In 2016, The Bay Foundation (TBF), with support from the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission (SMBRC), was awarded an EPA grant to conduct a broad, risk-based, Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment (CCVA) of the objectives in the Santa Monica Bay National Estuary Program (SMBNEP’s) Bay Restoration Plan (BRP). The CCVA identifies risks associated with individual objectives and goals in the BRP. Additionally, the CCVA identifies strengths and weaknesses of existing objectives to manage and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
Specific project tasks included first developing a literature review of existing applicable models for six different climate change stressors: warmer temperatures, warmer water, sea level rise, increased drought, increased storminess, and ocean acidification. Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia. The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, and sea level has risen (IPCC 2014). For purposes of the CCVA, a variety of climate change models associated with the six climate change stressors were investigated. Specific climate change models associated with the Santa Monica Bay Watershed region were chosen to inform staff and expert reviewers in the CCVA process. In general and when available, climate change models were analyzed for current, year 2050, and year 2100 scenarios. The model year is meant to be representative and not an exact timeframe.