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Resilience of Coastal Human-Environment Systems

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - CHES (Resilience of Coastal Human-Environment Systems)

Reporting period: 2020-01-27 to 2022-01-26

Coastal cities face an increasing threat from storms due to the growing coastal populations and the intensifying storms under global warming. Coastal ecosystems can significantly reduce catastrophic damage from storms, yet, the ecosystems are also under severe stress from storms. The goal of this project is to provide a holistic assessment of coastal ecosystem resilience to storms accounting for a diverse suite of climatic, geomorphological, and anthropogenic factors. Specifically, this project aims to:

(1) Create a geospatial database for damage to mangroves from historical storms around the world that occurred over the past few decades;

(2) Quantify the global storm risk to mangroves;

(3) Assess the storm risk in future climate scenarios.
During this project, I created a global database containing information about historical storms that occur around the world over the past four decades and their damage to mangrove ecosystems (Work Package, WP, 1 and 2). I then developed a machine learning algorithm to model the storm damage by a broad range of variables including storm attributes, coastal geomorphological and environmental characteristics, and the pre-storm conditions of the ecosystems (WP 3). The global storm risk to mangroves was assessed under current conditions and projected storm activities in a warmer climate (WP 4). This work has resulted in peer-reviewed research articles, conference presentations, and many outreach materials.
This project has developed the first global assessment of storm risk to mangroves with multidecade climatic records and earth observation data archives. The result highlighted the risk of major storms (category 4-5) and the potential risk shift in a warming climate. This assessment greatly advances our understanding of the vulnerability of coastal ecosystem systems to storms and how the vulnerability may change under climate change, contributing to the development of sustainable coastal management plans coping with climate change.