Advertisement

Climatic Change

, Volume 136, Issue 3–4, pp 523–537 | Cite as

Perceived and projected flood risk and adaptation in coastal Southeast Queensland, Australia

  • Morena Mills
  • Konar Mutafoglu
  • Vanessa M. Adams
  • Carla Archibald
  • Justine Bell
  • Javier X. Leon
Article

Abstract

Evidence on the impacts of climate change is rapidly increasing but there is little change to the speed of climate adaptation by governments and individuals. There are multiple barriers to climate adaptation, including among others: the lack of the public understanding of risks, lack of leadership and availability of resources to adapt. In this study, we assess to what extent coastal residents understand their properties’ flood risk, and what predicts their risk perception and adaptation behaviour. We surveyed 420 individuals in South East Queensland projected to be within the permanent or temporary flood zone in 2100 based on combined sea-level rise and storm surge scenarios. We assessed the correlations between the projected (i.e. objective) and perceived risk of inundation, adaptation behaviour, and the individual characteristics considered to influence risk perception and adaptation. While we found a correlation between perceived and some objective flood risks, perceived risk only partially reflected objective risk. Other factors that influenced risk perception were previous experience of flooding events, belief in climate change, risk aversion, age and gender. Factors driving risk perception varied with the type (permanent, temporary) and frequency of flooding event (1 in 20 or 1 in 100 years). Previous experience with extreme event impacts and belief in climate change influenced all future perceived risks. However, even after being impacted by an extreme event, adaptation was moderate (58 %). Personal as well as environmental factors influence the likelihood of adaptation. The moderate adaptation response within our case study is likely a result of most respondents considering large flooding events to be rare and of limited impact, and anticipating future government aid to overcome flooding damage costs. Existing attitudes towards risk, which influence the extent of proactive adaptation, should be of concern to governments who will likely be facing these costs at increasing frequencies.

Keywords

Risk Aversion Risk Perception Extreme Event House Price Flood Risk 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

All authors thank all those that participated in this study. MM, KM, JXL and VMA acknowledge support from the Australian Research Council. The authors are grateful for funding from ARC SuperScience grants #FS100100024 and #FS110200005 and funding from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions. Many thanks also to John Cook, Kelly Fielding, Hugh Possingham and Lana Friesen from the University of Queensland and Tiffany Morrison from JCU for discussion and reviewing drafts of the survey questionnaire and Abdollah Asadzadeh Jarihani and Scott Atkinson for helping collect the elevation data for the objective risk maps.

Supplementary material

10584_2016_1644_MOESM1_ESM.docx (33 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 33 kb)

