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Environmental Sciences - Global Change - Climate Change | Coastal Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerabilities - A Technical Input to the 2013 National Climate

Coastal Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerabilities

A Technical Input to the 2013 National Climate Assessment

Burkett, Virginia, Davidson, Margaret (Eds.)

2012, XXVIII, 188 p.


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  • Essential guidance for decision-makers seeking to better understand how climate variability and change impact the US coasts and its communities
  • Rich in science and case studies, this report allows decision-and policymakers to prepare for climate change
  • The definitive input report on climate change in the US coastal region for the 2013 National Climate Assessment
  • Critical state of the art information from a broad range of climate change experts in academia, private industry, state and local governments, NGOs, professional societies, and impacted communities

Developed to inform the 2013 National Climate Assessment, and a landmark study in terms of its breadth and depth of coverage and conducted under the auspices of the U.S. Global Change Research Program, Coastal Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerabilities examines the known effects and relationships of climate change variables on the coasts of the U.S.

This state of the art assessment comes from a broad range of experts in academia, private industry, state and local governments, NGOs, professional societies, and impacted communities. It includes case studies on topics such as adaptive capacity; climate change effects on. It highlights past climate trends, projected climate change and vulnerabilities, and impacts to specific sectors.

Rich in science and case studies, it examines the latest climate change impacts, scenarios, vulnerabilities, and adaptive capacity for nine major coastal regions of the United States and provides essential guidance for decision-makers – as well as environmental academics, professionals, and advocates – who seek to better understand how climate variability and change impact the US coasts and its communities.

Content Level » Upper undergraduate

Keywords » Climate change - Coastline - Ocean circulation patterns - Saltwater intrusion - Sea level rise

Related subjects » Animal Sciences - Climate Change Impact - Climate Change Management and Policy - Earth System Sciences - Global Change - Climate Change - Oceanography

Table of contents 

Key Terms


Communicating Uncertainty

Executive Summary

Chapter 1: Introduction and Context

1.1 Scope and Purpose

1.2 Linkages and Overlapping Topics of the NCA

1.3 Reliance on the Coastal Zone

Increasing Population and Changing Land Use

Changing Coastal Economy

Resilience on Coastal Ecosystems

Maintaining a Balance

Chapter 2: Physical Climate Forces

2.1 Overview of Climate and Sea-level-rise Effects on Coasts


Coastal Landforms and Coastal Change

Sea-level Rise and Effects on Coasts

Inundation, Land Loss, and Land Area Close to Present Sea Level

Historic to Present-day Sea-level Rise

Other Coastal Climate Change Trends

The Basis for Concern

2.2 Sea-level Rise and Future Scenarios

Scenario Planning

Global Mean Sea-level Rise Scenarios

Key Uncertainties on the Global Sea-level Rise Scenarios

Ice Sheet Loss

Developing Regional and Local Scenarios

2.3 Extreme Events and Future Scenarios

2.4 Changes in Wave Regimes and Circulation Patterns

Wave Regimes

Extratropical Storm Waves

Tropical Cyclone Generated Waves


Ocean Circulation

2.5 Relative Vulnerability of Coasts

Physical Setting

Climate and Non-climate Drivers

Assessment Results

2.6 Changes in Precipitation Patterns

Intensification of the Hydrolic Cycle

Changes in Precipitation Amount

Increasing Variability in Precipitation

Changes in Ratio of Snow to Total Precipitation

Changes in Precipitation in Coastal Alaska

Changes in Storm Tracks


Heavy Rainfall and Floods

2.7 Temperature Change Impacts with a Focus on Alaska

Temperature Trends

Northern Coastal Response

Impacts of Climate Change on Coastal Processes

Chapter 3: Vulnerability and Impacts on Natural Resources

3.1 Multiple Stressors Interact at the Coast

Costal Freshwater Availability Threatened by Multi-stressor Interactions

Estuarine Water Quality Comprised by Multiple Climate Drivers

3.2 Biota, Habitats, and Coastal Landforms that Are Impacted by Complex

Stressor Interactions and Subject to Nonlinear Changes and Tipping Points



Coastal Forests

Estuaries and Coastal Lagoons

Barrier Islands



Rocky Shores

Sea-ice Systems

3.3 Conclusions

Chapter 4: Vulnerability and Impacts on Human Development

4.1 Overview of Impacts on Human Development and Societal Vulnerability

4.2 Relative Vulnerability, Exposure, and Human Losses

4.3 Socio-economic Impacts and Implications

Urban Centers

Transportation, Ports, and Navigation

Water Resources and Infrastructure

Tourism, Recreation, and Cultural Resources

Real Estate

Private and Public Insurance

Emergency Response, Recovery, and Vulnerability Reduction

Coastal and Nearshore Oil and Gas

4.4 Human Health Impacts and Implications

Direct Impacts

Indirect Impacts

4.5 Implications for Coastal Military Installations and Readiness

Coastal Military Installation Climate- and Global-change Challenges

Coastal Installation Vulnerabilities and Combat Service Support Readiness

Operations and Training Readiness and Natural Resource Impacts

DoD Requirements and Programs for Vulnerability and Impact Assessments and Adaptation Planning

Chapter 5: Adaptation and Mitigation

5.1 Adaptation Planning in the Coastal Zone

Background on Adaptation Planning

Inventory of Adaptation Planning

The Status of Coastal Adaptation Planning

Strengths of Coastal Adaptation Planning

Emerging Planning Practice

Adaptation Planning Challenges<

5.2 Coastal Resource Management and Restoration in the Context of Climate Change

Climate Change Considerations for Coastal Resource Management and Restoration

Challenges, Needs, and Opportunities

5.3 Tools and Resources

Assessment and Implementation Tools

Selecting and Using Tools Appropriately

Policy and Regulatory Tools

5.4 Coastal Mitigation Opportunities

Coastal Renewable Technologies

Coastal Renewable Energy Science Gaps

Managing Living Coastal Resources for Carbon Capture

Carbon Sequestration and Capture Science Gaps

Chapter 6: Information Gaps and Science Needed to Support Sustainable Coasts

6.1 Science Research Needs to Support Sustainable Coastal Management

Science-based Tools Needed for Coastal Management and Adaptation Planning

Future Research – Local vs. Regional Studies, Infrastructure, Monitoring, and Co-benefits

Appendix A: Chesapeake Bay Case Study
Appendix B: Gulf of Mexico Case Study


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