Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

Exploring the Impacts of Climate and Management on Coastal Community Vulnerability through Alternative Future Scenarios

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  • Coastal communities throughout the U.S. Pacific Northwest face heightened risk due to sea level rise and increasing storminess resulting in coastal flooding and erosion hazards. Incorporating uncertainty with respect to both climate change and policy decisions is essential to project the evolving probability of coastal inundation and erosion, and the associated community vulnerability through time. Coupled models of coastal hazards, ecosystems, development, and socioeconomics allow decision-makers to explore the effects of policy decisions in conjunction with climate forcing, land use change, and economic disturbances and can provide a means of examining the feedbacks between climate change and adaptation under uncertain climatologic and socioeconomic futures. Envision, a spatially explicit multi‐agent modelling platform that provides a scenario-based, policy centric framework for examining interactions between human and natural systems across a landscape, is used within the two papers herebelow to explore strategies that may reduce vulnerability to coastal hazards within the context of uncertainty and climate change. Probabilistic simulations of total water levels allow for representation of variability of sea level rise, wave climate, and the El Niño Southern Oscillation both as individual climate drivers and under a range of climate change scenarios through the end of the century. Additionally, stakeholder generated policy scenarios capture variability in human response. The approaches described here provide a foundation through which to explore alternative management scenarios related to coastal hazards and can be transferred to other coastal systems to further assess how hazards may be affected by both climate change and management decisions.  
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