7. Why are the projections for the 2050s, and not for earlier or later years?
The 2050s were the years selected because they are far enough away that actual changes in our environment are evident compared to the present, but it is close enough in time that decisions being made today can impact future conditions. The 2050s also align with the data provided by the Indiana Climate Change Impacts Assessment.
8. Why is the current observation for heat and precipitation from 1971-2000?
The current observation reflects the average of recorded values for heat and precipitation from 1971 – 2000. That window of time was selected by the INCCIA and incorporating data back to 1971 matches the future climate projections that fall across a 30-year window (e.g. 2041-2070 for the “2050s”). A 30-year window is consistent with the length of time used by climate scientists.
9. Why are the three vulnerabilities (heat, precipitation and flooding) not summed into one overall score?
There is no scientifically acceptable way to combine these vulnerabilities, which are influenced by a variety of factors, into a single score; they are just too different from one another. The Institute is interested in pursuing this goal in the long run, but at present, each vulnerability must be evaluated individually, so as to maintain scientific credibility.
10. What is “social vulnerability”?
Every community must prepare for and respond to hazardous events, whether a natural disaster like a tornado or a disease outbreak, or an anthropogenic event such as a harmful chemical spill. The degree to which a community exhibits certain social conditions, including high poverty, low percentage of vehicle access, or crowded households, may affect that community’s ability to prevent human suffering and financial loss in the event of disaster. These factors describe a community’s social vulnerability, and are consistent with the definition provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Questions about the Extreme Heat Data
11. Why is my high emissions heat number lower than my medium emissions heat number?
This situation does not arise for the vast majority of communities. However, projections of extreme heat in the Medium Emissions and High Emissions scenarios diverge more strongly the further into the future we project. It is likely the case that the High Emissions projection for 2080 is higher than the Medium Emissions projection for 2080, even if the High Emissions projection is slightly lower in 2050.
Questions about the Extreme Precipitation Data
12. Question: Why is this information in decades instead of years?
When we viewed the data as a yearly average, the differences between the current observations and 2050 projections were not helpful. For example, using a one year timeline (still based on an average across 30 years), a community in Indiana may experience an increase from 2.3 events/year to 3.4 events/year (which is then rounded to 2 and 3) from present to 2050. These numbers did not seem noteworthy. However, going from 23 events to 34 events by 2050, over the course of 10 years, more accurately conveys the significance of the increase. The decadal timeline for precipitation allows us to communicate the threats posed more effectively.
Questions about the Floodplain Land Use Data
13. Why is the current land use displayed for 2010, and not for a more recent year?
The only known dataset that provides land use data is the USEPA’s Integrated Climate and Land Use Scenarios (ICLUS) tool. It provides 2010 as the most recent year.
Questions about the Social Vulnerability Index
14. Why is the Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) data limited to Indiana, instead of using the country wide 2016 data already calculated by CDC?
The Index is focused on risks and readiness within Indiana, so we present the social vulnerability data in a way that each Indiana community can compare itself to other Indiana communities.
15. Why can’t we see a smaller analysis level than census tract?
The Hoosier Resilience Index replicates the CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index national methodology for the state of Indiana. Their methodology analyzes data at the census tract level. Census tracts, which are small subdivisions of counties, are designed to be demographically homogeneous. They generally have betwen 1,500 and 8,000 people, with an optimum size of 4,000 people. The Hoosier Resilience Index uses census tracts instead of block groups or census blocks because the margin of error is likely to be higher with comparing smaller groups of people.