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Focus Area: Coastal Climate Change

Climate issues affect the way that human and natural resources are managed, particularly in coastal areas. Human health and safety are at risk from hazards associated with storms, tidal inundation, and changing weather patterns. In addition, there are impacts from the effects of a changing climate on our coastal and ocean environments. This page presents information about coastal climate issues, including vulnerability assessment, sea level rise, ocean acidification, and planning efforts. 

Please let us know of additional resources that we should include here and alert us to broken links, etc.

Overview of Global Climate Change

 

Overview of Climate Change in the US, Southeast, and Georgia

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Coastal Impacts

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Ocean acidification

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Overview of Global Climate Change

 

State of the Climate in 2015

Resource type: Report

Description: An international, peer-reviewed publication released each summer, the State of the Climate is the authoritative annual summary of the global climate published as a supplement to the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. The report, compiled by NOAA’s Center for Weather and Climate at the National Centers for Environmental Information is based on contributions from scientists from around the world. It provides a detailed update on global climate indicators, notable weather events, and other data collected by environmental monitoring stations and instruments located on land, water, ice, and in space.

This is the 26th edition of the annual assessment now known as State of the Climate. The year 2015 saw the toppling of several symbolic mileposts: notably, it was 1.0°C warmer than preindustrial times, and the Mauna Loa observatory recorded its first annual mean carbon dioxide concentration greater than 400 ppm. Beyond these more recognizable markers, trends seen in recent decades continued.

Reference: Blunden, J. and D. S. Arndt (Eds.) (2016). State of the Climate in 2015. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 97(8): S1–S275, DOI:10.1175/2016BAMSStateoftheClimate.1. pp. 300

Link to entire report: http://www.ametsoc.net/sotc/StateoftheClimate2015_lowres.pdf

Download by Chapter:

State of the Climate in 2014

Resource type: Report

Description: [From the webpage] "An international, peer-reviewed publication released each summer, the "State of the Climate" is the authoritative annual summary of the global climate published as a supplement to the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. The report, compiled by NOAA’s Center for Weather and Climate at the National Centers for Environmental Information is based on contributions from 413 scientists from 58 countries around the world. It provides a detailed update on global climate indicators, notable weather events, and other data collected by environmental monitoring stations and instruments located on land, water, ice, and in space."

"An overview of findings is presented in the Abstract and Introduction. Chapter 2 features global-scale climate variables; Chapter 3 highlights the global oceans; and Chapter 4 includes tropical climate phenomena including tropical cyclones. The Arctic and Antarctic respond differently through time and are reported in separate chapters (5 and 6, respectively). Chapter 7 provides a regional perspective authored largely by local government climate specialists. Sidebars included in each chapter are intended to provide background information on a significant climate event from 2014, a developing technology, or emerging dataset germane to the chapter’s content. A list of relevant datasets and their sources for all chapters is provided as an Appendix."

Reference: State of the Climate in 2014 (2015). J. Blunden, and D. S. Arndt (eds.), Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 96(7): S1-S267.

Link: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/bams-state-of-the-climate/2014.php

Especially relevant chapter:

Chapter 1: Global climate

Description: Highlights from the chapter include:

  • Warmer-than-average conditions were present across much of the world’s land and ocean surfaces during 2014. These contributed to a global average temperature that was the highest or joint highest since records began in the mid-to-late 1800s. Seventeen of the eighteen warmest years on record have occurred over the last 18 years (since 1997).

  • Globally, precipitation over the oceans during 2014 was above average, contrasting with below-average precipitation over land. This was also reflected in hemispheric soil moisture: the Southern Hemisphere was wetter compared to 2013 while the Northern Hemisphere was drier.

  • In the cryosphere the effect of increased warming continued to be visible in the decline of glacier mass balance. Preliminary results for 2014 make it the 31st consecutive year of negative mass balance. Permafrost showed increasing temperatures and a deeper thawing layer in seasonally frozen soil. Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent was near-average.

  • The atmospheric concentrations of long-lived greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4, and N2O) increased 36% above the 1990 value.

Authors: K.M. Willett, A. J. Dolman, D. F. Hurst, J. Rennie, and P. W. Thorne.

Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability - Summary for Policymakers

Resource type: Report

Description: The assessment of impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability in this report evaluates how patterns of risks and potential benefits are shifting due to climate change. It considers how impacts and risks related to climate change can be reduced and managed through adaptation and mitigation. The report assesses needs, options, opportunities, constraints, resilience, limits, and other aspects associated with adaptation. Section A of this summary characterizes observed impacts, vulnerability and exposure, and adaptive responses to date. Section B examines future risks and potential benefits. Section C considers principles for effective adaptation and the broader interactions among adaptation, mitigation, and sustainable development.

Reference: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability, Summary for Policymakers (2014). Christopher B. Field, Vicente R. Barros, and Michael D. Mastrandrea, et al. Working Group II Contribution to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report.

Link: http://ipcc-wg2.gov/AR5/re

Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability; Vol. 2: Global and Regional Aspect

Resource type: Report

Description: The objective of the contribution of Working Group II to the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability, is to consider the vulnerability and exposure of human and natural systems, the observed impacts and future risks of climate change, and the potential for and limits to adaptation. The chapters of the report assess risks and opportunities for societies, economies, and ecosystems around the world. The 30-chapter report is divided into two volumes. Volume II chapters provide assessments on regions.

Reference: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability (2014). Working Group II Contribution to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report.

Link: http://ipcc-wg2.gov/AR5/report/final-drafts/

Especially relevant chapter:

Chapter 30: Oceans

Description: In this chapter, impacts, risks, and vulnerabilities associated with climate change and ocean acidification are assessed for seven ocean sub-regions, and the expected consequences and adaptation options for key ocean-based sectors are discussed. The chapter also examines the extent to which regional changes to the ocean can be accurately detected and attributed to anthropogenic climate change and ocean acidification.

Authors: Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Rongshuo Cai (coordinating lead authors); Peter G. Brew, Victoria J. Fabry, Karim Hilmi, Sukgeun Jung, Elvira Poloczanska, Svein Sundby (lead authors); Johann Bell, Christopher J. Brown, Michael T. Burrows, Long Cao, Simon Donner , C. Mark Eakin, Arne Eide, Benjamin Halpern, Charles R. McClain, Skip McKinnell, Mary O’Connor, Camille Parmesan, R. Ian Perry, Anthony J. Richardson, David Schoeman, Sergio Signorini, William Skirving, Dáithí Stone, William Sydeman, Rui Zhang, Ruben van Hooidonk (contributing authors).

Link: http://ipcc-wg2.gov/AR5/images/uploads/WGIIAR5-Chap30_FGDall.pdf

State of the Climate in 2013

Resource type: Report

Description: An overview of findings is presented in the Ab­stract. Chapter 2 features global-scale climate variables; Chapter 3 highlights the global oceans; and Chapter 4 covers tropical climate phenomena including tropical cyclones. The Arctic and Antarctic respond differently through time and are reported in separate chapters (5 and 6, respec­tively). Chapter 7 provides a regional perspective authored largely by local government climate special­ists. Sidebars included in each chapter are intended to provide background information on a significant climate event from 2013, a developing technology, or emerging dataset germane to the chapter’s content. A list of relevant datasets and their sources for all chapters is provided as an Appendix.

Reference: State of the Climate in 2013 (2014). J. Blunden, and D. S. Arndt (eds.), Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 95(7): S1-S238.

Link: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/bams-state-of-the-climate/2013.php

Especially relevant chapter:

Chapter 1: Global climate

Description: Highlights from the chapter include:

  • After several years strongly influenced by either La Niña or El Niño events, 2013 was the first full year without either of these phenomena present.
  • The year 2013 ranked within the top 10 years for the frequency of warm days and bottom 10 years for the frequency of cool days.
  • Long-lived greenhouse gases carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) con­tinued to increase in the atmosphere.
  • Early indications from the limited available sample of global glaciers are that 2013 was the 24th consecu­tive year of net glacier loss globally. Snow cover con­tinued to decline in the Northern Hemisphere, as did soil moisture.

Authors: K.M. Willett, A. J. Dolman, D. F. Hurst, J. Rennie, and P. W. Thorne.

Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis (Final Draft Underlying IPCC Scientific-Technical Assessment)

Resource type: Report

Description: This comprehensive assessment of the physical aspects of climate change focuses on those elements that are relevant in understanding past, documenting current, and projecting future climate change. The 14 chapters and six appendices cover direct and indirect observations of changes in all components of the climate system. They also assess the current knowledge of various processes within, and interactions among, climate system components. Projections of changes in all climate system components are based on simulations modeled by a new set of scenarios. The report also provides a comprehensive assessment of past and future sea level change. Regional climate change information is presented in the form of an Atlas of Global and Regional Climate Projections (Appendix I).

Reference: Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis (2013). Thomas Stocker, Qin Dahe, Gian-Kasper Plattner (lead authors), Lisa Alexander, Simon Allen, Nathaniel Bindoff, Francois-Marie Breon, John Church, Ulrich Cubasch, Seita Emori, Piers Forster, Pierre Friedlingstein, Nathan Gillett, Jonathan Gregory, Dennis Hartmann, Eystein Jansen, Ben Kirtman, Reto Knutti, Krishna Kumar Kanikicharla, Peter Lemke, Jochem Marotzke, Valerie Masson-Delmotte, Gerald Meehl, Igor Mokhov, Shilong Piao, Venkatachalam Ramaswamy, David Randall , Monika Rhein, Maisa  Rojas, Christopher Sabine, Drew Shindell, Lynne Talley, David Vaughan, Shang-Ping Xie (Coordinating Lead Authors). Working Group I Contribution to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report.

Link: http://www.climatechange2013.org/images/uploads/WGIAR5_WGI-12Doc2b_FinalDraft_All.pdf

Especially relevant chapters

Chapter 3: Observations – Oceans

Description: This chapter discusses changes in: marine water temperature and heat content; salinity and freshwater content; air-sea flux and wave height; water masses and circulation; sea level; and ocean biogeochemistry. The observations summarized in this chapter provide strong evidence that ocean properties relevant to climate have changed during the past forty years, including temperature, salinity, sea level, carbon, pH, and oxygen.

Authors: John A. Church and Peter U. Clark (lead authors); Anny Cazenave, Jonathan M. Gregory, Svetlana Jevrejeva, Anders Levermann, Mark A. Merrifield, Glenn A. Milne, R. Steven Nerem, Patrick D. Nunn, Antony J. Payne, W. Tad Pfeffer, Detlef Stammer, Alakkat S. Unnikrishnan (coordinating authors).

Link: http://www.climatechange2013.org/images/uploads/WGIAR5_WGI12Doc2b_FinalDraft_Chapter03.pdf

Chapter 13: Sea Level Change

Description: This chapter discusses: past sea level change; understanding of sea level change; the Earth’s energy budget; global and regional mean sea level rise projections; and projections of 21st century sea level extremes and surface waves. Confidence in current projections of global mean sea level rise has increased because of improved understanding of the physical elements of sea level change, improved agreement of climate models with actual observations, and the inclusion of ice-sheet dynamical changes.

Authors: John A. Church and Peter U. Clark (lead authors); Anny Cazenave, Jonathan M. Gregory, Svetlana Jevrejeva, Anders Levermann, Mark A. Merrifield, Glenn A. Milne, R. Steven Nerem, Patrick D. Nunn, Antony J. Payne, W. Tad Pfeffer, Detlef Stammer, Alakkat S. Unnikrishnan (coordinating authors).

Link: http://www.climatechange2013.org/images/uploads/WGIAR5_WGI12Doc2b_FinalDraft_Chapter13.pdf

Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change: Anticipating Surprises

Resource type: Report

Description: This report provides an updated look at the issue of abrupt climate change and its potential impacts; considering not only abrupt changes to the climate system itself, but also abrupt impacts and tipping points that can be triggered by gradual changes in climate. Abrupt climate changes can affect natural or human systems, or both. A key characteristic of abrupt climate changes is that they can unfold faster than expected, planned for, or budgeted for, forcing a reactive, rather than proactive mode of behavior.

Reference: Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis - Final Draft Underlying Scientific-Technical Assessment (2013). Committee on Understanding and Monitoring Abrupt Climate Change and Its Impacts; Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate; Division on Earth and Life Studies; National Research Council. Washington D.C.: National Academies Press.

Link: http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=18373

Especially relevant chapter:

Chapter 2: Abrupt Changes of Primary Concern

Description: This chapter gives examples of abrupt climate changes, such as the changing chemistry of the oceans and the melting of ice sheets leading to sea level rise. The chapter also examines both abrupt climate changes in the physical climate system itself and abrupt climate impacts in physical, biological, or human systems that are triggered by a steadily changing climate.

The Copenhagen Diagnosis: Updating the World on the Latest Climate Science

Resource type: Report

Description: This report covers the physical science basis of climate change, including: analysis of greenhouse gas emissions and their atmospheric concentrations, as well as the global carbon cycle; coverage of the atmosphere, the land-surface, the oceans, and all of the major components of the cryosphere (land-ice, glaciers, ice shelves, sea-ice and permafrost); paleoclimate, extreme events, sea level, future projections, abrupt climate change and tipping points; and explanations of some of the common misconceptions surrounding climate change science. The report has been written for policy-makers, stakeholders, the media and the broader public. Each section begins with a set of key points that summarizes the main findings. The science contained in the report is based on the most credible and significant peer-reviewed literature available at the time of publication.

Reference: The Copenhagen Diagnosis, 2009: Updating the World on the Latest Climate Science (2009). I. Allison, N.L. Bindoff, R.A. Bindschadler, P.M. Cox, N. de Noblet, M.H. England, J.E. Francis, N.Gruber, A.M. Haywood, D.J. Karoly, G. Kaser, C. Le Quéré, T.M. Lenton, M.E. Mann, B.I. McNeil,A.J. Pitman, S. Rahmstorf, E. Rignot, H.J. Schellnhuber, S.H. Schneider, S.C. Sherwood, R.C.J.Somerville, K. Steffen, E.J. Steig, M. Visbeck, A.J. Weaver. The University of New South WalesClimate Change Research Centre (CCRC), Sydney, Australia.

Link: http://www.copenhagendiagnosis.com

Arctic Ocean Ice Disappears, The Global Climate Impacts Intensify

Resource type: Online article

Description: The top of the world is turning from white to blue in summer as the ice that has long covered the north polar seas melts away. This monumental change is triggering a cascade of effects that will amplify global warming and could destabilize the global climate system.

Reference: Peter Wadhams (2016). As Arctic Ocean Ice Disappears, The Global Climate Impacts Intensify. Yale Environment 360 (September 26)

Link: http://e360.yale.edu/feature/as_arctic_ocean_ice_disappears_global_climate_impacts_intensify_wadhams/3037/

Comment: Crazy times in the Arctic

Resource type: Online article

Description: The author, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, CO, describes the extreme weather aberrations that took place in the Artic in 2016.

Reference: Mark C. Serreze (2017). Comment: Crazy times in the Artic. Earth Magazine (March 2017).

Link: https://www.earthmagazine.org/article/comment-crazy-times-arctic

Multi-year Arctic ice continues to shrink

Resource type: Video

Description: This NASA video tracks the dramatic loss of Artic sea ice area from 1978 to 2014.

Reference: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio (Jan 15, 2015)

Link: http://youtube/q6_rnhGRmZI

A scientific critique of the two-degree climate change target

Resource type: Research article

Description: [Abstract] The world's governments agreed to limit global mean temperature change to below 2 °C compared with pre-industrial levels in the years following the 2009 climate conference in Copenhagen. This 2 °C warming target is perceived by the public as a universally accepted goal, identified by scientists as a safe limit that avoids dangerous climate change. This perception is incorrect: no scientific assessment has clearly justified or defended the 2 °C target as a safe level of warming, and indeed, this is not a problem that science alone can address. We argue that global temperature is the best climate target quantity, but it is unclear what level can be considered safe. The 2 °C target is useful for anchoring discussions, but has been ineffective in triggering the required emission reductions; debates on considering a lower target are strongly at odds with the current real-world level of action. These debates are moot, however, as the decisions that need to be taken now to limit warming to 1.5 or 2 °C are very similar. We need to agree how to start, not where to end mitigation.

Reference: A scientific critique of the two-degree climate change target (2015). Reto Knutti, Joeri Rogelj, Jan Sedláček, and Erich M. Fischer. Nature Geoscience (2015) doi:10.1038/ngeo2595

Link: http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ngeo2595.html (requires free registration for access to full article)

World Meteorological Organization: 2015 likely to be Warmest on Record, 2011-2015 Warmest Five Year Period

Resource type: Press release (November 25, 2015)

Description: “The global average surface temperature in 2015 is likely to be the warmest on record and to reach the symbolic and significant milestone of 1° Celsius above the pre-industrial era. This is due to a combination of a strong El Niño and human-induced global warming, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).”
“The years 2011-2015 have been the warmest five-year period on record, with many extreme weather events - especially heatwaves - influenced by climate change, according to a WMO five-year analysis.”

Reference: World Meteorological Organization: 2015 likely to be Warmest on Record, 2011-2015 Warmest Five Year Period (2015). World Meteorological Organization, Press Release No. 13.

Link: https://www.wmo.int/media/content/wmo-2015-likely-be-warmest-record-2011-2015-warmest-five-year-period

Turn down the Heat: Why a 4-degree C Warmer World Must be Avoided

Resource type: Report

Description: This report provides a snapshot of recent scientific literature and new analyses of likely impacts and risks that would be associated with a 4° Celsius warming within this century. The report is a rigorous attempt to outline a range of risks, focusing on developing countries and especially the poor. A 4°C world would be one of unprecedented heat waves, severe drought, and major floods in many regions, with serious impacts on ecosystems and associated services.

Reference: Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4-degree C Warmer World Must be Avoided (2012). A Report for the World Bank by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics. Washington D.C.

Link: http://climatechange.worldbank.org/sites/default/files/Turn_Down_the_heat_Why_a_4_degree_centrigrade_warmer_world_must_be_avoided.pdf

The Marshall Islands Are Disappearing

Resource type: Online article (December 2, 2015)

Description: “Most of the 1,000 or so Marshall Islands, spread out over 29 narrow coral atolls in the South Pacific, are less than six feet above sea level — and few are more than a mile wide. For the Marshallese, the destructive power of the rising seas is already an inescapable part of daily life. Changing global trade winds have raised sea levels in the South Pacific about a foot over the past 30 years, faster than elsewhere. But add to this problem a future sea-level rise wrought by climate change, and islanders who today experience deluges of tidal flooding once every month or two could see their homes unfit for human habitation within the coming decades.”

Reference: The Marshall Islands are Disappearing (2015). Craig Allen, Larry Buchanan, David Furst and Derek Watkins (Producers). Nytimes.com (December 2, 2015).

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/12/02/world/The-Marshall-Islands-Are-Disappearing.html?ref=earth&_r=1

Global Sea Level Rise Scenarios for the United States National Climate Assessment

Resource type: Report

Description: Global phenomena, such as sea level rise, affect local land use decisions, especially over longer time horizons. Thousands of structures along the U.S. coast are over fifty years old, including vital storm and waste water systems. Thus, coastal vulnerability, impact, and adaptation assessments require an understanding of the long-term, global and regional drivers of environmental change. This report identifies four scenarios of global mean sea level rise ranging from eight inches to 6.6 feet by 2100 for use in assessing vulnerability, impacts, and adaptation strategies. Experts and coastal managers should factor in locally and regionally specific information on climatic, physical, ecological, and biological processes and on the culture and economy of coastal communities.

Reference: Global Sea Level Rise Scenarios for the US National Climate Assessment (2012). A. Parris, P. Bromirski, V. Burkett, D. Cayan, M. Culver, J. Hall, R. Horton, K. Knuuti, R. Moss, J. Obeysekera, A. Sallenger, and J. Weiss; NOAA Tech Memo OAR CPO-1.

Link: http://www.cpo.noaa.gov/sites/cpo/Reports/2012/NOAA_SLR_r3.pdf

The Added Complications of Climate Change: Understanding and Managing Biodiversity and Ecosystems

Resource type: Research article

Description: (Abstract) Ecosystems around the world are already threatened by land-use and land-cover change, extraction of natural resources, biological disturbances, and pollution. These environmental stressors have been the primary source of ecosystem degradation to date, and climate change is now exacerbating some of their effects. Ecosystems currently under stress are likely to have more rapid and acute reactions to climate change; it is therefore useful to understand how multiple stresses will interact, especially as the magnitude of climate change increases. Understanding these interactions could be critically important in the design of climate adaptation strategies, especially because actions taken by other sectors (e.g., energy, agriculture, transportation) to address climate change may create new ecosystem stresses.

Reference: The added complications of climate change: understanding and managing biodiversity and ecosystems (2013). Amanda Staudt, Allison K Leidner, Jennifer Howard, Kate A. Brauman, Jeffrey S. Dukes, Lara J. Hansen, Craig Paukert, John Sabo, and Luis A. Solórzano. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 11(9):494–501.

Link: http://www.esajournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1890/120275

Overview of Climate Change in the US, Southeast, Georgia

 

United States

 

Climate Change Indicators in the United States 2016: Fourth Edition

Resource type: Report

Description: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) publishes this report to communicate information about the science and impacts of climate change, assess trends in environmental quality, and inform decision-making. Climate Change Indicators in the United States, 2016, is the fourth edition of a report first published by EPA in 2010. This report presents 37 indicators to help readers understand changes observed from long-term records related to the causes and effects of climate change, the significance of these changes, and their possible consequences for people, the environment, and society. While the indicators presented in this report do not cover all possible measures of the causes and effects of climate change, as might be found in the full body of scientific literature, they represent a wide-ranging set of indicators that show observed changes in the Earth’s climate system and several climate-relevant impacts.
The indicators are grouped into six chapters: Greenhouse Gases, Weather and Climate, Oceans, Snow and Ice, Health and Society, and Ecosystems. Some chapters also include a “Community Connection,” “Tribal Connection,” or “A Closer Look”, features that highlight a specific region, data record, or area of interest. Several indicators highlight the important ways in which the observed changes can have implications for human health. Each indicator in this report fills one or two pages, and contains:

•  One or more graphics depicting changes over time.
•  Background on how the indicator relates to climate change.
•  What’s Happening: Key points about what the indicator shows.
•  About the Indicator: A description of the data source and how the indicator was developed.

Additional resources that can provide readers with more information appear at the end of the report.

Reference: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 2016. Climate change indicators in the United States (2016). Fourth edition. EPA 430-R-16-004. pp 96.

Links: www.epa.gov/climate-indicators;  
https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-08/documents/climate_indicators_2016.pdf (entire report)

The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment

Resource type: Report

Description: This assessment strengthens and expands our understanding of climate-related health impacts by providing a more definitive description of climate-related health burdens in the United States. It builds on the 2014 National Climate Assessment and reviews and synthesizes key contributions to the published literature. Acknowledging the rising demand for data that can be used to characterize how climate change affects health, this report assesses recent analyses that quantify observed and projected health impacts. Each chapter characterizes the strength of the scientific evidence for a given climate–health exposure pathway or “link” in the causal chain between a climate change impact and its associated health outcome. This assessment’s findings represent an improvement in scientific confidence in the link between climate change and a broad range of threats to public health, while recognizing populations of concern and identifying emerging issues. These considerations provide the context for understanding Americans’ changing health risks and allow us to identify, project, and respond to future climate change health threats. The overall findings underscore the significance of the growing risk climate change poses to human health in the United States.

Reference: USGCRP, 2016: The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment. Crimmins, A., J. Balbus, J.L. Gamble, C.B. Beard, J.E. Bell, D. Dodgen, R.J. Eisen, N. Fann, M.D. Hawkins, S.C. Herring, L. Jantarasami, D.M. Mills, S. Saha, M.C. Sarofim, J. Trtanj, and L. Ziska, Eds. U.S. Global Change Research Program, Washington, DC, 312 pp. 

Links: http://dx.doi.org/10.7930/J0R49NQX;  https://health2016.globalchange.gov/

Chapter 4: Extreme Events

Some regions of the United States have already experienced costly impacts—in terms of both lives lost and economic damages—from observed changes in the frequency, intensity, or duration of certain extreme events. Climate change projections show that there will be continuing increases in the occurrence and severity of some extreme events by the end of the century, while for other extremes the links to climate change are more uncertain. Climate change will increase exposure risk to coastal flooding due to increases in extreme precipitation and in hurricane intensity and rainfall rates, as well as sea level rise and the resulting increases in storm surge.

Four categories of extreme events with important health impacts in the United States are addressed in this chapter: 1) flooding related to extreme precipitation, hurricanes, and coastal storms, 2) droughts, 3) wildfires, and 4) winter storms and severe thunderstorms. For each event type, the chapter integrates discussion of populations of concern that have greater vulnerability to adverse health outcomes.

Link: https://health2016.globalchange.gov/extreme-events#table-111

State of the Climate in 2014

Resource type: Report

Description: [From the webpage] "An international, peer-reviewed publication released each summer, the "State of the Climate" is the authoritative annual summary of the global climate published as a supplement to the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. The report, compiled by NOAA’s Center for Weather and Climate at the National Centers for Environmental Information is based on contributions from 413 scientists from 58 countries around the world. It provides a detailed update on global climate indicators, notable weather events, and other data collected by environmental monitoring stations and instruments located on land, water, ice, and in space."

"An overview of findings is presented in the Abstract and Introduction. Chapter 2 features global-scale climate variables; Chapter 3 highlights the global oceans; and Chapter 4 includes tropical climate phenomena including tropical cyclones. The Arctic and Antarctic respond differently through time and are reported in separate chapters (5 and 6, respectively). Chapter 7 provides a regional perspective authored largely by local government climate specialists. Sidebars included in each chapter are intended to provide background information on a significant climate event from 2014, a developing technology, or emerging dataset germane to the chapter’s content. A list of relevant datasets and their sources for all chapters is provided as an Appendix."

Reference: State of the Climate in 2014 (2015). J. Blunden, and D. S. Arndt (eds.), Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 96(7): S1-S267.

Link: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/bams-state-of-the-climate/2014.php

Especially relevant chapter:

Chapter 7(b)(2) Regional Climates/North America/U.S.

Description: [Chapter overview] The average annual temperature for 2014 for the contiguous United States (CONUS) was 11.4°C, which is 0.1°C above the 1971–2000 average and among the warmest third of the historical distribution since records began in 1895. The annual CONUS temperature over the 120-year period of record has increased at an average rate of 0.07°C decade−1. The nationally averaged precipitation for 2014 was 784.1 mm, 4.8 mm below the 1971–2000 average, but among the wettest third of the historical record. The annual CONUS precipitation has increased at an average rate of 3.6 mm decade−1 since records began in 1895.

Authors: J. Crouch, R. R. Heim Jr., and C. Fenimore

Climate change indicators in the United States, 2014

Resource type: Report

Description: EPA publishes this report to communicate information about the science and impacts of climate change, assess trends in environmental quality, and inform de­cision-making. This report presents 30 indicators to help readers understand observed long-term trends related to the causes and effects of climate change, the significance of these changes, and their possible conse­quences for people, the environment, and society.This report consists of peer-reviewed, publicly available data from a number of government agencies, academic institutions, and other organizations. EPA also received feedback from scientists, researchers, and communications experts in nongov­ernmental and private sectors.The indicators are divided into six chapters: Greenhouse Gases, Weather and Cli­mate, Oceans, Snow and Ice, Health and Society, and Ecosystems.Each indicator features five elements:

  • One or more graphics depicting changes over time. Some indicators consist of a single metric, while others present multiple metrics (for example, the Drought indicator shows two different ways of calculating drought).
  • Key points about what the indicator shows.
  • Background on how the indicator relates to climate change.
  • Information about how the indicator was developed.
  • Important notes concerning interpretation of the indicator.

