Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment

To build upon regional efforts to understand and plan a response to the challenges of climate change, the Montgomery County Planning Commission completed a Climate Change Potential Impact Assessment. The Planning Commission has applied information on historical flooding, flood-prone areas and heat sensitive areas to predict neighborhoods that will likely have increased stresses due to climate change. The Planning Commission has cataloged infrastructure components vital to the daily life of residents to further highlight community assets in need of targeted risk management. Once again, the Montgomery County Climate Change Potential Impact Assessment identifies areas of the County that are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change relative to the rest of the County. 

 The Assessment combines readily accessible information on sociodemographic, health factors and critical infrastructure locales with historical temperature and flooding data from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Montgomery County Division of Emergency Management and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission to create three impacts indexes:  

  • Heat Risk Index 
  • Flood Risk Index 
  • DVRPC's Indicators of Potential Disadvantage 

In order to guide planning initiatives, results fall into five categories based on deviation from the County-wide average:  

  • Well Above Average or "Very Highly Vulnerable"
  • Above Average or "Highly Vulnerable"
  • Average or "Vulnerable" 
  • Below Average or "Less Vulnerable"
  • Well Below Average or "Much Less Vulnerable" 

Examples of how municipal managers, planners, and others can use the Assessment include:  

  • Conducting rapid assessments of the relative vulnerability of neighborhoods to climate change 
  • Identifying the most critical risk factors for a municipality  
  • Highlighting target neighborhoods or municipalities that warrant more in-depth study and research 
  • Detecting infrastructure components that may be threatened by climate change impacts 
  • Drawing attention to opportunities to implement sustainability priorities across municipal boundaries