NOAA Webinar - Climate Change Damages to Alaska: Public Infrastructure and the Economics of Proactive Adaptation

Presenter: April M. Melvin, Associate Program Officer, The National Academy of Sciences

Event Type: Webinars and Virtual Events

When: 24 May 2017

Where: Online: 12:00-1:00pm EDT

More information: 
https://www.nodc.noaa.gov/seminars

Summary

Abstract: Climate change in Alaska is causing widespread environmental change that is damaging critical infrastructure. As climate change continues, infrastructure is expected to become more vulnerable to damage, increasing risks to residents and resulting in large economic impacts. In this study, we quantified potential economic damages to Alaska public infrastructure resulting from climate driven changes in flooding, precipitation, near-surface permafrost thaw, and freeze–thaw cycles under relatively high and low climate scenarios. We also estimated coastal erosion losses for villages known to be at risk. Our findings suggest that the largest climate damages will result from flooding of roads followed by substantial near-surface permafrost thaw related damage to buildings. Proactive adaptation efforts as well as global action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions could considerably reduce these damages.

About the Speaker: April Melvin is an Associate Program Officer with the National Academy of Sciences Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate (BASC). Prior to joining BASC, April was a Science & Technology Policy Fellow in the Climate Change Division at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). As an AAAS Fellow, April’s work focused largely on economic impacts of climate change in Alaska, including damages to infrastructure and costs of responding to wildfire. She also spent extensive time in Alaska as a Postdoctoral Research Associate while studying climate change and wildfire in Alaska’s boreal forests. April received her Ph.D. in ecosystem ecology/biogeochemistry from Cornell University and holds a B.S. in ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of Rochester.

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