Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Analysis and Tools for Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience Planning
by Cutler, Emma M., Ph.D., Dartmouth College, 2019, 171; 22616829
Abstract (Summary)

Climate change presents a wide range of risks to human communities in the United States, including extreme weather events and sea level rise, with associated coastal erosion, flooding, and inundation. Here, I present a set of new tools and recommendations for considering systemic risk and community disaster resilience in climate adaptation decision-making at the federal level. The first recommendation is to replace the word “protect,” in the scientific discourse on climate change, with language that better supports comprehensive risk management. Second, to assist in assessment of beach renourishment interventions, I develop a dynamic shoreline model that can be used as a screening tool for beach nourishment projects, which reconstruct eroded beaches and dunes to mitigate coastal hazards. With minimal data and computational requirements, the model estimates the frequency of nourishment episodes necessary to maintain a given level of hazard reduction and can, therefore, help inform the decision of whether to pursue higher cost life-cycle shoreline modeling studies or to, instead, invest resources in other coastal adaptation options. The shoreline model is then coupled to an economic model of coastal development, and I use discrete dynamic programming to evaluate trade-offs between beach nourishment and managed retreat in human-coastal systems over timescales ranging from decades to centuries. Finally, as part of a preliminary study that may lead to better understanding of where climate impacts may be most disruptive, I use county-level social, economic, and environmental data together with observed disaster impacts in a regression analysis to predict spatial variation in property damages. The models and recommendations in this thesis are intended to contribute to risk communication and provide new frameworks and insights for including systemic impacts of climate change in federal adaptation decisions and resilience planning.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Albert, Mary R
Commitee: Borsuk, Mark E, Howarth, Richard B, Vaze, Vikrant S, White, Kathleen D
School: Dartmouth College
Department: Engineering
School Location: United States -- New Hampshire
Source: DAI-B 81/4(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Climate Change, Engineering, Environmental management
Keywords: Adaptation, Climate Change, Coastal Management, Dynamic Programming, Regression Analysis, Resilience
Publication Number: 22616829
ISBN: 9781392556061
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