NOAA’s Sectoral Applications Research Program hosted an OAR Social Science Network webinar on Wednesday, September 20 from 3:45 to 4:45 pm EDT. We had two speakers who shared their research on developing and using vulnerability assessments with a Q&A after the presentations. Over 72 people attended from across NOAA, federal partners, academic partners, state governments, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector.
To view the recording, click here. To read the speaker biographies, see below.
Our first speaker was Dr. Kirstin Dow, a professor of geography with the University of South Carolina. She is a social-environmental geographer focusing on understanding climate impacts, vulnerability, and adaptation. Dr. Dow was recently named as Fellow to the 2016 inaugural class of AAAS Leshner Leadership Institute Public Engagement with Science and Breakthrough Leadership Scholar by the University of South Carolina (2015). She serves as principal investigator of the Carolinas Integrated Sciences and Assessments (a NOAA RISA Team) partnering with decision makers to bridge climate science and decision making in support of climate adaptation. Her talk introduced the “Vulnerability and Consequences Adaptation Planning Scenarios” (VCAPS), a mediated modeling approach applied in over 15 communities. VCAPS is designed to integrate scientific with local knowledge to help coastal managers and community members understand how climate change stressors may influence their local management challenges and how these impacts and vulnerabilities might be mitigated via public and private actions. The methodology is based on participatory, analytic, and deliberative processes, and other experiences with social learning – an approach that is widely used in risk-based management. This presentation introduced the framework, commented on findings from evaluation at various communities, and discussed challenges for understanding and evaluating social learning.
Our second speaker was Dr. Jenna Jorns, the Program Manager for the Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments (A NOAA RISA Team) at the University of Michigan. She provides day-to-day leadership and administration of GLISA operation, staff and students and coordinates faculty research at the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, and serves as the primary point of contact for the program and represents GLISA at local, regional, and national meetings and events. Dr. Jorns’ talk introduced The Climate-Ready Infrastructure and Strategic Sites Protocol (CRISSP). The CRISSP is a municipal adaptation tool developed to address two challenges that small and mid-sized municipalities face: 1) the lack of reliable data on anticipated weather changes due to climate change; and 2) limited municipal financial and staff resources to devote to identifying and assessing vulnerability. This protocol provides a simplified, expedited method to evaluate and address vulnerability to climate change and extreme weather of critical infrastructure and strategic sites in your municipality, using existing internal and external resources. The CRISSP was jointly developed by the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, AECOM, and the City of Gary (Indiana), with technical and financial support from the Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments (GLISA-RISA). While created for the Great Lakes region, the CRISSP methodology and matrix can be applied anywhere. The Cities Initiative and GLISA have shared and promoted CRISSP among their networks and are exploring distributing the tool with like-minded climate and municipal organizations, like the Urban Sustainability Directors Network.
Click here to see other recordings in the OAR Social Science Network Webinar series.
Americans’ health, security and economic wellbeing are tied to climate and weather. Every day, we see communities grappling with environmental challenges due to unusual or extreme events related to climate and weather. In 2011, the United States experienced a record high number (14) of climate- and weather-related disasters where overall costs reached or exceeded $1 billion. Combined, these events claimed 670 lives, caused more than 6,000 injuries, and cost $55 billion in damages. Businesses, policy leaders, resource managers and citizens are increasingly asking for information to help them address such challenges.
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