EPA has compiled an accompanying technical support documentcontaining more detailed information about each indicator, including data sources, data collection methods, calculations, statistical considerations, and sources of un­certainty. This document also describes EPA’s approach and criteria for selecting indicators for the report.

Reference: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2014). Climate change indicators in the United States, 2014.Third edition.EPA 430-R-14-004.

Link: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/pdfs/climateindicators-full-2014.pdf (full report)

Link: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/indicators (Technical report)

Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability Vol. 2: Global and Regional Aspects

Resource type: Report

Description: The objective of the contribution of Working Group II to the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability, is to consider the vulnerability and exposure of human and natural systems, the observed impacts and future risks of climate change, and the potential for and limits to adaptation. The chapters of the report assess risks and opportunities for societies, economies, and ecosystems around the world. The 30-chapter report is divided into two volumes. Volume II chapters provide assessments on regions.

Reference: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability (2014). Working Group II Contribution to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report.

Link: http://ipcc-wg2.gov/AR5/report/final-drafts/

Especially relevant sections:

Chapter 26: North America

Description: This chapter describes key findings on impacts, vulnerabilities, projections, and adaptation responses relevant to specific North American sectors: ecosystems, water, agriculture, human health, urban and rural settlements, infrastructure and the economy. It then goes on to highlight challenges and opportunities for adaptation, and future risks and adaptive capacity for three key climate-related risks.

Authors: Patricia Romero-Lankao and Joel B. Smith (coordinating lead authors); Debra Davidson, Noah Diffenbaugh, Patrick Kinney, Paul Kirshen, and Paul Kovacs, Lourdes Villers Ruiz (lead authors); William Anderegg, Jessie Carr, Anthony Cheng, Thea Dickinson, Ellen Douglas, Rob de Loë, Hallie Eakin, Daniel M. Gnatz, Mary Hayden, Maria Eugenia Ibarraran Viniegra, Elena Jiménez Cisneros, Michael D. Meyer, Amrutasri Nori-Sarma, Landy Sánchez Peña, Catherine Ngo, Greg Oulahen, Diana Pape, Ana Peña del Valle, Roger Pulwarty, Ashlinn Quinn, Daniel Runfola, Fabiola S. Sosa-Rodrigquez, Bradley H. Udall, Fiona Warren, Kate Weinberger, and Tom Wilbanks (contributing authors).

Link: http://ipcc-wg2.gov/AR5/images/uploads/WGIIAR5-Chap26_FGDall.pdf

Climate Change Impacts in the United States: Third U.S. National Climate Assessment

Resource type: Report

Description: This report assesses the science of climate change and its im­pacts across the United States, now and throughout this century. It integrates findings of the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) with the results of research and observations from across the U.S. and around the world, including reports from the U.S. National Research Council. This report documents climate change related impacts and responses for various sectors and regions, with the goal of better informing public and private de­cision-making at all levels. The report draws from a large body of scientific, peer-reviewed research, as well as a number of other publicly available sources. Case studies were also provided as illustrations of climate impacts and adaptation programs.

Also available is a Highlights report which presents the major findings and selected highlights from Climate Change Impacts in the United States, the third National Climate Assessment. The Highlights report is organized around the National Climate Assessment’s 12 Report Findings, which take an overarching view of the entire report and its 30 chapters. All material in the Highlights report is drawn from the full report. The Key Messages from each of the 30 report chapters appear in boxes throughout this document.

Additionally, an Overview booklet provides a high level compendium of Climate Change Impacts in the United States, the Third National Climate Assessment. The Overview covers the most important impacts at the national level but does not attempt to provide a comprehensive summary of the entire assessment. Numbered references can be found in the Highlights. To supplement this Overview, regional fact sheets are available that offer highlights from each of the eight regions.

Reference: Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment (2014). Jerry M. Melillo, Terese (T.C.) Richmond, and Gary W. Yohe (eds.), U.S. Global Change Research Program.

Link: http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/downloads  (full report)
http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/highlights (Highlights from report)
http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/highlights#section-5682 (Overview)

Especially relevant sections:

Section 2: Our Changing Climate

Description: This chapter summarizes how climate is changing, why it is changing, and what is projected for the future. While the focus is on changes in the United States, the need to provide context sometimes requires a broader geographical perspective. Additional geographic detail is presented in the regional chapters of this report.

Authors: J. Walsh and D. Wuebbles (convening lead authors); K. Hayhoe, J. Kossin, K. Kunkel, G. Stephens, P. Thorne, R. Vose, M. Wehner, J. Willis (lead authors); D. Anderson, S. Doney, R. Feely, P. Hennon, V. Kharin, T. Knutson, F. Landerer, T. Lenton, J. Kennedy, and R. Somerville (contributing authors).

Link: http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/report/our-changing-climate/introduction

Section 17: Southeast and Caribbean

Description: Key messages from this chapter include: (1) Sea level rise poses widespread and continuing threats to both natural and built environments and to the regional economy (2) increasing temperatures and the associated increase in frequency, intensity, and duration of extreme heat events will affect public health, natural and built environments, energy, agriculture, and forestry; and (3) decreased water availability, exacerbated by population growth and land-use change, will continue to increase competition for water and affect the region’s economy and unique ecosystems.

Authors: L. M. Carter,and J. W. Jones (convening lead authors); L. Berry, V. Burkett, J. F. Murley, J. Obeysekera, P. J. Schramm, and D. Wear (lead authors).

Link: http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/report/regions/southeast

State of the Climate in 2013

Resource type: Report

Description: An overview of findings is presented in the Ab­stract. Chapter 2 features global-scale climate variables; Chapter 3 highlights the global oceans; and Chapter 4 covers tropical climate phenomena including tropical cyclones. The Arctic and Antarctic respond differently through time and are reported in separate chapters (5 and 6, respec­tively). Chapter 7 provides a regional perspective authored largely by local government climate special­ists. Sidebars included in each chapter are intended to provide background information on a significant climate event from 2013, a developing technology, or emerging dataset germane to the chapter’s content. A list of relevant datasets and their sources for all chapters is provided as an Appendix.

Reference: State of the Climate in 2013 (2014). J. Blunden, and D. S. Arndt (eds.), Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 95(7): S1-S238.

Link: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/bams-state-of-the-climate/2014.php

Especially relevant chapter:

Chapter 7(b)(2) Regional Climates/North America/U.S.

Description: Highlights from the chapter include:

  • The annual average temperature in 2013 for the contiguous United States was 0.2°C above the long-term (1901–2000) average of 11.2°C, ranking 2013 as one of the 40 warmest years in the 119-year period of record.

  • Above-average annual temperatures occurred for the North­east, Florida, and parts of the West. Below-average temperatures were present across the Northern and Central Plains and parts of the Midwest and Southeast.

  • Locations east of the Rockies were wetter than average for 2013 on balance, while the West Coast was drier than average.

  • Tornado and wildfire activity during 2013 was below average.

Authors: L. A. Vincent, D. Phillips, and R. Whitewood

Oceans and Marine Resources in a Changing Climate: Technical Input to the 2013 National Climate Assessment

Resource type: Report

Description: This report provides a comprehensive look at the current understanding of the effects of climate change on the oceans and marine ecosystems under U.S. jurisdiction. It reviews how climate variability is affecting the physical, chemical, and biological conditions of ocean ecosystems, and how these changes are already having societal impacts by affecting fisheries and other valuable ocean products and services. The report also synthesizes information on projected climate-driven changes in U.S. ocean ecosystems over the next 25 to 100 years.

Reference: Oceans and Marine Resources in a Changing Climate: Technical Input to the 2013 National Climate Assessment (2013). Roger Griffis and Jennifer Howard. Submitted to the National Climate Assessment Development Advisory Committee. Washington D.C.: Island Press.

Link: http://downloads.usgcrp.gov/NCA/technicalinputreports/Griffis_Howard_Ocean_Marine_Resources.pdf

Especially relevant sections:

Section2: Climate-Driven Physical Changes in Marine Ecosystems

Description: This section includes discussions of the following topics: the warming of the Earth’s oceans as a result of increasing concentrations of atmospheric CO2 and other greenhouse gases; the decrease of Arctic ice since the second half of the 20th century as a result of warming atmospheric temperatures; the important role oceans play in climate regulation through the uptake and sequestration of anthropogenic CO2; how oceans absorption of CO2, causes a series of chemical reactions that reduce ocean pH (i.e., ocean acidification); how ocean temperature and precipitation/evaporation rates directly influence the Earth’s weather and precipitation patterns such that storm intensity will likely increase but have no effect on or decrease storm frequency; and how climate change will likely influence important ocean features such as currents, upwellings, and basin-scale circulation.

Authors: Jennifer Howard (lead author), Carol Auer, Russ Beard, Nicholas Bond, Tim Boyer, David Brown, Kathy Crane, Scott Cross, Bob Diaz, Libby Jewett, Rick Lumpkin, J. Ru Morrison, James O’Donnell, James Overland, Rost Parsons, Neal Petigrew, Emily Pidgeon, Josie Quintrell, Jeffrey Runge, Uew Send, Diane Stanitski, and Yan Xue.  

Section 3: Impacts of Climate Change on Marine Organisms

Description: This section includes discussions of the following topics: throughout U.S. ocean ecosystems, climate change impacts are being observed that are highly likely to continue into the future; the variation in vulnerability and responses of marine organisms to climate change, leading to species that are positively and negatively impacted; how climate changes interact with and can exacerbate the impacts on ocean ecosystems of non-climatic stressors such as pollution, overharvesting, disease and invasive species; and while past and current responses of ocean organisms to climate variability and change are informative, extrapolations to future responses must be made with caution given that future environmental conditions are likely to be unprecedented.

Authors: Brian Helmuth and Laura Petes (lead authors), Eleanora Babij, Emett Duffy, Deborah Fouquier, Michael Graham, Anne Holowed, Jennifer Howard, David Hutchins, Libby Jewett, Nancy Knowlton, Trond Kristiansen, Teri Rowles, Eric Sanford, Carol Thornber, and Cara Wilson.

Section 4: Impacts of Climate Change on Human Uses of the Ocean

Description: This section includes discussions of the following topics: the observed and predicted significant effects of climate change on all sectors pertaining to human uses of the ocean, including but not limited to fisheries, energy, transportation, security, human health, tourism, and maritime governance; how, as a result of climate change, governance regimes for ocean environments and resources, as well as human health, will be challenged, and will likely have to change significantly in character and configuration; how ocean “health,” both in terms of the functioning of biophysical ocean ecosystems and the factors related to oceans and human health will likely be affected by climate change; and how the impacts of climate change on human social and economic systems provide critical insight into societal responses and adaptation options.

Authors: Amber Himes-Cornell and Mike Orback (lead authors), Stewart Allen, Guillermo Auad, Mary Boatman, Trish Clay, Mike Dalton, Sam Herrick, Dawn Kotowicz, Peter Little, Cary Lopez, Phil Loring, Paul Niemeier, Karma Norman, Lisa Pfeiffer, Mark Plummer, Michael Rust, Merrill Singer, and Cameron Speirs.

Climate Vulnerabilities of Loblolly Pine, Part 1: Temperature

Resource type: Blog post

Description: Loblolly pine is the most commercially important tree species in the Southeast U.S. Constant and irregularly warm temperatures caused by climate change will likely force foresters to reevaluate their current management strategies. GIS techniques are evaluating current USDA plant hardiness zones and assessing how they may shift in the future. The result is a northward migration of each zone. This means plantation owners might have to source seedlings from further away to plant on their property. Early to mid-rotation plantations may also see stress from soil degradation due to higher temperatures, as well as decreased water availability and increased pressure from forest insect pests and invasive plants. Decreased water availability may cause soils to become more compacted and more likely to runoff.

Reference: John Hastings (2016) Climate Vulnerabilities of Loblolly Pine, Part 1: Temperature. Southeast Regional Climate Hub (January 5, 2016)

Link: https://globalchange.ncsu.edu/serch/climate-vulnerabilities-of-loblolly-pine-part-i-temperature/

Climate Vulnerabilities of Loblolly Pine, Part 2: Precipitation

Resource type: Blog post

Description: Rainfall patterns now and in the future are of critical importance to tree plantation landowners. The author’s research looks at twenty global climate models and analyzes what they say about future rainfall patterns based on two different greenhouse gas concentration trajectories. The results back the consensus view that rainfall and storms will become less frequent but more intense. This means that rainfall values are projected to become more spread out from their annual average values across the native loblolly pine states. More intense but less frequent rainfall will likely bring on prolonged drought in some areas further stressing soils to degrade, compact, and runoff as well as increasing pressure from forest pests and invasive plants.

Reference: John Hastings (2016) Climate Vulnerabilities of Loblolly Pine, Part 2: Precipitation. Southeast Regional Climate Hub (February 2, 2016)

Link: https://globalchange.ncsu.edu/serch/climate-vulnerabilities-of-loblolly-pine-part-ii-precipitation/

Climate Change and the U.S. Energy Sector: Regional Energy Sector Vulnerabilities and Resilience Solutions

Resource type: Report

Description: This report examines the current and potential future impacts of climate change and extreme weather on the U.S. energy sector at the regional level. It provides illustrative examples of climate resilience actions that have been taken, and identifies potential opportunities and challenges to develop and deploy climate-resilient energy technologies.

Reference: Climate Change and the U.S. Energy Sector: Regional Vulnerabilities and Resilience Solutions (2015). U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis.

Link to full report: http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2015/10/f27/Regional_Climate_Vulnerabilities_and_Resilience_Solutions_0.pdf

Link to Southeast Fact Sheet: http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2015/10/f27/Southeast.pdf

Climate Change Evidence All Around

Resource type: Online news article

Description: A workshop on climate change’s effects on coastal habitats organized by the N.C. Coastal Federation found that there is strong evidence that climate change is having an impact on North Carolina. The focus of a coinciding boat trip that included scientists, TV weathermen and journalists was to see some of the more effective means being used to combat the effects of rising sea level and other impacts of climate change on the state’s coast.

Reference: Brad Rich (2015). Climate Change Evidence All Around. Coastal Review Online (November 15, 2015).

Link: http://www.coastalreview.org/2015/10/11237/

Joint projections of US East Coast sea level and storm surge

Resource type: Research article

Description: [Abstract] Future coastal flood risk will be strongly influenced by sea-level rise (SLR) and changes in the frequency and intensity of tropical cyclones. These two factors are generally considered independently. Here, we assess twenty-first century changes in the coastal hazard for the US East Coast using a flood index (FI) that accounts for changes in flood duration and magnitude driven by SLR and changes in power dissipation index (PDI, an integrated measure of tropical cyclone intensity, frequency and duration). Sea-level rise and PDI are derived from representative concentration pathway (RCP) simulations of 15 atmosphere–ocean general circulation models (AOGCMs). By 2080–2099, projected changes in the FI relative to 1986–2005 are substantial and positively skewed: a 10th–90th percentile range 4–75 times higher for RCP 2.6 and 35–350 times higher for RCP 8.5. High-end FI projections are driven by three AOGCMs that project the largest increases in SLR, PDI and upper ocean temperatures. Changes in PDI are particularly influential if their intra-model correlation with SLR is included, increasing the RCP 8.5 90th percentile FI by a further 25%. Sea-level rise from other, possibly correlated, climate processes (for example, ice sheet and glacier mass changes) will further increase coastal flood risk and should be accounted for in comprehensive assessments.

Reference: Joint projections of US East Coast sea level and storm surge (2015). Christopher M. Little,  Radley M. Horton, Robert E. Kopp, Michael Oppenheimer, Gabriel A. Vecchi, and Gabriele Villarini.  Nature Climate Change 5:1114–1120 (2015) doi:10.1038/nclimate2801

Link: http://phys.org/news/2015-09-one-two-seas-bigger-storms-greatly.html

"Gray Swan" Hurricanes Pose Future Storm Surge Threat

Resource type: Online article

Description: “Black swans are catastrophic events that no one sees coming, while “grey swans,” as they are known, are extreme events for which there’s no historical precedent, but that could still potentially be predicted. A new study takes this concept into the realm of weather and climate, finding that global warming might sharply increase the odds of grey swan hurricanes and storm surge over the coming century. While such tempests would still remain relatively rare, they could pose unrecognized but potentially serious threats to coastal areas like Tampa, Fla., and Dubai, with storm surge totals reaching into the double digits when measured in feet.”

Reference: “Gray Swan” Hurricanes Pose Future Storm Surge Threat (2015) Andrea Thompson. Climate Central.org, September 1, 2015

Link: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/gray-swan-hurricanes-pose-future-storm-surge-threat/

U.S. Daily Temperature Anomalies: 1964-2013

Resource type: Website

Description: The proportion of days in the United States that are warmer than the long-term average increased from 42 percent in 1964 to 67 percent today, according to an analysis of 3.2 million temperature anomalies over the last 50 years. Enigma.io, a New York City-based company that specializes in searches of information from public databases, examined data from 2,716 U.S. weather stations to track the temperature anomalies. The company found that since 1964, temperature anomalies characterized as warm or “strong warm” have increased by an average of 0.5 percent a year. Enigma’s data show, for example, that in 2012, 84 percent of temperature anomalies in the U.S. skewed on the warm side. The company forecast that by the 2030s more than 70 percent of anomalous temperatures in the U.S. are likely to be higher than the historical average, rather than colder.

Link: http://labs.enigma.io/climate-change-map/

The Impacts of Climate Change on Ecosystem Structure and Function

Resource type: Research article

Description: (Abstract) Recent climate-change research largely confirms the impacts on U.S. ecosystems identified in the 2009 National Climate Assessment and provides greater mechanistic understanding and geographic specificity for those impacts. Pervasive climate-change impacts on ecosystems are those that affect productivity of ecosystems or their ability to process chemical elements. Loss of sea ice, rapid warming, and higher organic inputs affect marine and lake productivity, while combined impacts of wildfire and insect outbreaks decrease forest productivity, mostly in the arid and semi-arid West. Forests in wetter regions are more productive owing to warming. Shifts in species ranges are so extensive that by 2100 they may alter biome composition across 5–20% of U.S. land area. Accelerated losses of nutrients from terrestrial ecosystems to receiving waters are caused by both winter warming and intensification of the hydrologic cycle. Ecosystem feedbacks, especially those associated with release of CO2 and methane release from wetlands and thawing permafrost soils, magnify the rate of climate change.

Reference: The impacts of climate change on ecosystem structure and function (2013). Nancy B. Grimm, F. Stuart Chapin III, Britta Bierwagen, Patrick Gonzalez, Peter M. Groffman, Yiqi Luo, Forrest Melton, Knute Nadelhoffer, Amber Pairis, Peter A. Raymond, Josh Schimel, and Craig E. Williamson. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 11(9):474–482.

Link: http://www.esajournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1890/120282

Climate Change’s Impact on Key Ecosystem Services and the Human Well-Being They Support in the U.S.

Resource type: Research article

Description: (Abstract) Climate change alters the functions of ecological systems. As a result, the provision of ecosystem services and the well-being of people that rely on these services are being modified. Climate models portend continued warming and more frequent extreme weather events across the U.S. Such weather-related disturbances will place a premium on the ecosystem services that people rely on. The authors discuss some of the observed and anticipated impacts of climate change on ecosystem service provision and livelihoods in the U.S. They also highlight promising adaptive measures. The challenge will be choosing which adaptive strategies to implement, given limited resources and time. The authors suggest using dynamic balance sheets or accounts of natural capital and natural assets to prioritize and evaluate national and regional adaptation strategies that involve ecosystem services.

Reference: Climate change’s impact on key ecosystem services and the human well-being they support in the U.S. (2013). Erik J. Nelson, Peter Kareiva, Mary Ruckelshaus, Katie Arkema, Gary Geller, Evan Girvetz, Dave Goodrich, Virginia Matzek, Malin Pinsky, Walt Reid, Martin Saunders, Darius Semmens, and Heather Tallis. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 11(9):483–493.

Link: http://www.esajournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1890/120312

Biodiversity in a changing climate: a synthesis of current and projected trends in the U.S.

Resource type: Research article

Description: (Abstract) This paper provides a synthesis of the recent literature describing how global biodiversity is being affected by climate change and is projected to respond in the future. Current studies reinforce earlier findings of major climate-change-related impacts on biological systems and document new, more subtle after-effects. Although genetic diversity enhances species’ potential to respond to variable conditions, climate change may outpace intrinsic adaptive capacities and increase the relative vulnerabilities of many organisms. Developing effective adaptation strategies for biodiversity conservation will not only require flexible decision-making and management approaches that account for uncertainties in climate projections and ecological responses but will also necessitate coordinated monitoring efforts.

Reference: Biodiversity in a changing climate: a synthesis of current and projected trends in the U.S. (2013). Michelle D. Staudinger, Shawn L. Carter, Molly S. Cross, Natalie S. Dubois, J. Emmett Duffy, Carolyn Enquist, Roger Griffis, Jessica J. Hellmann, Joshua J. Lawler, John O’Leary, Scott A. Morrison, Lesley Sneddon, Bruce A. Stein, Laura M. Thompson, and Woody Turner. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 11(9):465–473.

Link: http://www.esajournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1890/120272

Global Climate Change Impacts in the U.S.

Resource type: Report

Description: This authoritative scientific report, written in plain language, summarizes the science of climate change and the impacts of current and future climate change on the United States. It is largely based on results of the U.S. Global Change Research Program, and integrates those results with related research from around the world. This report discusses climate-related impacts for various societal and environmental sectors and regions across the nation with the goal of better informing public and private decision making at all levels.

Reference: Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States (2009). Thomas R. Karl, Jerry M. Melillo, and Thomas C. Peterson, (eds.). Cambridge University Press.

Link: http://downloads.globalchange.gov/usimpacts/pdfs/climate-impacts-report.pdf

Regional Climate Trends and Scenarios for the U.S. National Climate Assessment - Part 9. Climate of the Contiguous United States

Resource type: Report

Description: This report contains two main sections: one on historical conditions and trends, and the other on future conditions as simulated by climate models. The historical section concentrates on temperature and precipitation, primarily based on analyses of data from the National Weather Service’s Cooperative Observer Network, which has been in operation since the late 19th century. Additional climate features are discussed based on the availability of information. The future simulations section is exclusively focused on temperature and precipitation. This document also provides an overall description of information for climate and sea-level change, changes in other environmental factors (such as land cover), and changes in socioeconomic conditions (such as population growth and migration).

Reference: Regional Climate Trends and Scenarios for the U.S. National Climate Assessment. Part 9. Climate of the Contiguous United States (2013). K.E. Kunkel, L.E. Stevens, S.E. Stevens, L. Sun, E. Janssen, D. Wuebbles, and J.G. Dobson, NOAA Technical Report NESDIS 142-9.

Link: http://scenarios.globalchange.gov/sites/default/files/NOAA_NESDIS_Tech_Report_142-9-Climate_of_the_Contiguous_United_States_3.pdf

Southeast

 

Regional Climate Trends and Scenarios for the U.S. National Climate Assessment - Part 2. Climate of the Southeast U.S.

Resource type: Report

Description: This report provides climate information relevant to the states of Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. It has two main sections: one on historical conditions and trends, and the other on future conditions as simulated by climate models. The historical section concentrates on temperature and precipitation, primarily based on analyses of data from the National Weather Service’s Cooperative Observer Network, which has been in operation since the late 19th century. Additional climate features are discussed based on the availability of information. The future simulations section is exclusively focused on temperature and precipitation. This document also provides an overall description of information for climate, sea-level change, changes in other environmental factors (such as land cover), and changes in socioeconomic conditions (such as population growth and migration).

Reference: Regional Climate Trends and Scenarios for the U.S. National Climate Assessment. Part 2. Climate of the Southeast U.S. (2013). K.E. Kunkel, L.E. Stevens, S.E. Stevens, L. Sun, E. Janssen, D. Wuebbles, C.E. Konrad II, C.M. Fuhrman, B.D. Keim, M.C. Kruk, A. Billet, H. Needham, M. Schafer, and J.G. Dobson. NOAA Technical Report NESDIS 142-2.

Link: http://scenarios.globalchange.gov/sites/default/files/NOAA_NESDIS_Tech_Report_142-2-Climate_of_the_Southeast_U.S_0.pdf

Climate of the Southeast United States: Variability, Change, Impacts, and Vulnerability

Resource type: Book

Description: This book is part of a series of technical inputs to the Third National Climate Assessment (NCA) report. It is divided into three sections: (1) the climate of the Southeast, which has one chapter that reviews the historic climate, current climate, and projected future climate of the region; (2) climate interactions with important sectors of the Southeast, which includes nine chapters loosely organized from most to least anthropocentric; and (3) cross-sectorial issues, namely climate change mitigation, adaptation, and education and outreach.

Reference: Climate of the Southeast United States: Variability, Change, Impacts, and Vulnerability (2013). K. Ingram, K. Dow, L. Carter, and J. Anderson (eds). Washington D.C.: Island Press.

Link: http://cakex.org/sites/default/files/documents/Climate%20of%20the%20Southeast%20United%20States.pdf

Especially relevant chapters:

Chapter 2: Climate of the Southeast USA: Past, Present, and Future

Description: This chapter describes the climate of the Southeast, including past, present, and future conditions. In addition, it provides a historical perspective on extreme events and context for assessing future impacts of climate change.

Authors: Charles E. Konrad II and Christopher M. Fuhrmann (lead authors), Amanda Billiot, Barry D. Keim, Michael C. Kruk; Kenneth E. Kunkel, Hal Needham, Mark Shafer, and  Laura Stevens.

Chapter 11: The Effects of Climate Change on Natural Ecosystems of the Southeast USA

Description: This chapter examines ecosystems of the Southeast that are either aquatic or experience soil water saturation and flooding on a regular, annual basis. The chapter broadly covers the impacts of key elements of climate change in the Southeast, including temperature, precipitation, storms, and ocean acidification.

Authors: Charles S. Hopkinson, Alan P. Covich, Christopher B. Craft, Kristine DeLong, Thomas W. Doyle, Neal Flanagan, Mary C. Freeman, Ellen R. Herbert, Andrew Mehring, Jacqueline E. Mohan, Catherine M. Pringle, and Curtis J. Richardson.

Georgia

 

Climate change vulnerability assessment in Georgia

Resource type: Research article

Description: [Abstract] Climate change is occurring in the Southeastern United States, and one manifestation is changes in frequency and intensity of extreme events. A vulnerability assessment is performed in the state of Georgia (United States) at the county level from 1975 to 2012 in decadal increments. Climate change vulnerability is typically measured as a function of exposure to physical phenomena (e.g., droughts, floods), sensitivity to factors affecting the social milieu, and the capacity of a given unit to adapt to changing physical conditions. The paper builds on previous assessments and offers a unique approach to vulnerability analyses by combining climatic, social, land cover, and hydrological components together into a unified vulnerability assessment, which captures both long-term and hydroclimatic events. Climate change vulnerability indices are derived for the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s. Climate change exposure is measured as: 1) departure of decadal mean temperature and precipitation from baseline temperature and precipitation (1971–2000) using the United States Historical Climatology Network version 2.5 and 2) extreme hydroclimatic hazards indicated by flood, heat wave and drought events. Sensitivity and adaptive capacity are measured by well-established conceptualizations and methods built derived from socioeconomic variables. Impervious surface and flood susceptibility area are also incorporated to account for place-based vulnerability.

Anomalies in temperature and precipitation with an overall trend towards drying and warming have been observed. The anomalous cooling period in Georgia during the 1970–1980 period as well as the post-1980 warm-up have been captured with a clearly established increase in extreme hydroclimatic events in recent decades. Climate vulnerability is highest in some metropolitan Atlanta and coastal counties. However, the southwestern region of Georgia, and part of the rural Black belt region are found to be especially vulnerable to climate change.

