Assessing Vulnerability and Risk of Climate Change Effects on Transportation Infrastructure: Hampton Roads Virginia Pilot

This report describes how anticipated impacts of climate change on transportation infrastructure in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia were assessed via a decision model to help prioritize elements of the region’s long range strategic plan. This study is part of a larger effort by the United States Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to understand the vulnerability of critical transportation infrastructure in several regions. The study of Hampton Roads region is significant in part because it is one of the most vulnerable to the projected impacts of sea level rise by virtue of its low-lying topography, large population, and the density of military installations including the largest naval base on the east coast of the US. The risks associated with climate change in Hampton Roads have been well documented in a number of existing reports and outreach efforts carried out by a variety of agencies and these results are highlighted herein.

Climate Change in New York State: Updating the 2011 ClimAID Climate Risk Information

As with the original ClimAID assessment, New York State was divided into seven regions for this update. The geographic regions are grouped together based on a variety of factors, including type of climate and ecosystems, watersheds, and dominant types of agricultural and economic activities. The broad geographical regions are: Western New York and the Great Lakes Plain (Region 1), Catskill Mountains and the West Hudson River Valley (Region 2), the Southern Tier (Region 3), the coastal plain composed of the New York City metropolitan area and Long Island (Region 4), the East Hudson and Mohawk River Valleys (Region 5), the Tug Hill Plateau (Region 6), and the Adirondack Mountains (Region 7).

Global climate model-based quantitative projections are provided within each region for:

  • Temperature.
  • Precipitation.
  • Sea level rise (coastal and Hudson Valley regions only).
  • Extreme events.

The potential for changes in other variables is also described, although in a more qualitative manner because quantitative information for them is either unavailable or considered less reliable. These variables include:

  • Heat indices.
  • Frozen precipitation.
  • Lightning.
  • Intense precipitation of short duration.
  • Storms (hurricanes, nor’easters, and associated wind events).

Oahu Metropolitan Planning Organization - U.S. FHWA Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment Pilot Project

Location

United States
21° 32' 42.8496" N, 158° 6' 54.8424" W
US
Summary: 

In 2010, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) selected five pilot teams from across the country to test a climate change vulnerability assessment model. This conceptual model guided transportation agencies through the process of collecting and integrating climate and asset data in order to identify critical vulnerabilities.

San Francisco Bay Metropolitan Transportation Commission - U.S. FHWA Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment Pilot Project

Location

United States
37° 48' 36.2628" N, 122° 23' 55.2552" W
US
Summary: 

In 2010, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) selected five pilot teams from across the country to test a climate change vulnerability assessment model. This conceptual model guided transportation agencies through the process of collecting and integrating climate and asset data in order to identify critical vulnerabilities.

Insurer Climate Risk Disclosure Survey Report & Scorecard: 2014 Findings & Recommendations

Amid growing evidence that climate change is having wide-ranging global impacts that will worsen in the years ahead, Insurer Climate Risk Disclosure Survey Report & Scorecard: 2014 Findings & Recommendations, ranks the nation's 330 largest insurance companies on what they are saying and doing to respond to escalating climate risks. The report found strong leadership among fewer than a dozen companies but generally poor responses among the vast majority.

This report summarizes responses from insurance companies to a survey on climate change risks developed by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). In 2013, insurance regulators in California, Connecticut, Minnesota, New York and Washington required insurers writing in excess of $100 million in direct written premiums, and licensed to operate in any of the five states, to disclose their climate-related risks using this survey.

The aim of the survey, and Ceres’ analysis of the responses, is to provide regulators, insurers, investors and other stakeholders with substantive information about the risks insurers face from climate change and the steps insurers are taking—or are not taking— to respond to those risks. Because virtually every large insurer operates in at least one of the mandatory climate risk disclosure states, this analysis effectively opens a window into the entire industry. The report distills key findings and industry trends, and includes company specific scores based on disclosed actions taken to manage climate risks. It also offers recommendations for insurers and regulators to improve the insurance sectors’ overall management of climate change risks.

