Initiative on Coastal Adaptation and Resilience (iCAR)



The Mission

  • Use research and education to provide the understanding and ideas needed to make critical decisions regarding our changing and vulnerable coast.
  • Engage stakeholders to facilitate adoption of policies and practices focused on coastal adaptation and resilience.
  • This is transdisciplinary initiative includes the sciences, engineering, policy and social sciences and will examine the interactions between climate change, water systems, land use, the built environment, and ecosystem functions.


The Need

According to World Bank 2013 report, 10 Coastal Cities at Greatest Flood Risk as Sea Levels Rise:

  • “Forecasts that average global flood losses will multiply from $6 billion per year in 2005 to $52 billion a year by 2050 with just social-economic factors, such as increasing population and property value, taken into account.
  • Add in the risks from sea-level rise and sinking land, and global flood damage for large coastal cities could cost $1 trillion a year if cities don’t take steps to adapt.” (lead author Hallegatte, Senior Economist, World Bank)
  • “Coastal defenses reduce the risk of floods today, but they also attract population and assets in protected areas and thus put them at risk in case of the defense fails, or if an event overwhelms it. “
  • If they are not upgraded regularly and proactively as risk increases with climate change and subsidence, defenses can magnify – not reduce – the vulnerability of some cities,” Hallegatte, Senior Economist, World Bank.

The Goals

  • To find multi-dimensional and flexible solutions using an integrative but flexible decision support systems


iCAR Executive Committee

  • Dr. Barnali Dixon (PI and Executive Director of iCAR)
  • Dr. Donny Smoak (iCAR – Director of Research, Climate Science)
  • Dr. Rebecca Johns (iCAR – Director of  Community Outreach and Education)

iCAR Advisory Panel

  • Maya Burke (TBEP)
  • Jamie Serino (OceanSpace, TSIC)
  • Heidi Stiller (NOAA)
  • Ryan Moyer (FWRI)
  • Siobhan O’Kane (Urban Land Institute)
  • Heather Young (TBRPC)
  • Jan Booher (UUJF Climate Resilience Ministry)
  • Kelli Hammer-Levi (Pinellas County)
  • Bandana Kar (Oak Ridge National Laboratory)

Past iCAR Advisory Panel

  • Gary Mitchum (CMS USF) 2019
  • Brady Smith (TBRPC) 2017
  • Tonya Clayton (Aqueous Media) 2017
  • Graham Tobin (SGC USF) 2016
  • Libby Carnahan (SEA GRANT) 2018
  • Mark Hafen (SPA USF) 2017

“The decision-making paradigm must shift from a predict-then-act approach to a scenario-based approach. As a decision-maker, the fallacy and danger of accepting a single answer to the question “What future scenario should I use to plan for sea-level change?” cannot be stressed enough. Those used to making decisions based on a “most likely” future may have trouble relating to this reality; however, a variety of uncertainties, including the uncertainties associated with human behaviors (i.e., emissions futures), limit the predictive capabilities of climate-related sciences. Therefore, although climate change is inevitable and in some instances highly directional, no single answer regarding the magnitude of future change predominates. Traditional “predict then act” approaches are inadequate to meet this challenge.”

Full report can be downloaded from CARSWG SLR FINAL April 2016.