Reference: K.C. Binita, J. Marshall Shepherd, and Cassandra Johnson Gaither. 2015. Climate change vulnerability assessment in Georgia. Applied Geography 62(August): 62-74.

Link: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0143622815000909

Shore Protection: Georgia

Resource type: Book chapter

Description: This chapter examines the likelihood that Georgia coastal lands will be protected from rising sea level by characterizing the probable response of residents and state and local governments. This study develops maps that distinguish the areas likely to be protected from erosion and inundation as the sea rises, from those areas that are likely to be left to retreat naturally. Accompanying maps analyze state and local coastal management and development patterns to the extent that they are foreseeable. The maps are meant to define the initial response to sea level rise over the next several decades. Those judgments incorporate state policies and regulations, local concerns, land use data and general planning.  

Reference: Georgia (2010). T. Concannon, M. Hussain, D. Hudgens, and J.G. Titus. In: The Likelihood of Shore Protection along the Atlantic Coast of the United States. Volume 2: New England and the Southeast. James G. Titus, Daniel L Trescott, and Daniel E. Hudgens (eds). Report to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Washington, D.C.

Link: http://risingsea.net/ERL/shore-protection-retreat-sea-level-rise-Georgia.pdf

Coastal Impacts of Climate Change

 

Climate Change and the U.S. Energy Sector: Regional Vulnerabilities and Resilience Solutions

Resource type: Report

Description: [From Preface] This report builds upon the 2013 report, U.S. Energy Sector Vulnerabilities to Climate Change and Extreme Weather, by examining energy sector vulnerabilities to climate impacts at the regional level. To improve understanding of the vulnerabilities in each region, this document reviews the composition, operation, and management of regional energy systems—including regional energy resources, private and public infrastructure, imports and exports, and energy consumption patterns. It also examines regional energy planning efforts, state and local regulations, and measures taken by energy sector owners and operators to enhance climate resilience.

This report is intended as a resource for private entities, institutions, governments, and other decision makers in need of regional and localized information and insights to assist in assessing risks and developing effective resilience strategies for energy systems vulnerable to climate impacts. The aim is to provide decision makers with a base of regional information that they can use to (1) further explore what the projected changes in climate might mean for their specific energy assets and (2) evaluate a range of strategies for effectively increasing local, regional, and national energy system resilience to climate change.

Reference: Climate Change and the U.S. Energy Sector: Regional Vulnerabilities and Resilience Solutions (2015). U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis.

Link: http://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2015/10/f27/Regional_Climate_Vulnerabilities_and_Resilience_Solutions_0.pdf

Especially relevant chapter:

Chapter 8: Southeast

Description: [From Executive Summary] The Southeast, especially the northern Gulf Coast, hosts a large amount of energy infrastructure in low-lying coastal plains that are vulnerable to increases in flooding. High winds, coastal erosion, flooding, and large waves from hurricanes and sea level rise-enhanced storm surge threaten oil and gas production, ports, pipelines, refineries, and storage facilities, as well as electricity. Higher temperatures and more frequent, severe, and longer-lasting heat waves are also projected for the Southeast, potentially increasing peak electricity demand for cooling while reducing the capacity of the thermoelectric generation and transmission systems needed to meet the increased demand.

Evaluation of Erosion Hazards

Resource type: Report

Description: The goal of this study is to improve understanding of the impacts of erosion and erosion-related flooding on the National Federal Insurance Program (NFIP), other federal programs, and coastal communities. The report analyzes the economic impacts of erosion, presents a range of policy options, and evaluates the effectiveness of each option in reducing erosion losses, and also describes the nature of the coastal erosion hazard by region, the costs of erosion today and in the future, current federal and state policies in eroding areas, and a series of possible changes to the NFIP to better incorporate coastal erosion into the existing flood insurance program.

Reference: Evaluation of Erosion Hazards (2000). The H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environment, prepared for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Link: http://www.fema.gov/pdf/library/erosion.pdf

In Much of U.S., Extreme Cold is Becoming More Rare

Resource type: Online article

Description: Climate Central calculated the number of nights below a specific temperature threshold for dozens of U.S. cities based on the local climatology and current weather conditions. The calculations encompass the entire winter season, and show that overall there is a downward trend in the number of extreme cold nights, although there are variations in a few cities. This trend is consistent with climate studies showing that overall, winters across the contiguous U.S. have warmed by 0.61°F per decade since 1970, and every region has warmed at least somewhat over that time.

Reference: In Much of U.S., Extreme Cold is Becoming More Rare (2014). Andrew Freedman. Climate Central website (January 7, 2014).

Link: http://www.climatecentral.org/news/extreme-cold-events-in-a-climate-context16931%3Futm_source%3Dfeedburner%26utm_medium%3Dfeed%26utm_campaign%3DFeed%253A%2Bclimatecentral%252FdjOO%2BClimate%2BCentral%2B-%2BFull%2BFeed

Climate Change Impacts in the United States: Third U.S. National Climate Assessment

Resource type: Report

Description: This report assesses the science of climate change and its im­pacts across the United States, now and throughout this century. It integrates findings of the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) with the results of research and observations from across the U.S. and around the world, including reports from the U.S. National Research Council. This report documents climate change related impacts and responses for various sectors and regions, with the goal of better informing public and private de­cision-making at all levels. The report draws from a large body of scientific, peer-reviewed research, as well as a number of other publicly available sources. Case studies were also provided as illustrations of climate impacts and adaptation programs.

Also available is a Highlights report which presents the major findings and selected highlights from Climate Change Impacts in the United States, the third National Climate Assessment. The Highlights report is organized around the National Climate Assessment’s 12 Report Findings, which take an overarching view of the entire report and its 30 chapters. All material in the Highlights report is drawn from the full report. The Key Messages from each of the 30 report chapters appear in boxes throughout this document.

Additionally, an Overview booklet provides a high level compendium of Climate Change Impacts in the United States, the Third National Climate Assessment. The Overview covers the most important impacts at the national level but does not attempt to provide a comprehensive summary of the entire assessment. Numbered references can be found in the Highlights. To supplement this Overview, regional fact sheets are available that offer highlights from each of the eight regions.

Reference: Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment (2014). Jerry M. Melillo, Terese (T.C.) Richmond, and Gary W. Yohe (eds.), U.S. Global Change Research Program.

Link: http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/downloads  (full report)
    http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/highlights (Highlights from report)
    http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/highlights#section-5682 (Overview)

Especially relevant sections

Section 5: Transportation

Description: Key messages from this section include: (1) the impacts from sea level rise and storm surge, extreme weather events, higher temperatures and heat waves, precipitation changes, Arctic warming, and other climatic conditions are affecting the reliability and capacity of the U.S. transportation system in many ways; (2) sea level rise, coupled with storm surge, will continue to increase the risk of major coastal impacts on transportation infrastructure, including both temporary and permanent flooding of airports, ports and harbors, roads, rail lines, tunnels, and bridges; (3) extreme weather events currently disrupt transportation networks in all areas of the country; projections indicate that such disruptions will increase; and (4) climate change impacts will increase the total costs to the nation’s transportation systems and their users, but these impacts can be reduced through rerouting, mode change, and a wide range of adaptive actions.

Authors: H.G. Schwartz and M. Meyer (convening lead authors); C. J. Burbank, M. Kuby, C. Oster, J. Posey, E. J. Russo, and A. Rypinski (lead authors).

Link: http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/report/sectors/transportation

Section 8: Ecosystems

Description: Key messages from this section include: (1) climate change impacts on ecosystems reduce their ability to improve water quality and regulate water flows; (2) climate change, combined with other stressors, is overwhelming the capacity of ecosystems to buffer the impacts from extreme events like fires, floods, and storms; (3) landscapes and seascapes are changing rapidly, and species, including many iconic species, may disappear from regions where they have been prevalent or become extinct, altering some regions so much that their mix of plant and animal life will become almost unrecognizable; (4) timing of critical biological events, such as spring bud burst, emergence from overwintering, and the start of migrations, has shifted, leading to important impacts on species and habitats; and (5) whole system management is often more effective than focusing on one species at a time, and can help reduce the harm to wildlife, natural assets, and human well-being that climate disruption might cause.

Authors: P.M. Groffman and P. Kareiva (convening authors); S. Carter, N. B. Grimm, J. Lawler, M. Mack, V. Matzek, and H. Tallis (lead authors).

Link: http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/report/sectors/ecosystems

Section 24: Oceans and Marine Resources

Description: Key messages from this section include: (1) the rise in ocean temperature over the last century will persist into the future, with continued large impacts on climate, ocean circulation, chemistry, and ecosystems; (2) the ocean currently absorbs about a quarter of human-caused carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere, leading to ocean acidification that will alter marine ecosystems in dramatic yet uncertain ways; (3) significant habitat loss will continue to occur due to climate change for many species and areas, including Arctic and coral reef ecosystems, while habitat in other areas and for other species will expand. These changes will consequently alter the distribution, abundance, and productivity of many marine species; (4) rising sea surface temperatures have been linked with increasing levels and ranges of diseases in humans and marine life, including corals, abalones, oysters, fishes, and marine mammals; (5) climate changes that result in conditions substantially different from recent history may significantly increase costs to businesses as well as disrupt public access and enjoyment of ocean areas; and (6) in response to observed and projected climate impacts, some existing ocean policies, practices, and management efforts are incorporating climate change impacts. These initiatives can serve as models for other efforts and ultimately enable people and communities to adapt to changing ocean conditions.

Authors: S. Doney and A. A. Rosenberg (convening lead authors) M. Alexander, F. Chavez, C. D. Harvell, G. Hofmann, M. Orbach, and M. Ruckelshaus (lead authors).

Link: http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/report/regions/oceans

Section 25: Coasts

Description: Key messages from this section include: (1) coastal lifelines, such as water supply and energy infrastructure and evacuation routes, are increasingly vulnerable to higher sea levels and storm surges, inland flooding, erosion, and other climate-related changes; (2) nationally important assets, such as ports, tourism and fishing sites, in already-vulnerable coastal locations, are increasingly exposed to sea level rise and related hazards. This threatens to disrupt economic activity within coastal areas and the regions they serve and results in significant costs from protecting or moving these assets; (3) socioeconomic disparities create uneven exposures and sensitivities to growing coastal risks and limit adaptation options for some coastal communities, resulting in the displacement of the most vulnerable people from coastal areas; (4) coastal ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to climate change because many have already been dramatically altered by human stresses; climate change will result in further reduction or loss of the services that these ecosystems provide, including potentially irreversible impacts; and (5) Leaders and residents of coastal regions are increasingly aware of the high vulnerability of coasts to climate change and are developing plans to prepare for potential impacts on citizens, businesses, and environmental assets. Significant institutional, political, social, and economic obstacles to implementing adaptation actions remain.

Authors: S. C. Moser and M. A. Davidson (convening lead authors); P. Kirshen, P. Mulvaney, J. F. Murley, J. E. Neumann, L. Petes, and D. Reed (lead authors).

Link: http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/report/regions/coasts

Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability Vol. 1: Global and Sectoral Aspects

Resource type: Report

Description: The objective of the contribution of Working Group II to the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability, is to consider the vulnerability and exposure of human and natural systems, the observed impacts and future risks of climate change, and the potential for and limits to adaptation. The chapters of the report assess risks and opportunities for societies, economies, and ecosystems around the world. The 30-chapter report is divided into two volumes. Volume I focuses on global and sectoral aspects. It introduces the report with chapters that provide the context for the AR5, followed by those on natural and managed resources and systems; human settlements, industry, and infrastructure; and human health, well-being, and security. Volume I has a set of four chapters on adaptation. The final three chapters in Volume I synthesize information from chapters in Volume I and II to provide multi-sector impacts, risks, vulnerabilities, and opportunities.

Reference: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability (2014). Working Group II Contribution to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report.

Link: http://ipcc-wg2.gov/AR5/report/final-drafts/

Especially relevant chapters:

Chapter 5: Coastal systems and low-lying areas

Description: This chapter presents an updated picture of the impacts, vulnerability and adaptation of coastal systems and low-lying areas to climate change, with sea level rise perceived as most important risk for the human systems. This chapter comprises six sections with this first section dealing with progress in knowledge from the Fourth Assessment Review to the Fifth Assessment Review, scope of chapter and new developments. Section 2 defines the coastal systems and climate and non-climate drivers. The coastal systems include both natural systems and human systems and this division is generally followed throughout the chapter. The climate and non-climate drivers are assessed in section 3, followed by the impacts, vulnerabilities and risks in section 4. Section 5 deals with adaptation and managing risks. Information gaps, data gaps and research needs are assessed in section 6. This chapter also provides advances in both vulnerability assessments and the identification of potential adaptation actions, costs, benefits and tradeoffs.

Authors: Poh Poh Wong and Iñigo J. Losada (Coordinating Lead Authors); Jean-Pierre Gattuso, Jochen Hinkel, Abdellatif Khattabi, Kathleen McInnes, Yoshiki Saito, Asbury Sallenger (Lead authors); So-Min Cheong , Kirstin Dow, Carlos M. Duarte, Kristie L. Ebi, Lucy Faulkner, Masahiko Isobe, Jack Middelburg, Susanne Moser, Mark Pelling, Edmund Penning-Rowsell, Sybil Seitzinger, Marcel Stive, Richard S.J. Tol, Athanasios Vafeidis (Contributing Authors).

Link: http://ipcc-wg2.gov/AR5/images/uploads/WGIIAR5-Chap5_FGDall.pdf

Chapter 6: Ocean systems

Description: The present chapter focuses on the general principles and processes characterizing climate change impacts on ocean systems and on the uses of these systems by human societies. For projections of responses to climate change, the chapter also assesses our understanding of underlying functional mechanisms causing change across all levels of biological organization, from molecules to organisms to ecosystems. We discuss the changes and variability in the ocean’s principal physical and chemical properties and assess knowledge drawn from paleo-and historical to present observations. We develop a conceptual framework for analyzing effects on organisms and ecosystems and assess present knowledge derived from experiments, field studies, and numerical model projections mostly using Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP) of climate change scenarios to provide trajectories of climate change drivers. Finally, we assess the implications of such changes for ecosystem services, and identify plausible socioeconomic consequences.

Authors: Hans-O. Pörtner and David Kar (Coordinating Lead Authors); Philip W. Boyd , William Cheung, Salvador E. Lluch-Cota, Yukihiro  Nojiri, Daniela Schmidt, Peter Zavialov (lead authors); Jürgen Alheit, Javier Aristegui, Claire Armstrong, Gregory Beaugrand, Vsevolod Belkovich, Chris Bowler, Peter Brewer, Matthew Church, Sarah Cooley, Pablo Del-Monte, Martin Edwards, Michael Flint, Mick Follows, Thomas Frölicher, Beth Fulton, Jean-Pierre Gattuso, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg , Eileen Hofmann, Andrew Knoll, Lisa Levin, Lena Menzel, Coleen Moloney, Ian Perry, Elvira Poloczanska, J. Murray Roberts, Björn Rost, Jorge Sarmiento, Jan Sedláček, Daniela Storch, Christian Wiencke, and Astrid Wittmann (contributing authors).

Link: http://ipcc-wg2.gov/AR5/images/uploads/WGIIAR5-Chap6_FGDall.pdf

Climate Sensitivity of the National Estuarine Research Reserve System

Resource type: Report

Description: The national study points to three East Coast reserves (Sapelo Island NERR in Georgia, ACE Basin NERR in South Carolina and Waquoit Bay NERR in Massachusetts) and the Tijuana River NERR on the California-Mexico border as the most sensitive to climate change.The climate exposure of each reserve provides 'first alarm' indicators about the effects of climate change on coastal ecosystems. Ongoing research at each of the reserves provides real-time data about how climate change impacts these important natural resources. Researchers determined the extent of relative climate sensitivity in the reserves by looking at five factors: social, biophysical, and ecological sensitivity, and exposure to temperature change and sea level rise.

Reference: Climate Sensitivity of the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (2013). Dwight Trueblood, Patrick Robinson, Katherine Curtis, Jing Gao, Ken Genskow, Jerrett Jones, Dan Veroff, A. K. Leight, Ed Martino, and Bob Wood. Report to NOAA’s Climate Program Office.

Link: http://www.nerrs.noaa.gov/Doc/PDF/Research/130725_climate%20sensitivity%20of%20nerrs_Final-Rpt-in-Layout_FINAL.pdf

Coastal Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability: A Technical Input to the 2012 National Climate Assessment

Resource type: Report

Description: This report examines the known effects and relationships of climate change variables on the coasts of the U.S. It describes the impacts on natural and human systems, including several major sectors of the U.S. economy, and the progress and challenges to planning and implementing adaptation options.

Reference: Coastal Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability: A Technical Input to the 2012 National Climate Assessment (2012). V.R. Burkett and M.A. Davidson (eds.) Cooperative Report to the 2013 National Climate Assessment. Washington D.C.: Island Press.

Link: http://downloads.usgcrp.gov/NCA/technicalinputreports/Burkett_Davidson_Coasts_Final_.pdf

Especially relevant chapters:

Chapter2: Physical Climate Forces

Description: This chapter discusses how a changing global climate, combined with intense human activity, imposes additional stresses on coastal environments. Although the climate is warming at a global scale, the impacts and timing are highly variable across coastal regions. Some effects, such as rising sea level, are already evident in increased erosion of beaches, more frequent flooding from rivers and tidal surges, and conversion of wetlands to open water. In addition, increased uptake of atmospheric CO2 by the oceans has increased ocean acidity that threatens coral reefs and shellfish. This chapter also discusses the primary driving forces of climate change including: sea-level rise, changes in temperature, precipitation, major storm events (e.g., waves, winds and currents, and changing ocean circulation patterns).

Authors: Jeffress S. Williams (lead author), David Atkinson, Aaron R. Byrd, Hajo Eicken, Timothy M. Hall, Thomas G. Huntington, Yongwon Kim, Thomas R. Knutson, James P. Kossin, Michael Lilly, John J. Marra, Jayantha Obeysekera, Adam Parris, Jay Ratcliff, Thomas Ravens, Don Resio, Peter Ruggiero, E. Robert Thieler, James G. Titus, and Ty V. Wamsley.

Chapter 3: Vulnerability and Impacts on Natural Resources

Description: This chapter examines how climate and non-climate stressors originating from terrestrial and marine sources interact at the coast to influence coastal habitats. Increased temperatures and altered precipitation patterns interact with changing land use and land cover practices to affect soil moisture, ground water levels, hydrology, sediment supply, and salinity in watersheds. Sea-level rise, changing ocean currents, increased wave heights, and intensification of coastal storms interact with the shoreline to exacerbate coastal erosion, flooding, and saltwater intrusion. As the physical environment changes, the range of a particular ecosystem will expand, contract, or migrate in response.

Authors: Carlton H. Hershner, Jr. (lead author), Grant Ballard, Donald R. Cahoon, Robert Diaz, Tom Doyle, Neil K. Ganju, Glenn Guntenspergen, Robert Howarth, Hans W. Paerl, Charles “Pete” H. Peterson, Julie D. Rosati, Hilary Stockdon, Robert R. Twilley, and Jordan West.

Chapter 4: Vulnerability and Impacts on Human Development

Description: This chapter presents an overview of the current understanding of the potential impacts of a changing climate on human developments and societal vulnerability in the coastal zone. The first section considers the status of efforts to provide integrative assessments of relative vulnerability, exposure, and human loss. Subsequent sections focus on topics of concentrated investigation including potential impacts on urban areas, coastal communities, and infrastructure; water-resource infrastructure, transportation, ports, and navigation; insurance; tourism and recreation; real estate; emergency management and recovery; coastal and nearshore oil and gas; human health; and military facilities. Many of the studies are focused on the impacts of sea-level rise in conjunction with historical and projected impacts from coastal storms and flooding.

Authors: Tony MacDonald (lead author), Austin Becker, Doug Bellomo, Janet Cikir, Susan L. Cutter, Kirsten Dow, John A. Hall, Maria G. Honeycutt, Philip G. King, Paul H. Kirshen, Jim London, Aaron McGregor, Jeffrey A. Melby, Lindene Patton, Edmond J. Russo, Gavin Smith, Cindy Thatcher, and Juli M. Trtanj.

Impacts of Climate Change and Variability on Transportation Systems and Infrastructure: Gulf Coast Study, Phase I

Resource type: Report

Description: This report assessed the significance of climate factors (e.g., warming temperatures, changes in precipitation patterns and increased storm intensity) for transportation systems. Warming temperatures are likely to increase the costs of transportation construction, maintenance, and operations. More frequent extreme precipitation events may disrupt transportation networks with flooding and visibility problems. In addition, relative sea level rise will make much of the existing infrastructure more prone to frequent or permanent inundation. Increased storm intensity may lead to increased service disruption and infrastructure damage. Consideration of these factors in today’s transportation decisions and planning processes should lead to a more robust, resilient, and cost-effective transportation network in the coming decades.

Reference: Impacts of Climate Change and Variability on Transportation Systems and Infrastructure: Gulf Coast Study, Phase I (2008). M. J.Savonis, V.R. Burkett, and J.R. Potter (eds.). U.S. Climate Change Science Program, Department of Transportation, Washington, D.C.

Link: http://downloads.globalchange.gov/sap/sap4-7/sap4-7-final-all.pdf

Especially relevant chapters:

Executive Summary

Description: Although the changing climate raises critical questions for the transportation sector in the United States, little research has been conducted to identify what risks this system faces from climate change, or what steps managers and policy makers can take to ensure the safety and resilience of transportation systems. This study investigated these questions through a case study of a segment of the U.S. central Gulf Coast. The interdisciplinary research team included experts in climate and meteorology; hydrology and natural systems; transportation; and decision support. This report presents the findings of the first phase of a three phase research effort. The ultimate goal of this research is to provide knowledge and tools that will enable transportation planners and managers to better understand the risks, adaptation strategies, and tradeoffs involved in planning, investment, design, and operational decisions..

Authors: Joanne R. Potter, Michael J. Savonis, and Virginia R. Burkett (lead authors).

Chapter 3: How is the Gulf Coast Climate Changing?

Description: This chapter summarizes the direct and indirect effects of climate change that are most likely to affect transportation in the Gulf Coast region. The key climate drivers examined in the study region are: temperature, precipitation, sea level rise, and hurricanes and less intense tropical storms. This chapter also presents scenarios of future climate change in addition to analysis of historical trends.

Authors: Barry D. Keim, Thomas W. Doyle, Virginia R. Burkett (lead authors); Ivor Van Heerden, S. Ahmet Binselam, Michael F. Wehner, Claudia Tebaldi, Tamera G. Houston, and Daniel M. Beagan (contributing authors).

Chapter 4: What are the Implications of Climate Change and Variability for Gulf Coast Transportation?

Description: This chapter provides an overview of the impacts of climate change on the Gulf coast region’s transportation infrastructure. It begins with a summary organized around the primary climate effects (e.g., temperature, precipitation, sea level rise, and storm activity) and continues with a discussion of freight and private sector concerns. A more detailed discussion organized by transportation mode follows. Finally, a series of case studies was used to illustrate some of the effects of the 2005 hurricanes on transportation.  

Authors: Robert S. Kafalenos, Kenneth J. Leonard (lead authors); Daniel M. Beagan, Virginia R. Burkett, Barry D. Keim, Alan Meyers, David T. Hunt, Robert C. Hyman, Michael K. Maynard, Barbara Fritsche, Russell H. Henk, Edward J. Seymour, Leslie E. Olson, Joanne R. Potter, and Michael J. Savonis (contributing authors).

Climate Change Indicators in the United States, 2012

Resource type: Report

Description: This report presents 26 indicators, each describing trends related to the causes and effects of climate change. It focuses primarily on the United States, but in some cases global trends are presented to provide context or a basis for comparison. The report also highlights some of the public health and environmental impacts that are already happening today.

Reference: Climate Change Indicators in the United States, 2012 (2012). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Atmospheric Programs, Climate Change Division, with support from the Office Research and Development and the Office of Water.

Link: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/science/indicators/download.html

Coastal and Marine Ecosystems and Global Climate Change: Potential Effects on U.S. Resources

Resource type: Report

Description: This report is the eighth in a series of Pew Center reports examining the potential impacts of climate change on the U.S. environment. It details the likely impacts of climate change over the next century on coastal and marine ecosystems, including estuaries, coral reefs, and the open ocean. Findings include: temperature changes in coastal and marine ecosystems will influence organism metabolism and alter ecological processes such as productivity and species interactions. Changes in precipitation and sea-level rise will have important consequences for the water balance of coastal ecosystems. Climate change is likely to alter patterns of wind and water circulation in the ocean environment. Critical coastal ecosystems such as wetlands, estuaries, and coral reefs are particularly vulnerable to climate change.

Reference: Coastal and Marine Ecosystems and Global Climate Change: Potential Effects on U.S. Resources (2002). Victor S. Kennedy, Robert R. Twilley, Joan A. Kleypas, James H. Cowan, Jr., and Steven R. Hare. Prepared by Stratus Consulting for the Pew Center on Global Climate Change.

Link: http://www.pewtrusts.org/uploadedFiles/wwwpewtrustsorg/Reports/Protecting_ocean_life/environment_pew_climate_marine.pdf

Climate Change and Water

Resource type: Technical Paper

Description: This technical paper draws together and evaluates information from the 2008 UN IPCC Assessment and Special Reports concerning the impacts of climate change on hydrological processes and regimes, and on freshwater resources – their availability, quality, use and management. It takes into account current and projected regional key vulnerabilities, prospects for adaptation, and the relationships between climate change mitigation and water. This Technical Paper deals only with freshwater. Sea-level rise is dealt with only insofar as it can lead to impacts on freshwater in the coastal zone; for example, salinisation of groundwater. The technical paper is addressed primarily to policymakers engaged in all areas relevant to freshwater resource management, climate change, strategic studies, spatial planning and socioeconomic development. However, it is also addressed to the scientific community working in the area of water and climate change, and to a broader audience, including NGOs and the media.

Reference: Climate Change and Water (2008). B.C. Bates, Z.W. Kundzewicz, S. Wu, and J.P. Palutikof (eds.). Technical paper for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC Secretariat, Geneva.

Link: http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/technical-papers/climate-change-water-en.pdf

Extreme Weather Events

 

Explaining Extreme Events of 2014 from a Climate Perspective

Resource type: Research report

Description: This BAMS special report presents assessments of how climate change may have affected the strength and likelihood of individual extreme events.

Reference: Explaining Extreme Events of 2014 from a Climate Perspective (2015). Stephanie C. Herring, Martin P. Hoerling, James P. Kossin, Thomas C. Peterson, and Peter A. Stott (eds). Special Supplement to the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 96(12), December 2015.

Link: https://www2.ametsoc.org/ams/index.cfm/publications/bulletin-of-the-american-meteorological-society-bams/explaining-extreme-events-from-a-climate-perspective/table-of-contents/high-resolution-version/

Attribution of climate extreme events

Resource type: Report

Description: [Abstract] There is a tremendous desire to attribute causes to weather and climate events that is often challenging from a physical standpoint. Headlines attributing an event solely to either human-induced climate change or natural variability can be misleading when both are invariably in play. The conventional attribution framework struggles with dynamically driven extremes because of the small signal-to-noise ratios and often uncertain nature of the forced changes. Here, we suggest that a different framing is desirable, which asks why such extremes unfold the way they do. Specifically, we suggest that it is more useful to regard the extreme circulation regime or weather event as being largely unaffected by climate change, and question whether known changes in the climate system's thermodynamic state affected the impact of the particular event. Some examples briefly illustrated include 'snowmaggedon' in February 2010, superstorm Sandy in October 2012 and supertyphoon Haiyan in November 2013, and, in more detail, the Boulder floods of September 2013, all of which were influenced by high sea surface temperatures that had a discernible human component.

