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Ellen douglas mas 2017


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Presentation at Massachusetts Sustainable Communities and Campuses Conference on March 17, 2017

Published in: Environment
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Ellen douglas mas 2017

  1. 1. Climate Change Adaptation Planning in Boston Ellen M. Douglas, PE, PhD Associate Professor, School for the Environment University of Massachusetts Boston
  2. 2. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC AR5, 9/27/13) finds that: • it is “unequivocal” that Earth’s climate is warming. • Since the 1950’s, it is “extremely likely” that human emission have been the dominant cause of the rise in global temperature. Source: IPCC Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis—Summary for Policymakers. Climate change is happening and humans are the predominant cause.
  3. 3. Things don’t seem to be getting better
  4. 4. • Global temperatures are likely to rise 0.5-8.6 F by the end of the century depending carbon emissions. • Most aspects of climate change will continue for many centuries even if CO2 emissions stop. • The ocean will continue to warm. Heat will penetrate from the surface to the deep ocean and affect ocean circulation. • Thermal expansion has dominated SLR in 20th C, but ice-sheet melt will likely dominate later in 21st C. Climate change is happening and humans are the dominant cause.
  5. 5. 20th century contributors to GMSL rise IPCC AR5 2013 Thermal expansion of ocean water and glacier melt has been the biggest contributor to GMSL. 0.9 ± 0.4 mm/yr Antarctica: 0.3 ± 0.1 mm/yr Greenland: 0.3 ± 0.1 mm/yr 1.1 ± 0.3 mm/yr 0.4 ± 0.1 mm/yr Impoundment & groundwater
  6. 6. Potential 21st century contributors to GMSL rise IPCC AR5 2013 Ice sheet melt and the ice-sheet “finger print is potentially the biggest contributor in 21st C. 0.6 m ~60 m Greenland: 7m West Antarctic Ice Sheet: 5m East Antarctic Ice Sheet: 52m
  7. 7. Sea-level rise in New England is not (and will not) be the same as GMSL rise  Mass redistribution (elastic gravitational and rotational effects)
  8. 8. ICE SHEET “FINGERPRINT’ A DC B Figure 1-1. Fingerprints of spatially variable sea-level rise arising from melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet (A), the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (B), the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (C) and alpine glaciers and ice caps (D). The location of Boston is shown with a star. Shading represents the meters (arbitrary units) of sea-level rise that would occur if each of these land-based ice reservoirs were to contribute a meter of equivalent GMSL rise. (DeConto et al., 2016: Chapter 1 in BRAG report)
  9. 9. Climate Change in the U.S. Northeast New findings of the Northeast Climate Impacts Assessment
  10. 10. Boston: The Future 100-Year Flood under the Higher-Emissions Scenario
  11. 11. Boston: The Future 100-Year Flood under the Higher-Emissions Scenario Source: NECIA/UCS, 2007 (see:
  12. 12. The things that came out of NECIA Scared the HELL out of everybody in Boston with the flood maps, then… Track 2: Investigate infrastructure vulnerability (MassDOT, BWSC, Massport Track 1: Investigate social and institutional vulnerability (TBHA, East Boston)
  13. 13. Track 1… Coastal Flooding and Environmental Justice: Identifying Vulnerable Communities and Feasible Adaptation Strategies for the Boston Metro Area Ellen Douglas1, Paul Kirshen2, Chris Watson1, Jack Wiggin1, Michael Paolisso3, Ashley Enrici3 1University of Massachusetts, Boston 2Battelle 3University of Maryland, College Park
  14. 14. Human Aspects Environment and Impacts Multi-Dimensional Scaling
  15. 15. Large-scale Solutions? Multi-Dimensional Scaling Large-scale Problems?
  16. 16. East Boston Adaptation  Protection: “hard”(sea walls) or “soft” (beach/dune) measures  combination of the two most likely. Lots of constraints (ie., DPA, densely urbanized).  Accommodation: “floodproofing” of homes and buildings  residents can’t afford this on their own; many are residents are rentors, not property owners.  Temporary evacuation:  Current plan inadequate, facilities flooded, tunnel access, no place to go.  Retreat:  Absolutely not an option for East Bostonians
  17. 17. Coinciding Stakeholder Perspectives Common Ground Resident City Perceptions of climate change Adoption of scientific definition varies broadly Explicit adoption of Scientific Model Impact of recent disasters Sandy and Boston marathon bombing alerted and raised desire to learn and be better prepared for a disaster Sandy and Boston marathon bombing alerted need for emergency readiness and state-wide coordination Values for built environment Transportation access to schools, jobs, emergency care facilities Preserve Infrastructure and operational capabilities Emergency preparedness Emergency preparedness: location of safe evacuation routes, access to food, medical aid and shelter Evacuation and contigency planning priorities for identified sensitive areas Priorities Homes, buildings with distinct community service functions, access routes to jobs, emergency care Minimize disaster recovery costs and damage to critical assets Common interests Information sharing, creating emergency preparedness information packet Data sharing and resource pooling among agencies for improved coordination
