A primary outcome of climate change is the sea level rise potential. Risks from future sea level rise entail significant uncertainties concerning sea levels, overall potential impacts, the specific threats faced by particular geographic region, and benefit and costs associated with strategies for addressing such risks. Quantitatively assessing these risks requires the development of spatial risk profiles based on several analytical and computational steps of hazard likelihood assessment, scenario identification, consequence and criticality assessment based on inventories of assets along coastal areas particularly of population centers, vulnerability and inundation assessment, and benefit-cost analysis to manage risks. The proposed risk quantification and management framework is consistent with quantitative uncertainty and risk analysis practices in order to enable and enhance decision making. The methodology is outlined and some of its aspects demonstrated using illustrative examples based on notional information.

1. Introduction

Carbon, as a primary element for all living systems, is present in pools (or reservoirs) in the Earth's atmosphere, soils, oceans and crust, and is in flux as it moves from one pool to another at different rates. The overall movement of the carbon can be described as a cycle. Starting with the carbon in the atmosphere, it is used in a photosynthesis process with other elements to create new plant material. As a result, this process transfers large amounts of carbon from the atmosphere's pool to the plants' pool. These plants, similar to other living systems, eventually die and decay, or are consumed by fire, or are harvested by humans for other consumption, placing carbon in fluxes to other pools, and eventually released back to the atmosphere. This cycle is linked to each other cycles of the oceans' microbes, fossil rocks, volcanoes, etc. The Earth can be viewed as a whole with individual cycles linked to each on spatial and temporal scales to form an integrated global carbon cycle as shown schematically in Figure 1 that was constructed using values provided by the University of New Hampshire (2011). Pan, et al. (2011) estimated a global carbon budget for two time periods of 1990–1999 and 2000–2007 as shown in Figure 2 that clearly shows the increase of carbon under fossil fuel and cement over time. This increase goes unmatched in the carbon uptakes in efficiency with a potential for creating a prolonged time lag from emissions to uptakes. Such a time lag could drive other processes leading to global temperature increases and thereby contributing to seal level rise (SLR).

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