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The consortium for climate risk in the urban northeast

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Monday, 24 January 2011
The consortium for climate risk in the urban northeast
Washington State Convention Center
Radley M. Horton, Columbia University, New York, NY; and C. Rosenzweig, U. Lall, and P. L. Kinney

CCRUN is a newly awarded NOAA-RISA. The CCRUN RISA's stakeholder-driven research will reduce climate-related vulnerability and advance opportunities for adaptation in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. CCRUN will focus on broadly-defined urban areas (including urban cores, suburbs, and watersheds) stretching from Boston to Philadelphia. Particular features of the region include: urban heat islands, poor air quality, intense coastal development, dense settlement along inland waterways, integrated infrastructure systems, complex overlapping institutional jurisdictions, and highly diverse and in some cases fragile socio-economic communities. Initial projects for the CCRUN will be tailored towards three broad thematic sectors that correspond to the major climate hazards: water, health, and coastal zones. Prototype water projects focus on the development of hydrological services and adaptive management; health projects focus on improving outcomes related to heat/air quality and coastal storms/intense precipitation; and coastal projects focus on storm-surge modeling for short-term applications and integration of future hazards into adaptation planning. CCRUN's regional program of climate risk assessment and management will simultaneously consider weather/climate and socio-economic information across many temporal and spatial scales. The climate team's activities will focused on 1) analysis of current and historical climate, with emphasis on extremes and seasonal variability, and 2) multidecadal projections will provide each sector with stakeholder-driven tailored products, with clear description of associated uncertainties. Environmental justice and equity issues, which are contingent upon resilient infrastructure and ecosystems, will be addressed in an integral way across each of the thematic areas, through stakeholder engagement and vulnerability assessments. Disadvantaged socio-economic groups in the region have been particularly underserved in the area of climate change, and a focus of the RISA will be embedding enhanced adaptive capacity among such groups. Socioeconomic and environmental information derived from institutional interactions is essential for defining climate risks in stakeholder-relevant terms, and thus for translating climate variations and changes into societal and cultural risk framing. To encourage ongoing learning in both stakeholder and university communities, create effective climate risk information tools, and build cooperative networks, the Northeast Urban RISA will develop a knowledge network for each of sectors in the region by holding regular workshops and training courses. The Northeast RISA will periodically bring all three sectors together to enhance communication and connectivity.