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Perceived and projected flood risk and adaptation in coastal Southeast Queensland, Australia


Mills, M and Mutafoglu, K and Adams, VM and Archibald, C and Bell, J and Leon, JX, Perceived and projected flood risk and adaptation in coastal Southeast Queensland, Australia, Climatic Change, 136, (3-4) pp. 523-537. ISSN 0165-0009 (2016) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2016 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht

DOI: doi:10.1007/s10584-016-1644-y


Evidence on the impacts of climate change is rapidly increasing but there is little change to the speed of climate adaptation by governments and individuals. There are multiple barriers to climate adaptation, including among others: the lack of the public understanding of risks, lack of leadership and availability of resources to adapt. In this study, we assess to what extent coastal residents understand their propertiesí flood risk, and what predicts their risk perception and adaptation behaviour. We surveyed 420 individuals in South East Queensland projected to be within the permanent or temporary flood zone in 2100 based on combined sealevel rise and storm surge scenarios. We assessed the correlations between the projected (i.e. objective) and perceived risk of inundation, adaptation behaviour, and the individual characteristics considered to influence risk perception and adaptation. While we found a correlation between perceived and some objective flood risks, perceived risk only partially reflected objective risk. Other factors that influenced risk perception were previous experience of flooding events, belief in climate change, risk aversion, age and gender. Factors driving risk perception varied with the type (permanent, temporary) and frequency of flooding event (1 in 20 or 1 in 100 years). Previous experience with extreme event impacts and belief in climate change influenced all future perceived risks. However, even after being impacted by an extreme event, adaptation was moderate (58 %). Personal as well as environmental factors influence the likelihood of adaptation. The moderate adaptation response within our case study is likely a result of most respondents considering large flooding events to be rare and of limited impact, and anticipating future government aid to overcome flooding damage costs. Existing attitudes towards risk, which influence the extent of proactive adaptation, should be of concern to governments who will likely be facing these costs at increasing frequencies.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:climate change, risk assessment, public risks, behavioral research, sea level
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Climate change impacts and adaptation
Research Field:Ecological impacts of climate change and ecological adaptation
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Natural hazards
Objective Field:Natural hazards not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Adams, VM (Associate Professor Vanessa Adams)
ID Code:127137
Year Published:2016
Web of Science® Times Cited:32
Deposited By:Geography and Spatial Science
Deposited On:2018-07-13
Last Modified:2018-08-01

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