Inderscience Publishers

Climate change scenarios: risk and impact analysis for Alaska coastal infrastructure

Climate change has the potential to impose severe stress on coastal environments. Alaskan coastlines are especially vulnerable to erosion and other changes that have led to significant damage and threats to infrastructure, human health and safety, and economic prosperity. This paper describes an integration of scenario analysis with multi-criteria decision analysis to prioritise the vulnerability of communities for the development of infrastructure protection and other actions. The approach allows stakeholders to account for uncertainty in the prioritisation and also includes value judgements of the multiple relevant stakeholders. We present a case study that evaluates several climate change scenarios and formulates metrics for finding scenarios that most impact priorities. Scenarios including sea-level rise, increased frequency of forest fires, permafrost melting, and others are used. We find the increased frequency of forest fires to be the most upsetting scenario along with four communities that are identified as highly vulnerable and not sensitive to the scenarios.

Keywords: scenario analysis, multicriteria decision analysis, MCDA, erosion prevention, Alaska climate change, scenario metrics, critical infrastructures, impact analysis, coastal infrastructure, risk assessment, vulnerabilities, uncertainty, value judgements, sea level rise, forest fires, permafrost melt

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