Community and Social Vulnerability

Climate change and its associated rising and warming sea levels and intensifying weather events disproportionately impact coastal communities, including populations who are already vulnerable due to social or economic factors. NCCOS helps identify vulnerable coastal communities and how they are impacted by climate change. We examine an array of vulnerabilities: physical, structural, social, and economic, in relation to climate-related threats (storm surge, heat, drought, wildfire) to produce current and future cumulative impact assessments to our coastal communities. By quantifying future risk factors to vulnerable coastal communities and evaluating options to reduce this risk our work helps communities plan and act more equitably, mitigating the impact from climate change.

Our Process

Our approach is focused at the community scale and relies heavily on community involvement. At this resolution we are able to incorporate high resolution data on future conditions with sea-level rise (e.g., storm surge, and flooding) and climate change (e.g., heat, drought), physical infrastructure data, and socio-economic data to produce results that identify populations and infrastructure most at risk due to climate change and potential actions communities can implement now for a more resilient future.


Start the Conversation


Explore Data


Assess Vulnerability


Identify Options


Guide Decision Making

Our Partnerships


Project Partners. These are key partners who help connect us to community stakeholders and end users. Key staff include extension agents, Sea Grant fellows, and Sentinel Site Cooperative staff.


End Users. We engage end users and stakeholders to ensure we answer key questions and generate useful products. Key stakeholders include city/county commissions, town managers, planners, and conservation groups.


Data Providers. We rely on data providers expertise on complex data sets like future storm surge models and data on people and economy. Key partners include FEMA, USGS, TNC, academic institutions, and DOT.

Find out more about NCCOS vulnerability science