was developed to begin to prepare for accelerated sea level rise and associated storm impacts. The expert team conducted an assessment of the potential physical, social and economic impacts of sea level rise on the City's resources and population, as well as the possible impacts to coastal and shoreline assets.

Download Full Study with Appendices

Summary Report: Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Study for the City of Los Angeles by USC Sea Grant

Appendices:Appendix 1: City of Los Angeles Coastal Issues Related to Future Mean Sea Level Rise by Dr. Reinhard Flick, TerraCosta Consulting Group, Inc.

Appendix 2: Physical Vulnerability Assessment Findings for the City of Los Angeles by Brian Holland and Melissa Higbee, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability

Appendix 3: Sea-Level Rise Impacts and Flooding Risks in the Context of Social Vulnerability: An Assessment for the City of Los Angeles by Dr. Julia Eckstrom and Dr. Susanne Moser, Susanne Moser Research & Consulting

Appendix 4: Economic Impact of Sea level Rise to the City of Los Angeles by Dr. Dan Wei and Dr. Samrat Chatterjee, USC Price School of Public Policy, Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events

One-Page Summary

Media Coverage:


Video Interview of Phyllis Grifman, Associate Director, USC Sea GrantAl Jazeera News Hour, January 10, 2014, Aired at 3:15pm PST News Hour

"Interview with Phyllis Grifman of USC Sea Grant"KCRW Radio, January 7, 2014

USC report concludes LA risks much from climate-related sea level riseKPCC 89.3 Southern California Public Radio,Molly Peterson, January 7th, 2014, 8:00am (pdf)


Residents, Renters In San Pedro, Venice Could Be Hit Hard By Rising Sea LevelCBS Los Angeles, January 8, 2014 11:55am (pdf)

Much of Venice Could be Underwater in 96 YearsLA Weekly, by Dennis Romero, Wed, January 8, 2014 (pdf)

How rising seas could affect L.A.LA Times graphic, Credits: Lorena Iñiguez Elebee, Published: January 8, 2014 (pdf)   

Study: PCH, tourism, water systems vulnerable to sea level riseSanta Monica Daily Press, by David Mark Simpson on January 7, 2014 (pdf)

L.A. storms to grow more destructive as sea level rises, study saysLA Times, by Tony Barboza, 9:05pm PST, January 7, 2014 (pdf),0,3069596.story#axzz2ppS6jKpr 

Interest rises in LA's sea levelsUniversity of Southern California News, by Robert Perkins, January 7, 2014 (pdf)!/article/58113/las-vulnerability-to-future-sea-level-rise-projected/

New study pinpoints L.A. coastal areas vulnerable to a sea level rise from climate change,Torrance Daily Breeze and LA Daily News, by Sandy Mazza, January 7, 2014 (pdf)

"Adapting to Sea Level Rise in a Coastal Megacity," NOAA Sea Grant Featured Story (pdf)

Los Angeles' Vulnerability to Future Sea Level Rise ProjectedImperial Valley News, Created on Sunday, 12 January 2014 3:47pm (pdf)

Report: Global warming on sea level in Los Angeles will worsen coastal, by Robert Perkins, January 10th, 2014 (pdf)

Sea Level Expected to Rise by about Two Feet by 2050 in Los AngelesTopNews.US, by Ingela Maledevic on Wed, January 8, 2014 (pdf)

Projected Sea-Level Rise Could Land Coastal Los Angeles UnderwaterredOrbit, Online Press January 8, 2014 (pdf) 

LA's Vulnerability to Future Sea Level Rise ProjectedOriginal Press Release, USC, by Robert Perkins, January 7, 2014 (pdf)


Santa Monica at Risk from Rising Sea Level, Climate ChangeSanta Monica Patch, Posted by Alexander Nguyen, January 8, 2014 at 4:40pm (pdf)

Report: Sea Level Rise to Affect Low-Lying CommunitiesPalo Verdes Patch, Posted by Nicole Mooradian (Editor), January 7, 2014 at 11:23pm (pdf)

Just How Screwed Is LA's Coast When Sea Levels Rise Two Feet?Curbed LA (Curbed Network), by Bianca Barragan, Tuesday, January 7, 2014 (pdf)

Abbot Kinney Corridor in Venice at Risk from Rising Sea LevelsVenice-MarVista Patch, Posted by Liz Spear (Editor), January 7, 2014 (pdf)

For more informationAlyssa Newton Mannagnewton@usc.edu213.740.8602