Coping with threats from hurricanes, wildfires and rising sea levels

From Eurekalert

Public Release: 3-Dec-2018

Several studies utilize risk assessment and risk mitigation practices to prepare for future severe weather events. Past practices are no longer adequate.

Society for Risk Analysis

As sea levels continue to rise and more severe storms, like Hurricanes Maria and Michael, threaten coastline communities, local leaders need to assess the hazards and vulnerabilities of their locale. Risk assessment and risk mitigation practices can be beneficial in creating adaptation plans and making mitigation decisions for coastal communities. As scientists ponder the possibility of category six hurricanes, previous disaster prevention plans are no longer adequate for current threats from severe weather.

Recent disasters from severe weather events across the globe stress the urgency for cities to adapt to these hazards, but there is considerable debate about which adaptation techniques actually reduce vulnerability. Tom Logan, M.Sc., University of Michigan, and his collaborators used a coupled tsunami-inundation and land use change model to show that hard-adaptive measures, such as building seawalls, can inadvertently increase long-term vulnerability to natural events. They also found that increasing hazard awareness, by educating the community, can reduce vulnerability.

The results of the study, “Neglecting behavioral feedbacks in quantitative risk assessment can lead to maladaptation to natural hazards,” challenge existing hazard adaptation practice and highlight that ignoring the dynamic feedbacks, such as urban development and evolving risks, can alter the assessment of whether strategies are effective or not.

Flood risks threaten cities worldwide and climate change will only exacerbate the situation. However, making decisions aimed at reducing flood damages means communicating challenging ideas to decision-makers and the general public. Tamsin Lyle, M.Eng., MRM, P.Eng., Ebbwater Consulting Inc., and her team have been working with the City of Vancouver to communicate to city staff and stakeholders the issues about flood, flood risk and risk tolerance, all of which have been changing with the climate. During her presentation, “Risk communication was hard enough when climate was stationary,” Lyle will be sharing some of the lessons learned about what worked in terms of effectively communicating their message.

“Some of the tools that we developed and will be presenting push boundaries in terms of coupling flood impacts and likelihoods with non-stationary climate hazards,” states Lyle. “We have added a third dimension to traditional ideas and methods. This was effective at showing how flood mitigation actions work over time.”

There has been abundant evidence that psychological mechanisms such as motivated reasoning might discourage certain segments of the population from paying attention to climate change-related information. Janet Yang, Ph.D., University of Buffalo, and her team of researchers conducted a series of experiments in which messages were designed to highlight the impact of climate change in the U.S. or in a distant country, as well as messages about climate change’s impacts on familiar objects, such as coffee, or on an unfamiliar disease, such as babesiosis.

The study, “Using psychological distance as a framing strategy to communicate about climate change,” examined whether these messages influenced American adults’ risk perceptions and emotional responses to climate change, as well as their support for climate mitigation policies and intentions to engage in pro-environmental behaviors. Yang found that highlighting climate change impacts that were far away and unfamiliar forced individuals to rely more heavily on their political ideology. Narrowing the distance of the impact, however, was effective in reducing ideological polarization.

“Cultivating the sense of closeness is even more critical when strong issue-specific values are yet to be formed in segments of the population,” states Yang. “Therefore, scholars need to identify more effective strategies to narrow the psychological distance of important social issues.”

Despite scientific claims, news headlines have been riddled with speculation and discussion concerning the relationship between human-driven climate change and the increasing frequency of extreme weather events. Rachel Dryden, M.Sc., Carnegie Mellon University, and her team of researchers conducted a study, “Public perceptions of climate attribution,” that explores when and how lay people attribute extreme weather events to climate change. Frequency, severity and type of event were all considered factors that influenced people’s judgements.

“This study uses a novel application of psychophysics to address human perception of extreme events as it relates to climate change,” states Dryden. “It could also be used as a predictive tool in anticipating how people may react to future extreme weather events. The results could also inform the evaluation of alternative warning or media-reporting strategies for climate attribution of extreme weather events.”

