This Is What Los Angeles Would Look Like With A Rise In Sea Levels

By Ashlyn Davis

This Is What Los Angeles Would Look Like With A Rise In Sea Levels

This interactive map by Climate Central simulates different scenarios.

The effects of global warming have been unavoidable as we continue to see extreme weather crises around the world. Last year, California saw some of the worst wildfires in years, devastating treasured landscapes. If ice caps continue to thaw and sea levels continue to rise at the current rate, Los Angeles will see the effects. Let’s just say, Long Beach gondolas will be at cruising along the ocean and the Queen Mary will be floating in the middle of the bay (if it’s not fully submerged by then).

This is demonstrated by several studies published in recent years, most recently the damning climate report released by the UN, which has been titled “code red for humanity.” From the United Nations Intergovernmental Group on Climate Change (IPCC) to scientific journals such as Climate Atmospheric Science, the scientific world agrees that the thaw will reach our shores sooner or later.

At what speed and with what level of devastation? That depends on the climate conditions over the next decades, whether the plan in the Paris Agreement is respected or if global warming increases drastically.

The 2019 IPPC data forecast an increase by 2100 of 43 centimeters if the Paris Agreement is fulfilled (this is the most optimistic scenario). In the most adverse, between 84 centimeters and 1 meter.

In 2020, a panel of 100 experts from the journal Climate Atmospheric Science published new projections updating them from the IPPC. According to his study, the oceans could increase their level by 1.3 meters by 2100 if the Earth’s surface warms 3.5 degrees more and up to five meters by the year 2300, which would cause a total melt of the poles.

Thanks to Climate Central we can simulate these scenarios.

Los Angeles County by 2030: best-case scenario

Climate Central / climatecentral.org

California’s coast is already experiencing the early impacts of a rising sea level, including more extensive coastal flooding during storms, periodic tidal flooding, and increased coastal erosion, according to a report by the Working Group of the California Ocean Protection Council Science Advisory Team (OPC-SAT). In the image seen above, the simulator shows that even if there’s a minimal rise in sea levels, deep and rapid emission cuts and with some luck, there would be an impact on L.A. County’s coast in less than a decade.

Los Angeles County by 2030: worst-case scenario

Climate Central / climatecentral.org

Above, shows the amount of the coast in Long Beach that would be below water level if no cuts are made and major floods take place. This would be by 2030.

Los Angeles County by 2100: worst-case scenario

Climate Central / climatecentral.org

As can be seen in the map above, the sea would change entire communities along the coastline. Taking into account that these large datasets will have minor flaws and deviations in the magnitude of these scenarios, we’ve already seen that the general outlook remains accurate.