Members of the Climate Smart Lab recently published a paper in the journal Sustainability titled “Effective Communication of Coastal Flood Warnings: Challenges and Recommendations.” Authored by PhD student Tianze Pang and corresponding author Dr. Xander Wang, the study highlights the potential for improving current coastal flood warning systems. This enhancement could benefit sustainable environmental management in coastal communities like Prince Edward Island.


With the increasing risk of coastal flooding facing coastal communities due to climate change, coastal flood warnings (CFWs) are expected to play a critical role in the protection of people and property to ensure communities’ sustainable development. However, as destructive coastal flooding hazards have caused considerable damage in recent years, the effectiveness of coastal flooding warnings could be questioned considering their objective of disaster risk reduction. Here, we deliver a review investigation of the current CFWs in the USA and Canada based on their setup and dissemination, and a case study of two representative coastal flooding events. Through this review, we found that collaboration between multi-level administration regarding CFW mechanisms has the potential to strengthen these mechanisms, improving their efficacy. We also found that CFWs presented in the media often lacked consideration of public acceptance and practicability in their reports, which may have affected the performance of these CFWs. Meanwhile, the technological limitations and uncertain public acceptance may also reduce the CFWs’ effectiveness in application. Accordingly, the media should further consider the understandability of CFW-related reports. Moreover, emergency information channels should be set in both traditional media and social media for accessible use by residents with different customs. Lastly, starting from the normalized prevention of coastal flood disaster, a consensus of crisis awareness should be built with which the social aspects of the defense against coastal flooding can be established for future environmental sustainability.