Climate Change Impacts and Vulnerability
Climate change is affecting Sonoma County with more wildfires, heatwaves, and droughts. These impacts are expected to worsen with rising sea levels, increasing temperatures, and erratic precipitation patterns. This will significantly impact the county's economy, environment, public health, and community wellbeing, especially for the most vulnerable.
The County of Sonoma has placed climate action and resilience at the center of its Five-Year Strategic Priorities, with with goals to improve resilience and become carbon neutral by 2030. To help the County of Sonoma meet these targets, Sonoma County Regional Parks has a goal to reduce emissions from parks operations. With its Climate Action and Resilience Plan, the Regional Parks aims to prioritize both reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change impacts. See the diagram for examples of project types.
Climate Adaptation and Mitigation
Temperatures are projected to increase throughout Sonoma County, with an average temperatures estimated to increase from 5-15 degrees by 2100. Extreme heat days (94 degrees or higher) may increase to 23 days per year by 2100, compared to the current 4 days per year.
Coastal Flooding and Sea Level Rise
Coastal flooding is a serious concern in the Bay Area. As sea levels rise—likely by 2 feet by 2050—Sonoma County will likely see more widespread and severe flooding during storms, especially at high tides.
Drought, Heavy Rain, and Landslides
Droughts are likely to become longer and more severe due to increases in temperature and decline in mountain snow pack. Sonoma expected to have more intense heavy rain and more large storms. This can increase flooding and the risk of landslides.
Much of Sonoma County is in a High Fire Risk Area, and the frequency and severity of wildfires will likely increase in the coming decades due to drought conditions, extreme heat, and extreme weather.
The combination of these hazards may lead to cascading impacts. This includes the combination of power outages, wildfire smoke, with extreme heat. All of these hazards can lead to increased mental health issues and stress for the community, while also preventing the community from accessing the outdoors as a method of improving mental health.