Adapting to Climate Change: A Handbook for Local Governments in North Carolina

The Coastal Hazards Center at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) has developed this handbook to help local governments in North Carolina with adaptation planning. It provides local governments with information on how climate change might impact their communities, along with strategies that can be implemented to address these potential impacts. 

The first section of this handbook introduces the concept of climate change and the expected ramifications, and presents a case for adaptation and the urgency of local action. The second section details the impacts of climate change in North Carolina and many adaptation strategies to address these impacts. The third and final section presents the adaptation planning process.

The report describes North Carolina's current vulnerability to climate impacts, as well as the potential changes in hazard frequency and intensity due to climate change. The anticipated major climate change areas of exposure for the state are inventoried, including more frequent drought, extreme heat, more intense hurricanes, increased intense precipitation, sea level rise and accompanying storm surge. Each condition and its expected impacts are discussed in greater detail in section two, where the economic, public health and environmental impacts are described for each major climate exposure.

Adaptation strategies to address the impacts are grouped into four categories: Infrastructure, Land Use, Education, and Natural Resources. Many specific adaptive measures from each of the four categories are presented for each of the climate exposure areas.   

The third section, "Taking Action," describes several approaches that can be used to address climate change, the steps of the adaptation process including guidance on building an adaptation strategy, and highlights the importance of monitoring and evaluation. 



Publication Date: June 2013

Authors or Affiliated Users:

  • Sierra C. Woodruff
  • Anna K. Schwab
  • Dylan Sandler

Related Organizations:

  • University of North Carolina


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Planning guides

States Affected:


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