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Measuring Climate and Extreme Weather Vulnerability to Inform Resilience Report 1: A Pilot Study for North Atlantic Medium- and High-Use Maritime Freight Nodes

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Technical Report

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University of Rhode Island Kingston United States

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This research identified vulnerability indicators from open-data sources that represent the three components of vulnerability, as outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity. With input from experts knowledgeable in port operations, planning, policy, and data, researchers refined a set of high-level vulnerability indicators to answer the following key questions 1 how sufficient is the current state of U.S. seaport sector data for developing expert-supported vulnerability indicators for a regional sample of ports and 2 how can indicators be used to measure the relative vulnerability i.e., exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity of multiple ports Using open-data sources, this study developed an Indicator-Based Vulnerability Assessment methodology that integrates multiple vulnerability indicators for ports in the North Atlantic region. The Analytic Hierarchy Process, a technique for organizing and analyzing complex decisions using pairwise comparisons, was used to develop a ranking that matched 3 of the top-4 most vulnerable ports that were subjectively identified by port experts. This demonstrates strong promise for this methodological approach to measure seaport vulnerability to climate and extreme weather events. Indices of seaport relative vulnerability to climate and extreme weather can advance goals for a resilient Marine Transportation System by informing efforts and plans to prioritize and allocate limited resources.

Subject Categories:

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Meteorology
  • Hydrology, Limnology and Potamology

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