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Environment Systems and Decisions

, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 376–390 | Cite as

Climate change risk management: a Mental Modeling application

  • Todd S. Bridges
  • Daniel Kovacs
  • Matthew D. Wood
  • Kelsie Baker
  • Gordon Butte
  • Sarah Thorne
  • Igor Linkov
Article

Abstract

The potential impacts of climate change are varied and highly uncertain, and pose a significant challenge to agencies charged with managing environmental risks. This paper presents a comprehensive and structured Mental Modeling approach to elicit, organize and present relevant information from experts and stakeholders about the factors influencing environmental risk management in the face of climate change. We present and review an initiative undertaken by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to characterize climate change challenges to USACE environmental risk management activities, and to identify gaps with respect to science, engineering, and organizational processes for addressing these challenges. By employing Mental Modeling, the research has characterized the influences of climate change on USACE environmental risk management, and aggregating recommendations from 28 experts. In addition, the study identifies the most important opportunities to improve organizational response to climate change, ranging from focused research and development of technical capabilities to broad paradigm shifts and systemic organizational improvements within the USACE environmental risk management programs. This study demonstrates that Mental Modeling is a useful tool for understanding complex problems, identifying gaps, and formulating strategies, and can be used by a multitude of organizations and agencies.

Keywords

Climate change Mental Modeling Expert Model Environmental assessment US Army Corps of Engineers Risk management Risk communication 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Special thanks to workshop participants for their involvement in this effort. Permission was granted by the USACE Chief of Engineers to publish this material. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the individual authors and not those of the US Army or other sponsors.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York (outside the USA) 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Todd S. Bridges
    • 1
  • Daniel Kovacs
    • 2
  • Matthew D. Wood
    • 3
  • Kelsie Baker
    • 3
  • Gordon Butte
    • 2
  • Sarah Thorne
    • 2
  • Igor Linkov
    • 3
  1. 1.US Army Research and Development Center, Environmental LaboratoryVicksburgUSA
  2. 2.Decision Partners, LLCPittsburghUSA
  3. 3.US Army Research and Development Center, Environmental LaboratoryConcordUSA

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