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Downtown to be hit with heat waves in about 30 years, new study says

By Hayley Fox
Published: Friday, June 22, 2012, at 09:26AM
Flickr via channone

A new study from UCLA predicts an increase in Downtown heat waves by the middle of the century.

Downtown L.A. will be heating up over the next few decades, as the area's expected to be hit with triple the number of days that exceed 95 degree heat, according to new research from UCLA.

The climate study, "Mid-Century Warming in the Los Angeles Region," provides temperature predictions for Southern California, down to the individual neighborhoods. Temperatures across L.A. will increase by four to five degrees by the middle of the century, the study says, with the number of "extremely hot days" quadrupling in the valleys and at high elevations.

"Every season of the year in every part of the county will be warmer," said Alex Hall, a professor in UCLA's Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences who led the research. "This study lays a foundation for the region to confront climate change. Now that we have real numbers, we can talk about adaptation."

This climate report is "the most sophisticated regional climate study ever developed," according to the release, evaluating Los Angeles temperature increases in 1.2-mile-increments, instead of the typical global climate studies that consider areas of 60 to 120 miles.

The study looked at the years 2041 to 2060 to predict the average temperature change in L.A. by the middle of the century. It concluded that dense areas such as Downtown will warm by about 4 degrees, while desert areas like Palm Springs may increase by closer to 5. Coastal areas including Santa Monica will seat a temperature increase by 3 to 4 degrees.

Overall, the Southland is expected to have slightly warmer winter and spring seasons with much warmer summers and falls -- and an increasing amount of heat waves.

This study by UCLA is the first of five that Hall will conduct on climate change for the city and the Los Angeles Regional Collaborative for Climate Action and Sustainability (LARC). Other upcoming research includes looking at Southland rainfall, coastal fog such as June gloom and Santa Ana wind patterns.

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