Risk Analysis in Costal Communities' Decision Making

Title: Risk Analysis in Costal Communities' Decision Making
Authors: Mohammadi, Seyedeh Sara
Date: 2014
Abstract: The analysis of decision making under risk involves (i) risk assessment - the preparation of appropriate probability assessments of stochastic events; (ii) risk management – the application of quantifiable measures of the impacts of the stochastic events under alternative strategies; and (iii) risk communication – through the governance of structured decision making processes, and tracking and monitoring of the event. This work involves the application of the steps of the risk analysis process on coastal communities facing short-term operational decisions and long-term strategic decisions to deal with the pending impacts of climate change. These impacts include the immediate impacts from the increased frequency of severe storms and storm surge, and the long-term impacts of rising sea levels. The analysis of risk is in support of coastal communities’ decision support systems. This work is a part of the C-Change International Community-University Research Alliance (ICURA) program that is examining the adaptation of selected coastal communities in Canada and the Caribbean. In all these cases, the foundation to support community-based decision making for adaptation is required in the event of mounting evidence that coastal communities are especially susceptible to the changing climate, that coastal communities are under-resourced with respect to their abilities to respond to the climate threats, and that coastal communities are in need of defensible structures on which to make critical decisions on adaptation that will ensure community sustainability. The work draws on: (1) statistical, time-series analysis for predicting the event of storms; (2) the profiling of community threats and vulnerabilities, as well as community environmental, economic, social, and cultural priorities; (3) the calibration and interpretation of storm impacts through utility curve analysis; and (4) the application of the risk analysis to decision making in complex, multi-criteria environments. The significance of determining an appropriate time horizon for adaptation decision making impacts communities’ outcomes. If strategic planning periods are too short, evidence from this research demonstrates that the often used strategy of Status Quo or ‘Do Nothing’ may be justified. However, a more strategic planning period clearly indicates that an active adaptation strategy to Accommodate or Protect the community from severe storms is much preferred to the ‘Do Nothing’ strategy or the unwelcome Retreat strategy in the face of more frequent severe storms. The community of Charlottetown, PEI, is considered as the application of this study.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/31454
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -