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L.A. will keep getting hotter, scientists say — a lot hotter

Los Angeles Times

By: Rong-Gong Lin II

June 21, 2016


Think today’s heat in L.A. is miserable? It’s going to become more frequent in the summers to come.

Days of extreme heat are defined as those on which the temperature reaches 95 degrees. In downtown Los Angeles, there was an average of just six extreme heat days yearly in the 1980s and 1990s. 

But by the year 2050, there could be 22 days of extreme heat in Los Angeles, and by 2100, there could be 54 such days, a study released by UCLA scientists last year said. 

It gets even worse the farther inland you go.  

The San Gabriel Valley could see its number of extreme heat days climb from 32 to 74 by 2050, and 117 by 2100. 

L.A. will keep getting hotter, scientists say — a lot hotter – LA Times

“A new season of extreme heat” likely lies in our future, the UCLA scientists warned. 

By 2050, the most likely average future August will be warmer than the hottest August of the 1980s and 1990s, they said.

In fact, L.A.’s future winters will be most similar to how April felt in the ’80s and ’90s. 

“We have to confront this,” study co-author Alex Hall, a professor at UCLA’s atmospheric and oceanic sciences department, said in an interview last year. “Climate change is inevitable in this region.”

Valleys will be hit worse than the coast, said Katharine Reich, associate director of the Center for Climate Science, part of the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, which performed the study. 

“If you’re in the San Fernando Valley, where the Santa Monica Mountains block your access to cool sea breezes, you’ll experience more extreme heat,” she said. “The farther inland you go, the more impacted you’ll be.” 

L.A. will keep getting hotter, scientists say — a lot hotter – LA Times

There is, however, some good news. A concerted effort to control carbon emissions could make L.A.’s future less hot than it could be.

For instance, if a concerted effort were made to curb carbon emissions, downtown L.A. could see only 15 days of extreme heat by 2100, instead of 54 days if business goes on as usual.

And the San Gabriel Valley could see only 61 extreme heat days, instead of 117.