Consortium for Climate Risk in the Urban Northeast (CCRUN)

PIs:  Radley Horton, Franco Montalto, William Solecki; Co-PIs:  Philip Orton, Patrick Kinney, Richard Palmer, Yochanan Kushnir and Robert Chen

Funding agency:  National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Program Office (CPO) Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments program (RISA)

Project period:  2015-2020 (Phase II)

Project website:  Consortium for Climate Risk in the Urban Northeast

Abstract

Urban populations and infrastructure have unique vulnerabilities to extreme climate events, and these vulnerabilities are projected to increase in the future. The major cities of the northeastern U.S. are at the vanguard of resilience efforts, in part with the aid of the Consortium for Climate Risk in the Urban Northeast (CCRUN). The primary goal of CCRUN Phase II is to improve these resilience efforts by scaling them to meet the scope of the adaptation challenge.

Toward this goal, CCRUN Phase II has built an interdisciplinary team composed of climate scientists, engineers, and social scientists working in tandem with sector experts in coasts, health, and water. We will address three questions that lie at the interface between science and decision-making: 1) Which climate and climate impact information products most influence decision-making and adaptation action? 2) Which adaptation strategies are most effective for different urban populations and in different urban contexts? 3) What are the region’s key conditions (e.g., institutional, regulatory, infrastructural, and/or socioeconomic) that serve as opportunities for or barriers to, ‘ramping up’ meaningful climate resilience practice? As we develop answers to these questions, CCRUN will continue to provide state-of-the art climate risk assessment information, co-generated with the region’s stakeholders.

By seeking answers to the above questions, and building upon efforts begun in CCRUN Phase I, the proposed work supports multiple NOAA CSI research objectives relevant to this Competition: 1) understanding decision contexts for using climate information (through responsiveness to stakeholder needs, with an emphasis on participatory processes and relationships); 2) developing actionable knowledge through interdisciplinary research (an outcome of the strong ties linking our sectors and cross-cutting themes); 3) maintaining diverse, flexible networks for sharing knowledge (e.g., through regional partnerships with the DOI NE Climate Science Center and NOAA NE Regional Climate Center); and 4) innovating services to enhance the use of science in decision-making (e.g., through new web tool and data sharing plans and platforms).

 

Coasts Sector:  Phase I accomplishments

The Phase I work of the Coasts Sector team for the “Consortium for Climate Risk in the Urban Northeast” project fit into three categories – (1) storm surge modeling and physics, (2) dynamic model-based flood risk assessment and mapping with climate change and sea level rise, and (3) quantitative analysis of coastal flood adaptations.  We studied these topics across the U.S. urban Northeast corridor, including Philadelphia, New York, Boston, and cities in between.  CCRUN is the project and base funding that has supports much of my position at Stevens, since I arrived in late 2010.  Therefore, the header’s TOPICS link summarizes the range of research which has been done so far and can be attributed at least in part to CCRUN.

Coasts Sector:  Phase II plans

In phase II of CCRUN, the coastal sector team will improve the resilience of cities along the Northeast urban corridor through three main thrusts – (1) improving the “forecasting the future” layer of resilience through ensemble forecasting and hazard assessment, (2) improving the metrics of resilience, and (3) better communicating the forecasts of hazards and the metrics of resilience.  All three are aimed at one focal point:  Informed, improved decision-making on coastal urban resilience.

Our primary scientific objectives are:

  • Define and quantify flood hazards more broadly, using parameters related to both economic and human health risk
  • Quantify flood resilience vis-à-vis this broader set of risks, using metrics that weigh both present-day and future hazards
  • Utilize hydrodynamic modeling to map how adaptations can modify future flooding, risks, and resilience for Boston, New York and Philadelphia
  • (leveraged) Quantify coastal storm risk from waves and inundation (NASA-Kushnir 2014-2016 funding)
  • (leveraged) Measure the impact of structural and nature-based coastal adaptations on flood risk and water quality (NOAA-COCA 2014-2015; NPS 2014-2016 funding)
  • (leveraged) Study and operationalize ensemble forecasting for regional-scale and street-scale flood forecasts (NRL 2014-2015; PANYNJ 2014-2018 funding)

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