Integrating Climate Science & Decision Making in the Carolinas cisa

CISA: Carolinas Integrated Sciences and Assessments, A NOAA RISA Team

Fostering Adaptation and Its Implementation in the Region

Flooded streets in Charleston, SC
Flooded streets in Charleston, SC

CISA works directly with communities, stakeholders, and decision makers to assess climate vulnerabilities and identify potential adaptation strategies and avenues for implementation in order to foster more resilient communities and ecosystems in the Carolinas.

Assessing Vulnerabilities and Identifying Adaptation Solutions in Local Communities

The Vulnerability, Consequences, and Adaptation Planning Scenarios (VCAPS) process was developed to help decision-makers in small municipalities explore the potential outcomes and consequences of climate change in their towns, along with pathways to help plan and prepare. VCAPS integrates locally specific knowledge about social stressors with generalized scientific information about potential impacts and promotes deliberative-analytical dialogue among researchers and community managers and representatives. The process has been used in 15 U.S. communities, including 8 in the Carolinas. Learn more about the tool and work in each of these communities through the VCAPS website.

Research findings

A Community-wide Public Health Risk Assessment of Vulnerable Water Infrastructure in Coastal Cities

This project, funded by NOAA Climate Program Office’s Coastal and Ocean Climate Applications (COCA) Program, will use a four-step process to determine health-related impacts that result from environmental conditions. Focusing specifically on water and wastewater infrastructure, researchers will assess vulnerability to extreme events and rising sea levels and identify the populations most susceptible to public health risks from infrastructure failure. Using extensive stakeholder engagement in Charleston, SC, and Morehead City, NC, they will develop a susceptibility index of vulnerable populations to assess health threats. This will be a straightforward, user-friendly tool that succinctly summarizes the threats for decision makers of varying backgrounds and can assess susceptibility through a range of weather and climate events. The overall goal of the project is to expand capacity of a variety of decision makers (including public health officials, environmental agencies, emergency managers, water/wastewater operators) around the issues of critical coastal water infrastructure and public health.