New NSF Coastlines and People (CoPe) EAGER award recommended for funding! by Jacob Hochard

Establishing Interface Standards for Physical Exposure and Human Impacts Data Collection and Publication in Rapid Response to Coastal Hazards

Thrilled to begin a new collaboration with Brooke Anderson (Colorado State University), Andreas Neophytou (Colorado State University), James Done (National Center for Atmospheric Research) and Kelsey Pieper (Northeastern University).

The two-year project is led by East Carolina University and brings together environmental epidemiologists, atmospheric scientists, economists and engineers to improve the compatibility of data collected in rapid response to natural disasters. The project builds on improvements in open access data across disciplines by standardizing the spatial and temporal scale of data publication to enable consistent reanalysis across disaster events.

Nontechnical description. Rapid response research is critical to understanding community resilience in the face of coastal hazards, such as tropical storms and flooding events. Yet, on-the-ground data collection efforts following these events are often uncoordinated and occur in different locations with different data collection approaches. The proposed work will establish standards to help coordinate rapid response data collection following major disasters.  A coordinated approach to these efforts will improve the research community's ability to analyze and understand the impacts that disasters have on human livelihoods and the policy responses that are likely to protect at-risk communities from disaster exposures and improve recoveries in disaster-stricken communities. 

Technical description. The multidisciplinary project (atmospheric science, economics, engineering, and epidemiology) aims to define and document several standardized data formats that could be useful for integrated hazard exposure and human impact research, as well as provide software tools and a case study of the use of these standardized data formats, aiming to increase the value of open access data repositories. The multidisciplinary team (atmospheric science, economics, engineering, and epidemiology) will develop and apply interface standards for coastal hazard exposure data that enable use with human impacts analysis. The project will identify common levels of temporal and spatial aggregation that are used for researching human impacts of coastal hazard exposures, which will improve the reproducibility of research in the context of coastlines and people. Open-source software tools that reformat and enable visualization, exploration, and modeling of data by the broader research community will then be developed and published removing barriers that are created by incompatibilities in data structure and format across related projects. A case study analysis will combine novel birth outcomes and groundwater pollution datasets from Hurricanes Matthew, Michael and Florence.  This exercise will display the value of analyzing rapid response data in its native form while highlighting the broader intellectual benefits from reformatting and releasing data to the scientific community for re-analysis.


Check out our new PNAS article! by Jacob Hochard

My new article co-authored with Stu Hamilton (Salisbury University) and Edward Barbier (Colorado State University) is the first to conduct a globally consistent analysis of the storm protection benefits generated by major tropical storm events. We find that even modest expanses of mangrove forests provide tremendous sheltering of economic activity. These findings are particularly relevant for lower income coastal communities whose livelihoods depend on local natural resources.

(Photo credit Stu Hamilton)


My fourth AERE summer conference is in the books! by Jacob Hochard

The Association of Environmental and Resource Economists (AERE) has been my core association since graduate school. I am always surprised and pleased to see such an energetic group of young environmental economists presenting and socializing alongside some of the field’s pioneers. The AERE community has always been inclusive, muted the role of egos and achieved tremendous comradery among its researchers. This is why I return each year (locations like Lake Tahoe also help!).


USDA conservation investments designed to protect human health need to first consider what people are already doing to protect themselves. by Jacob Hochard

Pleased to discuss our new work “Casing out Contaminants: Avoidance Behavior Along the Hydrogeologic Gradient” today with the USDA Economic Research Service and participants in the Ecosystem Service Valuation workshop.

Take home message: Do not expect human health benefits from increased nutrient uptake, restored wetlands if people downstream have already protected themselves by drilling deeper groundwater wells in agriculturally-intensive areas. Instead, target communities that have not averted exposure or help offset the costs of well construction and bottled water purchases.