Southern California Coastal Impacts Project

Focus Areas > Climate Change > SCCIP


Project Overview
  • Project Timing: 2014 - 2017

With the changing climate, our coasts are increasingly susceptible to the consequences of sea level rise and other stressors, such as storms, erosion, and flooding. Planning for coastal change helps managers develop and implement adaptation strategies to reduce the risks of climate change impacts affecting their coasts.

The U.S. Geological Survey, led by Dr. Patrick Barnard and Dr. Li Erickson, have developed the Coastal Storms Modeling System, or CoSMoS. CoSMoS is a region-specific numerical modeling system that will project coastal flooding and erosion driven by climate change, not only from sea level rise (SLR) but from future storms as well. View the CoSMoS Fact Sheet.

USC Sea Grant received funding from the California Coastal Conservancy to provide technical assistance and outreach on the CoSMoS model for the Southern California region and to help build capacity in coastal communities as they begin to plan for impacts from sea level rise.

USC Sea Grant, in partnership with local organizations, has held workshops in the Southern California sub-regions of Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles and Orange and San Diego counties to provide an introduction to the CoSMoS model. This is accompanied by a capacity-building and educational webinar series as the model gets developed and final results are released.  Workshops are being planned for early 2017 to share final model results, translate model findings and to provide technical assistance.


Final CoSMoS Model Results & Workshops - 2017

The full suite of CoSMoS results and data covering 40 scenarios of sea level rise and coastal storm severity for Southern California are being released in fall 2016 and winter 2017. All results are free of charge and publicaly accessible through the mapping tool at Our Coast, Our Future.

Please contact Nick Sadrpour ( | 213.740.1937) for details and invitations for upcoming workshops being planned for January and February 2017.

  • Final CoSMoS Results for the San Diego Region are now available. View this link for results. Results may also be viewed on the Our Coast, Our Future interactive mapping tool. A workshop to share results was held November 17, 2016 and hosted by the Resilient Coastlines Project of Greater San Diego. View this link for workshops materials and presentations.
  • Final CoSMoS Results for the Southern California Region are now available. View and download files here.


USC Sea Grant is producing a professional development webinar series to provide subject-specific information and training that will help to advance sea level rise and coastal impacts planning in L.A. and Southern California.  This series is part of the capacity building and stakeholder engagement component to our AdaptLA Program.  Webinars will be held throughout 2015 - 2017 and will be open to all Southern California Coastal Impacts Project. All live webinars are archived and available for viewing here.


Initial Workshops

The initial workshops provided an introduction to the CoSMoS model, as well as an overview of other regional models that are available in each region. 

Workshop were held in San Diego on October 30, 2014, in Los Angeles (through the Regional AdaptLA project) on Novemeber 13, 2014, and in Orange County on February 23, 2015.

View summaries and materials from the workshops here:



More About CoSMoS

The first iteration of the model, CoSMoS 1.0, was developed as a pilot project for the Southern California region. It hindcast, or recreated, a January 2010 storm, which was approximately a 10-year storm.  The model then projected coastal flooding from a similar 10-yr storm, in conjunction with 0.5 m of sea level rise (predicted for ~2050) and 1.4 m of sea level rise (predicted for ~2010).  CoSMoS 1.0 was utilized by the City of L.A. in its first sea level rise vulnerability assessment.

CoSMoS 2.0, which focused on San Francisco Bay and the outer coast of the Bay Area, improved upon the earlier model. More information about this effort can be found at the Our Coast, Our Future website:

CoSMoS 3.0 for the Southern California region:

  • Takes into account various SLR scenarios and coastal storm factors (e.g., tides, storm surge/wind/atmospheric pressure, waves), plus shoreline change and river (fluvial) inputs.
  • Produces hazard projections for the Southern California coastal region (Point Conception to the U.S.-Mexico border, including the Channel Islands, harbors, and coastal embayments) by downscaling global climate models and adding regional storm factors.
  • Includes scenarios that feature the full spectrum of SLR (up to 5m) and coastal storms (daily to 100-year) to meet every possible management planning horizon and degree of risk tolerance.

 USGS FAQs for CoSMoS 3.0

For more information on this project, please contact  Nick Sadrpour | 213.740.1937

  • USC Sea Grant
  • 3454 Trousdale Pkwy, CAS 200
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-0373
  • (213) 740 - 1961