Flood Risk, Uncertainty, and Scientific Information for Decision Making: Lessons from an Interdisciplinary Project

Flood Risk, Uncertainty, and Scientific Information for Decision Making: Lessons from an... The magnitude of flood damage in the United States, combined with the uncertainty in current estimates of flood risk, suggest that society could benefit from improved scientific information about flood risk. To help address this perceived need, a group of researchers initiated an interdisciplinary study of climate variability, scientific uncertainty, and hydrometeorological information for flood-risk decision making, focused on Colorado's Rocky Mountain Front Range urban corridor. We began by investigating scientific research directions that were likely to benefit flood-risk estimation and management, through consultation with climatologists, hydrologists, engineers, and planners. In doing so, we identified several challenges involved in generating new scientific information to aid flood management in the presence of significant scientific and societal uncertainty. This essay presents lessons learned from this study, along with our observations on the complex interactions among scientific information, uncertainty, and societal decision making. It closes by proposing a modification to the end to end approach to conducting societally relevant scientific research. Although we illustrate points using examples from flood management, the concepts may be applicable to other arenas, such as global climate change. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society American Meteorological Society

Flood Risk, Uncertainty, and Scientific Information for Decision Making: Lessons from an Interdisciplinary Project

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Publisher
American Meteorological Society
Copyright
Copyright © American Meteorological Society
ISSN
1520-0477
D.O.I.
10.1175/BAMS-86-11-1593
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The magnitude of flood damage in the United States, combined with the uncertainty in current estimates of flood risk, suggest that society could benefit from improved scientific information about flood risk. To help address this perceived need, a group of researchers initiated an interdisciplinary study of climate variability, scientific uncertainty, and hydrometeorological information for flood-risk decision making, focused on Colorado's Rocky Mountain Front Range urban corridor. We began by investigating scientific research directions that were likely to benefit flood-risk estimation and management, through consultation with climatologists, hydrologists, engineers, and planners. In doing so, we identified several challenges involved in generating new scientific information to aid flood management in the presence of significant scientific and societal uncertainty. This essay presents lessons learned from this study, along with our observations on the complex interactions among scientific information, uncertainty, and societal decision making. It closes by proposing a modification to the end to end approach to conducting societally relevant scientific research. Although we illustrate points using examples from flood management, the concepts may be applicable to other arenas, such as global climate change.

Journal

Bulletin of the American Meteorological SocietyAmerican Meteorological Society

Published: Nov 8, 2005

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