Science and engagement co-production around compounding climate risks and impacts in the Charleston, SC region

Science and engagement co-production around compounding climate risks and impacts in the Charleston, SC region

Kirstin Dow
USC/ Carolinas RISA
Time Slot: 
Concurrent Sessions 6
Session Type: 

Communities in the Charleston S.C. region are collaborating with scientists to understand how sea level rise and flooding will continue to increase. As municipalities grapple with adaptation planning and implementation, they seek a more detailed and realistic view of the challenges and how various hazards interact to cause community disruption and property damage. This session will share experiences from an integrated research and engagement strategy based on high resolution flood modelling that distinguishes and combines SLR, tidal, and rainfall flooding. This feeds into impact analyses of transportation disruption, infrastructure damage, and an assessment of how sea level rise will expand seismic liquefaction zones in a region at high risk of earthquakes. This cutting-edge research and modeling are subject to technical review and community ground-truthing throughout all phases.

Innovative approaches to more effectively engage with communities are co-designed with community leadership and work to address multiple dimensions in helping communities begin to collaborate to identify adaptation pathways. We will share our lessons learned with supporting engagement with siloed city departments, frustrated community residents, and racially and economically diverse neighborhoods within the Charleston Metro region. We will also share our reflections on the challenge of communicating multiple and compounding risks in a situation where flooding and SLR are already viewed by some as an existential threat. Engagement designs are based on emerging knowledge and research, and subject to adaptive redesign based on community needs and feedback.


Co-Production, Communication, and Engagement
Sarah Watson, CISA/ SC Sea Grant
Distinguishing and Combining Different Causes of Flood Risk
Norm Levine, College of Charleston, Lowcountry Hazards Institute
Flood Impact Risks to Transportation and Infrastructure
William Davis, The Citadel
The Implications of Sea Level Rise for Increased Earthquake Risk
Simon Ghanat, The Citadel
Residents Flood Adaptation Actions and Questions
Kirstin Dow, Carolinas Integrated Sciences and Assessments/Univ of South Carolina