Drawing on theories of reconstructive memory and cultural theory, Gisela Böhm, University of Bergen, and her team of researchers studied how people understand and tell stories about climate change in order to reveal how these stories are shaped by people’s fundamental values and beliefs. The questions addressed by this study, “Motivated reconstruction of memory: How worldviews shape the recollection and communication of climate change narratives,” include, (1) Do people remember information differently depending on whether that information is consistent or inconsistent with their views? (2) Do people tell climate stories differently depending on whether the listener shares or opposes their views?

Louisiana’s Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast is a 50-year plan for reducing flood risk and preventing land loss, with six billion dollars allocated towards nonstructural flood risk reduction measures such as elevating homes, floodproofing commercial properties and buying out high-risk assets through voluntary acquisitions. However, the plan is only in the early stages of development with regards to an implementation strategy and setting mitigation standards.

David R. Johnson, Ph.D., Purdue University, and his team of researchers have identified strategies for implementing the plan options that will perform well over a wide range of future conditions and improve upon the expected risk reduction of similar projects. The study, “Robust funding allocations for nonstructural flood risk mitigation in Louisiana’s coastal zone,” has the potential to improve the cost effectiveness of investments in flood protection, increasing the resilience of coastal communities against hurricanes.

Predicting future flood risks, and therefore planning to protect communities from future floods, can be difficult due to fluctuations in the size and number of flood events per year, and sea level rise. The City of Vancouver is facing a projected sea level rise of one meter by 2100 and must determine how to implement appropriate mitigation measured in time to protect the floodplain. A presentation titled “A sea-level rise adaptation planning framework for Vancouver, British Columbia” by Christian Beaudrie, M.Eng., Ph.D., Compass Resource Management, Ltd., investigates the use of novel risk elicitation methods and risk timing tools to help city planners understand what assets and communities are at risk, to identify what level of risk is acceptable, and to determine when risks will reach unacceptable levels, allowing ample time for protections to be put in place.

For communities not faced with imminent flood risks, a different extreme weather event threatens to destroy communities: wildfires. Over the past several decades, wildfire events have increased in frequency, extent and intensity, and have lengthened the wildfire season in some locations. Research conducted by Alison Cullen, Sc.D., and Harry Podschwit, University of Washington, assessed the likelihood of multiple synchronous large wildfires, which strain management capacity, and its spatial variability across the U.S.

The study, “Past patterns and trends in simultaneity of very large wildfires: Implications for risk management,” explores national and regional preparedness levels which support decision-making about levels of readiness prior to and during the season. They also examined characteristics associated with incident prioritization of actively burning fires. This work will provide statistical insights regarding the historical characteristics of simultaneous wildfire activity and provide a launching point for future scientific research.

###

These studies will be presented during three symposia at the 2018 Society for Risk Analysis (SRA) Annual Meeting at the New Orleans Marriott in New Orleans, Louisiana.

  • Monday, Dec. 3 from 10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.: Climate Change Adaptation Planning for Coastal Areas: Risk Assessment, Mitigation, and Evaluation, Part I
  • Monday, Dec. 3 from 1:30-3:00 p.m.: Climate Change Adaptation Planning for Coastal Areas: Risk Assessment, Mitigation, and Evaluation, Part II
  • Monday, Dec. 3 from 1:30-3:10 p.m.: Climate Change Risk Perceptions and Communications

**Tamsin Lyle, M.Eng., MRM, P.Eng., Ebbwater Consulting Inc., Janet Yang, Ph.D., University of Buffalo, Christian Beaudrie, M.Eng., Ph.D., Compass Resource Management, Ltd., Rachel Dryden, M.Sc., Carnegie Mellon University, Tom Logan, M.Sc., University of Michigan, Allison Cullen, Sc.D., University of Washington, David Johnson, Ph.D., Purdue University, and Gisela Böhm, University of Bergen, will be available for media interviews at the 2018 SRA Annual Meeting.