  18. 18. 23 Climate Change Adaptation in East Boston; Workshop I, Understanding the Issues Paul Kirshen, NOAH and others May 13, 2014 Objective: Exchange of the values and points of view of neighborhood and agency stakeholders in creating an East Boston that is resilient to the present and future impacts of sea level rise, coastal storms, and extreme precipitation.
  19. 19. Neighborhood Delegate Groups: • Orient Heights/Star of the Sea • Eagle Hill and Central Square • Maverick Landing and Jeffries Point Implementation Agency Groups: 24 What is Important to Protect?
  20. 20. 25 Climate Change Adaptation in East Boston; Workshop 2, Managing Present and Future Coastal Flooding Risks June 25, 2014 Objective: Study team present draft plan to help East Boston adapt to the impacts that reflect the values expressed at the workshop
  21. 21. 100-year Water Level Threat Today - Water Surface Elevation of 9.8 feet NAVD88
  22. 22. Regional Solution for 2100 1N, 4N, 4S 27 Flood Wall Temporary Road Barrier Landscaped berm
  23. 23. Innovative Barriers 28
  24. 24. Approximate Locations of Areas Not Protected by Walls up to 2065 – 2085 (13 ft NAVD)
  25. 25. Building Floodproofing 30
  26. 26. 31
  27. 27. 32 ClimateCARE 2016- 2018
  28. 28. MA Coasal Zone Management Grant to City of Boston for Detailed Design of Flood Protection at East Boston Greenway 33
  29. 29. Urban planning and resiliency
  30. 30. Track 2… MassDOT-FHWA Pilot Project: Climate Change and Extreme Weather Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Options for the Central Artery/Tunnel System Boston, Massachusetts
  31. 31. MHHW + 5 ft.
  32. 32. MHHW + 7.5 ft.
  33. 33. | Leading the Nation in Transportation Excellence | 38 Tip O’Neill Tunnel Exit & Entrance Ramps
  34. 34. | Leading the Nation in Transportation Excellence | 39 Vent Building 1
  35. 35. | Leading the Nation in Transportation Excellence | 40 Vent Building 1 – Detail of Air Exchange Vent
  36. 36.  Ellen Douglas, UMass Boston Project Manager, Climate Change, Hydrology  Steven Miller, MassDOT Project Manager  Kirk Bosma, Woods Hole Group Hydrodynamic Modelling, Engineering  Paul Kirshen, UNH/UMass Boston Climate Change, Vulnerability, Adaptation  Chris Watson, UMass Boston Assistant Project Manager, GIS, Database, Survey  Katherin McArthur, MassDOT Assistant Project Manager Project Team
  37. 37. Why existing maps are not good enough
  38. 38. Storm Climatology Tropical Storms  Data set provided by WindRiskTech (Emanuel, et al., 2006)  Select storms used to develop a surface response function  Increased storm intensities for 21st century based on climate models Extra-Tropical Storms  Data set developed by examining Boston tidal residual water levels  Re-analysis data used to feed a balanced wind model • A Large Statistically robust set of storms. • No need to determine joint probabilities. Causes of flooding
  39. 39. Hydrodynamic modeling
  40. 40. Flood exceedance probabilities
  41. 41. Flood exceedance probabilities
  42. 42. 1% Flood depths
  43. 43. The good news:  Extent of flooding under current conditions is fairly limited with low exceedance probabilities. This allows MassDOT to focus their efforts on reducing the vulnerability of individual Structures and on local adaptation strategies.  Regional adaptation can prevent flooding in some areas The bad news:  Vulnerable Structures under current conditions include some Tunnel Portals; the number of vulnerable Portals triples by 2070. The plan:  Currently field verifying results and recommendations.  Developing strategies for prioritizing and implementing adaptation approaches over short and long term. Good News and Bad News
  44. 44. Ellen Douglas, PE, PhD Paul Kirshen, PhD Rebecca Herst, PhD Avery Palardy Robyn Hannigan, PhD, Dean School for the Environment, UMass Boston CLIMATE READY BOSTON Results from Boston Research Advisory Group (BRAG)
  45. 45. Sea Level Rise Coastal Storms Extreme Precipitation Extreme Temperatures CLIMATE RISK FACTORS
  46. 46.
  47. 47.
  48. 48. VULNERABILITY ASSESSMENT Best available science (models) by hazard Emissions scenarios Climate projections Vulnerability assessment RCP 2.6, 4.5, 8.5 SRES B1, A1Fi
  49. 49. The hard part is yet to be done  Funding  Planning  Design  Regional buy-in and collaboration  Public/private partnerships  Political will  Public support This is where you all come in!
  50. 50. QUESTIONS?