Cambridge Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment (CCVA) Report - Part 1

CCVA Report - Part 1 presents the results of "climate stress test" on the city of Cambridge, MA.  The vulnerability assessment focuses on risks related to rising tempertures and greater precipitation.  The science-based assessment was conducted in an interdisciplinary manner with extensive communitya stakeholder engagement. The study's time horizons are 2030 and 2070.  Downscaled climate projectsion were developed specifically for the city and used to model possible the resposne of the municipal stormwater infrastructure from projected increases in rates of precipitation, changes in urban heat islands, and days over 90 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. With these projections, the City assessed vulnerabilites related to climate change for about 500 physical assests and for the city and neighborhoods considering about 500 social and demographic factors at the Census tract level.The climate change projections find that Cambridge, if no action is taken, may see a near tripling of days over 90 degrees F by 2030 and 4 to 6 times more days over 90 degrees F by 2070.  Precipitation driven flooding would expand significantly in extent and depth as drainage systems back up and riverine systems overtop their banks with greater frequency and severity.  Increasing heat could by 2070 put most of the city at heat index temperatures that are dangerous to public health based on NOAA criteria.  As a result, key infrastructure such as electrical substations, natural gas transfer facilities, transit stations and rail lines, telecommunications equipment, critical public safety and social service facilities, and neighboroods would see current risks exacerbated and new risks develop if no action is taken.  The report also estimates economic losses due to property damage and to business disruption; examines the vulnerability of the urban forest; and considers other public health risks from a qualitative perspective.  A second report will be issued on the risks from sea level rise and storm surges.  The CCVA is serving as the technical foundation for the City's Climate Change Preparedness and Resilience Plan.

Climate Ready North Carolina: Building a Resilient Future

This report was developed by the North Carolina Interagency Leadership Team (ILT), a group of eleven state and federal agencies, to communicate to planners and engineers, working for the public and private sectors, about the potential effects and risks due to changes in climate and extreme weather events, as well as strategies for considering those effects and risks in planning, design and implementation of projects.

As Ryan Boyles, North Carolina’s state climatologist with the State Climate Office of North Carolina, explains, “Since North Carolina already experiences almost every kind of severe weather and climate, and that our best science suggests these events will not become less severe (and may become worse), our State can do a lot to manage future risk by taking steps to reduce our vulnerability to current hazards.” Obviously, we cannot predict the future with 100% certainty in any area of human concern, but we can plan so we can avoid unpleasant outcomes whenever possible. If the weather forecaster says it may rain, we grab our umbrella. If we live in a floodplain, we take out a flood insurance policy on our home. It is simply prudent to evaluate our risk and plan accordingly.

Storm-Ready Cities: How Climate Resilience Boosts Metro Areas and the Economy

In his Climate Action Plan, President Barack Obama acknowledged the risks of climate change to families, businesses, infrastructure, and water supplies across the country. To help metro areas manage these risks, the president pledged to reduce flood damage by raising flood elevation standards for federally funded infrastructure projects, to support community resilience through existing federal grant programs, and to make climate change information more accessible, among other actions. But given the high cost of strengthening cities to withstand extreme weather—which the journal Climate Policy reports could rise to hundreds of billions of dollars per year by the middle or end of the century—and the even higher cost of inaction, urban and federal leaders must do more to increase metro-area resilience.

In this report, we identify climate change risks to cities, highlight metro areas that are taking the lead to build resilience in ways that support economic growth and help tackle other pressing challenges, and recommend local and federal actions to further support urban resilience and inclusive, sustainable economic growth. Our recommendations include:

Climate-Ready City: City of Thunder Bay Climate Adaptation Strategy

In the face of climate change, the City of Thunder Bay recognizes the need for adaptation. The City of Thunder Bay has opted to utilize ICLEI Canada’s (Local Governments for Sustainability) internationally-recognized municipal planning process, the Building Adaptive & Resilient Communities (BARC) Five Milestone Framework, and tailor it to the City’s priorities to develop this Climate Adaptation Strategy. Using the ICLEI methodology, the City endeavoured to create a strategy led by the Corporation while incorporating multi-stakeholder involvement.

The development of this strategy centred on workshops and engagement activities that leveraged expertise and local knowledge of City Council, City managers and staff, service sector professionals, key community stakeholders and EarthCare community partners. In total, over 170 people have been engaged in the development of the City’s Climate Adaptation Strategy to ensure that it aligns with existing organizational priorities and can be integrated within departmental functions.

