Superfund Climate Change Adaptation: Information Sources
Resources to help project managers and other stakeholders build climate and weather resilience into site cleanup projects are readily available online from EPA and other federal agencies. The types of resources range from interactive desk-top tools to extensive information compendiums that can support site cleanup decision making.
Climate Change Impacts
Information Resources and Type of Information Available for Applicable Impact
|Temperature||Precipitation||Wind||Sea Level Rise||Wildfires|
|♦||♦||♦||♦||♦||EPA Climate Change Indicators in the United States website
|♦||♦||♦||♦||EPA Climate Resilience Evaluation & Awareness Tool (CREAT)
|♦||EPA National Stormwater Calculator
|♦||Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Flood Map Service Center website
|♦||National Integrated Drought Information System U.S. Drought Portal website
|♦||♦||National Interagency Coordination Center National Interagency Fire Center website
|♦||♦||♦||National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Coastal Services Digital Coast website|
|♦||♦||♦||♦||National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Centers for Environmental Information website
|♦||♦||♦||National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Sea Level Trends
|♦||♦||National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center website
|♦||National Weather Service National Hurricane Center website
|♦||♦||National Weather Service Sea, Lake, and Overland Surges from Hurricanes (SLOSH)
|♦||♦||National Weather Service Storm Surge Hazard Maps
|♦||♦||U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Climate Prepardness and Resilience website|
|♦||U.S. Geological Survey Coastal Change Hazards Viewer
|♦||U.S. Geological Survey Landslide Hazards Program website
|♦||U.S. Geological Survey Groundwater Watch
|♦||♦||U.S. Geological Survey National Climate Change Viewer website
Many approaches to building weather-resilient remedies and adapting to a changing climate involve engineered structures. Each engineered structure is designed to address one or more potential vulnerabilities of a remediation system, such as power interruption, physical damage, water damage, or reduced access. Engineered structures also may help prevent the release of contaminated material across a site undergoing cleanup or to offsite areas.
|Engineered Structures Commonly Used in Adaptation Measures|
|Armor||Fixed structures placed on or along the shoreline of flowing inland water or ocean water to mitigate effects of erosion and protect site infrastructure. "Soft" armor may comprise synthetic fabrics and/or deep-rooted vegetation; "hard" armor may consist of riprap, gabions and segmental retaining walls.|
|Berm||A low, impermanent, nearly horizontal ledge or narrow terrace made of earthen material to retain or divert floodwater.|
|Bulkhead||A structure or partition to retain or prevent land sliding and to protect uplands against damage from wave action.|
|Coastal hardening||Installation of structures to stabilize a shoreline and shield it from erosion. Techniques for “soft” stabilization involve replenishment of sand and/or vegetation or placement of other natural materials. "Hard" stabilization typically involves bulkheads, concrete sea walls, riprap, jetties or groins.|
|Dam||An earthen, rock, concrete and/or steel barrier constructed across a flowing water channel to impound water and, as needed, divert floodwater.|
|Dike||A wall, generally made of earthen materials, designed to prevent permanent submergence of lands below sea level, tidal flooding of lands between sea level and spring high water, or storm-surge inundation of a floodplain.|
|Fire barrier||A network of buffer areas (land free of dried vegetation and other flammable materials) and/or manufactured systems (such as such as radiant energy shields and electrical raceway fire barrier systems) to prevent spread of fire.|
|Gabion||A wire mesh basket or mattress filled with rocks or in some cases masonry materials to stabilize banks and/or beds of surface water channels, divert floodwater away from certain sections of a channel, or retain land slopes.|
|Groin||A structure typically made of concrete, timbers, steel or rock, and oriented perpendicular to a coastline to accumulate littoral sand by interrupting long-shore transport processes.|
|Ground anchor||A steel bar installed in a cement-grouted borehole to secure an apparatus on a ground surface or to reinforce a retaining wall against a sloped earth mass.|
|Hurricane strap||A heavy metal bracket that reinforces physical connection between the roof and walls of a building or housing unit.|
|Jetty||A structure of concrete and/or rock at the mouth of a river or tidal inlet to help stabilize a navigation channel, by preventing channel shoaling due to littoral materials and directing and/or confining the river or tidal flow.|
|Levee||A wall, generally made of earthen materials, designed to prevent the flooding of a river after periods of exceptional rainfall.|
|Retaining wall||A structure that supports earth masses having a vertical or near-vertical slope (such as 70 degrees). The structure may consist of material such as concrete, gabions, steel sheet piles or timber (and may include a reinforcement element such as geosynthetic material) forming a gravity wall, cantilevered wall, anchored wall or mechanically stabilized wall.|
|Riprap||A layer, facing or protective mound of stones randomly placed along stream or river banks, a shoreline or a structure to prevent erosion, scour or sloughing.|