References

  1. Adger WN, Dessai S, Goulden M, Hulme M, Lorenzoni I, Nelson DR, Naess LO, Wolf J, Wreford A (2009) Are there social limits to adaptation to climate change? Clim Chang 93:335–354CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arkema KK, Guannel G, Verutes G, Wood SA, Guerry A, Ruckelshaus M, Kareiva P, Lacayo M, Silver JM (2013) Coastal habitats shield people and property from sea-level rise and storms. Nat Clim Chang 3:913–918CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bell J (2014) Climate change and coastal development law in Australia. Federation Press, AnnandaleGoogle Scholar
  4. Bell J, Saunders MI, Leon JX, Mills M, Kythreotis A, Phinn S, Mumby PJ, Lovelock CE, Hoegh-Guldberg O, Morrison T (2014) Maps, laws and planning policy: working with biophysical and spatial uncertainty in the case of sea level rise. Environ Sci Pol 44:247–257CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Berke P, Lyles W (2013) Public risks and the challenges to climate-change adaptation: A proposed framework for planning in the age of uncertainty. Cityscape 15:181–208Google Scholar
  6. Blakely EJ, Carbonell A (2012) Resilient Coastal City regions: planning for climate change in the United States and Australia. Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  7. Burby RJ (2006) Hurricane Katrina and the paradoxes of government disaster policy: bringing about wise governmental decisions for hazardous areas. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 604:171–191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cai W, Borlace S, Lengaigne M, Van Rensch P, Collins M, Vecchi G, Timmermann A, Santoso A, McPhaden MJ, Wu L (2014) Increasing frequency of extreme El Niño events due to greenhouse warming. Nat Clim Chang 4:111–116CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Commonwealth of Australia (2011) Inquiry into flood insurance and related matters: Final report. http://www.ndir.gov.au/content/report/downloads/NDIR_final.pdf. Accessed 10 Aug 2015
  10. Cook J, Nuccitelli D, Green SA, Richardson M, Winkler B, Painting R, Way R, Jacobs P, Skuce A (2013) Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature. Environ Res Lett 8:024024CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cooper H, Chen Q (2013) Incorporating uncertainty of future sea-level rise estimates into vulnerability assessment: A case study in Kahului, Maui. Clim Chang 121:635–647CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dobes L, Jotzo F, Doupé P (2013) Adaptor of last resort? An economic perspective on the Government’s role in adaptation to climate change. National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, Gold CoastGoogle Scholar
  13. Flynn J, Slovic P, Mertz CK (1994) Gender, race, and perception of environmental health risks. Risk Anal 14:1101–1108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Frazier TG, Wood N, Yarnal B (2010) Stakeholder perspectives on land-use strategies for adapting to climate-change-enhanced coastal hazards: Sarasota, Florida. Appl Geogr 30:506–517CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Garvin T (2001) Analytical paradigms: the epistemological distances between scientists, policy makers, and the public. Risk Anal 21:443–456CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gawande K, Jenkins-Smith H (2001) Nuclear waste transport and residential property values: estimating the effects of perceived risks. J Environ Econ Manag 42:207–233CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hamlington B, Strassburg M, Leben R, Han W, Nerem R, Kim K (2014) Uncovering an anthropogenic sea-level rise signal in the Pacific Ocean. Nat Clim Chang 4:782–785CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hanson S, Vitek JD, Hanson PO (1979) Natural disaster long-range impact on human response to future disaster threats. Environ Behav 11:268–284CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Heath Y, Gifford R (2006) Free-market ideology and environmental degradation the case of belief in global climate change. Environ Behav 38:48–71CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Helweg-Larsen M (1999) (The lack of) optimistic biases in response to the 1994 Northridge earthquake: the role of personal experience. Basic Appl Soc Psychol 21:119–129CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hoegh-Guldberg O, Bruno JF (2010) The impact of climate change on the World’s marine ecosystems. Science 328:1523–1528CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hurlimann A, Barnett J, Fincher R, Osbaldiston N, Mortreux C, Graham S (2014) Urban planning and sustainable adaptation to sea-level rise. Landsc Urban Plan 126:84–93CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Johansson MM, Pellikka H, Kahma KK, Ruosteenoja K (2014) Global sea level rise scenarios adapted to the Finnish coast. J Mar Syst 129:35–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kaplow L (1991) Incentives and government relief for risk. J Risk Uncertain 4:167–175CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kellens W, Zaalberg R, Neutens T, Vanneuville W, De Maeyer P (2011) An analysis of the public perception of flood risk on the Belgian Coast. Risk Anal 31:1055–1068CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Koerth J, Jones N, Vafeidis AT, Dimitrakopoulos PG, Melliou A, Chatzidimitriou E, Koukoulas S (2013) Household adaptation and intention to adapt to coastal flooding in the axios – loudias – Aliakmonas National park, Greece. Ocean Coast Manag 82:43–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kunreuther H (2008) Reducing losses from catastrophic risks through long-term insurance and mitigation. Soc Res 75:905–930Google Scholar