 

About SRA

The Society for Risk Analysis is a multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, scholarly, international society that provides an open forum for all those interested in risk analysis. SRA was established in 1980 and has published Risk Analysis: An International Journal, the leading scholarly journal in the field, continuously since 1981. For more information, visit http://www.sra.org.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

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68 thoughts on “Coping with threats from hurricanes, wildfires and rising sea levels

  1. Eighteen years and no temperature increase. Twelve years without a hurricane strike. Now we’ve actually got a couple and people act like they’ve never seen one before.

    I think part of being a warmist is not being able to remember much of the past.
    I don’t know – pot smoke?

    • I will only accept data if Steve Macintyre has audited it, these days. There’s too much manipulation to accept anything less.

  2. ” The City of Vancouver is facing a projected sea level rise of one meter by 2100 “

    That comes to over 12 mm/yr Tide gauges in the area and there are lots of them say less than 1 mm/yr.
    When is this miraculous acceleration to over ten time the current rate going to begin to happen?

      • Fair:
        You obviously don’t understand
        this highfalutin PhD talk.
        You must be maladapted !

        “Neglecting behavioral feedbacks
        in quantitative risk assessment
        can lead to maladaptation
        to natural hazards,”

        • I got your maladaptation right here! Simply revise ALL the seacoast zoning regulations to preclude any habitation whatsoever. Destroy the property values of everyone living on the Oceanside of AL GORE’S BIG BLUE LINES! Render every property uninhabitable. Then, move onto CA, and declare every home in the Urban-Wildland interface to be condemned. No compensation. Because it is in the “public interest” (read: filthy rich Insurance Companies) to … save … the population from itself.

          Go for it! It’s the ONLY natural conclusion of such nonsense. It’s just like smoking. If smoking is soooooooo bad for everyone then BAN IT! Stop with taxing all the poor people who smoke. Christ, it’s immoral how the government has gotten away with taxing the shit out of smokers (nope, I am not a smoker). Immoral. If smoking were so baaaaad … then BAN it!!! … if global warming and its effects are soooooooo horrifying … then BAN all at-risk housing and commercial projects subject to “EXTREME Weather”. Go for it, greenies! Tell 35% of the American population that they have to moooooove! With no compensation. Just tomease the burden on Insurance Co’s.

  3. Ever since the Climate Numptys discovered the “extreme weather” angle, they have realized that they had the perfect vehicle for spreading their climate lies. They blithely state as if fact, that the “weather is getting worse”, knowing that people will tend to believe it. After all, any bad storm, fire, etc. anywhere in the world is now trumpeted instantly, 24/7 worldwide, thanks to both the MSM having latched onto it as a gold mine, as well the internet. We both hear about it more, and it gets exaggerated and blown out of proportion, so it seems like it’s getting worse, when in fact, it isn’t. The trumpets of doom are just louder and they are everywhere. To make matters worse, many of the effects of these events are, to a great extent made much worse by man’s own foolish behavior, but it has absolutely nothing to do with CO2.

  4. Well, here in Australia we’re being hit with devastating droughts and floods.

    In fact, Dorothea Mackellar has put in verse.

    I love a sunburnt country,
    A land of sweeping plains,
    Of ragged mountain ranges,
    Of droughts and flooding rains.

    From “My Country”. 1908

  5. This is just a coordinated attempt to sell their “risk” services to gullible politicians and bureaucrats.

    Multiple reports show no negative trend in any climatic parameter, including sea level rise.

    • Yes: ” building seawalls, can inadvertently increase long-term vulnerability to natural events. They also found that increasing hazard awareness, by educating the community, can reduce vulnerability.”

      Translation: We don’t build things but do talk-shop crap and we need your money.

  6. “This study uses a novel application of psychophysics to address human perception of extreme events as it relates to climate change,” states Dryden.

    There. There it gors. That’s science itself, being flushed down the toilet…

  7. RE: “This study uses a novel application of psychophysics to address human perception of extreme events as it relates to climate change,” states Dryden.