Reference: Attribution of climate extreme events (2015). Kevin E. Trenberth, John T. Fasullo, and Theodore G. Shepherd. Nature Climate Change DOI:10.1038/nclimate2657.

Link: http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate2657.html (full article behind pay wall)

The Oceans 2015 Initiative, Part II: An up­dated understanding of the observed and projected impacts of ocean warming and acidification on marine and coastal socioeconomic activities/sectors

Resource type: Report

Description: Between 1971 and 2010, the oceans have absorbed approximately 93% of the excess heat caused by global warming, leading to several major changes such as the increase in stratification, limitation in the circulation of nutrients from deep waters to the surface, and sea level rise. In addition, the oceans absorbed 26% of anthropogenic CO2 emitted since the start of the Industrial Revolution, which resulted in ocean acidifica­tion. Together, these processes strongly affect marine and coastal species’ geographic distribution, abundance, migration patterns and phenology. As a consequence of these complex environmental changes, marine and coastal human sectors (i.e., fisheries, aquaculture, coastal tourism and health) are in turn at risk. This report by the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI) provides an updated synthesis of what the science tells us about such a risk, based upon IPCC AR5 (2013- 2014) and published scientific articles and grey literature that have been published between July 2013 and April 2015.

Reference: Weatherdon, L., Rogers, A., Sumaila, R., Magnan, A., Cheung, W.W.L. (2015). The Oceans 2015 Initiative, Part II: An up­dated understanding of the observed and projected impacts of ocean warming and acidification on marine and coastal socioeconomic ac­tivities/sectors, Studies N°03/15, IDDRI, Paris, France, 46 p.

Link: http://www.iddri.org/Publications/The-Oceans-2015-Initiative,Part-II-An-updated-understanding-of-the-observed-and-projected-impacts-of-ocean-warming-and-acidific

U.S. Energy Sector Vulnerabilities to Climate Change and Extreme Weather

Resource type: Report

Description: This report examines current and potential future impacts of climate trends (e.g., temperature changes and water availability) on the U.S. energy sector. In particular, researchers identified several critical issues, including power-plant disruptions due to drought and the disruption of fuel supplies during severe storms. The report also pinpoints potential opportunities that would make energy infrastructure more resilient to these risks.

Reference: U.S. Energy Sector Vulnerabilities to Climate Change and Extreme Weather (2013). Craig Zamuda (coordinating lead author); Bryan Mignone, Dan Bilello, K.C. Hallett, Courtney Lee, Jordan Macknick, Robin Newmark, and Daniel Steinberg. U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Policy and International Affairs (DOE-PI) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). DOE/PI-0013.

Link: http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2013/07/f2/20130716Energy%20Sector%20Vulnerabilities%20Report.pdf

Especially relevant chapters:

Chapter 3: Increasing Storms, Flooding, and Sea Level Rise

Description: Key messages of the chapter include: increasing intensity of storm events, sea level rise, and storm surge put coastal and offshore oil and gas facilities at increased risk of damage or disruption; increasing intensity of storm events increases the risk of damage to electric transmission and distribution lines; increasing intensity of storm events, sea level rise, and storm surge poses a risk to coastal thermoelectric facilities, while increasing intensity and frequency of flooding poses a risk to inland thermoelectric facilities; and increasing intensity and frequency of flooding increases the risk to rail and barge transport of crude oil, petroleum products, and coal.

Appendix: Climate and Extreme Weather Trends in the U.S.

Description: This appendix expands upon historic climate trends and weather events including increasing air and water temperatures, decreasing water availability in some regions and seasons, and increasing intensity and frequency of storms, flooding, and sea level rise. It also summarizes projections of future climatic conditions across the United States, with a specific focus on climatic conditions that already affect or could affect the energy sector. Because relative impacts will vary by region, the appendix includes regional distinctions where possible.   

Weather and Climate Extremes in a Changing Climate - Regions: North America, Hawaii, Caribbean, and U.S. Pacific Islands: Synthesis and Assessment Product 3.3 Report by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research

Full title: Weather and Climate Extremes in a Changing Climate - Regions: North America, Hawaii, Caribbean, and U.S. Pacific Islands:

Resource type: Report

Description: Changes in extreme weather and climate events have significant impacts and are among the most serious challenges to society in coping with a changing climate. In the future, with continued global warming, heat waves and heavy downpours are very likely to further increase in frequency and intensity. Substantial areas of North America are likely to have more frequent droughts of greater severity. Hurricane wind speeds, rainfall intensity, and storm surge levels are likely to increase. The strongest cold season storms are likely to become more frequent, accompanied by stronger winds and more extreme wave heights.

Reference: Weather and Climate Extremes in a Changing Climate. Regions of Focus: North America, Hawaii, Caribbean, and U.S. Pacific Islands (2008). A Report by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research. [ThomasR. Karl, Gerald A. Meehl, Christopher D. Miller, Susan J. Hassol, Anne M. Waple, and William L. Murray (eds.)]. Department ofCommerce, NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, Washington, D.C.

Link: http://downloads.globalchange.gov/sap/sap3-3/sap3-3-final-all.pdf

Especially relevant chapters:

Chapter 1: Why Weather and Climate Extremes Matter

Description: Changes from the historical range of weather and climate extremes matter because people, plants, and animals tend to be more impacted by changes in extremes compared to changes in average climate. The vulnerability of socioeconomic and natural systems is a function not only of the rate and magnitude of climate change but also of the sensitivity of the system, the extent to which it is exposed, and its adaptive capacity. Vulnerability can be exacerbated by other stresses such as social inequalities, disease, and conflict, and can be compounded by changes in other extremes events (e.g., drought and heat occurring together) and by rapidly-recurring events.

Authors: Thomas C. Peterson (convening lead author); David M. Anderson, Stewart J. Cohen, Miguel Cortez-Vázquez, Richard J. Murnane, Camille Parmesan, David Phillips, Roger S. Pulwarty, John M.R. Stone (lead authors); Tamara G. Houston, Susan L. Cutter, and Melanie Gall (contributing authors).

Chapter 2: Observed Changes in Weather and Climate Extremes

Description: The central goal of this chapter is to identify long-term shifts/trends in extremes and to characterize the continental-scale patterns of such shifts. Long-term upward trends in the frequency of unusually warm nights, extreme precipitation episodes, and the length of the frost-free season, along with pronounced recent increases in the frequency of hurricanes, the length of the frost-free season, and extreme wave heights along the West Coast are notable changes in the North American climate record.

Authors: Kenneth Kunkel (convening lead author); Peter Bromirski, Harold Brooks, Tereza Cavazos, Arthur Douglas, David Easterling, Kerry Emanuel, Pavel Groisman, Greg Holland, Thomas Knutson, James Kossin, Paul Komar, David Levinson, Richard Smith (lead authors); Jonathan Allan, Raymond Assel, Stanley Changnon, Jay Lawrimore, Kam-biu Liu, and Thomas Peterson (contributing authors).

Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation

Resource type: Report

Description: Extreme weather and climate events, interacting with exposed and vulnerable human and natural systems, can lead to disasters. This Special Report explores the challenge of understanding and managing the risks of climate extremes to advance climate change adaptation. Some types of extreme weather and climate events have increased in frequency or magnitude, but populations and assets at risk have also increased, with consequences for disaster risk. Opportunities for managing risks of weather- and climate-related disasters exist or can be developed at any scale, local to international. Some strategies for effectively managing risks and adapting to climate change involve adjustments to current activities. Others require transformation or fundamental change.

Reference: Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (2012). C.B. Field, V. Barros, T.F. Stocker, D. Qin, D.J. Dokken, K.L. Ebi, M.D. Mastrandrea, K.J. Mach, G.-K. Plattner, S.K. Allen, M. Tignor, and P.M. Midgley (eds.). A Special Report of Working Groups I and II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, and New York.

Link: http://ipcc-wg2.gov/SREX/images/uploads/SREX-All_FINAL.pdf

Especially relevant chapter:

Chapter 3: Changes in Climate Extremes and Their Impacts on the Natural Physical Environment

Description: This section provides background material on the characterization and definition of extreme events, the definition and analysis of compound events, the relevance of feedbacks for extremes, the approach used for the assignment of confidence and likelihood assessments in this chapter, and the possibility of ‘surprises’ regarding future changes in extremes. Requirements and methods for analyzing changes in climate extremes are addressed and assessments regarding changes in the climate variables, phenomena, and impacts considered in this chapter are provided.

Authors: Sonia I. Seneviratne, Neville Nicholls (coordinating lead authors); David Easterling, Claire M. Goodess, Shinjiro Kanae, James Kossin, Yali Luo, Jose Marengo, Kathleen McInnes, Mohammad Rahimi, Markus Reichstein, Asgeir Sorteberg, Carolina Vera, and Xuebin Zhang (lead authors); Lisa V. Alexander, Simon Allen, Gerardo Benito, Tereza Cavazos, John Clague, Declan Conway, Paul M. Della-Marta, Markus Gerber, Sunling Gong, B. N. Goswami, Mark Hemer, Christian Huggel, Bart van den Hurk, Viatcheslav V. Kharin, Akio Kitoh, Albert M.G. Klein Tank, Guilong Li, Simon Mason, William McGuire, Geert Jan van Oldenborgh, Boris Orlowsky, Sharon Smith, Wassila Thiaw, Adonis Velegrakis, Pascal Yiou, Tingjun Zhang, Tianjun Zhou, Francis W. Zwiers (contributing authors).

U.S. Energy Sector Vulnerabilities to Climate Change and Extreme Weather

Resource type: Report

Description: This report examines current and potential future impacts of climate trends on the U.S. energy sector. In particular, researchers have identified several critical issues, including power-plant disruptions due to drought and the disruption of fuel supplies during severe storms. The report also pinpoints potential opportunities that would make the energy infrastructure more resilient to these risks.

Reference: U.S. Energy Sector Vulnerabilities to Climate Change and Extreme Weather (2013). Craig Zamuda, Bryan Mignone, Dan Bilello, KC Hallett, Courtney Lee, Jordan Macknick, Robin Newmark, and Daniel Steinberg. U.S. Department of Energy, National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Link: http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2013/07/f2/20130716Energy%20Sector%20Vulnerabilities%20Report.pdf

Sea-Level Rise

Climate Change and the Evolution and Fate of the Tangier Islands of Chesapeake Bay, USA

Resource type: Research article

Description: [Abstract] Climate change and associated sea level rise (SLR) are already impacting low-lying coastal areas, including islands, throughout the world. Many of these areas are inhabited, many will need to be abandoned in coming decades as SLR continues. We examine the evolution (1850-2013) of the last inhabited offshore island in Virginia waters of Chesapeake Bay USA, the Tangier Islands. Three SLR scenarios, a low, mid, and high, were considered. Since 1850, 66.75% of the islands landmass has been lost. Under the mid-range SLR scenario, much of the remaining landmass is expected to be lost in the next 50 years and the Town will likely need to be abandoned. The high SLR scenario will accelerate the land loss and subsidence, such that the Town may need to be abandoned in as few as 25 years. We propose a conceptual plan that would significantly extend the lifespan of the islands and Town.

Reference: Schulte, David M., Karin M. Dridge, and Mark H. Hudgins (2015). Climate Change and the Evolution and Fate of the Tangier Islands of Chesapeake Bay, USA. Scientific Reports 5: 17890.

Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4675185/

‘Ghost Forests’ Appear As Rising Seas Kill Trees

Resource type: Online article

Description: Bare trunks of dead coastal forests are being discovered up and down the mid-Atlantic coastline, killed by the advance of rising seas. The “ghost forests,” as scientists call them, offer eerie evidence of some of the world’s fastest rates of sea level rise. Preliminary findings from an analysis by Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) scientists suggests 100,000 acres of coastal forest may have died off around the edges of the Chesapeake Bay since the 1850s. Much of the dead forest has now been replaced by marshland, while former marsh areas are now open water. Overall, the changes are diminishing the ability of plants in the region to fight global warming by absorbing carbon dioxide.

Reference: John Upton (2016). ‘Ghost Forests’ Appear As Rising Seas Kill Trees. Climate Central (September 19)

Link: http://www.climatecentral.org/news/ghost-forests-appear-as-rising-tides-kill-trees-20701

Ghost Forests: How Rising Seas Are Killing Southern U.S. Woodlands

Resource type: Online article

Description: A steady increase in sea levels is pushing saltwater into U.S. wetlands, killing trees from Florida to as far north as New Jersey. But with sea level projected to rise by as much as six feet this century, the destruction of coastal forests is expected to become a worsening problem worldwide.

Reference: Roger Real Drouin (2016). Ghost Forests: How Rising Seas Are Killing Southern U.S. Woodlands. Yale Environment 360 (November 1)

Link: http://e360.yale.edu/feature/ghost_forest_rising_sea_levels_killing_coastal_woodlands/3049/

Abrupt Sea Level Rise Looms as Increasingly Realistic Threat

Resource type: Online article

Description: Ninety-nine percent of the planet's freshwater ice is locked up in the Antarctic and Greenland ice caps. Now, a growing number of studies are raising the possibility that as those ice sheets melt, sea levels could rise by six feet this century, and far higher in the next, flooding many of the world's populated coastal areas.

Reference: Nicola Jones (2016). Abrupt Sea Level Rise Looms As Increasingly Realistic Threat. Yale Environment 360 (May 5)

Link: http://e360.yale.edu/feature/abrupt_sea_level_rise_realistic_greenland_antarctica/2990/

Development of a model to simulate groundwater inundation induced by sea-level rise and high tides in Honolulu, Hawaii

Resource type: Research article

Description: [Abstract] Many of the world's largest cities face risk of sea-level rise (SLR) induced flooding owing to their limited elevations and proximities to the coastline. Within this century, global mean sea level is expected to reach magnitudes that will exceed the ground elevation of some built infrastructure. The concurrent rise of coastal groundwater will produce additional sources of inundation resulting from narrowing and loss of the vertical unsaturated subsurface space. This has implications for the dense network of buried and low-lying infrastructure that exists across urban coastal zones.

Here, we describe a modeling approach that simulates narrowing of the unsaturated space and groundwater inundation (GWI) generated by SLR-induced lifting of coastal groundwater. The methodology combines terrain modeling, groundwater monitoring, estimation of tidal influence, and numerical groundwater-flow modeling to simulate future flood scenarios considering user-specified tide stages and magnitudes of SLR.

We illustrate the value of the methodology by applying it to the heavily urbanized and low-lying Waikiki area of Honolulu, Hawaii. Results indicate that SLR of nearly 1 m generates GWI across 23% of the 13 km2 study area, threatening $5 billion of taxable real estate and 48 km of roadway. Analysis of current conditions reveals that 86% of 259 active cesspool sites in the study area are likely inundated. This suggests that cesspool effluent is currently entering coastal groundwater, which not only leads to degradation of coastal environments, but also presents a future threat to public health as GWI would introduce effluent at the ground surface

Reference: Shellie Habel, Charles Fletcher, Kolja Rotzoll, and Aly El-Kadi (2017). Water Research; 114: 122 – 134.

Link: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0043135417301276

Sea level rise drives increased tidal flooding frequency at tide gauges along the U.S. East and Gulf Coasts: Projections for 2030 and 2045

Resource type: Research article

Description: [Abstract] Tidal flooding is among the most tangible present-day effects of global sea level rise. Here, we utilize a set of NOAA tide gauges along the U.S. East and Gulf Coasts to evaluate the potential impact of future sea level rise on the frequency and severity of tidal flooding. Using the 2001–2015 time period as a baseline, we first determine how often tidal flooding currently occurs. Using localized sea level rise projections based on the Intermediate-Low, Intermediate-High, and Highest projections from the U.S. National Climate Assessment, we then determine the frequency and extent of such flooding at these locations for two near-term time horizons: 2030 and 2045. We show that increases in tidal flooding will be substantial and nearly universal at the 52 locations included in our analysis. Long before areas are permanently inundated, the steady creep of sea level rise will force many communities to grapple with chronic high tide flooding in the next 15 to 30 years.

Reference: Dahl KA, Fitzpatrick MF, Spanger-Siegfried E (2017) Sea level rise drives increased tidal flooding frequency at tide gauges along the U.S. East and Gulf Coasts: Projections for 2030 and 2045. PLoS ONE 12(2): e0170949. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0170949

Link: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0170949

Coastal Floods: Sea Level Rise and the Human Fingerprint on U.S. Floods since 1950

Resource type: Research article

Description: [Abstract] This analysis removes the assessed human-caused component in global sea level from hourly water level records since 1950 at 27 U.S. tide gauges, creating alternative histories simulating the absence of anthropogenic climate change. Out of 8,726 days when unaltered water level observations exceeded National Weather Service local “nuisance” flood thresholds for minor impacts, 5,809 days (3,517-7,332 days, >90% confidence interval) did not exceed thresholds in the alternative histories. In other words, human-caused global sea level rise effectively tipped the balance, pushing high water events over the threshold, for about two-thirds of the observed flood days. The fraction has increased from less than half in the 1950s, to more than three-quarters within the last decade (2005-2014), as global sea level has continued to rise.

Reference: Strauss, B. H., Kopp, R. E., Sweet, W. V. and Bittermann, K. Unnatural Coastal Floods: Sea Level Rise and the Human Fingerprint on U.S. Floods since 1950. Climate Central Research Report, pp. 1-16

Link: http://sealevel.climatecentral.org/uploads/research/Unnatural-Coastal-Floods-2016.pdf

Temperature-driven global sea-level variability in the Common Era

Resource type: Research article

Description: [Abstract] We assess the relationship between temperature and global sea-level (GSL) variability over the Common Era through a statistical meta-analysis of proxy relative sea-level reconstructions and tide-gauge data. GSL rose at 0.1 ± 0.1 mm/y (2σ) over 0–700 CE. A GSL fall of 0.2 ± 0.2 mm/y over 1000–1400 CE is associated with ∼0.2 °C global mean cooling. A significant GSL acceleration began in the 19th century and yielded a 20th century rise that is extremely likely (probability P≥0.95) faster than during any of the previous 27 centuries. A semi-empirical model calibrated against the GSL reconstruction indicates that, in the absence of anthropogenic climate change, it is extremely likely (P=0.95) that 20th century GSL would have risen by less than 51% of the observed 13.8±1.5 cm. The new semi-empirical model largely reconciles previous differences between semi-empirical 21st century GSL projections and the process model-based projections summarized in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report.

Significance: We present the first, to our knowledge, estimate of global sea-level (GSL) change over the last ∼3,000 years that is based upon statistical synthesis of a global database of regional sea-level reconstructions. GSL varied by ∼±8 cm over the pre-Industrial Common Era, with a notable decline over 1000–1400 CE coinciding with ∼0.2 °C of global cooling. The 20th century rise was extremely likely faster than during any of the 27 previous centuries. Semiempirical modeling indicates that, without global warming, GSL in the 20th century very likely would have risen by between −3 cm and +7 cm, rather than the ∼14 cm observed. Semiempirical 21st century projections largely reconcile differences between Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projections and semiempirical models

Reference: Robert E. Kopp, Andrew C. Kemp, Klaus Bittermanne, Benjamin P. Hortonb,f,g,h, Jeffrey P. Donnellyi, W. Roland Gehrelsj, Carling C. Haya,b,k, Jerry X. Mitrovicak, Eric D. Morrowa,b, and Stefan Rahmstorfe (2015). Temperature-driven global sea-level variability in the Common Era, PNAS Early Edition doi: 10.1073/pnas.151705611.

Link: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2016/02/17/1517056113 (full article)
Link to supporting information: http://www.pnas.org/lookup/suppl/doi:10.1073/pnas.1517056113/-/DCSupplemental.

Enhanced Atlantic sea-level rise relative to the Pacific under high carbon emission rates

Resource type: Research article

Description: [Abstract] Thermal expansion of the ocean in response to warming is an important component of historical sea-level rise. Observational studies show that the Atlantic and Southern oceans are warming faster than the Pacific Ocean. Here we present simulations using a numerical atmospheric-ocean general circulation model with an interactive carbon cycle to evaluate the impact of carbon emission rates, ranging from 2 to 25 GtC yr−1, on basin-scale ocean heat uptake and sea level. For simulations with emission rates greater than 5 GtC yr−1, sea-level rise is larger in the Atlantic than Pacific Ocean on centennial timescales. This basin-scale asymmetry is related to the shorter flushing timescales and weakening of the overturning circulation in the Atlantic. These factors lead to warmer Atlantic interior waters and greater thermal expansion. In contrast, low emission rates of 2 and 3 GtC yr−1 will cause relatively larger sea-level rise in the Pacific on millennial timescales. For a given level of cumulative emissions, sea-level rise is largest at low emission rates. We conclude that Atlantic coastal areas may be particularly vulnerable to near-future sea-level rise from present-day high greenhouse gas emission rates.

Reference: J. P. Krasting, J. P. Dunne, R. J. Stouffer and R. W. Hallberg (2016). Enhanced Atlantic sea-level-rise relative to the Pacific under high carbon emission rates. Nature Geoscience doi:10.1038/ngeo2641

Link to abstract: http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ngeo2641.html (full article behind paywall)

Why the U.S. East Coast could be a major ‘hotspot’ for rising seas

Resource type: Newspaper article

Description: “[N]ew research [by] scientists us[ing] a high powered climate change model . . . that simulates the ocean, the atmosphere and the cycling of carbon throughout the Earth system . . . found that at high emissions scenarios similar to current rates, the Atlantic sea levels rise considerably faster than the Pacific, with particularly noteworthy impacts for the U.S. East Coast.

“The reason for the difference . . . water that sinks beneath the surface in the Atlantic will generally make it back to the surface again in 200 to 300 years, versus about three times as long for the Pacific . . . leading to warmer water pooling below the surface and, ultimately, greater warming overall. Warm water expands, and that’s the cause of the sea level rise expected in the study.”

Reference: Chris Mooney (2016). Why the U.S. East Coast could be a major ‘hotspot’ for rising seas. Washington Post (February 1, 2016).

Link: : https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/02/01/why-the-u-s-east-coast-could-be-a-major-hotspot-for-sea-level-rise/

Revisiting the contemporary sea-level budget on global and regional scales

Resource type: Research article

Description: [Abstract] Dividing the sea-level budget into contributions from ice sheets and glaciers, the water cycle, steric expansion, and crustal movement is challenging, especially on regional scales. Here, Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment (GRACE) gravity observations and sea-level anomalies from altimetry are used in a joint inversion, ensuring a consistent decomposition of the global and regional sea-level rise budget. Over the years 2002–2014, we find a global mean steric trend of 1.38 ± 0.16 mm/y, compared with a total trend of 2.74 ± 0.58 mm/y. This is significantly larger than steric trends derived from in situ temperature/salinity profiles and models which range from 0.66 ± 0.2 to 0.94 ± 0.1 mm/y. Mass contributions from ice sheets and glaciers (1.37 ± 0.09 mm/y, accelerating with 0.03 ± 0.02 mm/y2) are offset by a negative hydrological component (−0.29 ± 0.26 mm/y). The combined mass rate (1.08 ± 0.3 mm/y) is smaller than previous GRACE estimates (up to 2 mm/y), but it is consistent with the sum of individual contributions (ice sheets, glaciers, and hydrology) found in literature. The altimetric sea-level budget is closed by coestimating a remaining component of 0.22 ± 0.26 mm/y. Well above average sea-level rise is found regionally near the Philippines (14.7 ± 4.39 mm/y) and Indonesia (8.3 ± 4.7 mm/y) which is dominated by steric components (11.2 ± 3.58 mm/y and 6.4 ± 3.18 mm/y, respectively). In contrast, in the central and Eastern part of the Pacific, negative steric trends (down to −2.8 ± 1.53 mm/y) are detected. Significant regional components are found, up to 5.3 ± 2.6 mm/y in the northwest Atlantic, which are likely due to ocean bottom pressure variations.

Significance: Understanding sea-level change is of paramount importance because it reflects climate-related factors, such as the ocean heat budget, mass changes in the cryosphere, and natural ocean/atmosphere variations. Furthermore, sea-level rise directly affects coastal areas, which has ramifications for its population and economy. From a novel combination of Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment and radar altimetry data we find over the last 12 y: (i) a larger global steric sea-level rise as previously reported, (ii) a mass contribution to global sea level consistent with mass loss estimates from the world’s ice sheets, glaciers, and hydrological sources, and (iii) regionally resolved sea-level budget components which differ significantly from that of the global sea-level budget.

Reference: Roelof Rietbroek, Sandra-Esther Brunnabend, Jürgen Kuscher, Jens Schröter, and Christoph Dahle (2015). Revisiting the contemporary sea-level budget on global and regional scales. PNAS Early Edition, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1519132113.

Link: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2016/01/20/1519132113.full.pdf

Spatial response of coastal marshes to increased atmospheric CO2

Resource type: Research article

Description: [Abstract] The elevation and extent of coastal marshes are dictated by the interplay between the rate of relative sea-level rise (RRSLR), surface accretion by inorganic sediment deposition, and organic soil production by plants. These accretion processes respond to changes in local and global forcings, such as sediment delivery to the coast, nutrient concentrations, and atmospheric CO2, but their relative importance for marsh resilience to increasing RRSLR remains unclear. In particular, marshes up-take atmospheric CO2 at high rates, thereby playing a major role in the global carbon cycle, but the morphologic expression of increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration, an imminent aspect of climate change, has not yet been isolated and quantified. Using the available observational literature and a spatially explicit ecomorphodynamic model, we explore marsh responses to increased atmospheric CO2, relative to changes in inorganic sediment availability and elevated nitrogen levels. We find that marsh vegetation response to foreseen elevated atmospheric CO2 is similar in magnitude to the response induced by a varying inorganic sediment concentration, and that it increases the threshold RRSLR initiating marsh submergence by up to 60% in the range of forcings explored. Furthermore, we find that marsh responses are inherently spatially dependent, and cannot be adequately captured through 0-dimensional representations of marsh dynamics. Our results imply that coastal marshes, and the major carbon sink they represent, are significantly more resilient to foreseen climatic changes than previously thought.

Significance: Coastal marshes provide numerous ecosystem services, are an important carbon sink, and are exposed to drowning as sea-level rise accelerates. Using a meta-analysis of the available observational data, we model the coupled marsh vegetation and morphological dynamics. We find that the fertilization effect of elevated atmospheric CO2 significantly increases marsh resilience to drowning and decreases the spatial extent of marsh retreat under high rates of sea-level rise. While this direct CO2 fertilization effect has so far been neglected in marsh modeling, we find it is central in determining marsh survival under the foreseeable range of climatic changes.

Reference: Katherine M. Ratliff, Anna E. Braswell, and Marco Marani (2015). Spatial response of coastal marshes to increased atmospheric Carbon Dioxide. PNAS 112(51): 15580–15584, doi:10.1073/pnas.1516286112

Link: http://www.pnas.org/content/112/51/15580

Carbon choices determine US cities committed to futures below sea level

Resource type: Research article

Description: [Abstract] Anthropogenic carbon emissions lock in long-term sea-level rise that greatly exceeds projections for this century, posing profound challenges for coastal development and cultural legacies. Analysis based on previously published relationships linking emissions to warming and warming to rise indicates that unabated carbon emissions up to the year 2100 would commit an eventual global sea-level rise of 4.3–9.9 m. Based on detailed topographic and population data, local high tide lines, and regional long-term sea-level commitment for different carbon emissions and ice sheet stability scenarios, we compute the current population living on endangered land at municipal, state, and national levels within the United States. For unabated climate change, we find that land that is home to more than 20 million people is implicated and is widely distributed among different states and coasts. The total area includes 1,185–1,825 municipalities where land that is home to more than half of the current population would be affected, among them at least 21 cities exceeding 100,000 residents. Under aggressive carbon cuts, more than half of these municipalities would avoid this commitment if the West Antarctic Ice Sheet remains stable. Similarly, more than half of the US population-weighted area under threat could be spared. We provide lists of implicated cities and state populations for different emissions scenarios and with and without a certain collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Although past anthropogenic emissions already have caused sea-level commitment that will force coastal cities to adapt, future emissions will determine which areas we can continue to occupy or may have to abandon.

