Adaptation and Resilience
Enhancing Preparedness for Extreme Weather and Climate Change
Extreme weather events such as hurricanes, floods, heat waves, droughts, and fires are becoming more frequent and intense. “Acts of God” that used to occur each century are returning every decade or quicker. Efforts to prevent climate change cannot solve the problem alone. We must both reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and enhance the resilience of our communities, infrastructure and economy to the impacts of climate change.
Steve Winkelman, Director Adaptation and Transportation Programs for CCAP, recently gave a presentation on Transportation System Resilience entitled, “Can We Get There from Here?” as part of Volpe’s new speaker series, Transportation System Resilience, Extreme Weather, and Climate Change.
CCAP encourages companies, communities and policymakers to Ask the Climate Question – How will infrastructure, land development, policy and investment decisions affect GHG emissions and vulnerability or resilience to climate change impacts?
CCAP is very pleased to welcome Shana Udvardy as a Climate Change Policy Analyst to support CCAP’s Weathering Climate Risks program. Shana brings a decade of experience successfully implementing freshwater, flood risk management and climate adaptation policy strategies. CCAP thanks Kelly Klima for her invaluable work on Weathering Climate Risks over the past year.
A new report from CCAP and EESI examines what transportation practitioners need to enhance their resilience to extreme weather and climate change. See below for more information.
Thoughtful planning and common-sense measures can go a long way toward managing risks of extreme weather and a changing climate, while bolstering the economy and improving community health and welfare. For every $1 spent on hazard mitigation, society saves an average of $4 (Multihazard Mitigation Council).
Leading local governments are assessing the vulnerabilities of critical infrastructure to extreme weather and preparing for climate change impacts. They are increasingly partnering with the private sector to maximize benefits for all. Adaptation measures can range from large-scale projects such as the London Thames river barrier or the Chicago green roofs (see photos above), long-term planning to steer new development away from expanding flood plains, and short-term measures such as increased inspection of culverts to prevent flooding and targeted trimming of tree branches to prevent power outages during severe storms.
CCAP’s Activities on Adaptation and Preparedness
- Weathering Climate Risks Advancing Corporate and Community Resilience As the annual costs of severe weather events in the US grow into the billions of dollars, companies and communities are examining how best to plan ahead to protect their assets and bolster their bottom line. CCAP helps cities and companies enhance resilience to the economic impacts of severe weather and a changing climate and to strengthen public-private collaboration. As a result, our partners in critical economic sectors (i.e. finance, real estate, insurance, and energy) are embedding climate risk management into business continuity efforts and strategic planning.
- CCAP established the Urban Leaders Adaptation Initiative in 2006 to help local, state and federal governments and private-sector entities across the country plan and prepare for the impacts of climate change.
- Climate Adaptation & Transportation: Identifying Information and Assistance Needs. This CCAP/EESI report presents the findings of a NOAA-funded workshop that brought together transportation and climate change experts to identify critical information and technical assistance needs. Click here to download the final report. Click here to read CCAP’s blog: Weathering Transportation Sector Climate Risks. Key findings include:
- Adaptation starts with determining how well infrastructure is adapted to current climate and weather conditions.
- Transportation officials need improved tools for integrating climate and weather information into asset management and economic development decisions.
- Information on local, non-climate factors – such as infrastructure elevation, state-of-repair, soil saturation and tide levels – is as important as climate science information.
- The Federal government should enhance research on the costs and benefits of climate change preparedness measures.
For more information, please contact Steve Winkelman, Director Adaptation and Transportation Programs.
- Climate Adaptation & Transportation: Highlights of Best Practices & Economics of Adaptation (Winkelman, CCAP)
- NOAA’s Regional Climate Services: Supporting Climate Understanding at Regional Scales (Mecray, NOAA)
- Climate Adaptation and Transportation (McGuirk, NCDC)
- Climate Data Needs for Transportation Agencies (Kafalenos, FHWA)
- Ahead of the Storm: Risk-Based Processes & Tools (MacLeod, Toronto)
- Climate Adaptation & Transportation: Identifying Information & Assistance Needs MTA (Tollerson, NYC MTA)
- Climate Adaptation & Transportation: Identifying Information & Assistance Needs CTA (Peet, Chicago, CTA)
- Assessing the Vulnerability of New Jersey’s Transportation Infrastructure to the Impacts of Climate Change (Perlman, NJTPA)
- Example Impacts of Climate Change on Transportation Weather Decision Making (Anderson, NCAR)
- Climate Change Science: Uncertainty in Climate Projections (Amman, NCAR)
- Region X Climate Change Impact Assessment for Surface Transportation in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska (MacArthur, OTREC)