Paper Example on Impacts of Global Warming on Ballona Wetlands

Published: 2021-08-16 05:42:34
798 words
3 pages
7 min to read
University of Richmond
Type of paper: 
Term paper
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Ballona Wetlands are east of Playa del Rey, south of Marina del Rey, west of Lincoln Blvd and north of Washington Blvd covering about 130 square miles in Southern California, USA. The wetland running through the Los Angeles basin is named for Port Ballona and Ballona Creek as a flood control basin. Channelizing the Ballona Creek corridor using concrete led to an elimination of spring floods that fed the marsh with fresh-water and the inflow of saltwater to the marsh was also greatly reduced. According to Louis (2010), he discovered some unique plants such as the var. orchutttiana only found at the coasts of southern California. These varieties of unique plants are shown to be on the decline as by the Californian Southern Society. The Ballona Wetlands offers habitation to a marine estuary and its ecosystem. Moreover, studies can be carried out on how urbanization affects natural systems due to its large urban population interacting directly with the sensitive resources of the bay. The state of California created the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve (BWER) in 2004 by aiming to restore, enhance and create a habitat that will support natural functions of plants and animals thereof (PWA, 2006). It took approximately 600acres of land remaining from the wetland to create the reserve.Climate Change Implications

Impacts of Sea Level Rise

Changes in sea-levels and precipitation are the major effects of climate change by which wetlands and other low-lying coastal regions are vulnerable. The intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC, 2007), reports that there are unambiguous increase in surface air and ocean temperature rates than never before. Warming of the climate leads to a rise of the sea level due to thermal expansion of seas and oceans. According to Cyan et al. there has been an increase in sea levels not only in California but also globally (2008). IPCC further points out the rate of sea level increase since 1961 and 1993 are at 1.8mm per year and 3.1mm per year respectively. However, the more recent study by Kerr, Vermeer & Rahmstorf, (2009) show that global sea level rise is at 80-200 cm, the main evidenced being the rapid changes caused by ice sheet breaks.

These extremities are shown to result in tropical cyclones, mid-latitude storms, high winds with low atmospheric pressure, high tides producing severe storms, therefore leading to increased damage to the coast. IPCC (2007), states that continuous increase in the sea level will lead to severe flooding of the low-lying areas, erosion and damage to coastal structures.

Therefore in southern California, it will be difficult to adapt to changes in sea level rise due to its high urbanization status because a minimum change in a tidal frame will affect the physical distribution of the tidal habitats (Kirwan et al., 2010).

Impacts of Changes in Precipitation

A warmer climate results in increased global precipitation. This occurs when there is increased evaporation that consequently leads to increased atmospheric water vapor. An increase in mean precipitation does not necessarily compare and relate to increasing in extreme precipitation, as it is the case with sea level. O'Gorman & Schneider (2009), add that there is not a proportional increase in atmospheric vapor pressure and precipitation extremes. An increase or decrease in precipitation will depend on the regions according to IPCC (2007). For instance, the northern and southern hemisphere annual modes and El Nino-Southern Oscillation are used to control the direction of precipitation changes. Higgins et al. (2007), points out how southern California has shown an increase of 5% daily precipitation events, which is measurable of (1mm).

A study by Karl et al. (2009), show that in southern California, droughts have frequently been occurring as well as in other regions. Heavy precipitation occurring frequently will lead to a long period of relatively dry weather which will happen due to lack of change in mean precipitation increase (Madsen & Figdor, 2007).


Conclusively, other anthropogenic activities to the Ballona wetlands led to alteration and burial of the habitat, deposition of sediments, reduced tidal flushing, reduced and restricted freshwater flow. The goal of southern California State is to restore the wetland to be a thriving ecological reserve to restore its lost native species. The Ballona Wetland Restoration Project has partnered with other groups including the Friends of Ballona Wetlands in dedication to plan on restoring the wetlands and its ecosystem. Among its goals include maintenance of physical and chemical processes, biodiversity, enhanced public use and most importantly, sustainability.



Aliyev, T. (2016). Ballona Wetlands Reserve of Los Angeles: A New Model for Urban Resilience?

Bergquist1, S. P., Pal, J. S., Trott, W., Brown1, A., Wang, G., & Luce, S. L. (2012). Climate Change Implications for Ballona Wetlands Restoration.

Ciolek-Torello, R., Homburg, J. A., Reddy, S. N., Douglass, J. G., & Grenda, D. R. (2013). Living in the Ballona Wetlands of the southern California coast: paleoenvironmental reconstruction and human settlement. Journal of Wetland Archaeology, 13(1), 1-28.


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