Assessing societal vulnerability of U.S. Pacific Northwest communities to storm-induced coastal change

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Abstract

Progressive increases in storm intensities and extreme wave heights have been documented along the U.S. West Coast. Paired with global sea level rise and the potential for an increase in El Niño occurrences, these trends have substantial implications for the vulnerability of coastal communities to natural coastal hazards. Community vulnerability to hazards is characterized by the exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity of human-environmental systems that influence potential impacts. To demonstrate how societal vulnerability to coastal hazards varies with both physical and social factors, we compared community exposure and sensitivity to storm-induced coastal change scenarios in Tillamook (Oregon) and Pacific (Washington) Counties. While both are backed by low-lying coastal dunes, communities in these two counties have experienced different shoreline change histories and have chosen to use the adjacent land in different ways. Therefore, community vulnerability varies significantly between the two counties. Identifying the reasons for this variability can help land-use managers make decisions to increase community resilience and reduce vulnerability in spite of a changing climate.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Title Assessing societal vulnerability of U.S. Pacific Northwest communities to storm-induced coastal change
Year Published 2010
Language English
Publisher Coastal Society
Contributing office(s) Western Geographic Science Center
Description 4 p.
Larger Work Type Conference Paper
Larger Work Title Shifting shorelines: adapting to the future
Conference Title Shifting Shorelines: Adapting to the Future, The 22nd International Conference of the Coastal Society
Conference Location Wilmington, North Carolina
Conference Date June 13-16 2010
Country United States
Other Geospatial Pacific County Washington and Tillamook County Oregon
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N