USGS - science for a changing world

Science Application for Risk Reduction (SAFRR)

Natural hazards Diagram

Estimated at-risk dairy cows by county due to ARkStorm scenario flooding presents an evacuation challenge.

ARkStorm Livestock risk map

ARkStorm flood duration (days) and proportions of estimated agriculture losses where perennial crop losses dominate the losses. * Delta Island inset shows results for islands with losses for two years only.

Natural hazards Diagram

The SAFRR’s second scenario, called ARkStorm, addresses massive U.S. West Coast storms analogous to those that devastated California in 1861–62 (link to ARkStorm OFR). Storms of this magnitude are projected to become more frequent and intense as a result of climate change. The SAFRR assembled experts from environmental and natural hazard research agencies to design the large, but scientifically plausible, hypothetical storm scenario that would provide emergency responders, resource managers, and the public a realistic assessment of what is historically possible.

The ARkStorm scenario was released at the ARkStorm Summit, a two day conference in Sacramento (Jan 2011), where 250 invited guests from the public and private sector joined together to take action as a result of the scenario’s findings. Check out this innovative animation film to understand the ARkStorm.

USGS Western Geographic Science Center Contributions

The ARkStorm winter storm scenario affects both northern and southern California. Alessandra Corsi (visiting WGSC scholar) prepared maps of highway damages and capacity over time using information from expert panel discussions conducted by Keith Porter. She also mapped flooded agricultural lands for the agricultural damage and loss analysis conducted by David Mitchell. Allan Baez (student contractor with WGSC) estimated numbers and profiles of evacuees. WGSC coordinated the economic consequence analysis with Prof. Adam Rose and Ian Sue Wing. A computer general equilibrium model of the California economy was shocked with flood and wind damage to buildings and lifeline outages provided by Keith Porter, agricultural damages, and evacuation. The model enhances input-output analysis by incorporating feedback effects of property damage, temporary interruptions in labor supplies, and adverse productivity shocks on prices, producers’ and consumers’ substitution responses, and supply-demand adjustments across the economy. Sensitivity analyses of the economic impacts to damages and reconstruction funding were conducted. These advances in economic modeling provide a roadmap for refining future estimates of both the economics of disasters and the mitigating influences of resilience strategies.

ARkStorm Graph

Fig. 1 ARkStorm impacts on the trajectory of semi-annual real GDP
Fig. 2 ARkStorm semi-annual losses and recovery relative to pre-event GDP

ARkStorm Population Exposure

Contributions of county populations to the regional ARkStorm scenario evacuation.

ARkStorm Urban Rural Exposure

Difference in population concentrations in and out of the ARkStorm flood zone. Note: counties ordered by percentage of the county population that is flooded, with only statistically significant difference in population proportions displayed.

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