finding 4.4 : sea-level-rise-affects-energy

In the longer term, sea level rise, extreme storm surge events, and high tides will affect coastal facilities and infrastructure on which many energy systems, markets, and consumers depend.



This finding is from chapter 4 of Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment.

Process for developing key messages: The author team met bi-weekly by teleconference during the months of March through July 2012. Early in the development of key messages and a chapter outline, the authors reviewed all of the four dozen relevant technical input reports that were received in response to the Federal Register solicitation for public input. Selected authors participated in a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) sponsored workshop on Energy Supply and Use, December 29-30, 2011 in Washington, D.C. The workshop was organized specifically to inform a DOE technical input report and this National Climate Assessment and to engage stakeholders in this process. The authors selected key messages based on the risk and likelihood of impacts, associated consequences, and available evidence. Relevance to decision support within the energy sector was also an important criterion. The U.S. maintains extensive data on energy supply and use. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the U.S. Department of Energy is a primary organization in this activity, and data with quality control, quality assurance, and expert review are available through EIA Web pages (for example, EIA 2012, EIA 20132af3709d-81eb-48b7-9183-afc6c27015ea 9f0adb9b-5a9c-4fc2-8df7-ebed4322e185).

Description of evidence base: The sea level change scenario report prepared for the NCA (see also Ch. 2: Our Changing Climate)d8089822-678e-4834-a1ec-0dca1da35314 provides further information about sea level change. Extreme surge events at high tides are expected to increase,83265c54-8988-42a0-a194-11744d0e1742 660742b8-af3d-4999-9ac9-e7fed7754c52 raising the risk of inundating energy facilities such as power plants, refineries, pipelines, and transmission and distribution networks (for example, Sathaye et al. 2013f9a98705-cc7b-4332-aea0-f91373199c86) Data available through the EIA (for example, EIA 201035c514dd-57cb-43d0-a4d0-56e7bfcffb04 provide high-quality information about the locations and distribution of energy facilities. A substantial portion of the nation’s energy facilities and infrastructure are located along coasts or offshore, and sea level rise will affect these facilities (Ch. 25: Coasts; Ch. 17: Southeast; Ch. 5: Transportation).f0803451-5a89-474a-974f-99c13fdc725d f9a98705-cc7b-4332-aea0-f91373199c86 3c34748e-be5d-4831-896e-70cbae0f0d22 b5558bf8-6c04-4011-8f1e-30ce8e0743b4

New information and remaining uncertainties: Projections of sea level change are relatively uncertain compared to other aspects of climate change. More importantly, there will be substantial regional and local variability in sea level change, and facilities in locations exposed to more frequent and intense extreme wind and precipitation events will be at higher risk. Data and analyses to understand regional and local sea level change are improving, but substantial uncertainty remains and decision support for adaptation is challenged by these limitations.

Assessment of confidence based on evidence: High. There is high confidence that increases in global mean sea level, extreme surge events, and high tides will affect coastal energy facilities; however, regional and local details are less certain.

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