Significance: As greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, the window to limit global warming below 2 °C appears to be closing. Associated projections for sea-level rise generally range near or below 1 m by 2100. However, paleontological and modeling evidence indicates long-term sea-level sensitivity to warming that is roughly an order of magnitude higher. Here we develop relationships between cumulative carbon emissions and long-term sea-level commitment and explore implications for the future of coastal developments in the United States. The results offer a new way to compare different emissions scenarios or policies and suggest that the long-term viability of hundreds of coastal municipalities and land currently inhabited by tens of millions of persons hang in the balance.

Reference: Carbon choices determine US cities committed to futures below sea level (2015). Benjamin H. Strauss, Scott Kulp, and Anders Levermann. PNAS 112 (44): 13508–13513; doi: 10.1073/pnas.1511186112.

Link: http://www.pnas.org/content/112/44/13508

Sea-level rise due to polar ice-sheet mass loss during past warm periods

Resource type: Research article

Description: [Abstract] Interdisciplinary studies of geologic archives have ushered in a new era of deciphering magnitudes, rates, and sources of sea-level rise from polar ice-sheet loss during past warm periods. Accounting for glacial isostatic processes helps to reconcile spatial variability in peak sea level during marine isotope stages 5e and 11, when the global mean reached 6 to 9 meters and 6 to 13 meters higher than present, respectively. Dynamic topography introduces large uncertainties on longer time scales, precluding robust sea-level estimates for intervals such as the Pliocene. Present climate is warming to a level associated with significant polar ice-sheet loss in the past. Here, we outline advances and challenges involved in constraining ice-sheet sensitivity to climate change with use of paleo–sea level records.

[Editor’s summary] We know that the sea level will rise as climate warms. Nevertheless, accurate projections of how much sea-level rise will occur are difficult to make based solely on modern observations. Determining how ice sheets and sea level have varied in past warm periods can help us better understand how sensitive ice sheets are to higher temperatures. Dutton et al. review recent interdisciplinary progress in understanding this issue, based on data from four different warm intervals over the past 3 million years. Their synthesis provides a clear picture of the progress we have made and the hurdles that still exist.

Reference: Sea-level rise due to polar ice-sheet mass loss during past warm periods (2015). A. Dutton, A. E. Carlson, A. J. Long, G. A. Milne, P. U. Clark, R. DeConto, B. P. Horton, S. Rahmstorf, and M. E. Raymo, Science 10 July 2015 Vol 349 Issue 6244; DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa4019.

Link: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/349/6244/aaa4019.full.pdf

State of the Climate in 2014

Resource type: An overview of findings is presented in the Ab­stract. Chapter 2 features global-scale climate variables; Chapter 3 highlights the global oceans; and Chapter 4 covers tropical climate phenomena including tropical cyclones. The Arctic and Antarctic respond differently through time and are reported in separate chapters (5 and 6, respec­tively). Chapter 7 provides a regional perspective authored largely by local government climate special­ists. Sidebars included in each chapter are intended to provide background information on a significant climate event from 2013, a developing technology, or emerging dataset germane to the chapter’s content. A list of relevant datasets and their sources for all chapters is provided as an Appendix.

Reference: State of the Climate in 2013 (2014). J. Blunden, and D. S. Arndt (eds.), Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 95(7): S1-S238.

Link: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/bams-state-of-the-climate/2014.php

Especially relevant chapter:

Chapter 3(j): Global Oceans - Sea level variability and change

Description: Owing to both ocean warming and land ice melt contributions, global mean sea level in 2014 represented the highest yearly average in the satellite record and was 67 mm greater than the 1993 average, when satellite altimetry measurements began.

Reference: M. A. Merrifield, P. Thompson, E. Leuliette, G. T. Mitchum, D. P. Chambers, S. Jevrejeva, R. S. Nerem, M. Menéndez, W. Sweet, B. D. Hamlington, and J. J. Marra

From the extreme to the mean: Acceleration and tipping points of coastal inundation from sea level rise

Resource type: Research article

Description: [Abstract] Relative sea level rise (RSLR) has driven large increases in annual water level exceedances (duration and frequency) above minor (nuisance level) coastal flooding elevation thresholds established by the National Weather Service (NWS) at U.S. tide gauges over the last half-century. For threshold levels below 0.5 m above high tide, the rates of annual exceedances are accelerating along the U.S. East and Gulf Coasts, primarily from evolution of tidal water level distributions to higher elevations impinging on the flood threshold. These accelerations are quantified in terms of the local RSLR rate and tidal range through multiple regression analysis. Along the U.S. West Coast, annual exceedance rates are linearly increasing, complicated by sharp punctuations in RSLR anomalies during El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phases, and we account for annual exceedance variability along the U.S. West and East Coasts from ENSO forcing. Projections of annual exceedances above local NWS nuisance levels at U.S. tide gauges are estimated by shifting probability estimates of daily maximum water levels over a contemporary 5-year period following probabilistic RSLR projections of Kopp et al. (2014) for representative concentration pathways (RCP) 2.6, 4.5, and 8.5. We suggest a tipping point for coastal inundation (30 days/per year with a threshold exceedance) based on the evolution of exceedance probabilities. Under forcing associated with the local-median projections of RSLR, the majority of locations surpass the tipping point over the next several decades regardless of specific RCP.

Reference: William V. Sweet and Joseph Park (2014). From the extreme to the mean: Acceleration and tipping points of coastal inundation from sea level rise; Earth’s Future DOI: 10.1002/2014EF000272.

Link: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/enhanced/doi/10.1002/2014EF000272/

New research reveals what's causing sea level to rise

Resource type: Online article

Description: Sea level rise is half due to melting ice and half due to ocean warming, including 13% from the deepest oceans, a new paper has found.

Reference: New research reveals what's causing sea level to rise (2014). John Abraham. Climate Change, Guardian Environment Blogs, The Guardian (October 30, 2014).

Link: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2014/oct/30/new-research-quantifies-sea-level-rise

Climate Change and Sea-Level Rise in Florida

Resource type: Report

Description: This report provides an overview of climate change and examines impacts resulting from increasing greenhouse gases, air temperature and water vapor, ocean temperature, and sea level. Emphasizing Florida-based research and research by Florida scientists, the report presents a dozen discussions on the effects of the four climate “drivers” and recommended promising areas for future research.

Reference: The effects of climate change on Florida’s ocean and coastal resources (2009). A special report to the Florida Energy and Climate Commission and the people of Florida. Florida Oceans and Coastal Council. Tallahassee, FL.

Link: http://www.floridaoceanscouncil.org/reports/Climate_Change_Report.pdf

Climate Change and Sea-Level Rise in Florida: An Update of The Effects of Climate Change on Florida’s Ocean and Coastal Resources

Resource type: Report

Description: This report is an update of the Florida Oceans and Coastal Council’s 2009 report, Climate Change and Sea-Level Rise in Florida. This update on the sea-level rise portion of the 2009 report includes the effect of rising sea levels on such issues as threats to coastal water supplies, impacts on coastal planning, and changes in barrier islands, beaches, and estuaries.

Reference: Climate Change and Sea-Level Rise in Florida: An Update of “The Effects of Climate Change on Florida’s Ocean and Coastal Resources.” [2009 Report] (2010). Florida Oceans and Coastal Council. Tallahassee, Florida.

Link: http://www.floridaoceanscouncil.org/reports/Climate_Change_and_Sea_Level_Rise.pdf

As the seas rise, a slow-motion disaster gnaws at America’s shores

Resource type: Online article

Description: In Part 1of this series, a Reuters’ analysis finds that flooding is increasing along much of the nation’s coastline, forcing many communities into costly, controversial struggles with a relentless foe. Along with the article, the website includes access to: an interactive graph of tide gauge analysis showing higher seas and more flooding; a video of Accomack County, VA “under siege”; and an interactive map of flooding hot spots.

Reference: As the seas rise, a slow-motion disaster gnaws at America’s shores (2014). Ryan McNeil, Deborah J. Nelson, and Duff Wilson; Reuters News Agency (September 4, 2014).

Link: http://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/waters-edge-the-crisis-of-rising-sea-levels/#sidebar-saxis

Why Americans are flocking to their sinking shores even as the risks mount

Resource type: Online article

Description: In Part 2 of this series, a Reuters’ news team finds that despite laws intended to curb development where rising seas pose the greatest threat, government is happy to help the nation indulge in its passion for beachfront living.

Reference: Why Americans are flocking to their sinking shores even as the risks mount (2014). Deborah J. Nelson, Ryan McNeil, and Duff Wilson; Reuters News Agency (September 17, 2014).

Link: http://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/waters-edge-the-crisis-of-rising-sea-levels/#article-2-against-the-tide

Encroaching Tides: How Sea Level Rise and Tidal Flooding Threaten U.S.East and Gulf Coast Communities over the Next 30 Years

Resource type: Report

Description: High tides are having a greater impact on U.S. communities today than in decades past for two reasons. First, our shoresare more heavily developed, so higher tides affect morepeople and infrastructure. Second, these tides are now occurringon top of elevated—and rising—sea levels.To analyze how often flooding now occurs at locations along the East and Gulf Coasts—and the frequency and extent offlooding that communities along these coasts can expect 15and 30 years from now—we relied on 52 tide gauges fromPortland, ME, to Freeport, TX (including Savannah/Tybee Island).Our analysis shows that many East Coast communities now see dozens of tidal floods each year. In some East Coast locations, such as Savannah, GA (at Fort Pulaski), and Lewisetta, VA, extensive flooding isexpected to occur with tides alone on a regular basis withinone or two decades.

By 2045, many coastal communities are expected to see roughlyone foot off sea level rise. As that occurs, one-third of the52 locations in our analysis would start to face tidal floodingmore than 180 times a year, on average, and nine locations can expect to seetidal flooding 240 times or more per year.In this future, days without high-tide floods could startto become the exception in certain places. Without sensiblepreparation for these disruptions, conducting daily life insuch flood-prone areas would become, at best, unreliable and,at worst, dangerous.

Reference: Encroaching Tides: How Sea Level Rise and Tidal Flooding Threaten U.S.East and Gulf Coast Communities over the Next 30 Years (2014). Erika Spanger-Siegfried, Melanie Fitzpatrick, and Kristina Dahl; Union of Concerned Scientists, Cambridge, MA.

Link: http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/impacts/effects-of-tidal-flooding-and-sea-level-rise-east-coast-gulf-of-mexico#.VDbFWBaj9nU (full report)
    http://www.ucsusa.org/sites/default/files/attach/2014/10/encroaching-tides-executive-summary.pdf (executive summary)

Maps, laws and planning policy: Working with biophysical and spatial uncertainty in the case of sea level rise

Resource type: Research article

Description: [Abstract] Rapid sea level rise over the 21st century threatens coastal settlements and populations worldwide. Significant land-use policy reform will be needed to mitigate exposure to hazards in the coastal zone. Sea-level rise maps that indicate areas that are potentially prone to future inundation are a valuable tool for policymakers and decision makers. However, errors, assumptions, and uncertainties inherent in spatial data are not often explicitly recognized or communicated. In 2011, the state of Queensland, Australia, published a series of ‘state of the art’ sea-level rise maps as part of its coastal planning regime. This article uses the Queensland coastal planning regime as a case study to explore how errors, uncertainties and variability in physical, geographical and biological processes in the coastal zone pose challenges for policy makers. Analysis of the case study shows that the use of spatial data in sea-level rise policy formulation is complicated by the need to: (1) acknowledge and communicate uncertainties in existing and projected rates of rise; (2) engage in site-specific mapping based upon best available scientific information; (3) incorporate probabilities of extreme weather events; (4) resolve whether coastal engineering solutions should be included in mapping; (5) ensure that mapping includes areas required for future ecosystem migration; (6) manage discretion in planning and policy decision-making processes; (7) create flexible policies which can be updated in line with scientific developments; and (8) balance the need for consistency with the ability to apply developments in science and technology. Scientists working with spatial data and governments developing and implementing coastal planning policies can recognize, communicate, and seek to overcome uncertainty by addressing these factors

Reference:Justine Bell, Megan I. Saunders, Javier X. Leon, Morena Mills, Andrew Kythreotis, Stuart Phinn, Peter J. Mumby, Catherine E. Lovelock, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, and T.H. Morrison (2014). Maps, laws and planning policy: Working with biophysical and spatial uncertainty in the case of sea level rise. Environmental Science & Policy 44: 247–257.

Link: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1462901114001415

Sea-level: measuring the bounding surfaces of the ocean

Resource type: Research article

Description: [Abstract] The practical need to understand sea level along the coasts, such as for safe navigation given the spatially variable tides, has resulted in tide gauge observations having the distinction of being some of the longest instrumental ocean records. Archives of these records, along with geological constraints, have allowed us to identify the century-scale rise in global sea level. Additional data sources, particularly satellite altimetry missions, have helped us to better identify the rates and causes of sea-level rise and the mechanisms leading to spatial variability in the observed rates. Analysis of all of the data reveals the need for long-term and stable observation systems to assess accurately the regional changes as well as to improve our ability to estimate future changes in sea level. While information from many scientific disciplines is needed to understand sea-level change, this review focuses on contributions from geodesy and the role of the ocean's bounding surfaces: the sea surface and the Earth's crust.

Reference: Mark E. Tamisiea, Chris W. Hughes, Simon D. P. Williams and Richard M. Bingley (2014). Sea level: measuring the bounding surfaces of the ocean. Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical & Engineering Sciences 372: 20130336.

Link: http://openchannels.org/sites/default/files/literature/Sea%20level%20measuring%20the%20bounding%20surfaces%20of%20the%20ocean.pdf

The Secret of Sea Level Rise: It Will Vary Greatly by Region

Resource type: Online article

Description: As the world warms, sea levels could easily rise three to six feet this century. But increases will vary widely by region, with prevailing winds, powerful ocean currents, and even the gravitational pull of the polar ice sheets determining whether some coastal areas will be inundated while others stay dry.

Reference: The Secret of Sea Level Rise: It Will Vary Greatly by Region (2010). Michael D. Lemonick. Yale Environment 360 website (March 22, 2010).

Link: http://e360.yale.edu/feature/the_secret_of_sea_level_rise_it_will_vary_greatly_by_region/2255/

Sea Level Rise to Put the “Squeeze” on Coastal Georgia

Resource type: Online article

Description: This article describes the effect sea level rise will likely have on the Georgia coast and what coastal communities can do to mitigate these effects.

Reference: Sea Level Rise to Put the “Squeeze” on Coastal Georgia (2012). Bruce Dorminey. Climate Central website (July 25, 2011).

Link: http://www.climatecentral.org/news/sea-level-rise-to-put-the-squeeze-on-coastal-georgia

Sea Level Changes in the Southeastern United States: Past, Present, and Future

Resource type: Report

Description: This paper discusses past, present, and future sea level changes in the southeastern United States. It is aimed at non-scientists and scientists who are not specialists in sea level change. Although this report is about a specific part of the world, sea level change in any region is best viewed in the context of global sea level changes.

Reference: Sea Level Changes in the Southeastern United States: Past, Present, and Future (2011). Gary T. Mitchum. Florida Climate Institute; Southeast Climate Consortium.

Link: http://floridaclimateinstitute.org/images/reports/201108mitchum_sealevel.pdf

Coastal Sensitivity to Sea Level Rise: A Focus on the Mid-Atlantic Region

Alternate Title: Synthesis and Assessment Product 4.1 Report by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research

Resource type: Report

Description: The focus of this report is to identify and review the potential impacts of future sea level rise based on present scientific understanding. To do so, it evaluates several aspects of sea level rise impacts to the natural environment and examines the impact to human land development along the coast. In addition, the report addresses the connection between sea level rise impacts and current adaptation strategies, and assesses the role of the existing coastal management policies in identifying and responding to potential challenges.

Reference: Coastal Sensitivity to Sea-Level Rise: A Focus on the Mid-Atlantic Region (2009). James G. Titus (coordinating lead author); K. Eric Anderson, Donald R. Cahoon, Dean B. Gesch, Stephen K. Gill, Benjamin T. Gutierrez, E. Robert Thieler, and S. Jeffress Williams (lead authors). A report by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington D.C.

Link: http://downloads.globalchange.gov/sap/sap4-1/sap4-1-final-report-all.pdf

Rising Waters: How Fast and How Far Will Sea Levels Rise?

Resource type: Online article

Description: Although the U.N. climate report, Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis, significantly increases its projections for sea level rise this century, some scientists warn even those estimates are overly conservative, demonstrating that predicting sea level rise far into the future is still very difficult.

Reference: Rising Waters: How Fast and How Far Will Sea Levels Rise? (2013). Nicola Jones. Yale Environment 360 website (October 21, 2013).

Link: http://e360.yale.edu/feature/rising_waters_how_fast_and_how_far_will_sea_levels_rise/2702/

Hotspot of Accelerated Sea-level rise on the Atlantic Coast of North America

Resource type: Research article

Description: (Abstract) Climate warming does not force sea level rise (SLR) at the same rate worldwide. Instead, there are regional variations of SLR superimposed on a global average rise. These disparities are forced by dynamic processes, arising from ocean water circulation and differences in temperature and/or salinity and by fixed equilibrium processes, arising from mass redistributions changing gravity and the Earth’s rotation and shape. These sea level variations form unique spatial patterns, yet there are very few observations verifying predicted patterns or fingerprints. In this study, the authors present evidence of recently accelerated SLR in a unique 1,000-km-long hotspot on the highly populated Atlantic coast north of Cape Hatteras, NC, and show that it is consistent with a modelled fingerprint of dynamic SLR. For example, the study showed that between 1950–1979 and 1980–2009, SLR rate increases in this hotspot were ~ 3–4 times higher than the global average.

Reference: Hotspot of Accelerated Sea-level rise on the Atlantic Coast of North America (2012). Asbury H. Sallenger Jr., Kara S. Doran, and Peter A. Howd. Nature Climate Change 2: 884–888.

Link: http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v2/n12/full/nclimate1597.html

Global Sea Level Rise Scenarios for the United States National Climate Assessment

Resource type: Report

Description: Based on a large body of science, we identify four scenarios of global mean sea level rise ranging from 0.2 meters (8 inches) to 2.0 meters (6.6 feet) by 2100. These scenarios provide a set of plausible trajectories of global mean sea level rise for use in assessing vulnerability, impacts, and adaptation strategies. None of these scenarios should be used in isolation, and experts and coastal managers should factor in locally and regionally specific information on climatic, physical, ecological, and biological processes and on the culture and economy of coastal communities. Scientific observations at the local and regional scale are essential to action, and long-term coastal management actions (e.g. coastal habitat restoration) are sensitive to near-term rates and amounts of sea level rise. However, global phenomena, such as sea level rise, also affect decisions at the local scale, especially over longer time horizons. Thousands of structures along the US coast are over fifty years old, including vital storm and waste water systems. Thus, coastal vulnerability, impact, and adaptation assessments require an understanding of the longterm, global, and regional drivers of environmental change.

Reference: Global Sea Level Rise Scenarios for the U.S. National Climate Assessment (2012). A. Parris, P. Bromirski, V. Burkett, D. Cayan, M. Culver, J. Hall, R. Horton, K. Knuuti, R. Moss, J. Obeysekera, A. Sallenger, and J. Weiss. NOAA Tech Memo OAR CPO-1.

Link: http://www.cpo.noaa.gov/sites/cpo/Reports/2012/NOAA_SLR_r3.pdf

A Coastal Impact Study: Nation under Siege: Sea Level Rise at Our Doorstep

Resource type: Report

Description: This study begins with a look at the impact of sea level rise on the U.S., and then suggests a two-pronged solution that, if begun immediately, would avert dangerous climate change. These recommendations include: an immediate moratorium on coal, i.e. a halt to the construction of any new conventional coal-fired power plants and the phasing out of existing and aging coal plants; updating the National Model Building Energy Codes (residential and commercial) to incorporate the 2030 Challenge targets, and mandating their implementation; and supporting federal, state and local legislation to encourage the adoption of the Challenge targets.

Reference: A Coastal Impact Study: Nation under Siege: Sea Level Rise at Our Doorstep (2007). Vincent Martinez, Teal Bowes, and Peter Chapman. A Coastal Impact Study Prepared by the 2030 Research Center, 2030 Inc./Architecture 30.

Link: http://www.architecture2030.org/hot_topics/nation_under_siege

Coastal Vulnerability Assessment of Cumberland Island National Seashore to Sea-Level Rise

Resource type: Assessment report

Description: A coastal vulnerability index (CVI) was used to map the relative vulnerability of the coast to future sea-level rise within Cumberland Island National Seashore in Georgia. The CVI ranks the following in terms of their physical contribution to sea-level rise-related coastal change: geomorphology, regional coastal slope, rate of relative sea-level rise, historical shoreline change rates, mean tidal range and mean significant wave height. The rankings for each input variable were combined and an index value calculated for 1-minute grid cells covering the park. The CVI highlights those regions where the physical effects of sea-level rise might be the greatest. This approach combines the coastal system's susceptibility to change with its natural ability to adapt to changing environmental conditions, yielding a quantitative, although relative, measure of the park's natural vulnerability to the effects of sea-level rise. The CVI provides an objective technique for evaluation and long-term planning by scientists and park managers. Cumberland Island National Seashore consists of stable to washover-dominated portions of barrier beach backed by wetland, marsh, mudflat and tidal creek. The areas within Cumberland that are likely to be most vulnerable to sea-level rise are those with the lowest foredune ridge and highest rates of shoreline erosion.

Reference: Coastal Vulnerability Assessment of Cumberland Island National Seashore to Sea-Level Rise (2004). Elizabeth A. Pendleton, E. Robert Thieler, S. Jeffress Williams U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2004-1196.

Link: http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2004/1196/index.html

Coastal Wetland Vulnerability to Relative Sea-Level Rise: Wetland Elevation Trends and Process Controls

Resource type: Book chapter

Description: In this paper, the authors describe biotic and hydrologic controls on coastal wetland elevation dynamics. Specifically, they review the limited amount of literature that directly compares measures of hydrologic and biotic processes with direct measures of wetland elevation change. In addition, they present a first and preliminary analysis of near-term trajectories of the global SET-MH data set in order to improve our understanding of salt marsh and mangrove responses to current sea level rise and to identify critical factors and processes controlling coastal wetland elevation dynamics across a diversity of wetland settings.

Reference: Coastal Wetland Vulnerability to Relative Sea-Level Rise: Wetland Elevation Trends and Process Controls (2006). D.R. Cahoon, P.F. Hensel, T. Spencer, D.J. Reed, K.L. McKee, and N. Saintilan. In: Wetlands and Natural Resource Management [Jos T.A. Verhoeven, Boudeqign Bletman, Roland Bobbink, and Dennis F. Whigham (eds)]. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg and New York.

Link: http://download.springer.com/static/pdf/213/chp%253A10.1007%252F978-3-540-33187-2_12.pdf?auth66=1387398209_a8aed419e2170f8e6522cfb6c57533f8&ext=.pdf

Ocean Acidification

 

Linking the biological impacts of ocean acidification on oysters to changes in ecosystem services: A review

Resource type: Research article

Description: [Abstract] Continued anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions are acidifying our oceans, and hydrogen ion concentrations in surface oceans are predicted to increase 150% by 2100. Ocean acidification (OA) is changing ocean carbonate chemistry, including causing rapid reductions in calcium carbonate availability with implications for many marine organisms, including biogenic reefs formed by oysters. The impacts of OA are marked. Adult oysters display both decreased growth and calcification rates, while larval oysters show stunted growth, developmental abnormalities, and increased mortality. These physiological impacts are affecting ecosystem functioning and the provision of ecosystem services by oyster reefs. Oysters are ecologically and economically important, providing a wide range of ecosystem services, such as improved water quality, coastlines protection, and food provision. OA has the potential to alter the delivery and the quality of the ecosystem services associated with oyster reefs, with significant ecological and economic losses. This review provides a summary of current knowledge of OA on oyster biology, but then links these impacts to potential changes to the provision of ecosystem services associated with healthy oyster reefs.

Reference: Anaëlle Lemasson, Stephen Fletcher, Jason Hall-Spencer, and Antony Knights (2017). Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology; DOI: 10.1016/j.jembe.2017.01.019

Link: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S002209811730059X

Shifts in coral reef biogeochemistry and resulting acidification linked to offshore productivity

Resource type: Research article

Description: [Abstract] Oceanic uptake of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) has acidified open-ocean surface waters by 0.1 pH units since preindustrial times. Despite unequivocal evidence of ocean acidification (OA) via open-ocean measurements for the past several decades, it has yet to be documented in near-shore and coral reef environments. A lack of long-term measurements from these environments restricts our understanding of the natural variability and controls of seawater CO2-carbonate chemistry and biogeochemistry, which is essential to make accurate predictions on the effects of future OA on coral reefs. Here, in a 5-y study of the Bermuda coral reef, we show evidence that variations in reef biogeochemical processes drive interannual changes in seawater pH and Ωaragonite that are partly controlled by offshore processes. Rapid acidification events driven by shifts toward increasing net calcification and net heterotrophy were observed during the summers of 2010 and 2011, with the frequency and extent of such events corresponding to increased offshore productivity. These events also coincided with a negative winter North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index, which historically has been associated with extensive offshore mixing and greater primary productivity at the Bermuda Atlantic Time-series Study (BATS) site. Our results reveal that coral reefs undergo natural interannual events of rapid acidification due to shifts in reef biogeochemical processes that may be linked to offshore productivity and ultimately controlled by larger-scale climatic and oceanographic processes.

Significance: Ocean acidification is hypothesized to have a negative impact on coral reef ecosystems, but to understand future potential impacts it is necessary to understand the natural variability and controls of coral reef biogeochemistry. Here we present a 5-y study from the Bermuda coral reef platform that demonstrates how rapid interannual acidification events on the local reef scale are driven by shifts in reef biogeochemical processes toward increasing net calcification and net respiration. These biogeochemical shifts are possibly linked to offshore productivity that ultimately may be controlled by large-scale climatological and oceanographic processes.

Reference: Shifts in coral reef biogeochemistry and resulting acidification linked to offshore productivity (2015). Kiley L. Yeakel, Andreas J. Andersson, Nicholas R. Bates, Timothy J. Noyes, Andrew Collins, and Rebecca Garley. PNAS 112(47):14512–14517, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1507021112.

Link: http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1507021112

Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia: Envisioning a Future Science Landscape

Resource type: Report

Description: [Abstract] Concerns are growing at multiple levels of government about the effects of ocean acidification and increasing hypoxia events on ecosystems along the coasts of California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. Thoughtful and strategic research and monitoring will be essential to improve understanding of these impacts and to develop effective management and mitigation options.
This report seeks to assist decision-makers across the public sector in supporting science to address ocean acidification and hypoxia. Working with the West Coast Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia Science Panel and other thought leaders, the California Ocean Science Trust has developed this vision for the future state of knowledge and role of science in improving our ability to understand and manage these threats on the West Coast.

