Most scientists now agree that climate change, i.e., global warming, is occurring at a rate much faster than the normal climatic cycles, due to anthropogenic causes of greenhouse gases. Because global warming is changing the ocean currents and wind patterns, climate is changing world-wide. Some of these changes are beneficial, such as a longer growing season for farmers; however, most are harmful. The negative impacts include more frequent and severe weather extremes, such as more intense storms and droughts, more variability in weather, and sea level is rising, putting coastal communities at greater risk. Such climate changes are expected to increase in the foreseeable future; and Land Use Planners need to be prepared for the impacts on their communities. While there are many ways to help mitigate climate change, mainly through reduction in greenhouse gas production, our study is concerned with adaptation to the adverse impacts of climate change.
This project is intended to provide an understanding of climate change impacts on land uses, and the tools that can be used to assess these impacts and adapt to them. While Land Use Planners deal with municipal land use issues, they receive engineering input from municipal engineers and outside consultants. Thus, the more technical tools in this project are intended for use by engineers and scientists assisting Land Use Planners.
This document is a simplified summary of the main report, which contains an explanation of the tools methodology, as well as additional details on the topics in each chapter.