Sarasota Bay Estuary Sea Level Rise Map Viewer

Location

United States
27° 20' 7.656" N, 82° 32' 18.5784" W
US
Tool Overview: 

SBEP and its partners are aware of the potential long term impact of rising sea levels along the coast. Planning for changes to shorelines and the larger impact on the community will become increasingly important in the decades ahead. To support future planning, SBEP has created a Sea Level Rise web map tool that shows various scenarios based on different levels of water due to sea level increases and surges of water from occasional storms.

Sea Level Rise Adaptation Primer: A Toolkit to Build Adaptive Capacity on Canada's South Coasts

Location

United States
51° 47' 32.3052" N, 60° 7' 1.8768" W
US
Tool Overview: 

This Primer provides an introduction to past and future sea levels, an overview of four different adaptation strategies, a recommended framework for decision making and finally a total of 21 adaptation tools to support local adaptation action.

Institutionalizing Climate Preparedness in Miami-Dade County, Florida

As a coastal community located at sea level and surrounded by water on three sides, with typical land elevation only three to ten feet above mean high water, Miami–Dade County is acutely aware of the dangers posed by climate change. Climate changes, including sea level rise, increases in temperature, changes in precipitation patterns, and changes in the intensity and/or frequency of extreme events all threaten the health and safety of residents, the integrity of infrastructure, and the vitality of regional ecosystems. In 2007, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) quantifi ed the vulnerability of various municipalities across the world towards climate change and identifi ed Miami–Dade County as having the highest amount of vulnerable assets exposed to coastal flooding (for the 2070’s) with a projected potential cost of approximately $3.5 trillion.Moreover, the County’s geographical location at the tip of a peninsula, its large, dense population, and the reality that many key economic drivers for the county are weather dependent (e.g. tourism and agriculture), have created a clear impetus to plan for climate change. To help start with the climate planning process, the County worked with local and regional climate scientists to review regionally specifi c climate models. These climate models predict an increase in temperature over the next 50 years between 4.5–9 degrees Fahrenheit (depending on the greenhouse gas emissions scenario),with a notable increase in the number of days over 90 degrees. The greatest temperature increases are expected during the summer months – which can have signifi cant implications on energy demand, exacerbate heat waves, and lead to greater evapo-transpiration, resulting in an impact on water supply, as well as local agriculture. These increases in temperature could also lead to more heat related illnesses and deaths, the spread of disease vectors, shifts in agricultural production and growing areas, droughts and excessive crop damage, and affect the viability and habitat of native plant and animal species. 

Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change

The National Academy of Sciences’ report on Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change is part of the America’s Climate Choices suite of studies that was requested by Congress.  The report concludes that much of the nation’s experience to date in managing and protecting its people, resources, and infrastructure is based on the historic record of climate variability during a period of relatively stable climate.  Adaptation to climate change calls for a new paradigm—one that considers a range of possible future climate conditions and ­associated impacts, some well outside the realm of past experience.  Adaptation is a process that requires actions from many decision-makers in federal, state, tribal, and local governments, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, and community groups. However, current adaptation efforts are hampered by a lack of solid information about the benefits, costs, and effectiveness of various adaptation options, by uncertainty about future climate impacts at a scale necessary for decision-making, and by a lack of coordination.

The report calls for a national adaptation strategy to support and coordinate decentralized efforts. As part of this strategy, the federal government should provide technical and scientific resources that are currently lacking at the local or regional scale, incentives for local and state authorities to begin adaptation planning, guidance across jurisdictions, shared lessons learned, and support of scientific research to expand knowledge of impacts and adaptation.

Climate Change and Water

The Technical Paper addresses the issue of freshwater. Sealevel rise is dealt with only insofar as it can lead to impacts on freshwater in coastal areas and beyond. Climate, freshwater, biophysical and socio-economic systems are interconnected in complex ways. Hence, a change in any one of these can induce a change in any other. Freshwater-related issues are critical in determining key regional and sectoral vulnerabilities. Therefore, the relationship between climate change and freshwater resources is of primary concern to human society and also has implications for all living species.