Integrating climate science with local knowledge through community vulnerability assessment on Kaua‘i

Like many low-lying coastal regions of the world, the County of Kaua‘i in Hawai‘i is vulnerable to the impacts of present and future hazards associated with climate change. While the state is generating important information at county levels on the potential impacts of climate change risks like future sea level rise, coastal communities require more detailed data at the local level. This project will serve as a case study to examine opportunities and challenges for integrating coastal resilience into a community plan on Kaua‘i. This project supports statewide goals to help prepare the state and counties to address the impacts of climate change and provide on the ground knowledge on how to integrate local knowledge with best available science on climate risk. Ultimately, the outcomes will help guide implementation plans, policies, and adaptation strategies to increase resilience to coastal hazards.

Map of Waimea area with superimposed color illustrating flooded areas at 3.2 feet of sea level rise
An example of maps used in the vulnerability assessment for the western coast of Kaua‘i, illustrating where flooding may occur in the event of 3.2 feet of sea-level rise.




Daniele Spirandelli
Asst. Professor of Urban Design and Planning, UH Mānoa


Alisha Summers
Department of Urban and Regional Planning, UH Mānoa