Volume 33, Issue 4 p. 817-829
Water Policy, Economics, and System Analysis
Free Access

Decision analysis of shoreline protection under climate change uncertainty

First published: 01 April 1997
Citations: 14


If global warming occurs, it could significantly affect water resource distribution and availability. Yet it is unclear whether the prospect of such change is relevant to water resources management decisions being made today. We model a shoreline protection decision problem with a stochastic dynamic program (SDP) to determine whether consideration of the possibility of climate change would alter the decision. Three questions are addressed with the SDP: (l) How important is climate change compared to other uncertainties?, (2) What is the economic loss if climate change uncertainty is ignored?, and (3) How does belief in climate change affect the timing of the decision? In the case study, sensitivity analysis shows that uncertainty in real discount rates has a stronger effect upon the decision than belief in climate change. Nevertheless, a strong belief in climate change makes the shoreline protection project less attractive and often alters the decision to build it.