How will climate change affect Southern California?

Apr 6, 2021

UC Thelma Hansen Fund to host climate webinar series, April 27-29 

Members of the public are invited to attend a free webinar series discussing the effects of climate change on Southern California. At the three-day webinar Climate Change: What Does It Mean for Southern California?, UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain and UC Agriculture and Natural Resources scientists will discuss climate changes anticipated, impacts on agriculture, wildfire risk and how to prepare for it, and ways to communicate about climate and to build resilience in communities.

“We are hearing a lot about climate change, but it can be difficult for the average person to figure out what it means for where they live and to understand the science behind it,” said Annemiek Schilder, director of UC Cooperative Extension in Ventura County and UC ANR Hansen Agricultural Research and Extension Center.

Topics of discussion include drought, adaptation for agriculture, fire management on rangelands and wildland-urban interface areas, and how UC Climate Stewards might improve climate understanding and empower community-level stewardship.

“All of us need to be better informed about this new reality and know how to respond to it,” said Schilder, who is organizing the event. “For Southern California, as a region with intense agricultural production and huge urban populations living in proximity to the coast, climate change could have devastating impacts. One of my favorite Latin sayings applies: Serius est quam cogitas – it is later than you think!”

Although residents may be concerned about climate change, they may not know what to do. The scientists will offer suggestions.

“People may feel powerless in the face of something that is happening on a global scale, but there are indeed things that can be done by individuals to mitigate the effects and to build resilience in the face of small and large disasters,” Schilder said. “In fact, doing nothing has a huge cost associated with it. Think of the economic damage already incurred by climatic extremes in recent years and the costs associated with possible future waves of climate refugees coming to the U.S.” 

Registration for the webinar series, which is sponsored by the UC Thelma Hansen Fund, is free. To register and see the agenda and speaker biographies, visit

Speakers include 

  • Daniel Swain, Ph.D., climate scientist, UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability – Climate Change in California: A Drier or Wetter Future—or…Both?   
  • Sarah-Mae Nelson, M.S., UC Climate Stewards academic coordinator – UC Climate Stewards: Fostering Resilience in California Communities and Ecosystems
  • Tapan Pathak, Ph.D., UC Cooperative Extension specialist in climate adaptation in agriculture, UC Merced – Climate Change Trends and Impacts on Agriculture in California and Ventura   
  • Ben Faber, Ph.D., UCCE soils, water and subtropical crops advisor, Ventura County – Heat, Wind, Freeze, Wind, Repeat 
  • Nicki Anderson, UCCE community education specialist, Ventura County – Overview of the Healthy Soils Program
  • Max Moritz, Ph.D., UCCE wildfire specialist, Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, UC Santa Barbara – How Can We Address the Growing Wildland-Urban Interface Problem in California?  
  • Matthew Shapero, M.A.,UCCE livestock and range advisor, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties – Fire and Rangelands: Impacts on Ventura County Livestock Agriculture Counties  
  • Sabrina Drill, Ph.D., UCCE natural resources advisor, Ventura and Los Angeles counties – SAFER, Sustainable and Fire-Resistant Homes & Landscapes  

If you missed the "Climate Change: What does it Mean for Southern California" webinars, watch the recordings:

April 27

April 28

April 29

By Pamela Kan-Rice
Author - Assistant Director, News and Information Outreach