  28. Leon JX, Heuvelink GBM, Phinn SR (2014) Incorporating DEM Uncertainty in coastal inundation mapping. PLoS one 9:e108727CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Leon JX, Hardcastle, J., James, R., Albert, S., Kereseka, J., Woodroffe, C.D., (2015) Supporting local and traditional knowledge with science for adaptation to climate change: lessons learned from participatory three-dimensional modelling in BoeBoe, Solomon Islands.. Coastal Mangement Accepted, December 2014Google Scholar
  30. Lindell MK (1994) Perceived characteristics of environmental hazards. Int J Mass Emerg and Disasters 12:303–326Google Scholar
  31. Lindell MK, Hwang SN (2008) Households’ perceived personal risk and responses in a multihazard environment. Risk Anal 28:539–556CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lindell MK, Perry RW (2000) Household adjustment to earthquake hazard a review of research. Environ Behav 32:461–501CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Mendelsohn R (2000) Efficient adaptation to climate change. Climatic Change 45:583–600Google Scholar
  34. Mills M, Nicol S, Wells JA, Lahoz-Monfort JJ, Wintle B, Bode M, Wardrop M, Walshe T, Probert WJM, Runge MC, Possingham HP, Madden EM (2014) Minimizing the cost of keeping options open for conservation in a changing climate. Conserv Biol 28:646–653CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Moser SC, Jeffress Williams S, Boesch DF (2012) Wicked challenges at land’s end: managing coastal vulnerability under climate change. Annu Rev Environ Resour 37:51–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Nicholls RJ (2004) Coastal flooding and wetland loss in the 21st century: changes under the SRES climate and socio-economic scenarios. Global Environ Chang Hum Policy Dimens 14:69–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Nicholls RJ, Marinova N, Lowe JA, Brown S, Vellinga P, De Gusmao D, Hinkel J, Tol RSJ (2011) Sea-level rise and its possible impacts given a ‘beyond 4 degrees C world’ in the twenty-first century. Philos Trans R Soc A Math Phys Eng Sci 369:161–181CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Norris FH, Smith T, Kaniasty K (1999) Revisiting the experience–behavior hypothesis: the effects of hurricane Hugo on hazard preparedness and other self-protective acts. Basic Appl Soc Psychol 21:37–47Google Scholar
  39. O’Connor R, Bord R, Fisher A (1999) Risk perceptions, General Environmental Beliefs, and willingness to address climate change. Risk Anal 19:461–471Google Scholar
  40. Osberghaus D, Finkel E, Pohl M (2010) Individual adaptation to climate change: the role of information and perceived risk. ZEW Discussion Papers.Google Scholar
  41. Peacock WG, Brody SD, Highfield W (2005) Hurricane risk perceptions among Florida’s single family homeowners. Landsc Urban Plan 73:120–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Ranasinghe R, Callaghan D, Stive MJ (2012) Estimating coastal recession due to sea level rise: beyond the Bruun rule. Clim Chang 110:561–574CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Slovic PE (2000) The perception of risk. Earthscan publications, LondonGoogle Scholar
  44. Terpstra T (2011) Emotions, trust, and perceived risk: affective and cognitive routes to flood preparedness behavior. Risk Anal 31:1658–1675CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. The World Bank (2010) World development report 2010: development and climate change. World Bank, Washington D.CGoogle Scholar
  46. UNISDR (2015) Making development sustainable: the future of disaster risk management. Global assessment report on disasterGoogle Scholar
  47. Urban MC (2015) Accelerating extinction risk from climate change. Science 348:571–573CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Wildavsky A, Dake K (1990) Theories of risk perception: who fears what and why? Daedalus 119:41–60Google Scholar
  49. Zhang K, Li Y, Liu H, Xu H, Shen J (2013) Comparison of three methods for estimating the sea level rise effect on storm surge flooding. Clim Chang 118:487–500CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Morena Mills
    • 1
    • 2
  • Konar Mutafoglu
    • 2
    • 3
  • Vanessa M. Adams
    • 1
  • Carla Archibald
    • 1
  • Justine Bell
    • 4
  • Javier X. Leon
    • 2
    • 5
  1. 1.Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science, School of Biological SciencesUniversity of QueenslandSt LuciaAustralia
  2. 2.Global Change InstituteThe University of QueenslandSt LuciaAustralia
  3. 3.Institute for European Environmental PolicyBrusselsBelgium
  4. 4.School of LawThe University of QueenslandSt LuciaAustralia
  5. 5.School of Science and EngineeringUniversity of the Sunshine CoastMaroochydore DCAustralia

Personalised recommendations