Climate Change Vulnerability and Adaptation

Coastal Hazards and Climate Change Asset Vulnerability Assessment Tool
The National Park Service (NPS) has partnered with the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines at Western Carolina University to create a Coastal Hazards and Climate Change Asset Vulnerability Assessment Tool. This tool establishes a standard methodology and set of best practices for conducting vulnerability assessments in the built environment. The assessments are currently focused on assets at risk to coastal hazards and sea-level rise within coastal parks. Ultimately, the general methodology can be applied to additional natural hazards and climate stressors in non-coastal parks, as long as georeferenced hazard data exists or can be mapped.
Vulnerability equation (exposure+sensitivity+adaptive capacity)
Vulnerability is commonly comprised of three equally weighted metrics or components
While this formula has been successfully applied to natural systems, some aspects are less appropriate for application in the built environment (e.g., buildings, roads, etc.). For example, structurescannot inherently adapt to climate change or other hazards, while natural resources often can. Therefore, the methodology and formula has been modified for conducting vulnerability assessments of assets within national parks.
Vulnerability in build environment (exposure+sensitivity)
The new modified formula for the vulnerability of the built environment.
The adaptive capacity of an asset is evaluated separately and is not included in the vulnerability score. This does not mean that understanding the adaptive capacity of an asset is not important. The range of adaptation strategies or options available for key vulnerable assets within a national park is the final and perhaps most important step in the overall analysis, as any adaptation actions taken for an asset willhelp reduce its exposure or sensitivity, which reduces vulnerability.

One of the primary goals of this tool is to standardize methods for evaluating the exposure of NPS assets to coastal hazards and climate change. This includes the standardization of data inputs (i.e., widely available, established data) that will allow the application of a consistent methodology among units.Another goal is to create a more complete and effective set of factors or indicators for assessing the sensitivity of assets to coastal hazards.
Vulnerability Assessment Steps (coming soon):
  1. Exposure Analysis & Mapping
  2. Sensitivity Analysis
  3. Vulnerability Analysis
  4. Adaptive Strategies Analysis
Current Vulnerability Assessments
  • Big Cypress National Preserve
  • Biscayne National Park
  • Gulf Islands National Seashore
  • Cape Hatteras National Seashore
  • Fort Sumter National Monument

Last updated: December 15, 2017

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