|Seawall||A structure typically built parallel to a coastal shore to prevent erosion and other damage by wave action, often retaining the earth against its shoreward face. A "hard" seawall is often made of concrete or stone and is more massive than – and therefore capable of resisting greater wave forces than – a bulkhead. A “soft” seawall consists of replenished sand and/or vegetation.|
|Stormwater pond||A constructed basin intended to retain or detain stormwater runoff; a retention pond ("wet pond") holds a permanent pool of water throughout the year (or at least throughout the wet season) while a detention pond ("dry pond") is designed to detain runoff for a minimum time (such as 24 hours) during storm events.|
|Tie down||A permanent mount that allows rapid deployment of a cable system extending from the top of a unit to the ground surface.|
|Vegetated swale||A broad, shallow channel with a dense stand of vegetation covering the side slopes and bottom of an earthen structure to retain or divert floodwater.|
[Descriptions of these engineered structures are extracted or adapted from resources such as the: (1) U.S. EPA Office of Air and Radiation/Office of Atmospheric Programs/Climate Change Division; Vocabulary Catalog List Detail – Coastal Sensitivity to Sea-level Rise Glossary and Acronyms; (2) U.S. EPA; National Menu of Stormwater Best Management Practices; (3) U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Coastal Engineering Manual Part I: Introduction, with Appendix A: Glossary of Coastal Terminology; and (4) NOAA; National Weather Service; Glossary]
Detailed information about methods to assess exposure to climate change hazards, evaluate system or site sensitivity to the hazards, and determine overall vulnerability to the hazards is available in the resources below.
A climate change-related hazard potentially affecting a remediation system may involve:
- An event, such as a hurricane
- A sustained change, such as drought
- An unanticipated project parameter, such as increased stormwater
- A technological problem arising in the system or site infrastructure, such as power loss.
- U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit: Federal inter-agency resource containing data, information and decision-support tools to help federal, regional, state, local, tribal, private-sector and nonprofit organizations prepare for the impacts of climate change. The toolkit addresses coastal flood risk (sea level rise, erosion, storm surge, tsunami, inland flooding and shallow coastal flooding) and ecosystem vulnerability (fire regimes, water resources, carbon balance, invasive species and biodiversity conservation). The Climate Explorer enables planners to visualize climate data in maps and graphs that cover every county in the contiguous United States.
- Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability Exit: Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Working Group II). Chapters 18-20 discuss multi-sector impacts, risks, vulnerabilities and climate-resilient pathways.
- Preparing for Climate Change: A Guidebook for Local, Regional, and State Governments Exit: Guidance (as published in 2007 through a Local Governments for Sustainability partnership and funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA]) to provide local, regional or state governments with a detailed easy-to-understand process for climate change preparedness.
Information to help understand broader aspects of climate change adaptation planning and implementation is available through these online resources:
- Federal Adaptation Resources: Website maintained by the U.S. Global Change Research Program.
- DATA.GOV: Climate: The online home of the U.S. government’s open data (including climate data and resources related to coastal flooding, water resources resilience and ecosystem vulnerability).
- Climate Change Adaptation Program Area: FedCenter.gov resource that supports federal agency climate adaptation planning.
- GEOPLATFORM: Federal resource providing geospatial data sets on topics such as current wildland fires, hurricane response and recovery, and coastal flooding. The Climate Resources web area helps users find specific climate data and maps.
- Climate Change Adaptation Resource Center (ARC-X): EPA interactive resource to help local governments effectively deliver services to their communities as the climate changes. Listed Tools for Climate Change Adaptation address air quality, water management, waste management and emergency response, public health, and adaptation planning.
- Climate Change: Resilience and Adaptation in New England (RAINE): An EPA database containing vulnerability, resilience and adaptation reports, plans and webpages at the state, regional and community level.
- Addressing Climate Change in the Water Sector: EPA website that provides information pertaining to climate change impacts on water cycles, demands, supplies and quality. The State Water Agency Practices for Climate Adaptation Database contains climate-related water practices of state agencies, including those in Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington.
- Climate Preparedness Exit: Local Governments for Sustainability-USA website that provides access to case studies, fact sheets, studies, guidance and toolkits.
- Georgetown Climate Center ExitUniversity of Washington Climate Impacts Group Exit and the Oregon State University PRISM Climate Group Exit: Materials compiled by climate change research groups based at academic institutions.