Wicked Mid-Century Heat Waves Coming to Los Angeles
Mark your calendars because 30 years from now the weather in L.A. is likely to bear resemblance to the sandy basins of Death Valley. Scientists predict the culturally diverse “city of angels” will see quadruple the amount of blistering heat waves particularly in the downtown area. According to a new study conducted by UCLA researchers the changing climates are said to upsurge average temperatures by 4-5 degrees Fahrenheit come mid-century.
Almost two summers ago, Los Angeles saw some warning signs that climates were shifting as the sun’s powerful rays roasted pavements in the concrete city. The Huffington Post reported on the hellish heat wave that hit downtown L.A. breaking the all-time record- and the National Weather Service’s thermometer. Temperatures were scorching at a staggering 113 degrees farenheit before their device just stopped working, leaving meteorologists wondering if heat levels climbed even higher than that.
On that day, tourists and locals alike fled to the infamous beaches of Hollywood and air-conditioned department stores that blanket the downtown area. Heat-related power outages were rampant leaving tens of thousands without electricity, outdoor sports activities were cancelled among school districts, and firefighters battled raging brush fires West of Los Angeles in Thousand Oaks. To say it was hot that day is an understatement. Nevertheless, future and existing city residents should brace for more intense and continuous scorchers in years to come.
The social elite and modern housewives that inhabit luxurious beachfront properties in Malibu need prepare for other climate change downers as well. A recent report by the National Research Council foresees a dramatic rise in sea levels alongside the California coast in the next 20 years with a possibility to reach up to 5 feet by the end of the century. This is slightly higher than the predicted global sea level average and puts many coastal infrastructures at risk. High waves and storm swells could cause costly damage to coastal buildings, cliffs, ports and of course the multi-million dollar Malibu mansions.
Many cities carry responsibilities to their local economy and with 60% of GHG emissions coming from urbanized towns, they will have to prove they can handle the extra weight. In the absence of international progress being made (particularly at this years environmental conferences) successful climate change techniques will likely have to come at the local level. As the Rio+ 20 conferences in Rio de Janeiro Brazil came to a close, it was apparent that international leaders came short of their mission when negotiation processes fell flat. The profoundly disturbing progress made was nothing short of an utter failure as rumblings in the media echoed the lack of meaningful commitments made to combat climate change. So what’s a city like L.A. to do about sweltering heats and climate change woes? They will take the issue into their own hands and brace for the inevitable.
Cynthia Rosenzweig, head of Climate Impacts Group at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City supports this notion stating, “There’s a growing realization that cities are the right level of governance to tackle climate change issues.” The mayor of Los Angeles Antonio Villaraigosa has made some serious efforts to confront climate change with an impressive green agenda. Ever since his election in 2005, he has made a commitment to turning L.A. into “the greenest big city in the nation.” He has tackled air pollution head-on and has visions of growing green technology while making room for thousands of green jobs. He has formulated programs to better air quality and is wholeheartedly invested into protecting water resources for the people of Los Angeles.
Mitigation techniques and solid planning can curb some of the effects of global warming but adaptation methods must be considered. Regardless of what we do, climate change will occur to a certain degree. Realizing how to lessen the consequences that it can have is an important strategy moving forward. Even after the disappointments of the earth summit last month, it’s nice to see that city leaders are encouraged to do what they can to assess climate change hazards and reduce the impact their city has on the global outcome.
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