Reference: Skyli McAfee, Eve Robinson, and Liz Whiteman (2015). Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia: Envisioning a Future Science Landscape. California Ocean Science Trust, Oakland, CA

Link: http://openchannels.org/sites/default/files/literature/Ocean%20Acidification%20and%20Hypoxia%20-%20Envisioning%20a%20Future%20Science%20Landscape.pdf

Decadal acidification in the water masses of the Atlantic Ocean

Resource type: Research article

Description: [Abstract] Global ocean acidification is caused primarily by the ocean’s uptake of CO2 as a consequence of increasing atmospheric CO2 levels. We present observations of the oceanic decrease in pH at the basin scale (50°S–36°N) for the Atlantic Ocean over two decades (1993–2013). Changes in pH associated with the uptake of anthropogenic CO2 (ΔpHCant) and with variations caused by biological activity and ocean circulation (ΔpHNat) are evaluated for different water masses. Output from an Institut Pierre Simon Laplace climate model is used to place the results into a longer-term perspective and to elucidate the mechanisms responsible for pH change. The largest decreases in pH (∆pH) were observed in central, mode, and intermediate waters, with a maximum ΔpH value in South Atlantic Central Waters of −0.042 ± 0.003. The ΔpH trended toward zero in deep and bottom waters. Observations and model results show that pH changes generally are dominated by the anthropogenic component, which accounts for rates between −0.0015 and −0.0020/y in the central waters. The anthropogenic and natural components are of the same order of magnitude and reinforce one another in mode and intermediate waters over the time period. Large negative ΔpHNat values observed in mode and intermediate waters are driven primarily by changes in CO2 content and are consistent with (i) a poleward shift of the formation region during the positive phase of the Southern Annular Mode in the South Atlantic and (ii) an increase in the rate of the water mass formation in the North Atlantic.

Significance: “We provide the first (to our knowledge) observation-based acidification trends in the water masses of the Atlantic basin over the past two decades and compare them with climate model results. Observations and model output confirm that pH changes in surface layers are dominated by the anthropogenic component. In mode and intermediate waters, the anthropogenic and natural components are of the same order of magnitude and sign. Large changes in the natural component of newly formed mode and intermediate waters are associated with latitudinal shifts of these water masses caused by the Southern Annular Mode in the South Atlantic and by changes in the rates of water mass formation in the North Atlantic.”

Reference: Decadal acidification in the water masses of the Atlantic Ocean (2015). Aida F. Ríos, Laure Resplandy, Maribel I. García-Ibáñez, Noelia M. Fajar, Anton Velo, Xose A. Padin, Rik Wanninkhof, Reiner Steinfeldt, Gabriel Rosón, and Fiz F. Pérez. PNAS 2015; published ahead of print July 27, 2015, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1504613112

Link: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2015/07/21/1504613112.full.pdf

Vulnerability and adaptation of US shellfisheries to ocean acidification

Resource type: Research article

Description: [Abstract] [Abstract] Ocean acidification is a global, long-term problem whose ultimate solution requires carbon dioxide reduction at a scope and scale that will take decades to accomplish successfully. Until that is achieved, feasible and locally relevant adaptation and mitigation measures are needed. To help to prioritize societal responses to ocean acidification, we present a spatially explicit, multidisciplinary vulnerability analysis of coastal human communities in the United States. We focus our analysis on shelled mollusc harvests, which are likely to be harmed by ocean acidification. Our results highlight US regions most vulnerable to ocean acidification (and why), important knowledge and information gaps, and opportunities to adapt through local actions. The research illustrates the benefits of integrating natural and social sciences to identify actions and other opportunities while policy, stakeholders and scientists are still in relatively early stages of developing research plans and responses to ocean acidification.

Reference: Vulnerability and adaptation of US shellfisheries to ocean acidification (2015). Julia A. Ekstrom, Lisa Suatoni, Sarah R. Cooley, Linwood H. Pendleton, George G. Waldbusser, Josh E. Cinner, Jessica Ritter, Chris Langdon, Ruben van Hooidonk, Dwight Gledhill, Katharine Wellman, Michael W. Beck, Luke M. Brander, Dan Rittschof, Carolyn Doherty, Peter E. T. Edwards and Rosimeiry Portela; Nature Climate Change 5: 207–214.

Link: http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v5/n3/full/nclimate2508.html (behind paywall)

Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia: Envisioning a Future Science Landscape

Resource type: Report

Description: [Abstract] Concerns are growing at multiple levels of government about the effects of ocean acidification and increasing hypoxia events on ecosystems along the coasts of California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. Thoughtful and strategic research and monitoring will be essential to improve understanding of these impacts and to develop effective management and mitigation options.

This report seeks to assist decision-makers across the public sector in supporting science to address ocean acidification and hypoxia. Working with the West Coast Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia Science Panel and other thought leaders, the California Ocean Science Trust has developed this vision for the future state of knowledge and role of science in improving our ability to understand and manage these threats on the West Coast.

Reference: Skyli McAfee, Eve Robinson, and Liz Whiteman (2015). Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia: Envisioning a Future Science Landscape. California Ocean Science Trust, Oakland, CA

Link: http://openchannels.org/sites/default/files/literature/Ocean%20Acidification%20and%20Hypoxia%20-%20Envisioning%20a%20Future%20Science%20Landscape.pdf

Trends and drivers in global surface ocean pH over the past three decades

Resource type: Research article

Description: [Abstract] We report global long-term trends in surface ocean pH using a new pH data set computed by combining fCO2 observations from the Surface Ocean CO2 Atlas (SOCAT) version 2 with surface alkalinity estimates based on temperature and salinity. Trends were determined over the periods 1981–2011 and 1991–2011 for a set of 17 biomes using a weighted linear least squares method. We observe significant decreases in surface ocean pH in ~70% of all biomes and a global mean rate of decrease of –0.0018 ± 0.0004 yr-1 for 1991–2011. We are not able to calculate a global trend for 1981–2011 because too few biomes have enough data for this. In two-thirds of the biomes, the rate of change is commensurate with the trends expected based on the assumption that the surface ocean pH change is only driven by the surface ocean carbon chemistry remaining in a transient equilibrium with the increase in atmospheric CO2. In the remaining biomes deviations from such equilibrium may reflect changes in the trend of surface ocean fCO2, most notably in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, or changes in the oceanic buffer (Revelle) factor. We conclude that well-planned and long-term sustained observational networks are key to reliably document the ongoing and future changes in ocean carbon chemistry due to anthropogenic forcing.

Reference: Trends and drivers in global surface ocean pH over the past three decades (2014). S. Lauvset, N. Gruber, P. Landschützer, A. Olsen, J. Tjiputra; Biogeosciences Discussions 11(11): 15549-15584.

Link: http://www.biogeosciences-discuss.net/11/15549/2014/bgd-11-15549-2014.html

Lessons learned from ocean acidification research: Reflection on the rapidly growing field of ocean acidification research highlights priorities for future research on the changing ocean

Resource type: Research article

Description: In the January issue of the journal Nature Climate Change Ulf Riebesell, professor for Biological Oceanography at GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, and Jean-Pierre Gattuso from the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) urge the international scientific community to undertake a concerted interdisciplinary effort. According to the two experts, future ocean acidification research will have to deal with three major challenges: It needs to expand from single to multiple drivers, from single species to communities and ecosystems, and from evaluating acclimation to understanding adaptation.

Reference: Ulf Riebesell and Jean-Pierre Gattuso (2014). Lessons learned from ocean acidification research; Nature Climate Change 5:12-14.

Link: http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v5/n1/pdf/nclimate2456.pdf

An Updated Synthesis of the Impacts of Ocean Acidification on Marine Biodiversity

Resource type: Report

Description: [Abstract] This review provides an updated synthesis of the impacts of ocean acidification on marine biodiversity based upon current literature, including emerging research on the geological history of natural ocean acidification events, and the projected societal costs of future acidification. The report takes into consideration comments and feedback submitted by Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, other Governments and organizations as well as experts who kindly peer-reviewed the report.

Reference: An Updated Synthesis of the Impacts of Ocean Acidification on Marine Biodiversity (2014). (Eds: S. Hennige, J.M. Roberts & P. Williamson). Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity; Montreal, Technical Series No. 75.

Link: http://www.cbd.int/doc/publications/cbd-ts-75-en.pdf

New global maps detail human-caused ocean acidification

Resource type: Online article

Description: A team of scientists has published the most comprehensive picture yet of how acidity levels vary across the world's oceans, providing a benchmark for years to come as enormous amounts of human-caused carbon emissions continue to wind up at sea. Using 2005 as a reference year, the maps provide a monthly look at how ocean acidity rises and falls by season and geographic location, along with saturation levels of calcium carbonate minerals used by shell-building organisms.

Reference: Climatological distributions of pH, pCO2, total CO2, alkalinity, and CaCO3 saturation in the global surface ocean, and temporal changes at selected locations (2014). Taro Takahashi, S.C. Sutherland, D.W. Chipman, J.G. Goddard, Cheng Ho, Timothy Newberger, Colm Sweeney, and D.R. Munro. Marine Chemistry 164: 95–125.

Link to research synopsis: http://phys.org/news/2014-11-global-human-caused-ocean-acidification.html

Link to original research article: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304420314001042

The Role of Temperature in Determining Species’ Vulnerability to Ocean Acidification: A Case Study Using Mytilus galloprovincialis

Resource type: Research article

Description: [Abstract] Ocean acidification (OA) is occurring across a backdrop of concurrent environmental changes that may in turn influence species’ responses to OA. Temperature affects many fundamental biological processes and governs key reactions in the sea water carbonate system. It therefore has the potential to offset or exacerbate the effects of OA. While initial studies have examined the combined impacts of warming and OA for a narrow range of climate change scenarios, our mechanistic understanding of the interactive effects of temperature and OA remains limited. Here, we use the blue mussel, Mytilus galloprovincialis, as a model species to test how OA affects the growth of a calcifying invertebrate across a wide range of temperatures encompassing their thermal optimum. Mussels were exposed in the laboratory to a factorial combination of low and high pCO2 (400 and 1200uatm CO2) and temperatures (12, 14, 16, 18, 20, and 240C) for one month. Results indicate that the effects of OA on shell growth are highly dependent on temperature. Although high CO2 significantly reduced mussel growth at 140C, this effect gradually lessened with successive warming to 200C, illustrating how moderate warming can mediate the effects of OA through temperature’s effects on both physiology and seawater geochemistry. Furthermore, the mussels grew thicker shells in warmer conditions independent of CO2treatment. Together, these results highlight the importance of considering the physiological and geochemical interactions between temperature and carbonate chemistry when interpreting species’ vulnerability to OA.

Reference: The Role of Temperature in Determining Species’ Vulnerability to Ocean Acidification: A Case Study Using Mytilus galloprovincialis (2014). K.J. Kroeker, B. Gaylord, T.M. Hill, J.D. Hosfelt, S.H. Miller, and Eric Sanford. PLoS ONE 9(7): e100353. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0100353.

Link: http://openchannels.org/sites/default/files/literature/The%20Role%20of%20Temperature%20in%20Determining%20Species%20Vulnerability%20to%20Ocean%20Acidification%20A%20Case%20Study%20Using%20Mytilus%20galloprovincialis.pdf

Impacts of ocean acidification on marine organisms: quantifying sensitivities and interaction with warming

Resource type: Research article

Description: [Abstract] Ocean acidification represents a threat to marine species worldwide, and forecasting the ecological impacts of acidification is a high priority for science, management, and policy. As research on the topic expands at an exponential rate, a comprehensive understanding of the variability in organisms' responses and corresponding levels of certainty is necessary to forecast the ecological effects. Here, we perform the most comprehensive meta-analysis to date by synthesizing the results of 228 studies examining biological responses to ocean acidification. The results reveal decreased survival, calcification, growth, development and abundance in response to acidification when the broad range of marine organisms is pooled together. However, the magnitude of these responses varies among taxonomic groups, suggesting there is some predictable trait-based variation in sensitivity, despite the investigation of approximately 100 new species in recent research. The results also reveal an enhanced sensitivity of mollusk larvae, but suggest that an enhanced sensitivity of early life history stages is not universal across all taxonomic groups. In addition, the variability in species' responses is enhanced when they are exposed to acidification in multi-species assemblages, suggesting that it is important to consider indirect effects and exercise caution when forecasting abundance patterns from single-species laboratory experiments. Furthermore, the results suggest that other factors, such as nutritional status or source population, could cause substantial variation in organisms' responses. Last, the results highlight a trend towards enhanced sensitivity to acidification when taxa are concurrently exposed to elevated seawater temperature.

Reference: Impacts of ocean acidification on marine organisms: quantifying sensitivities and interaction with warming (2013). Kristy J. Kroeker, Rebecca L. Kordas, Ryan Crim, Iris E. Hendriks, Laura Ramajo, Gerald S. Singh, Carlos M. Duarte, and Jean-Pierre Gattuso. Global Change Biology 19(6): 1884–1896.

Link: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/gcb.12179/abstract

Ocean acidification causes ecosystem shifts via altered competitive interactions

Resource type: Research article

Description: [Abstract] Ocean acidification represents a pervasive environmental change that is predicted to affect a wide range of species, yet our understanding of the emergent ecosystem impacts is very limited. Many studies report detrimental effects of acidification on single species in lab studies, especially those with calcareous shells or skeletons. Observational studies using naturally acidified ecosystems have shown profound shifts away from such calcareous species, and there has been an assumption that direct impacts of acidification on sensitive species drive most ecosystem responses. We tested an alternative hypothesis that species interactions attenuate or amplify the direct effects of acidification on individual species. Here, we show that altered competitive dynamics between calcareous species and fleshy seaweeds drive significant ecosystem shifts in acidified conditions. Although calcareous species recruited and grew at similar rates in ambient and low pH conditions during early successional stages, they were rapidly overgrown by fleshy seaweeds later in succession in low pH conditions. The altered competitive dynamics between calcareous species and fleshy seaweeds is probably the combined result of decreased growth rates of calcareous species, increased growth rates of fleshy seaweeds, and/or altered grazing rates. Phase shifts towards ecosystems dominated by fleshy seaweed are common in many marine ecosystems, and our results suggest that changes in the competitive balance between these groups represent a key leverage point through which the physiological responses of individual species to acidification could indirectly lead to profound ecosystem changes in an acidified ocean.

Reference: Ocean acidification causes ecosystem shifts via altered competitive interactions (2012). Kristy J. Kroeker, Fiorenza Micheli, and Maria Cristina Gambi. Nature Climate Change DOI:10.1038/NCLIMATE1680.

Link: http://micheli.stanford.edu/pdf/Kroeker%20et%20al%202012%20Nature%20Climate%20Change.pdf

Taking Action Against Ocean Acidification: A Review of Management and Policy Options

Resource type: Research article

Description: [Abstract] Ocean acidification has emerged over the last two decades as one of the largest threats to marine organisms and ecosystems. However, most research efforts on ocean acidification have so far neglected management and related policy issues to focus instead on understanding its ecological and biogeochemical implications. This shortfall is addressed here with a systematic, international and critical review of management and policy options. In particular, we investigate the assumption that fighting acidification is mainly, but not only, about reducing CO2 emissions, and explore the leeway that this emerging problem may open in old environmental issues. We review nine types of management responses, initially grouped under four categories: preventing ocean acidification; strengthening ecosystem resilience; adapting human activities; and repairing damages. Connecting and comparing options leads to classifying them, in a qualitative way, according to their potential and feasibility. While reducing CO2 emissions is confirmed as the key action that must be taken against acidification, some of the other options appear to have the potential to buy time, e.g. by relieving the pressure of other stressors, and help marine life face unavoidable acidification. Although the existing legal basis to take action shows few gaps, policy challenges are significant: tackling them will mean succeeding in various areas of environmental management where we failed to a large extent so far.

Reference: Taking Action Against Ocean Acidification: A Review of Management and Policy Options (2013). Raphaël Billé, Ryan Kelly, Arne Biastoch, Ellycia Harrould-Kolieb, Dorothée Herr, Fortunat Joos, Kristy Kroeker, Dan Laffoley, Andreas Oschlies, and Jean-Pierre Gattuso. Environmental Management 52:761–779.

Link: http://download.springer.com/static/pdf/318/art%253A10.1007%252Fs00267-013-0132-7.pdf?auth66=1411849452_f8f55d939bd3cf1f1c53a9dba55ce48c&ext=.pdf

Ocean Acidification

Resource type: Web page

Description: The International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), in cooperation with the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, The Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research, and The Ocean Acidification International Coordination Center has created an ocean acidification website designed to bring information on ocean acidification to scientists, policymakers, and the public. Topics include international symposia, multimedia resources, and publications.

Link: http://ocean-acidification.net/

Examining How Marine Life Might Adapt to Acidified Oceans

Resource type: News article

Description: Marine biologist, Gretchen Hofmann, discusses how well mollusks and other shell-building organisms might evolve to live in increasingly acidic ocean conditions. She states that while some of these organisms do appear to have a degree of adaptive ability, this capacity is limited and increasing ocean acidity could push these creatures past a tipping point where they would be unable to construct shells.

Reference: Elizabeth Grossman (2014). Examining How Marine Life Might Adapt to Acidified Oceans. Yale Environment 360 (May 14).

Link: http://e360.yale.edu/feature/interview_gretchen_hofmann_examining_how_marine_life_might_adapt_to_acidified_oceans/2765/

Limacina helicina shell dissolution as an indicator of declining habitat suitability owing to ocean acidification in the California Current Ecosystem

Resource type: Research article

Description: (Abstract) Few studies to date have demonstrated widespread biological impacts of ocean acidification (OA) under conditions currently found in the natural environment. From a combined survey of physical and chemical water properties and biological sampling along the Washington–Oregon–California coast in August 2011, the authors show that large portions of the shelf waters are corrosive to pteropods in the natural environment. They show a strong positive correlation between the proportion of pteropod individuals with severe shell dissolution damage and the percentage of undersaturated water in the top 100 m with respect to aragonite. The authors found 53% of onshore individuals and 24% of offshore individuals on average to have severe dissolution damage. Relative to preindustrial CO2 concentrations, the extent of undersaturated waters in the top 100 m of the water column has increased over sixfold along the California Current Ecosystem (CCE). They estimate that the incidence of severe pteropod shell dissolution owing to anthropogenic OA has doubled in near shore habitats since pre-industrial conditions across this region and is on track to triple by 2050. These results demonstrate that habitat suitability for pteropods in the coastal CCE is declining. The observed impacts represent a baseline for future observations towards understanding broader scale OA effects.

Reference: Limacina helicina shell dissolution as an indicator of declining habitat suitability owing to ocean acidification in the California Current Ecosystem (2014). N. Bednarsˇek, R.A. Feely, J.C.P. Reum, B. Peterson, J. Menkel, S.R. Alin, and B. Hales. Proc. R. Soc. B 281: 20140123.

Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2014.0123 

AMAP Assessment 2013: Arctic Ocean Acidification

Resource type: Report

Description: This report contains five chapters. Chapter 1 sets the stage for the assessment and describes its scope. Chapter 2 presents an introduction to the carbon biogeochemical system in the Arctic Ocean: processes that influence the carbon system; processes sensitive to ocean acidification; present sources and sinks of carbon in the Arctic Ocean; current features of ocean acidification in the different Arctic seas; and a discussion of future scenarios. Chapter 3 provides a description of the biological responses to ocean acidification: impacts on calcification rate, on polymorph mineralogy and elemental partitioning in hard parts like skeletons and shells; viral effects on marine organisms including fish and mammals; effects observed within the Arctic area and in other relevant areas including sub-Arctic waters and Antarctic waters; and interactions between multiple stressors. Chapter 4 presents analyses of how changes in ocean acidification may affect the economics of marine fisheries in regions of the Arctic and on food security and cultural issues for coastal Arctic indigenous communities. Chapter 5 presents an overall summary of the major findings and gaps in knowledge on Arctic Ocean acidification. The summary is based on the logical consequences of and conclusions stemming from the scientific findings presented in the preceding chapters.

Reference: AMAP Assessment 2013: Arctic Ocean Acidification (2013). Richard Bellerby, Howard I. Browman, U. Rashid Sumaila (coordinating authors); Helene Amundsen, Leif Anderson, Andreas Andersson, Kumiko Azetsu-Scott, Michael Beman, Craig Carlson, William W.L. Cheung, Melissa Chierici, Tonya Clayton, Sarah Cooley, Peter Croot, Nils Daan, Carlos Duarte, Sam Dupont, Maoz Fine, Ola Flaaten, Jan Helge Fosså, Agneta Fransson, Arild Gjertsen, Jason Hall-Spencer, Pamela Hallock-Muller, Jon Havenhand, Nathalie Hilmi, Grete K. Hovelsrud, Thomas P. Hurst, Debora Iglesias-Rodriguez, Emil Jeansson, Paul Knorr, Haruko Kurihara, Vicky W.Y. Lam, John Lisle, Robie Macdonald, Fred Mackenzie, Clara Manno, Jeremy Mathis, Sophie McCoy, Frank Melzner, Lisa Miller, Philip Munday, Jon Olafsson, Are Olsen, Ute Passow, Hans-Otto Pörtner, Lars-Otto Reiersen, Justin Ries, Lisa Robbins, Dominique Robert, Jeffrey Runge, Alain Safa, David Scott, Hein Rune Skjoldal, Nadja Steiner, , Keita Suzuki, Frede Thingstad, Simon Wilson, Tim Wootton, and Michiyo Yamamoto-Kauai. Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP), Oslo, Norway.

Link: http://www.amap.no/documents/doc/AMAP-Assessment-2013-Arctic-Ocean-Acidification/881

Arctic Ocean Acidification 2013: An Overview

Resource type: Report

Description: This overview report presents a summary of the first comprehensive assessment of Arctic Ocean acidification (AOA) conducted by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme, AMAP Assessment 2013: Arctic Ocean Acidification report. Key findings of the overview include:

  • Arctic marine waters are experiencing widespread and rapid ocean acidification
  • The primary driver of ocean acidification is uptake of carbon dioxide emitted to the atmosphere by human activities
  • The Arctic Ocean is especially vulnerable to ocean acidification
  • Acidification is not uniform across the Arctic Ocean
  • Arctic marine ecosystems are highly likely to undergo significant change due to ocean acidification
  • Ocean acidification will have direct and indirect effects on Arctic marine life. While some effects may be positive, others could lead to local extinction
  • Ocean acidification impacts must be assessed in the context of other changes happening in Arctic waters
  • Ocean acidification is one of several factors that may contribute to alteration of fish species composition in the Arctic Ocean
  • Ocean acidification may affect Arctic fisheries
  • Ecosystem changes associated with ocean acidification may affect the livelihoods of Arctic peoples.

Reference: Arctic Ocean Acidification 2013: An Overview (2014). Helene Amundsen, Leif Anderson, Andreas Andersson, Kumiko Azetsu-Scott, and Richard Bellerby (assessment leads), Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP), Oslo, Norway.

Link: http://www.amap.no/documents/doc/Arctic-Ocean-Acidification-2013-An-Overview/1061

The Geological Record of Ocean Acidification

Resource type: Research article

Description: (Abstract) Ocean acidification may have severe consequences for marine ecosystems; however, assessing its future impact is difficult because laboratory experiments and field observations are limited by their reduced ecologic complexity and sample period, respectively. In contrast, the geological record contains long-term evidence for a variety of global environmental perturbations, including ocean acidification plus their associated biotic responses. In this study, the authors review events exhibiting evidence for elevated atmospheric CO2, global warming, and ocean acidification over the past ~300 million years of Earth’s history, some with contemporaneous extinction or evolutionary turnover among marine calcifiers. Although similarities exist, no past event perfectly parallels future projections in terms of disrupting the balance of ocean carbonate chemistry—a consequence of the unprecedented rapidity of CO2 release currently taking place.

Reference: The Geological Record of Ocean Acidification (2012). Bärbel Hönisch, Andy Ridgwell, Daniela N. Schmidt, Ellen Thomas, Samantha J. Gibbs, Appy Sluijs, Richard Zeebe, Lee Kump, Rowan C. Martindale, Sarah E. Greene, Wolfgang Kiessling, Justin Ries, James C. Zachos, Dana L. Royer, Stephen Barker, Thomas M. Marchitto Jr., Ryan Moyer, Carles Pelejero, Patrizia Ziver, Gavin L. Foster, and Branwen Williams. Science 335: (6072)1058-1063.

Link: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/335/6072/1058.abstract

Strategic Plan for Federal Research and Monitoring of Ocean Acidification

Resource type: Report

Description: The chemistry of the ocean is changing in ways that will impact services and resources provided by the ocean such as food, recreation, transportation, energy, nutrient-cycling, and climate moderation. Several federal agencies are working towards developing a collective approach to understand and address this rapidly emerging problem, commonly referred to as ocean acidification. This Strategic Plan presents specific goals to move Federal agencies toward a better understanding of the process of ocean acidification, its effects on marine ecosystems, and the steps that must be taken to minimize harm from ocean acidification. This Strategic Plan will work to implement a comprehensive global and regional ocean acidification observing system that includes the monitoring of physical, chemical, biological, social, and cultural effects. A National Ocean Acidification Program will be established to lead U.S. coordination of ocean acidification activities between the Federal agencies, and with academic institutions, industry, and other private sector and international partners. A national ocean acidification data management and information exchange program will ensure that ocean and Great Lakes acidification information reaches scientists, decision makers, and the public in a timely manner. Finally, the U.S. will join other countries in establishing a robust international research and monitoring program to address what is truly a global challenge.

Reference: Strategic Plan for Federal Research and Monitoring of Ocean Acidification (2014). Prepared by the Interagency Working Group on Ocean Acidification, the Subcommittee on Ocean Science and Technology, the Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Sustainability, and the National Science and Technology Council.

Link: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/NSTC/iwg-oa_strategic_plan_march_2014.pdf

Ocean Acidification: A National Strategy to Meet the Challenges of a Changing Ocean

Resource type: Report

Description: Excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, in addition to contributing to climate change, is absorbed by the ocean, making sea water more acidic and leading to a suite of changes in ocean chemistry. Preliminary evidence suggests ocean acidification will have negative effects on corals, shellfish, and other marine life, with wide-ranging consequences for ecosystems, fisheries, and tourism. This report, requested by Congress, reviews the current state of knowledge and identifies gaps in understanding, and provides scientific advice to help guide the national ocean acidification research program.

Reference: Ocean Acidification: A National Strategy to Meet the Challenges of a Changing Ocean (2010).Committee on the Development of an Integrated Science Strategy forOcean Acidification Monitoring, Research, and Impacts Assessment;National Research Council.

Link: http://www.nap.edu/download.php?record_id=12904#

A Key Experiment to Probe the Future of Our Acidifying Oceans

Resource type: Online article

Description: In a Swedish fford, European researchers are conducting an ambitious experiment aimed at better understanding how ocean acidification will affect marine life. Ultimately, these scientists hope to determine which species might win and which might lose in a more acidic ocean.

Reference: A Key Experiment to Probe the Future of Our Acidifying Oceans (2013). Peter Friederici. Yale Environment 360 website (May 2, 2013).

Link: http://e360.yale.edu/feature/a_key_experiment_to_probe_the_future_of_our_acidifying_oceans/2644/

Global Warming Amplified by Reduced Sulfur Fluxes as a Result of Ocean Acidification

Resource type: Research article

Description: The increasing acidification of the world’s oceans caused by rising concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide not only poses a threat to marine creatures, but also could lead to an intensification of planetary warming, according to a new study. A team of U.S., British, and German researchers conducted experiments in seawater enclosures, known as mesocosms, showing that the increasing acidification of the ocean leads to a drop in production of an important sulfur compound, dimethylsulphide, or DMS. Marine emissions of DMS are the largest natural source of atmospheric sulfur, and those sulfur aerosols play an important role in reflecting the sun’s energy back into space and cooling the planet. The scientists found that when they created acidic conditions in the seawater enclosures that match pH levels expected in 2100, emissions of DMS fell by roughly 18 percent. The scientists said that their study was the first to prove the link between rising ocean acidification and the potential decrease in planet-cooling sulfur dioxide aerosols.

Reference: Global Warming Amplified by Reduced Sulfur Fluxes as a Result of Ocean Acidification (2013). Katharina D. Six, Silvia Kloster, Tatiana Ilyina, Stephen D. Archer, Kai Zhang and Ernst Maier-Reimer. Nature Clim. Change  Published online 25 August 2013.

