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Superfund Climate Resilience: Vulnerability Assessment

  • Vulnerability Assessment
  • Resilience Measures
  • Adaptive Capacity

Vulnerability Assessment

Consideration of climate change implications in cleanup projects is most effective through use of a place-based strategy, due to the varying geophysical characteristics of contaminated sites, the nature of remedial actions at those sites, and local or regional climate and weather regimes. Assessing the vulnerability of a site remedy involves:

  • Evaluating the remedy's exposure to climate or weather hazards of concern (such as high floodwater or soil subsidence).
  • Evaluating the remedy's sensitivity to the hazards of concern (likelihood for the hazards to reduce remedy effectiveness).

Resources to help project managers and other stakeholders understand climate change implications and identify potential hazards at specific sites are available online from EPA and other federal agencies. The types or resources range from interactive desktop tools to extensive information compendiums that can support site cleanup decision making.

Information Resources and Type of Information Available for Applicable Climate Change Effects Temp-erature Precip-itation Wind Sea Level Rise Wild-fires
EPA Climate Change Indicators in the United States website
  • Information on 37 indicators such as temperatures, precipitation, tropical cyclone activity, coastal or river flooding, drought, oceanic extremes, snowfall and ice, and stream flow and other parameters such as greenhouse gases, wildfires and ecosystems
     ♦        ♦     ♦      ♦     ♦
EPA Climate Resilience Evaluation & Awareness Tool (CREAT)
  • Desk-top risk assessment application to help water utilities adapt to extreme weather events; CREAT climate change projection maps address various scenarios of temperature, precipitation, storms, extreme heat, and sea level
      ♦        ♦    ♦      ♦  
EPA National Stormwater Calculator
  • Desktop and mobile applications to estimate rainwater and runoff frequency  from a specific site based on soil types, drainage, topography, precipitation, evaporation and future climate change scenarios
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Flood Map Service Center website
  • Floodplain maps
National Integrated Drought Information System U.S. Drought Portal website
  • Updates to the U.S. Drought Monitor map, drought impact summaries and forecasts
National Interagency Coordination Center National Interagency Fire Center website
  • Regional outlooks on wildlife activity and maps of current fire locations
       ♦         ♦
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Coastal Services Digital Coast website          ♦    ♦       ♦  
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Centers for Environmental Information website
  • Web-based portal for climate and weather data and information such as monthly summaries of U.S. temperatures and precipitation, periodically updated maps on economic impacts of weather and climate disasters, and special topics such as tornado climatology
       ♦        ♦    ♦         ♦
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Sea Level Trends
  • Interactive desk-top map viewer with details about local sea level trends
         ♦    ♦       ♦  
National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center website
  • Data on soil moisture, evaporation, precipitation, runoff and temperature affecting drought conditions
       ♦        ♦      
National Weather Service National Hurricane Center website
  • Advisories, forecasts, and historical data on hurricane activity
National Weather Service Sea, Lake, and Overland Surges from Hurricanes (SLOSH)
  • A computerized model to estimate storm surge heights and interactive web mapping to evaluate worst case storm surge inundation scenarios in coastal areas
         ♦    ♦    
National Weather Service Storm Surge Hazard Maps
  • Interactive desk-top map viewer depicting storm surge flooding vulnerability in U.S. hurricane-prone areas along the eastern, Gulf of Mexico and Puerto Rico coasts
         ♦    ♦    
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Climate Prepardness and Resilience website          ♦         ♦  
U.S. Geological Survey Coastal Change Hazards Portal
  • Interactive map illustrating potential coastal change vulnerabilities, rates of shoreline change, and probability of erosion due to storm events or long-term sea level rise
U.S. Geological Survey Landslide Hazards Program website
  • Information on landslide risks and a national landslide susceptibility map
U.S. Geological Survey Groundwater Watch
  • A searchable database containing groundwater records from about 850,000 wells in the United States
U.S. Geological Survey National Climate Change Viewer website
  • Interactive map to visualize projected changes in climate and water balance (snow water equivalent, runoff, soil water storage and evaporative deficit) on an 800-meter grid
       ♦        ♦      
U.S. Geological Survey StreamStats
  • Web application with geographic information system tools for characterizing and estimating stream flow statistics at user-selected sites