    Sounds more like ‘psychoceramics’ to me. This is crackpot crap, not physics.

  8. scientists ponder the possibility of category six hurricanes

    Has anyone done any investigation on these? Are hurricanes actually getting stronger, or are wind speed reports just being exaggerated?

    I keep reading here about reports, or perhaps estimates, that just aren’t justified by the ground speed measurements.

  9. Wow! “Physcophysics” A new word for me. Looks like we are being inundated by it. Where does it come from? Does it obey the laws of physcothermodynamics?

    • I believe it was Alfred Hitchcock who first came up with it. Angle of the knife, loudness of screams, etc. Interesting science, actually.

  10. OK…..so sea level rise, eh? Well, if it’s such a concern why did the UN recently spend billions in renovating their headquarters in Manhattan which is only 100 feet from the East River and only a few feet above sea level? If sea level rise were such a threat, why didn’t the UN move to higher ground?

    • Not their money to renovate, and in the off chance that they would have to move, it won’t be their money used to move either.

      • I want to start a campaign to move the UN to Bangui of the Central African republic. Being located there would give the diplomats a better idea of the challenges facing the poorest people in the world who struggle for clean water, sanitation, and reliable electricity. Seriously, I think we would all be better off with the UN in Central Africa.

        • Sign me up to the campaign, Walter.

          I believe, however, that most of the UN delegates living in New York do so to escape their own, well known, shitholes.

        • Wouldn’t matter. No matter where you moved them to, they would build (all on Other People’s Money of course) a high rise office tower, and a high rise luxury condominium complex right next door, connected by a tunnel or overhead walkway so they could move from one to the other without having to associate with the indigenous population in any way. Shopping will be on the lowest floors, also behind the gates so only “approved” people could shop there.

        • Right on Walter Sobchak!
          And lets move the UNEP HQ from its cushy location in Nairobi Kenya to Ouagadougou or Tombouctou for a taste of Environmental realism!
          cheers
          Mike

  11. Salute!

    I am a NOLA native, and welcome the $$$ the conference or whatever group spends here.

    But I don’t understand the thrust of the basic post because I can not separate author from cut and paste stuff.

    The subsidence of south Louisiana has been well documented, and a few inches of sea level rise is much less than watching your friends foundation being exposed as th e ground goes down.

    Levees and such can only do a certain amount to adapt. But main reason our marshes and wetlands are going away is we are channeling the Big Muddy and have no more natural repLenshment of out delta.

    Jet saying…

  12. As someone who still builds MODEL cars and play with MODEL trains, I can state with certainty that MODELS are NOT reality, and that includes climate MODELS.

  13. “Risk communication was hard enough when climate was stationary,”. When was climate ever stationary?

    And, “psychophysics”? That sounds like something out of a science fiction novel.

    • Duke, they are taking their example from “Psychohistory.” It was a great read, but I fear they did not know what they were copying!

  14. It appears that the Society For Risk Analysis not only wants to analyze risk, but wants/(needs?) to be able to more effectively sell the analysis. If the general public won’t accept the risk analysis study, what use are they (the study & the people that put them together) to the politicians/planners that buy them (the risk analysis people & the studies they put together).

    SO, a new and improved study methodology, including a more effective psychological tack, will need to be used to create the emotional response that the politicians need.

    (improved marketing leads to better economic operation; improved propaganda leads to a more efficient power structure)

    • If the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. 🙂 Since these people have only humanities (i.e., worthless) degrees, they’re trying to convince potential clients/customers that these problems can be solved with humanities degrees. I beg to differ. (Is this a good place to mention I have a Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering, and I’m a Registered Engineer in both Arizona and Texas?)

  15. Even if mankind could somehow stop the Earth’s climate from changing, the extreme weather events and sea level rise that we have been experiencing would continue unabated, because they are part of our current climate.

  16. Please see my article “Role of Climate Change on Recent Weather Disasters”, Acta Scientific Agriculture 2.4 (2018): 22-29.

    Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

  17. OK, maybe I ain’t the smartest in the room, but just about every day we see temperature changes of anywhere from a few degrees to maybe 20 or 30 in the extreme. That’s in one day. And yet we adapt. Don’t these people think at all that maybe we can adapt to anything short of being hit by a large rock from space, although I saw the Bruce Willis movie. A hundred years ago there was still horse poop in some streets. Twenty years ago there was no such thing as a smart phone. Who the heck knows what it will be like in 2100. I will bet that whatever happens people will have no trouble figuring it out. We always do.

  18. Passing off weather as climate must be harder than convincing people their gender isn’t fixed at birth or they wouldn’t be taking so long.

  19. The City of Vancouver is facing a projected sea level rise of one meter by 2100 and must determine how to implement appropriate mitigation measured in time to protect the floodplain.

    1. Who projects the 1 m SLR?

    2. There’s a reason it’s called a flood plain.

    3. The City of Vancouver has only a small area of flood plain. Perhaps they mean Metro Vancouver? Perhaps they don’t know the difference?

    4. The adjacent suburban Cities of Richmond and Delta are 100 percent built on flood plain and are mostly only 2 to 3 m above sea level. They might have a better shot at selling their services there.

    • There is no way to scientifically project a 1 meter SLR. One may string together a bunch of improbable circumstances to speculate about a highly unlikely happenstance. To call that a projection is a lie.

    • When the big earthquake comes in Richmond, Delta and parts of Surrey/Vancouver, they will all liquify and be under seal level.

  20. From the article: “Despite scientific claims, news headlines have been riddled with speculation and discussion concerning the relationship between human-driven climate change and the increasing frequency of extreme weather events.”

    Extreme weather events are decreasing in frequency, not increasing.

    The statistics on these things are pretty easy to find, and they don’t show that extreme weather events are increasing. The authors of this study need to dig a little deeper.

    • Tom wrote: “The authors of this study need to dig a little deeper.”
      In many places the officials have accepted cAGW as policy. An agency or person, or group, has to act accordingly to maintain the budgets, or get a new one. It is not in their interests to dig a little deeper.

      Society for Risk Analysis — Think about the mission. If there is no risk, there is no mission, and the three symposia at the 2018 Society for Risk Analysis (SRA) Annual Meeting at the New Orleans Marriott in New Orleans, Louisiana — could be cancelled. Think of the CO2 not generated.

      • “It is not in their interests to dig a little deeper.”

        I agree.

        I think probably most of these scientists start with the premise that the CAGW alarmists have the science right and don’t dig into the matter of whether humans are causing the Earth’s climate to change any further. They accept the CAGW narrative and use that as a baseline from which to launch their study. Then we get mountains of studies saying “if it heats up “this” much, “this” will happen. They never seem to ask whether the Earth’s atmosphere really will heat up that much. I guess that would be counterproductive for them.

      • “If there is no risk, there is no mission.”

        — This is why the UN is pushing renewable energy as a solution — because there is a dead-nuts guarantee of that approaching failing. We could go zero-carbon yesterday by building out nuclear power under an intelligent regulatory framework, but if we already have a solution then there is no impending failure to justify massive wealth transfers.

        You can forgive me for thinking that the real objective is such wealth transfers, and has nothing to do with temperature levels.

  21. It’s going to be a bad week on MSM this week with COP 24 going on. I was channel surfing the news and every channel with the exception of FOX has some disaster looming with climate changes. I tuned to Fox for a few minutes and Trump came on saying he didn’t believe it. That was actually a relief that somebody in charge has the guts to call a spade a spade. Just based on this, I hope he gets re-elected and takes a wrecking ball to the whole climate change cult and the UN who is sponsoring all this nonesnse. In fact, I think this is what will get him elected again, to at least win the Electoral College again. A lot of people aren’t buying into this, and even fewer will vote for a party advocating a carbon tax on everything. France should be an example that people pay attention to with these failed policies. And soon to come to Canada just in time to un-elect Trudope.