Link: http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate1981.html

Tools/Education/Training

 

NOAA Tool: Climate Explorer

Resource type: Website

Discussion: An updated version of NOAA's interactive Climate Explorer, shows, county by county, whether or how climate change will change the likelihood of extreme events in the decades to come. The site was designed to allow local governments, small business owners and natural resource managers to plan for a future of warming-fueled extreme weather. The Explorer includes maps and charts on how temperature and precipitation patterns could change on a local level through 2100. It includes historical, observed data from the mid-1900s to the present, as well as projected trends based on climate models.

Link: https://toolkit.climate.gov/climate-explorer2/

STORMTOOLS: Coastal Environmental Risk Index (CERI)

Resource type: Journal Article

Description: [Abstract] One of the challenges facing coastal zone managers and municipal planners is the development of an objective, quantitative assessment of the risk to structures, infrastructure, and public safety that coastal communities face from storm surge in the presence of changing climatic conditions, particularly sea level rise and coastal erosion. Here we use state of the art modeling tool (ADCIRC and STWAVE) to predict storm surge and wave, combined with shoreline change maps (erosion), and damage functions to construct a Coastal Environmental Risk Index (CERI). Access to the state emergency data base (E-911) provides information on structure characteristics and the ability to perform analyses for individual structures. CERI has been designed as an on line Geographic Information System (GIS) based tool, and hence is fully compatible with current flooding maps, including those from FEMA. The basic framework and associated GIS methods can be readily applied to any coastal area. The approach can be used by local and state planners to objectively evaluate different policy options for effectiveness and cost/benefit. In this study, CERI is applied to RI two communities; Charlestown representing a typical coastal barrier system directly exposed to ocean waves and high erosion rates, with predominantly low density single family residences and Warwick located within Narragansett Bay, with more limited wave exposure, lower erosion rates, and higher residential housing density. Results of these applications are highlighted herein.

Reference: Authors: Malcolm Spaulding, Annette Grilli, Chris Damon, Teresa Crean, Grover Fugate, Bryan Oakley, Peter Stempel (2016). STORMTOOLS: Coastal Environmental Risk Index (CERI). Journal of Marine Science and Engineering; 4(3): 54.

Link: http://www.mdpi.com/2077-1312/4/3/54

Full text:  STORMTOOLS - Coastal Environmental Risk Index (CERI).pdf

Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment Tool for Coastal Habitats (CCVATCH)

Resource type: Website

Description: The Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment Tool for Coastal Habitats (CCVATCH) is a decision support tool for land managers, decision-makers, and researchers that integrates local data and knowledge and current research with local/regional climate change predictions to provide an assessment of potential habitat vulnerabilities. Through a facilitated and inclusive process, it guides the evaluation of how changes in CO2, precipitation, air and water temperature, sea level change, and storm frequency and severity will directly affect a habitat and also interact with non-climate stressors of invasive/nuisance species, nutrients, sedimentation, erosion, and environmental contaminants. Using this spreadsheet-based tool and guidance document, the direct sensitivity of a given habitat to climate change, the current condition of the habitat, and natural and anthropogenic conditions that affect adaptive capacity can be used to calculate a numerical vulnerability score. This score can then be used to rank the relative vulnerability of assessed habitats within a defined area.

Features:

  • Evaluates the degree to which a given habitat may be vulnerable to current and future climate stressors superimposed on existing non-climate stressors.
  • Calculates numerical vulnerability scores for each habitat or parcel that can be used to examine relative vulnerability across different habitats in a local area or across a single habitat type in a local/regional setting.
  • Provides the opportunity to consider adaptive capacity options to reduce habitat vulnerability.

Link: http://www.ccvatch.com

Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment Tool for Coastal Habitats: Guidance Documentation

Abstract: The National Estuarine Research Reserve System uses its living laboratories to find solutions to crucial issues facing America’s coasts, including climate change and resilience. The input of land managers, decision-makers, and researchers across agencies was sought to ensure that the Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment Tool for Coastal Habitats (CCVATCH) would provide results that could be directly applied to current management and conservation decisions. Changes in climate have direct effects on ecosystems and also interact with current stressors to impact vital coastal habitats. Adaptive capacity, either natural traits of the system or potential management actions, can lessen the impacts of climate change. The CCVATCH utilizes a facilitated expert elicitation process to assign numerical scores for the potential impact of climate change (e.g. change in CO2, temperature, precipitation, sea level, and extreme climate events) and environmental stressors (e.g. invasive and pest species, nutrients, sedimentation/erosion, and environmental contaminants) on the habitat and adaptive capacity potential into a spreadsheet-based decision support tool. Tool design and facilitation process was tested on multiple habitats at each of two pilot sites (e.g. Chesapeake Bay Virginia and North Inlet-Winyah Bay South Carolina NERRs). The pilot project helped the development team to refine the CCVATCH so that it can be used nationally by coastal resource managers as a tool for completing vulnerability assessments.

Reference: Plunket, J., Stanzel, K., Weber, R.and S. Lerberg (2015). Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment Tool for Coastal Habitats: Guidance Documentation.

Link: http://nebula.wsimg.com/85b0f4fb1756cb609f52eac2eb123451?AccessKeyId=1C53B126F344BFECE632&disposition=0&alloworigin=1

Storm Surge and Sea Level Change Data Support Planning, NPS Geologic Resources Division, Colorado

Resource type: Website

Description: The National Park Service Geologic Resources Division (NPS GRD) is working with the University of Colorado Boulder to develop sea level change and storm surge data that parks can use for planning purposes over multiple time horizons.

Coastal parks frequently ask the division how individual parks will be impacted by sea level change. Parks need this information to prepare foundation documents and to calculate storm surge projections. Many park managers would prefer data for shorter time horizons (e.g., 2030, 2050) than is widely available in the academic literature. Although several National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) models can simulate storm surge, most parks do not have tide gauges or other historical records of sea level to input into the models. The NPS GRD is using the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) data to “fill in the gaps” between tide gauges to give parks the latest sea level change data tailored specifically for their park.

Reference: Beavers, R., & M. Caffrey. (2015). Storm Surge and Sea Level Change Data Support Planning, NPS Geologic Resources Division, Colorado [Case study on a project of the NPS Geologic Resources Division]. Excerpted from Schupp, C.A., R.L. Beavers, and M.A. Caffrey [eds.]. 2015. Coastal Adaptation Strategies: Case Studies. NPS 999/129700. National Park Service, Fort Collins, Colorado.

Link: http://www.cakex.org/case-studies/storm-surge-and-sea-level-change-data-support-planning-nps-geologic-resources-division

The Local Early Action Planning (LEAP) Tool: Enhancing Community-Based Planning for a Changing Climate

Resource type: Research article

Description: [Abstract] Tropical coastal communities face the impacts of climate change with increasing frequency and severity, which exacerbates existing local threats to natural resources and the societies that depend on them. Climate change presents a unique opportunity to reconsider how community-based planning is used to (1) improve overall climate knowledge, both through communicating climate science and incorporating local knowledge; (2) give equal consideration to the social and ecological aspects of community health and resilience; and (3) integrate multisector planning to maximize community benefits and minimize unintended negative impacts. This article describes a tool developed to respond to these opportunities in Micronesia and the Coral Triangle region, Adapting to a Changing Climate: Guide to Local Early Action Planning (LEAP) and Management Planning. It discusses challenges and lessons learned based on the process of the tool development, training with local communities and stakeholders, and input from those who have implemented the tool.

Reference: The Local Early Action Planning (LEAP) Tool: Enhancing Community-Based Planning for a Changing Climate (2015). Supin Wongbusarakum, Meghan Gombos, Britt-Anne Parker, Catherine Courtney, Scott Atkinson, Willy Kostka. Coastal Management, 43(4):383 – 393, DOI: 10.1080/08920753.2015.1046805.

Link: https://www.openchannels.org/literature/1447801990

Surging Seas: Mapping Choices

Resource type: Website

Description: The purpose of this web tool is to provide a picture of post-2100 sea level rise threatened by different levels of carbon pollution, in order to inform public and policy dialogues about energy and climate. It is not meant as a planning tool or as a prediction for any precise location. 

These maps are based primarily on high quality lidar elevation data curated by NOAA, with a vertical accuracy (root mean square error) generally within 6 inches.

Link: http://choices.climatecentral.org/#12/40.7117/-74.0010?compare=temperatures&carbon-end-yr=2100&scenario-a=warming-4&scenario-b=warming-2

NOAA’s Stories from the Field

Resource type: Website

Description: See how communities throughout the coastal zone use Digital Coast products through case studies searchable by data type (i.e., socioeconomics, ocean planning), focus area (i.e., climate adaptation, community resilience), or region (i.e., southeast).

Link: https://coast.noaa.gov/digitalcoast/stories/list

EPA Provides Training to Help Communities Prepare for Climate Change

Resource type: Training module

Description: As part of the U.S. Climate Action Plan, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released an online training module to help local government officials take actions to increase their communities’ resiliency to a changing climate. The virtual training, which was informed by the National Climate Assessment, is the latest addition to the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit. It includes successful examples of effective resilience strategies that have been implemented in cities and towns across the country. The training explains how a changing climate may affect a variety of environmental and public health services, such as providing safe drinking water and managing the effects of drought, fires and floods. It also describes how different communities are already adapting to climate-related challenges. The training provides links to a number of federal and state resources that can help communities assess their unique climate-related risks and opportunities to become more resilient to climate change.

Link: http://www.epa.gov/localadaptationtraining/

Coping with climate change: The role of spatial decision support tools in facilitating community adaptation

Resource type: Research article

Description: [Abstract] Climate change challenges communities to visualize spatial patterns of risk, assess their vulnerability to those risks, and prepare adaptation plans to lower vulnerability. This paper outlines the design and implementation of a prototype web-based spatial decision support system (SDSS), referred to as the Community Adaptation Viewer (CAV), to assist adaptation planning. Thin-client, Javascript enabled web-SDSS software was constructed to allow interaction with urban infrastructure, and support “on-the-fly” assessment of social and economic vulnerability. Facilitated, decision-making workshops were conducted with small groups of stakeholders to evaluate the effectiveness of the prototype. The test case illustrates that high levels of information integration are practical to achieve, and that the SDSS can significantly enhance the ability of communities to conduct elaborate, geographically-specific climate change adaptation planning. Given the long time frame required to fulfil some adaptation plans, it is crucial that communities begin to develop and invest in adaptation strategies as soon as possible.

Reference: Coping with climate change: The role of spatial decision support tools in facilitating community adaptation (2015). David Lieske; Environmental Modelling & Software 68: 98-109.

Link: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364815215000547

Multi-criteria evaluation approach to coastal vulnerability index development in micro-tidal low-lying areas

Resource type: Research article

Description: [Abstract] The coastal zones face much higher risks disasters and vulnerability to natural and anthropogenic forcing because of their location in extremely high-energy and rapidly developing environment. We develop and implement an updated set of indicators of coastal vulnerability that characterize relatively low-lying coastal segments with negligible tidal range but affected by substantial storm surges driven by atmospheric factors. The study area is about 90 km long coast of Lithuania in the south-eastern Baltic Sea. The classical methods for building the coastal vulnerability index (CVI) are combined with the outcome analytical hierarchical process (AHP) based approach for incorporating experts' judgments to specify the weights of used criteria. The CVI relies mostly on geological parameters (shoreline change rate, beach width/height, underwater slope, sand bars, and beach sediments) and involves only significant wave height as the representative of direct physical drivers. The selected criteria were integrated into CVI calculation using two options: (I) all criteria contribute equally, (II) each criteria may have a different contribution. Based on the weights and scores derived using AHP vulnerability maps are prepared to highlight areas with very low, low, medium, high and very high vulnerability. CVIw calculation based on option II highlighted 32% of the coast being of very high to high vulnerability, 22% of moderate vulnerability and 41% of low to very low vulnerability. Although these numbers vary to some extent depending on the viewpoint, in general about 10% of the coast in the study area is under very high risk, which calls for urgent planning and protective measures.

Reference: Multi-criteria evaluation approach to coastal vulnerability index development in micro-tidal low-lying areas (2014). Ingrida Bagdanavičiūtė, Loreta Kelpšaitė, and Tarmo Soomerec; Ocean and Coastal Management 104:124-135.

Link: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0964569114003950

Moving from deterministic towards probabilistic coastal hazard and risk assessment: Development of a modelling framework and application to Narrabeen Beach, New South Wales, Australia

Resource type: Research article

Description: [Abstract] Traditional methods for assessing coastal hazards have not typically incorporated a rigorous treatment of uncertainty. Such treatment is necessary to enable risk assessments which are now required by emerging risk based coastal zone management/planning frameworks. While unresolved issues remain, relating to the availability of sufficient data for comprehensive uncertainty assessments, this will hopefully improve in coming decades. Here, we present a modelling framework which integrates geological, engineering and economic approaches for assessing the climate change driven economic risk to coastal developments. The framework incorporates means for combining results from models that focus on the decadal to century time scales at which coasts evolve, and those that focus on the short term and seasonal time scales (storm bite and recovery). This paper demonstrates the functionality of the framework in deriving probabilistic coastal hazard lines and their subsequent use to establish an economically optimal setback line for development at a case study site; the Narrabeen–Collaroy embayment in Sydney, New South Wales.

Reference: Moving from deterministic towards probabilistic coastal hazard and risk assessment: Development of a modelling framework and application to Narrabeen Beach, New South Wales, Australia (2015). D.J. Wainwright, R. Ranasinghe, D.P. Callaghan, C.D. Woodroffe, R. Jongejan, A.J. Dougherty, K. Rogers, and P.J. Cowell; Coastal Engineering 96: 92-99.

Link: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378383914002130

Clue into Climate

Resource type: e-Book series

Description: Clue into Climate, an interactive e-book series on climate change, is now available free of charge on iPad. The four-part iBooks Textbook series was produced by KQED, public media for Northern California, in partnership with Stanford's Precourt Institute for Energy and the University of California Museum Of Paleontology. The free, interactive volumes are designed primarily for middle- and high-school students, but are suitable for anyone. The series explores the causes of climate change, its impacts on freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems, and innovative strategies for curbing and adapting to change. 

The four iBooks Textbooks and an accompanying free iTunes U course can be downloaded through the iBooks Store. Infographics, videos and other media from the series will be available on KQED's QUEST website on Dec. 12.

Here is a summary of the four-book series:

  • Clue into Climate: Causes of Change (29 pages) investigates what climate change is, and explores its causes and how scientists make projections about future changes. The book features animations and videos on greenhouse gases and the carbon cycle.
  • Clue into Climate: Changing Water (33 pages) explains how climate change influences rainfall patterns and the loss of glaciers. This book examines preparations for these changes, and features animations and videos about the water cycle and the cryosphere.
  • Clue into Climate: Changing Ecosystems (32 pages) explores the impact global warming will have on plant and animal species, and how an increased level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is impacting our forests and oceans. Highlights include interactive animations and videos about Arctic animals, ocean acidification and redwood trees.
  • Clue into Climate: Facing Our Future (39 pages) shows how communities can prepare for and adapt to climate-related issues, such as sea-level rise, increased wildfires and impacts to agriculture. Through audio reports, interactive graphics and videos, the book also examines California's Cap-and-Trade Program and alternative energy sources, such as biofuels and solar power.

Reference: Clue into Climate is a project of KQED Science with support from KQED's Campaign 21. The series was developed by Andrea Aust, KQED science education manager, and produced by Lauren Farrar, KQED science interactive media producer, with contributions from KQED's David Pierce, Craig Miller and Molly Samuel.

Additional contributors to the iBooks Textbook series include Christopher Field, Robert Jackson, Katharine Mach, Michael Mastrandrea and Mark Shwartz from Stanford University and the Carnegie Institution at Stanford; Lisa White and Jessica Bean from the University of California Museum of Paleontology; and Minda Berbeco from the National Center for Science Education.

Link: http://blogs.kqed.org/education/e-books/

FetchClimate

Resource type: Website

Description: FetchClimate is a fast, free, intelligent, climate cloud-based information retrieval service developed by the Computational Science Lab at Microsoft Research Cambridge, in collaboration with Microsoft Research Connections and the MSTLab at Moscow State University. FetchClimate provides ready access to complex geographical information including, but not limited to, climatological information. On accessing the FetchClimate Azure web service, users simply need to perform four steps to find what they are looking for:

  • Draw the location on the Earth via points or grids (Where?)

  • Specify the data of interest (What?)

  • Set the timeframe, including future predictions, and a combination of averages over—or steps through—years, days, and hours (When?)

  • Fetch and view results.

FetchClimate will choose the best data set for each query, and perform all the necessary regridding in space and time. It will return a best guess, uncertainty, and provenance for each query and display the results on the map for visual exploration. Alternatively, the FetchClimate service can be used directly via a simple API, from within programs written in any .NET language, Python, P or MatLab. Features include:

  • Area selection: enables selection of single or multiple regions or points
  • Data:
    • Delivers air temperature, precipitation, and much more
    • Intelligently selects a data source for each request, or enables the user to select particular data sets
  • Time series: retrieves annual, seasonal, monthly, and daily data
  • Output: presents the results graphically or export it to CSV
  • Provides access through the web interface, a client application, or programmatically through a REST API

To try online, download, or learn more, watch the latest tutorial video, or read the FetchClimate user guide (PDF, 2.24 MB).

Link: http://fetchclimate2.cloudapp.net/

U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit

Resource type: Website

Description: The U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit is a website developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and other Federal agencies which offers information from across the federal government in one easy-to-use location so that decision-makers are better able to understand the climate-related risks and opportunities impacting their communities and take steps to improve their resilience. 

Some features of the Toolkit include: 

  • The Climate Explorer: A visualization tool that offers maps of climate stressors and impacts, as well as interactive graphs showing daily observations and long-term averages from thousands of weather stations across the Nation.
  • Steps to Resilience: A five-step process that users can follow to initiate, plan, and implement projects to help make their homes, communities, and infrastructure more resilient to climate-related hazards.
  • “Taking Action” Stories: More than 20 real-world case studies describing climate-related risks and opportunities that communities and businesses face, steps they’re taking to plan and respond, and tools and techniques they’re using to improve resilience.
  • Federal Resource Database: The Toolkit provides centralized access to federal sites for future climate projections, as well as freely available tools for accessing and analyzing climate data, generating visualizations, exploring climate projections, estimating hazards, and engaging stakeholders in resilience-building efforts.

Link: http://toolkit.climate.gov/

Experimental Potential Storm Surge Flooding Map

Resource type: Website

Description: In an effort to improve overall awareness and understanding of the storm surge flooding threat, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) will be issuing an experimental Potential Storm Surge Flooding Map effective 2014 for tropical cyclones affecting the East and Gulf Coasts of the United States. The Potential Storm Surge Flooding Map is an experimental NWS product that will clearly and concisely depict the risk associated with the storm surge hazard from a tropical cyclone. Developed over the course of several years in consultation with social scientists, emergency managers, broadcast meteorologists, and others, this map shows: (1) geographical areas where inundation from storm surge could occur, and (2) how high above ground the water could reach in those areas.

Link: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/experimental/inundation/

Assessment of Offshore Wind System Design, Safety, and Operation Standards

Resource type: Report

Description: This report focuses on the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL) development of three delineated leasing area options for the Massachusetts Wind Energy Area (MAWEA) and the technical evaluation of these leasing areas. The overarching objective of this study is to develop a logical process by which the MAWEA can be subdivided into non-overlapping leasing areas for BOEM’s use in developing an auction process in a renewable energy lease sale. NREL worked with BOEM to identify an appropriate number of leasing areas and proposed three delineation alternatives within the MAWEA based on the boundaries announced in May 2012. A primary output of the interagency agreement is this report, which documents the methodology, including key variables and assumptions, by which the leasing areas were identified and delineated.

Reference: Assessment of Offshore Wind System Design, Safety, and Operation Standards (2014). Senu Sirnivas, Walt Musial, Bruce Bailey, and Matthew Filippelli. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy; NREL/TP-5000-60573.

Link: http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2014/03/f14/60573.pdf

Student Climate Data

Resource type: Website

Description: The Student Climate Data project developed student climate change curriculum materials that combine new resources from a GLOBE carbon cycle science education initiative with NASA Earth observation data. Through Student Climate Data activities, students can become familiar with Earth observation data and the science of climate change by conducting their own research investigations using NASA Earth observation data and based on their own questions and/or self-designed procedures. The site also offers teachers lesson plans, student materials, and video tutorials.

Link: http://studentclimatedata.unh.edu/

Climate Data Initiative

Resource type: Website

Description: Data from NOAA, NASA, the U.S. Geological Survey, the Department of Defense, and other Federal agencies will be featured on climate.data.gov, a new section within data.gov. The first batch of climate data being made available will focus on coastal flooding and sea level rise. Initially, the website will contain data and resources related to coastal flooding, sea level rise, and their impacts. Over time, additional data and tools relevant to other important climate-related impacts, including risks to human health, the food supply, and energy infrastructure will be added.

Link: http://www.data.gov/climate/

Release of Infrastructure and Geographic Map Data for Climate-Preparedness

Resource type: Website

Description: To help communities and citizens plan for the risks of coastal flooding and other climate-change-related impacts, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and the U.S. Geological Survey have released a collection of non-sensitive datasets containing mapping information on hundreds of thousands of the Nation’s infrastructure units and geographical features, including bridges, roads, railroad tunnels, canals, and river gauges.

Link: http://www.geoplatform.gov/climate-resources (Geoplatform.gov)
    http://climate.data.gov/  (Climate.data.gov)

NEX-DCP30 Dataset & Viewer

Resource type: Website

Description: The full NEX-DCP30 dataset (developed by NASA) includes 33 climate models and their respective downscaled data for historical (1950-2005) and 21st century simulations under four Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP) emission scenarios developed for AR5. The USGS application, the NEX-DCP30 Viewer, includes historical and future (2006-2099) climate for RCP4.5 (one of the possible trajectories for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in which atmospheric GHG concentrations continue to rise but are capped so as not to exceed a radiative equivalent of 4.5 Wm-2 in 2100) and RCP8.5 (the most aggressive emissions scenario in which GHGs continue to rise unchecked through the end of the century leading to an equivalent radiative forcing of 8.5 Wm-2.)

The NEX-DCP30 Viewer allows the user to visualize projected climate change for any county in the continental United States. To create a manageable number of permutations for the viewer, the NEX-DCP30 data was averaged into 25-year climatologies that span the 21st century. The viewer provides a number of useful tools for characterizing climate change such as: climographs (plots of monthly averages), histograms that show the distribution or spread of the model simulations, monthly time series spanning 1950-2099, and tables that summarize changes in the quantiles of temperature and precipitation (e.g., extremes). The application also provides access to comprehensive, 3-page PDF summary reports for the continental U.S., each state and each county

Link: http://www.usgs.gov/climate_landuse/clu_rd/nex-dcp30.asp

Digital Coast

Resource type: Website

Description: While the need for good data forms the foundation of this website, the basic premise behind the effort is the understanding that data alone are not enough. Most people need help turning these data into information that can be used when making important decisions about coastal management. The Digital Coast does this with: data, tools, training, case studies, and application. The NOAA Coastal Services Center built the prototype in 2008 and then reached out to potential users to provide feedback and guide the development of the site. These project partners, whose organizations eventually formed the Digital Coast Partnership, let the Center know what was most needed from the website.

Link: http://csc.noaa.gov/digitalcoast/about

Coastal Adaptation to Sea Level Rise Tool (COAST)

Resource type: Webpage (software download)

Description: COAST (Coastal Adaptation to Sea level rise Tool) is a process that helps users answer questions in regards to the costs and benefits of actions and strategies to avoid damages to assets from sea level rise and/or coastal flooding. COAST predicts damages from varying amounts of sea level rise and storms of various intensities and evaluates relative benefits and costs of response strategies. Although it is a technical tool, its primary value is how it connects the technical with the social, political, and economic realities of local adaptation. Stakeholders are drawn in to actively engage in discussions about their future, and they parameterize the model. Being entirely driven by participants, and using locally derived data on vulnerable assets (real estate, economic activity, infrastructure, natural resources, human health, others) and candidate adaptation actions wherever possible, COAST results generate enthusiasm and buy-in not available through most other approaches.The COAST software was developed at the University of Southern Maine with funds from the US EPA, and in collaboration with partners at Battelle, the Maine Geologic Survey, the University of New Hampshire, and Blue Marble Geographics.

Link: http://www.bluemarblegeo.com/products/COAST.php

Coastal Maine and New Hampshire Analyze Impacts of Climate Change with New Tool

Resource type: Case study

Description: In Hampton and Seabrook, New Hampshire and Portland, Maine, climate change adaptation processes are underway using the Coastal Adaptation to Sea Level Rise Tool (COAST). Both communities and stakeholders are examining potential impacts of sea level rise and storm surge if no action is taken, specifically the costs and benefits of specific actions they might take to protect vulnerable assets they have prioritized. The communities are identifying appropriate time horizons, sea level rise thresholds, and storm surge frequencies’ and intensities to simulate. The identification is being done by securing data, conducting cost-benefit analyses, and providing interpretation of avoided costs associated with adaptation action being considered. Through 3D visualizations of avoided costs and multi decade tallies of expected damage, practical steps in planning processes are being discussed. Through the examination and visualizations conducted under this project, including cost-benefit analysis, stakeholder groups can identify possible practical steps to be taken to forward in their adaptation planning processes.

Reference: Coastal Maine and New Hampshire Analyze Impacts of Climate Change with New Tool (2013). Rhode Island Sea Grant Law Fellows [Case study on a project of the Muskie School of Public Service and partners]. Product of the Northeast Climate Change Adaptation Project.

Link: www.cakex.org/case-studies/coastal-maine-and-new-hampshire-analyze-impacts-climate-change-new-tool

Georgia Coastal Hazards Portal 

Resource type: Website

Description: The portal is a new web-based interactive tool created to provide a better understanding of coastal resources, coastal hazards and the effects of rapid population growth and development. This online tool can be utilized in many ways; such as, identifying vulnerability to coastal hazards and identifying connections between hazards and natural resources. GCHP was created through a partnership between the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography and the Savannah Area GIS (SAGIS) program with funding provided by the Georgia Coastal Zone Management Program. 

Link: http://gchp.skio.usg.edu/

Marshes on the Move: A Manager’s Guide to Understanding and Using Model Results Depicting Potential Impacts of Sea Level Rise on Coastal Wetlands

Resource type: Guide

Description: This document is intended for people who need to use wetland migration model outputs for decision-making but who do not build wetland migration models themselves. It provides a basic understanding of the parameters and uncertainties involved in modeling the future impacts of sea level rise on coastal wetlands. This is a first step toward informed use and communication of these models to support a range of sea level rise adaptation activities—from stakeholder education to habitat management to land conservation. Equipped with this conceptual understanding, managers and planners will be able to more effectively; ask the right questions of technical specialists regarding wetland migration model use and results; evaluate the real-world implications of wetland migration model results, and incorporate wetland migration modeling results into management initiatives.

Reference: Marshes on the Move: A Manager’s Guide to Understanding and Using Model Results Depicting Potential Impacts of Sea Level Rise on Coastal Wetlands (2011). Roger Fuller and Nancy Cofer-Shabica (Co-Lead), Zach Ferdana, Adam Welchel, Nate Herold, Keil Schmid, Brian Smith, Doug March, and Dave Eslinger. The Nature Conservancy and NOAA National Ocean Service, Coastal Services Center.

Link: http://www.csc.noaa.gov/digitalcoast/_/pdf/Marshes_on_the_move.pdf

Incorporating Sea Level Change Scenarios at the Local Level

Resource type: Report

Description: Incorporating sea level change into planning processes involves more than selecting a number. That is why this document advocates the scenario approach. Using the information provided here, communities can develop a process that incorporates a range of possibilities and factors. With this information various scenarios can be developed, both in terms of projections and responses, to meet the specific circumstances of a community. Moreover, working through the scenario development process provides the data and information that officials will need to make communities readily adaptable to changing circumstances.

