Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://hdl.handle.net/2440/84524
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Type: Journal article
Title: Coping with climate variability and climate change in La Ceiba, Honduras
Author: Smith, J.
Strzepek, K.
Cardini, J.
Castaneda, M.
Holland, J.
Quiroz, C.
Wigley, T.
Herrero, J.
Hearne, P.
Furlow, J.
Citation: Climatic Change: an interdisciplinary, international journal devoted to the description, causes and implications of climatic change, 2011; 108(3):457-470
Publisher: Springer Netherlands
Issue Date: 2011
ISSN: 0165-0009
1573-1480
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Joel B. Smith, Kenneth M. Strzepek, Julio Cardini, Mario Castaneda, Julie Holland, Carlos Quiroz, Tom M. L. Wigley, Jose Herrero, Peter Hearne, John Furlow
Abstract: La Ceiba, Honduras, a city of about 200,000 people, lies along the Caribbean Sea, nestled against a mountain range and the Rio Cangrejal. The city faces three flooding risks: routine flooding of city streets due to the lack of a stormwater drainage system; occasional major flooding of the Rio Cangrejal, which flows through the city; and flooding from heavy rainfall events and storm surges associated with tropical cyclones. In this study, we applied a method developed for the U. S. Agency for International Development and then worked with stakeholders in La Ceiba to understand climate change risks and evaluate adaptation alternatives. We estimated the impacts of climate change on the current flooding risks and on efforts to mitigate the flooding problems. The climate change scenarios, which addressed sea level rise and flooding, were based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates of sea level rise (Houghton et al. 2001) and published literature linking changes in temperature to more intense precipitation (Trenberth et al., Bull Am Meteorol Soc, 84:1205-1217, 2003) and hurricanes (Knutson and Tuleya, J Clim, 17:3477-3495, 2004). Using information from Trenberth et al., Bull Am Meteorol Soc, 84:1205-1217, (2003) and Knutson and Tuleya, J Clim, 17:3477-3495, 2004, we scaled intense precipitation and hurricane wind speed based on projected temperature increases. We estimated the volume of precipitation in intense events to increase by 2 to 4% in 2025 and by 6 to 14% by 2050. A 13% increase in intense precipitation, the high scenario for 2050, could increase peak 5-year flood flows by about 60%. Building an enhanced urban drainage system that could cope with the estimated increased flooding would cost one-third more than building a system to handle current climate conditions, but would avoid costlier reconstruction in the future. The flow of the Rio Cangrejal would increase by one-third from more intense hurricanes. The costs of raising levees to protect the population from increased risks from climate change would be about $1 million. The coast west of downtown La Ceiba is the most vulnerable to sea level rise and storm surges. It is relatively undeveloped, but is projected to have rapid development. Setbacks on coastal construction in that area may limit risks. The downtown coastline is also at risk and may need to be protected with groins and sand pumping. Stakeholders in La Ceiba concluded that addressing problems of urban drainage should be a top priority. They emphasized improved management of the Rio Cangrejal watershed and improved storm warnings to cope with risks from extreme precipitation and cyclones. Adoption of risk management principles and effective land use management could also help reduce risks from current climate and climate change. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Rights: © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011
DOI: 10.1007/s10584-011-0161-2
Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest 7
Earth and Environmental Sciences publications

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