By Guillaume Mauger, Research Scientist, Climate Impacts Group, UW Seattle
Sea level rise isn’t the only factor driving changes in flood risk for Washington State: many rivers and creeks in the region are projected to see higher peak flows in the future. This is especially a concern in estuaries, where the combined changes in river flow and sea level could dramatically change the outlook for flooding.
Rivers flood because of high flows, of course, and there are two principal ways that climate change could affect the size and frequency of flooding. The most well-known is by decreasing the amount of snowpack. Mountain snow acts as a reservoir, holding back water in winter and releasing it in summer. As temperatures rise, storm events bring more rain and less snow. Much of that excess rain goes directly into our rivers, leading to bigger floods. The other major effect is the intensity of our rain events – research has only recently begun to quantify how our big storms might change in the future, and that modeling generally shows that those storms will bring more rain. More rain means larger floods. This is all summarized in a nice infographic, developed by the Skagit Climate Science Consortium, or SC2.
Robert Pirani and Laura Tolkoff, writing for the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, have published "Lessons from Sandy." Highlights of this meaty document include:
- their definition of resilience: "the capacity to recover quickly from shocks and stressors while at the same time reducing future risk."
As they put it, “Resilience” emerged as a buzzword after Hurricane Sandy, but it has existed in many disciplines to describe a system’s capacity to recover from adversity. In the urban context, resilience is a community’s ability to rebound quickly from shocks and stressors while at the same time reducing future risk (Rodin and Garris 2012). Implicit in this definition is the focus on iterative learning, adapting in the face of adversity, and risk reduction. By incorporating resilience as a goal for planning, investment, and operations, metropolitan areas can become less vulnerable over time. Importantly, resilience is about managing known risks but also about preparing for the unpredictable. Consequently, resilience requires solutions that are robust across many future conditions, with multiple lines of defense, and with opportunities to learn as uncertainties become known."
-a holistic view of resilience, which meshes together disaster relief, insurance and flood risks, infrastructure and science.
-recommendations for federal actions (which begin on page 34). This is particularly relevant to those of us who are involved with the President's Adaptation Task Force right now.
You can view the document here and a link will be in the library going forward.
The US Army Corps of Engineers has repaired the breach in the seawall at Taholah that occurred in March 2014. This is the second reinforcement this year since more riprap was added in January 2014. [via the Quinault Nugguam Newsletter]
However, Fawn Sharp, president of the Quinault Indian Nation, says that Taholah is still vulnerable to earthquakes, liquefaction, and tsunamis, and that the Quinault are looking to relocate the community. [via The Daily World]
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