The focus of the Climate Adaptation Strategy is to build on the City’s existing strengths and align current resources to increase the resilience of the Corporation from a strategic perspective. The goal is to build resilience within the Corporation to reduce the risks inherent in climate change and take advantage of opportunities while building upon existing adaptive actions to help the City prepare for, respond to, and recover from the potential impacts of climate change with an emphasis on increasing the resilience of infrastructure and the natural environment.

Managing Climate Risks in Coastal Communities: Strategies for Engagement, Readiness, and Adaptation

Drawing on research from the New England Climate Adaptation Project, “Managing Climate Risks for Coastal Communities” introduces a framework for building local capacity to respond to climate change. The authors maintain that local climate adaptation efforts require collective commitments to risk management, but that many communities are not ready to take on the challenge and urgently need enhanced capacity to support climate adaptation planning. To this end, the book offers statistical assessments of one readiness enhancement strategy, using tailored role-play simulations as part of a broader engagement approach. It also introduces methods for forecasting local climate change risks, as well as for evaluating the social and political context in which collective action must take place. With extensive illustration and example engagement materials, this volume is tailored for use by researchers, policy makers and practitioners.

Coastal Adaptation Strategies: Case Studies

Innovative and unique solutions are being devised throughout the national park system to adapt to climate change in coastal parks. The 24 case studies in this document describe efforts at national park units in a variety of settings to prepare for and respond to climate change impacts that can take the form of either an event or a trend. Examples of these impacts include increased storminess, sea level rise, shoreline erosion, melting sea ice and permafrost, ocean acidification, warming temperatures, groundwater inundation, precipitation, and drought. The adaptation efforts described here include historic structure preservation, archeological surveys, baseline data collection and documentation, habitat restoration, engineering solutions, redesign and relocation of infrastructure, and development of broad management plans that consider climate change. Each case study also includes a point of contact for park managers to request additional information and insight.

These case studies initially were developed by park managers as part of a NPS-led coastal adaptation to climate change training hosted by Western Carolina University in May 2012. The case studies format follows the format created for EcoAdapt’s Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange (CAKE) database that identified a list of adaptation strategies. All case studies were updated and modified in September 2013 and March 2015 in response to a growing number of requests from coastal parks and other coastal management agencies looking for examples of climate change adaptation strategies for natural and cultural resources and assets along their ocean, lacustrine, and riverine coasts. 

There are three geographic units: Sandy Hook, New Jersey; Jamaica Bay and Staten Island, New York City. The NYC units include Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Fort Tilden, Riis Park in Queens, Floyd Bennett Field and Canarsie Pier in Brooklyn. Staten Island has Great Kills Park, Miller Field and Fort Wadsworth. These sites and others make up the 27,000 acres of Gateway, one national park. 

Indicators of Climate Change in Idaho: An Assessment Framework for Coupling Biophysical Change and Social Perception

Climate change is well documented at the global scale, but local and regional changes are not as well understood. Finer, local- to regional-scale information is needed for creating specific, place-based planning and adaption efforts. Here the development of an indicator-focused climate change assessment in Idaho is described. This interdisciplinary framework couples end users’ data needs with observed, biophysical changes at local to regional scales. An online statewide survey of natural resource professionals was conducted to assess the perceived impacts from climate change and determine the biophysical data needed to measure those impacts. Changes to water resources and wildfire risk were the highest areas of concern among resource professionals. Guided by the survey results, 15 biophysical indicator datasets were summarized that included direct climate metrics (e.g., air temperature) and indicators only partially influenced by climate (e.g., wildfire). Quantitative changes in indicators were determined using time series analysis from 1975 to 2010. Indicators displayed trends of varying likelihood over the analysis period, including increasing growingseason length, increasing annual temperature, increasing forest area burned, changing mountain bluebird and lilac phenology, increasing precipitation intensity, earlier center of timing of streamflow, and decreased 1 April snowpack; changes in volumetric streamflow, salmon migration dates, and stream temperature displayed the least likelihood. A final conceptual framework derived from the social and biophysical data provides an interdisciplinary case example useful for consideration by others when choosing indicators at local to regional scales for climate change assessments.

The Salt Marsh Advancement Zone Assessment for Connecticut

Location

Connecicut
55 Church Street
06510 New Haven , CT
United States
41° 18' 17.4168" N, 72° 55' 34.1868" W
Connecticut US
Organization: 
Summary: 

The Salt Marsh Advancement Zone Assessment for Connecticut report is the culmination of a statewide study of each of the 24 coastal municipalities in Connecticut. At the municipal scale, these 24 individual reports inform communities about future marsh advancement locations, current land use of those affected properties, and which parcels are critical to the persistence of the community’s salt marshes.