Climate change mitigation means reducing or sequestering greenhouse gases, whereas adaptation is preparing for the unavoidable impacts of climate change. Over the coming century, some climate change studies, such as the 2009 California Adaptation Strategy, project that Southern California will be expected to manage extremes of precipitation and temperature, increased storm frequency and intensity, and sea-level rise. These climate changes would impact streamflow, flooding, water supply, sea level, and soil water content. These impacts would affect agriculture, stormwater, waste-water treatment, wildfire risk, roads, forest health, and biodiversity. These impacts will also have consequences for public health, economic livelihoods, the financial sector, the insurance industry, individual comfort, and recreation.
Failure to anticipate and plan for climate variability and the prospect of extreme weather and related events could have serious impacts on the regional economy and quality of life. Starting now and continuing in the years and decades ahead, we can adapt to these risks through resilient resource and land use choices.