SERDP SLR Report Cover APR 2016A new study about sea level rise and coastal risk management claims that due to the high degree of uncertainty regarding the rate of sea level rise, planners must abandon the normal design and engineering concept of “predict, then act” and instead refer to a range of scenarios for planning purposes. The report was done by the US Department of Defense (SERDP), NOAA, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and the Oceanographer of the Navy, and uses clear language:

“The decision-making paradigm must shift from a predict-then-act approach to a scenario-based approach. As a decision-maker, the fallacy and danger of accepting a single answer to the question “What future scenario should I use to plan for sea-level change?” cannot be stressed enough. Those used to making decisions based on a “most likely” future may have trouble relating to this reality; however, a variety of uncertainties, including the uncertainties associated with human behaviors (i.e., emissions futures), limit the predictive capabilities of climate-related sciences. Therefore, although climate change is inevitable and in some instances highly directional, no single answer regarding the magnitude of future change predominates. Traditional “predict then act” approaches are inadequate to meet this challenge.”

Read more on John Englander’s blog, or get the full report here >>

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