Spatio-temporal assessment of climate change vulnerability in Georgia and its prediction into the future
MetadataShow full item record
The accelerated warming of the Southeast United States after the 1980s has affected the coupled human-environment system. Long term increases in temperature and precipitation, as well as more frequent and intense extreme weather and climate events are increasing vulnerability. Moreover, the most adverse impacts of climate change are manifested through these episodic extreme weather and climate events. Increasingly, climate change vulnerability assessment incorporating both long-term change in climate as well as episodic extreme weather and climate events is required to help individuals, communities and nations adequately prepare for the future. The first objective of this dissertation provides spatial and temporal assessment of climate change vulnerability in the state of Georgia using historical temperature and precipitation records. A composite vulnerability index is prepared by combining social, climatic, and place-based components to quantify vulnerability. The second objective is to predict climate change vulnerability for the state of Georgia into the future by integrating projections of both climate and societal demographics, respectively. The third objective is to test the hypothesis that African Americans suffer a disproportionate burden of climate extremes. African American mortality from extreme temperature conditions is statistically-evaluated against White American mortality in the analysis. The finding of this study reveals that both urban and rural counties in Georgia are at greater risk from climate change. Metro Atlanta counties and rural counties in southwest Georgia emerged as the most vulnerable and similar trend is projected into future. African Americans suffer most casualties due to the extreme climatic conditions compared to White Americans. This elevated mortality can be attributed to poor housing and low socioeconomic status of African American population.