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Identifying and Assessing Compounding Climate Risks to National Security


Members of the Florida National Guard Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, High Yield Explosive Enhanced Response Force Package (CERF-P) prepare for missions in response to Hurricane Michael at Camp Blanding Joint Training Center (Photo by Charles Oettel)

By Kimberley Miner, Research Fellow

Under a changing climate regime, identifying and assessing compounding risks to national security is becoming increasingly important. In their Letter to Science Miner et al. highlight how natural disasters can increase and expose compounding risks, including post-disaster release of chemicals during and after hurricane storm surge. Identifying and mitigating the impact of chemical release must be incorporated into pre-disaster risk models at both the local and national level, requiring input and understanding of risks from multiple stakeholders.  “A coastal urban ecosystem already suffering from storm damage must be protected from uncontrolled pollution exposure,” they say, “and this reality needs to be integrated into long-term planning for regional and national agencies.”

For further information on the topic, please see:

Miner KR, Wayant N, Ward H. “Preventing Chemical Release in Hurricanes.” Science  12 Oct 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6411, pp. 166. DOI: 10.1126/science.aav3822

US National Climate Assessment, Climate Change Impacts in the United States Climate Change Impacts in the United States (2014).

Kenward, N. Zenes, J. Bronzan, J. Brady, K. Shah, “Overflow: Climate change, heavy rain, and sewage” (2016);

Tabuchi, S. Kaplan, “A sea of health and environmental hazards in Houston’s floodwaters,” New York Times (2017);

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