  22. The November 2018 UAH satellite figure is out. +0.28C but the long term trend remains at 1.3C/century

    So the alarmists get another reprieve from reality because the UAH temp hasn’t swung back down to what it was in 1979. However it eventually will swing back down as climate always does, and then the alarmists will say that global warming doesnt really cause global warming but instead causes extreme weather events.

  23. WUWT is obediently recycling every single warmist-alarmist claim, clearly working hard trawling the media to make sure they don’t miss any.
    Did I miss the memo?

    Is WUWT now a CAGW-compliant warmist blog?

    • I actually enjoy reading these alarmist articles. They are so demented that I actually wonder about the sanity of climate alarmists. The more absurd the claims, the more the general public will realise that they are being lied to.

  24. The SRA is now performing as a sock puppets for the insurance industry, helping to justify increases in insurance premiums.
    The world is edging towards being insurance poor, able to pay premiums to insurance companies but not able to pay for the worn out infrastructure and building codes needed so desperately.

  25. “…psychological mechanisms such as motivated reasoning might discourage certain segments of the population from paying attention to climate change-related information.”

    — I’ll take this to mean that if you are motivated enough to engage in a little bit of reasoning, you begin to ignore any climate-change blather that makes no sense. But I suspect the authors didn’t mean it that way.

    Since they are interested in exploring the impact people’s worldviews, I suggest they measure the following personal attributes: 1) the extent to which people trust the government, and see government power as a force for doing good, 2) have a positive predisposition to wealth transfers, 3) see mankind as an inherently destructive force to the natural world, and that we should change our lifestyles to minimize traces of our presence on earth.

    Certain worldviews lead to a predisposition to accept the mantra of mankind-induced climate change, which also make them openly receptive to the proposed solution of increasing government power, raising taxes, and “spreading the wealth.”


  26. “This study uses a novel application of psychophysics to address human perception of extreme events as it relates to climate change,” states Dryden. “It could also be used as a predictive tool in anticipating how people may react to future extreme weather events. The results could also inform the evaluation of alternative warning or media-reporting strategies for climate attribution of extreme weather events.”
    __________________________________________________

    – No chance with applying “psychophysics”

    when the cause is climate physics.

    – And what use have “predictive tool[s] in anticipating how people may react to future extreme weather events” aka “people react models”

    when “climate models” are already discredited after 40 years false prophecies.

  27. The City of Vancouver is facing a projected sea level rise of one meter by 2100 and must determine how to implement appropriate mitigation measured in time to protect the floodplain. A presentation titled “A sea-level rise adaptation planning framework for Vancouver, British Columbia”
    ___________________________________________________

    Meanwhile, in the real world, the city of Vancouver has more immediate problems:

    https://goo.gl/images/D83mE6

  28. “For communities not faced with imminent flood risks, a different extreme weather event threatens to destroy communities: wildfires. Over the past several decades, wildfire events have increased in frequency, extent and intensity, and have lengthened the wildfire season in some locations. Research conducted by Alison Cullen, Sc.D., and Harry Podschwit, University of Washington, assessed the likelihood of multiple synchronous large wildfires, which strain management capacity, and its spatial variability across the U.S.”

    Nowadays everyone could know today that

    “wildfire events”

    are due to bad forest management.

  29. The problem with the “morally superior people” is that they think other people are more stupid than they are themselves.

  30. I’ve said it before, let me say it again: It’s time to bet ON the storm instead of Insuring AGAINST it.
    Why? a) Insurance pays out 25-30% of the premium $ on claims less deductable $ value haggles etc.
    b) Bookies (oops! Turf Accountants) pay out 85-90% of the wager $ no deductable instant payout.
    c) Bookies have underwriters, the buck stops there. Insurers reinsure, a circular process with no backstop
    (see AIG 2008) and they both rely on Actuarials….
    Its a no-brainer !
    Cheers
    Mike

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