Reference: Incorporating Sea Level Change Scenarios at the Local Level (2012). Marcy Doug, Allison Allen, William Sweet, Stephen Gill, Audra Luscher-Aissaoui, Edward Myers, and Chris Zervas. NOAA, Coastal Services Center, Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services, National Geodetic Survey, and Office of Coast Survey.

Link: http://www.csc.noaa.gov/digitalcoast/sites/default/files/files/1366306106/slcscenarios.pdf

Technical Considerations for Use of Geospatial Data in Sea Level Change Mapping and Assessment

Resource type: Technical report

Description: This document is intended to provide technical guidance to agencies, practitioners, and coastal decision-makers seeking to use and/or collect geospatial data to assist with sea level change assessments and mapping products. There is a lot of information available today regarding sea level change and navigating this information can be challenging. This document seeks to clarify existing data and information and provide guidance on how to understand and apply this information to analysis and planning applications by directing readers to specific resources for various applications.

Reference: Technical Considerations for Use of Geospatial Data in Sea Level Change Mapping and Assessment (2010). Allison Allen (lead), Stephen Gill, Doug Marcy, Maria Honeycutt, Jerry Mills, Mary Erickson, Edward Myers, Stephen White, Doug Graham, Joe Evjen, Jeff Olson, Jack Riley, Carolyn Lindley, Chris Zervas, William Sweet, Lori Fenstermacher, Dru Smith. NOAA, Coastal Services Center, Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services, National Geodetic Survey, and Office of Coast Survey. NOAA Technical Report 2010-01.

Link: http://www.ngs.noaa.gov/PUBS_LIB/Technical_Use_of_Geospatial_Data_2010_TM_NOS_01.pdf

2011 Southeast Coast Network Climate Science Strategy

Resource type: Report

Description: The Southeast Coast Network (SECN) is one of 32 National Park Service Networks established to implement an integrated monitoring program. In 2001, the SECN began planning and implementing its long-term Vital Signs/Monitoring Program and completed its long-term monitoring plan in 2008. As a part of the National Park Service’s effort to implement its climate change initiative, the SECN received planning funds in FY2010 to identify ways to augment its existing Vital Signs Monitoring Program to (a) improve parks’ ability to incorporate climate science into planning, while (b) collaborating with and contributing to other DOI climate science programs within the South Atlantic LCC (SALCC) and Southeastern Climate Science Center (SECSC) to meet the other Departmental goals. As part of the SECN Climate Science Strategy, the network will be responsible for accomplishing six new goals in addition to those presented in the original monitoring plan:

  1. Enhance existing SECN monitoring efforts to collect data that better inform forecasting models of climate-change-induced shifts in resource distribution, condition, and value.
  2. Coordinate with and provide data to the NPS Adaptation Planning Specialist (funded in FY2010) to ensure SECN/SALCC/SECSC monitoring data, findings, and forecasts are incorporated into scenario planning efforts.
  3. Integrate data management with the South Atlantic Refuges I&M Network (SARMN) to facilitate wider and standardized spatial coverage of key resources within SECN/SARMN ecosystems.
  4. Facilitate the standardization of monitoring methods and data management among partners within, and cooperating with, the SALCC so data can be rapidly found, merged, explored, and analyzed for the purposes of adaptation planning and conservation design.
  5. Collaborate with the SALCC, SARMN, and other partners to adapt Vital Signs Monitoring protocols to evaluate effectiveness of conservation actions taken to mitigate forecasted risks.
  6. Serve as an integral part of the planning and operations of the SALCC and other partners to ensure seamless coordination among DOI Climate Science programs.

Reference: 2011 Southeast Coast Network Climate Science Strategy (2011). J.C. DeVivo, T. Curtis, M. W. Byrne, M. B. Gregory, and C. J. Wright. Natural Resource Report NPS/SECN/NRR—2011/436. National Park Service, Fort Collins, Colorado.

Link: DeVivo_2011_SECN_Climate_Science_Strategy.pdf

Inundation Analysis Tool

Resource type: Website

Description: NOAA's Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS) has launched an innovative new tool for coastal resource managers. The Inundation Analysis Tool is a web-based application that employs data collected at NOAA tide gauge stations to provide statistical summaries of the historical frequency and duration of observed high waters. The data input for this tool is 6-minute water level data time series and the tabulated times and heights of the high tides over a user specified time period, relative to a desired tidal datum or user-specified datum. The data output of this tool provides summary statistics, which includes the number of occurrences of inundation above the threshold (events) and length of duration of inundation of each events above the threshold elevation for a specified time period.

Link: http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/inundation/

Vertical Datum Transformation

Resource type: Website

Description: NOAA has released the first edition of a free vertical datum transformation (VDatum) tool that allows users to produce a set of consistent geospatial data over coastal and interior areas of the contiguous United States, removing the differences between the vertical reference systems of land- and water-based data.

Link: http://vdatum.noaa.gov

Application of Sea Level Affecting Marshes Model (SLAMM) to the Georgia Coastline

Resource type: Presentation

Description: This presentation gives a description of the SLAMM model as well as prediction uncertainties, its use in a coastal Georgia study, and advantages and disadvantages of the model.

Reference: Application of Sea Level Affecting Marshes Model (SLAMM) to the Georgia Coastline (2012). Jonathan S. Clough, Environmental/Computer Consultant. Warren Pinnacle Consulting, Skidaway Island, Georgia, November 28, 2012.

Link: http://coastalgadnr.org/sites/uploads/crd/GA_11-28-2012_Distrib.pdf

Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning-Advancement Training

Resource type: Training

Description: Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning-Advancement Training (CMSP-AT) is produced by Battelle Memorial Institute in association with Coastal States Organization. As a tool to assist coastal managers, CMSP considers and addresses the entire suite of activities occurring in a specific place to ensure healthy oceans and economies. The CMSP tool provides the analysis and understanding of the spatial and temporal distribution of human activities in marine areas needed by coastal managers to make more informed and ecosystem-based decisions to achieve ecological, economic, and social objectives.

Link: http://cmspadvancement.com/

Bibliography of Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning Reference Materials

Resource type: Website

Description: The CMSP-AT Select Bibliography offers access to an international library of case studies, training materials, papers and reports that pertain to the process and implementation of CMSP. The CMSP-AT Select Bibliography is a "living" document that will be regularly updated to serve the education and training needs of coastal managers. Users may search for materials by keyword (e.g., author, title, year) or; by any combination of: geography, author(s), date, title, source, or agency/organization document type. Search results are sorted by Geography, Author and Date and include the following information about the publication: Geography, Author(s), Date, Title, Source or Agency, Organization, Document Type and Summary.

Link: http://cmspadvancement.com/bibliography.php

Key Questions for Consideration by US Coastal Managers while Implementing Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning

Resource type: Website

Description: This document identifies key questions – organized according to steps in the Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning (CMSP) process that are important for coastal managers and other stakeholders to answer while implementing CMSP. While conducting the gap analysis for the CMSP-AT curriculum, Project Staff considered the questions, tools, inputs and outputs of the CMSP process, and whether these were met by the available training materials. These questions are designed such that, when answered, workshop participants will come away with a working understanding of their maritime domain, their community, and the process of CMSP. This list of questions was created by consulting the University of Rhode Island (URI) and National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration workshop curricula as well as from source materials in the CMSP-AT Bibliography.

Link: http://cmspadvancement.com/pdf/Key%20Questions%20for%20Coastal%20Managers%20Implementing%20CMSPtoweb.pdf

Voluntary Step-by-Step Guide for Considering Potential Climate Change Effects on Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Projects

Resource type: Guide

Description: This guide provides an approach for coastal management partners to consider how climate impacts might affect conservation projects and how to incorporate climate change consideration into planning processes. While the guide is written with a focus on coastal and estuarine land conservation projects, the methodology also has broad application for conservation planning and land acquisition in a changing climate. The guide is part of NOAA’s multi-phased effort to more systematically consider climate change impacts in the implementation of programmatic activities including restoration, land acquisition, and facilities development.

Reference: Voluntary Step-by-Step Guide for Considering Potential Climate Change Effects on Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Projects (2012). Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program, NOAA.

Link: http://coastalmanagement.noaa.gov/resources/docs/guidecelpapp.pdf

Policy

 

Solutions for ecosystem-level protection of ocean systems under climate change

Reference type: Research article

Description: [Abstract] The Paris Conference of Parties (COP21) agreement renewed momentum for action against climate change, creating the space for solutions for conservation of the ocean addressing two of its largest threats: climate change and ocean acidification (CCOA). Recent arguments that ocean policies disregard a mature conservation research field and that protected areas cannot address climate change may be oversimplistic at this time when dynamic solutions for the management of changing oceans are needed. We propose a novel approach, based on spatial meta-analysis of climate impact models, to improve the positioning of marine protected areas to limit CCOA impacts. We do this by estimating the vulnerability of ocean ecosystems to CCOA in a spatially explicit manner and then co-mapping human activities such as the placement of renewable energy developments and the distribution of marine protected areas. We test this approach in the NE Atlantic considering also how CCOA impacts the base of the food web which supports protected species, an aspect often neglected in conservation studies. We found that, in this case, current regional conservation plans protect areas with low ecosystem-level vulnerability to CCOA, but disregard how species may redistribute to new, suitable and productive habitats. Under current plans, these areas remain open to commercial extraction and other uses. Here, and worldwide, ocean conservation strategies under CCOA must recognize the long-term importance of these habitat refuges, and studies such as this one are needed to identify them. Protecting these areas creates adaptive, climate-ready and ecosystem-level policy options for conservation, suitable for changing oceans

Reference: Ana Queirós, Klaus Huebert, Friedemann Keyl, Jose Fernandes, Willem Stolte, Marie Maar, Susan Kay, Miranda Jones, Katell Hamon, Gerrit Hendriksen, Youen Vermard, Paul Marchal, Lorna Teal, Paul Somerfield, Melanie Austen, Manuel Barange, Anne Sell, Icarus Allen, and Myron Peck (2016). Solutions for ecosystem-level protection of ocean systems under climate change. Global Change Biology; 22(12): 3927 – 3936.

Links: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/gcb.13423/abstract (abstract only); http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/gcb.13423/full (full article)

Clarifying the role of coastal and marine systems in climate mitigation

Reference type: Research article

Description: [Abstract] The international scientific community is increasingly recognizing the role of natural systems in climate-change mitigation. While forests have historically been the primary focus of such efforts, coastal wetlands – particularly seagrasses, tidal marshes, and mangroves – are now considered important and effective long-term carbon sinks. However, some members of the coastal and marine policy and management community have been interested in expanding climate mitigation strategies to include other components within coastal and marine systems, such as coral reefs, phytoplankton, kelp forests, and marine fauna. We analyze the scientific evidence regarding whether these marine ecosystems and ecosystem components are viable long-term carbon sinks and whether they can be managed for climate mitigation. Our findings could assist decision makers and conservation practitioners in identifying which components of coastal and marine ecosystems should be prioritized in current climate mitigation strategies and policies.

Reference: Jennifer Howard, Ariana Sutton-Grier, Dorothée Herr, Joan Kleypas, Emily Landis, Elizabeth Mcleod, Emily Pidgeon, and Stefanie Simpson (2017). Clarifying the role of coastal and marine systems in climate mitigation. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment; 15(1): 42 – 50.

Link: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/fee.1451/full

Climate-Smart Design for Ecosystem Management: A Test Application for Coral Reefs

Reference type: Research article

Description: [Abstract] The interactive and cumulative impacts of climate change on natural resources such as coral reefs present numerous challenges for conservation planning and management. Climate change adaptation is complex due to climate-stressor interactions across multiple spatial and temporal scales. This leaves decision makers worldwide faced with local, regional, and global-scale threats to ecosystem processes and services, occurring over time frames that require both near-term and long-term planning. Thus there is a need for structured approaches to adaptation planning that integrate existing methods for vulnerability assessment with design and evaluation of effective adaptation responses. The Corals and Climate Adaptation Planning project of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force seeks to develop guidance for improving coral reef management through tailored application of a climate-smart approach. This approach is based on principles from a recently-published guide which provides a framework for adopting forward-looking goals, based on assessing vulnerabilities to climate change and applying a structured process to design effective adaptation strategies. Work presented in this paper includes: (1) examination of the climate-smart management cycle as it relates to coral reefs; (2) a compilation of adaptation strategies for coral reefs drawn from a comprehensive review of the literature; (3) in-depth demonstration of climate-smart design for place-based crafting of robust adaptation actions; and (4) feedback from stakeholders on the perceived usefulness of the approach. We conclude with a discussion of lessons-learned on integrating climate-smart design into real-world management planning processes and a call from stakeholders for an “adaptation design tool” that is now under development.

Reference: Jordan West, Catherine Courtney, Anna Hamilton, Britt Parker, Susan Julius, Jennie Hoffman, Karen Koltes, and Petra MacGowan (2017). Climate-Smart Design for Ecosystem Management: A Test Application for Coral Reefs. Environmental Management; 59(1): 102 – 117.

Link: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00267-016-0774-3

Consequences of twenty-first-century policy for multi-millennial climate and sea-level change

Reference type: Research article

Description: [Abstract] Most of the policy debate surrounding the actions needed to mitigate and adapt to anthropogenic climate change has been framed by observations of the past 150 years as well as climate and sea-level projections for the twenty-first century. The focus on this 250-year window, however, obscures some of the most profound problems associated with climate change. Here, we argue that the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, a period during which the overwhelming majority of human-caused carbon emissions are likely to occur, need to be placed into a long-term context that includes the past 20 millennia, when the last Ice Age ended and human civilization developed, and the next ten millennia, over which time the projected impacts of anthropogenic climate change will grow and persist. This long-term perspective illustrates that policy decisions made in the next few years to decades will have profound impacts on global climate, ecosystems and human societies — not just for this century, but for the next ten millennia and beyond.

Reference: Peter U. Clark, Jeremy D. Shakun, Shaun A. Marcott, Alan C. Mix, Michael Eby, Scott Kulp, Anders Levermann, Glenn A. Milne, Patrik L. Pfister, Benjamin D. Santer, Daniel P. Schrag, Susan Solomon, Thomas F. Stocker, Benjamin H. Strauss, Andrew J. Weaver, Ricarda Winkelmann, David Archer, Edouard Bard, Aaron Goldner, Kurt Lambeck, Raymond T. Pierrehumbert, and Gian-Kasper Plattner (2016). Consequences of twenty-first-century policy for multi-millennial climate and sea-level change. Nature Climate Change; 6,360–369.

Link: http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v6/n4/full/nclimate2923.html

Affordability of National Flood Insurance Program Premiums: Report 2

Reference type: Report

Description: [Summary] This report (Report 2) proposes an analytical approach FEMA might use to evaluate affordability policy options such as those described in Report 1. In preparing Report 2, the committee’s work was informed by lessons learned from a proof-of-concept pilot study completed in North Carolina specifically for the committee’s work. Chapter 2 of this report describes model development for evaluating affordability policy options and their application to the NFIP. The analytical requirements to evaluate options led the committee to specifically consider microsimulation techniques to support a structured approach to assess NFIP policy options. How such analyses may be conducted is illustrated with examples of model output from the North Carolina proof-of-concept report. Chapter 3 discusses the data available to the NFIP and from other sources for conducting such analyses. Further, it describes ways to fill data gaps.

Reference: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (2016). Affordability of National Flood Insurance Program Premiums – Report 2. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. DOI: 10.17226/21848

Link: http://www.nap.edu/download.php?record_id=21848#

Climate Ready North Carolina: Building a Resilient Future

Reference type: Report

Description: This report was developed by the North Carolina Interagency Leadership Team (ILT), a group of eleven state and federal agencies, to communicate to planners and engineers, working for the public and private sectors, about the potential effects and risks due to changes in climate and extreme weather events, as well as strategies for considering those effects and risks in planning, design and implementation of projects. The ILT agencies and their partners examined how multiple government agencies could consider potential climate- and weather-related impacts to their areas of responsibility, and developed a coordinated climate adaptation framework. The emphasis is on practical, economically feasible options that can be undertaken by state agencies, working with willing partners at local, regional and federal levels. These possible actions could be integrated into existing planning processes, priorities and standard operating procedures.

Reference: North Carolina Interagency Leadership Team (2012). Climate Ready North Carolina: Building a Resilient Future.

Link: http://cakex.org/sites/default/files/documents/Climate%20Ready%20North%20Carolina%20-%20Building%20a%20Resilient%20Future_0.pdf

State Mitigation Plan Review Guide (FEMA)

Reference type: Report

Description: This State Mitigation Plan Review Guide (Guide) is FEMA’s official policy on and interpretation of the natural hazard mitigation planning requirements. The intended use of the Guide is to facilitate consistent evaluation and approval of state mitigation plans, as well as to facilitate estate compliance with the mitigation planning requirements when updating plans. States must have an approved Standard State Mitigation Plan meeting the requirements of this Guide as a condition of receiving non-emergency assistance and FEMA mitigation grants. The mitigation plan is the demonstration of the State's commitment to reduce risks from natural hazards and serves as a guide for State decision makers as they commit the resources to reducing the effects of natural hazards.

Reference: Federal Emergency Flood Agency (Released March 2015; Effective March 2016) State Mitigation Plan Review Guide. FP 302-094-2

Link: http://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1425915308555-aba3a873bc5f1140f7320d1ebebd18c6/State_Mitigation_Plan_Review_Guide_2015.pdf

 

Climate change in the oceans: Human impacts and responses

Reference type: Research article

Description: [Abstract] Although it has far-reaching consequences for humanity, attention to climate change impacts on the ocean lags behind concern for impacts on the atmosphere and land. Understanding these impacts, as well as society’s diverse perspectives and multiscale responses to the changing oceans, requires a correspondingly diverse body of scholarship in the physical, biological, and social sciences and humanities. This can ensure that a plurality of values and viewpoints is reflected in the research that informs climate policy and may enable the concerns of maritime societies and economic sectors to be heard in key adaptation and mitigation discussions.

Reference: Climate change in the oceans: Human impacts and responses (2015). Edward H. Allison and Hannah R. Bassett, Science 350(6262): 778-782 DOI: 10.1126/science.aac872.1.

Link: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/350/6262/778.full

A Community Based Flood Insurance Option

Reference type: Book

Description: River and coastal floods are among the nation's most costly natural disasters. One component in the nation's approach to managing flood risk is availability of flood insurance policies, which are offered on an individual basis primarily through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Established in 1968, the NFIP is overseen by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and there are about 5.4 million individual policies in the NFIP. The program has experienced a mixture of successes and persistent challenges. Successes include a large number of policy holders, the insurance of approximately $1.3 trillion of property, and the fact that the large majority of policy holders - 80% - pay rates that are risk based. NFIP challenges include large program debt, relatively low rates of purchase in many flood-prone areas, a host of issues regarding affordability of premiums, ensuring that premiums collected cover payouts and administrative fees, and a large number of properties that experience severe repetitive flood losses.

Reference: A Community Based Flood Insurance Option (2015). Committee on Community-Based Flood Insurance Options; Water Science and Technology Board; Division on Earth and Life Studies; Board on Mathematical Sciences and Their Applications; Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences; The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, National Academies Press.

Link: http://www.nap.edu/download.php?record_id=21758

Tying Flood Insurance to Flood Risk for Low-Lying Structures in the Floodplains

Reference type: Report

Description: [Summary] This publication studies the pricing of negatively elevated structures in the NFIP. This report review current NFIP methods for calculating risk-based premiums for these structures, including risk analysis, flood maps, and engineering data. The report then evaluates alternative approaches for calculating risk-based premiums and discusses engineering hydrologic and property assessment data needs to implement full risk-based premiums. The findings and conclusions of this report will help to improve the accuracy and precision of loss estimates for negatively elevated structures, which in turn will increase the credibility, fairness, and transparency of premiums for policyholders.

Reference: Tying Flood Insurance to Flood Risk for Low-Lying Structures in the Floodplains (2015). Committee on Risk-Based Methods for Insurance Premiums of Negatively Elevated Structures in the National Flood Insurance Program; Water Science and Technology Board; Division on Earth and Life Studies; Board on Mathematical Sciences and Their Applications; Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences; National Research Council. ISBN 978-0-309-37166-7.

Link: http://www.nap.edu/catalog/21720/tying-flood-insurance-to-flood-risk-for-low-lying-structures-in-the-floodplains

Affordability of National Flood Insurance Program Premiums: Report 1

Reference type: Report

Description: [Summary] Affordability of National Flood Insurance Program Premiums: Report 1 is the first part of a two-part study to provide input as FEMA prepares their draft affordability framework. This report discusses the underlying definitions and methods for an affordability framework and the affordability concept and applications. This report gives an overview of the demand for insurance and the history of the NFIP premium setting. The report then describes alternatives for determining when the premium increases resulting from Biggert-Waters 2012 would make flood insurance unaffordable.

Reference: Affordability of National Flood Insurance Program Premiums: Report 1(2015). Committee on the Affordability of National Flood Insurance Program Premiums; Water Science and Technology Board; Division on Earth and Life Studies; Board on Mathematical Sciences and Their Applications; Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences; Committee on National Statistics; Division on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education; National Research Council. ISBN 978-0-309-37125-4.

Link: http://www.nap.edu/download.php?record_id=21709#

When, not if: the inescapability of an uncertain climate future

Reference type: Research article

Description: [Abstract] Climate change projections necessarily involve uncertainty. Analysis of the physics and mathematics of the climate system reveals that greater uncertainty about future temperature increases is nearly always associated with greater expected damages from climate change. In contrast to those normative constraints, uncertainty is frequently cited in public discourse as a reason to delay mitigative action. This failure to understand the actual implications of uncertainty may incur notable future costs. It is therefore important to communicate uncertainty in a way that improves people’s understanding of climate change risks. We examined whether responses to projections were influenced by whether the projection emphasized uncertainty in the outcome or in its time of arrival. We presented participants with statements and graphs indicating projected increases in temperature, sea levels, ocean acidification and a decrease in arctic sea ice. In the uncertain-outcome condition, statements reported the upper and lower confidence bounds of the projected outcome at a fixed time point. In the uncertain time-of-arrival condition, statements reported the upper and lower confidence bounds of the projected time of arrival for a fixed outcome. Results suggested that people perceived the threat as more serious and were more likely to encourage mitigative action in the time-uncertain condition than in the outcome-uncertain condition. This finding has implications for effectively communicating the climate change risks to policy-makers and the general public.

Reference: When, not if: the inescapability of an uncertain climate future (2015). Timothy Ballard and Stephan Lewandowsky. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A 373: 20140464.

Link:    http://cakex.org/sites/default/files/documents/When%20not%20if.pdf

            http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsta.2014.0464

What Will Adaptation Cost? An Economic Framework for Coastal Community Infrastructure

Reference type: Report

Description: This framework guides communities on how to evaluate options for adapting infrastructure to make it more resilient, reducing the effects of sea level rise (SLR) and high-water-level events such as storm surge or astronomical high tides. As a step-by-step process, it leads communities through a scenario-based approach to understand the full range of costs and benefits. By understanding the costs and benefits of different adaptation strategies, decision-makers can make more fully informed decisions that are fiscally responsible in the short and long terms. More importantly, economically informed decision-making will lead to safer, more responsible, economically sound communities. By accounting for the full costs of inundation risks, leaders can make strategic choices about where, when, and how to make investments in adaptation responses to maximize benefits and minimize risk.

Reference: What Will Adaptation Cost? An Economic Framework for Coastal Community Infrastructure (2013). Eastern Research Group, Inc. Written under contract for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coastal Services Center

Link: https://coast.noaa.gov/digitalcoast/sites/default/files/files/publications/12072013/What_Will_Adaptation_Cost_Report.pdf

The climate policy narrative for a dangerously warming world

Resource type: Research article

Description: [Abstract] It is time to acknowledge that global average temperatures are likely to rise above the 2 °C policy target and consider how that deeply troubling prospect should affect priorities for communicating and managing the risks of a dangerously warming climate.

Reference: The climate policy narrative for a dangerously warming world (2014). Todd Sanford, Peter C. Frumhoff, Amy Luers and Jay Gulledge. Nature Climate Change 4, 164–166 doi:10.1038/nclimate2148

Link: http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v4/n3/full/nclimate2148.html

Climate Change Economics

Resource type: Magazine article

Description: A look at the economic cost of continuing building development in the face of sea level rise in southern Florida.

Reference: Laura Parker (2015). Climate Change Economics. National Geographic, February 2015.

Link: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2015/02/climate-change-economics/parker-text

Land Use Planning in a Climate Change Context

Resource type: Law review article

Description: [Abstract] Although local governance is an experiment in adaptation (and often lauded for being so), climate change is distinct from traditional challenges to local governance. Nonetheless, many local governments are directing agencies to utilize existing and traditional local government tools to adapt to climate change. Local governments, for example, are adopting regulatory rules that require consideration of potential climate impacts in public-sector decisions with the goal of improving local adaptive capacity. Throughout these efforts, it is becoming clear that one of the most effective adaptation tools used by local governments is the power to plan communities. Through land use planning, local governments can increase resiliency to major climate shifts and ensure that our communities are equipped with built-in mechanisms to face and mitigate such changes. This essay identifies some of the most innovative planning tools available to local governments that illustrate the potential to plan for community resiliency. The essay begins by identifying some of the severe impacts local governments will experience from climate change. This part recognizes that not all local governments will experience climate change impacts the same, and that climate change adaptation is contextual. Part II provides an overview and inventory of traditional local governance tools, paying particular attention to zoning and nuisance laws. Part III looks more closely at specific structural tools that form the basic foundation for a wide variety of land use planning adaptation approaches and goals. The final part expands on the structural tools and explores specific mechanisms that can help local governments achieve adaptation goals and avoid catastrophic unpreparedness through proper land use planning in the climate change arena.

Reference: Land Use Planning in a Climate Change Context (2013). Keith H Hirokawa, and Jonathan D. Rosenbloom, Research Handbook On Climate Adaptation Law, [ed] Jonathan Verschuuren; Drake University Law School Research Paper No. 12-33; Albany Law School Research Paper No. 21 for 2012-2013.

Links: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2168925 or http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2168925

A Response to the IPCC Fifth Assessment

Resource type: Law review article

Description: [Abstract] The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report presented significant data and findings about climate change. But the IPCC’s working groups’ summaries for policymakers avoid making normative statements about the IPCC’s findings. The authors, members of the Environmental Law Collaborative, bridge this gap by identifying the normative claims that stem from the working groups’ summaries to spark deeper discussion and help shape the IPCC’s sixth assessment.

This collection of essays is the initial product of the second meeting of the Environmental Law Collaborative, a group of environmental law scholars that meet to discuss important and timely environmental issues. Here, the group provides an array of perspectives arising from the Fifth Assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Each scholar chose one passage from one of the IPCC’s three Summaries for Policymakers as a jumping-off point for exploring climate change issues and responding directly to the reports. The result is a variety of viewpoints on the future of how law relates to climate change, a result that is the product not only of each scholar’s individual knowledge but also of the group’s robust discussion.

Reference: A Response to the IPCC Fifth Assessment (2014). Sarah J. Adams-Schoen, Deepa Badrinarayana, Cinnamon Carlarne, Robin Kundis Craig, John C. Dernbach, Keith H. Hirokawa, Alexandra B. Klass, Katrina Fischer Kuh, Stephen R. Miller, Jessica Owley, Shannon Roesler, Jonathan Rosenbloom, Inara Scott, and David Takacs; Environmental Law Collective  (November 30, 2014).

Link: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2513425, http://ssrn.com/abstract=2513425, or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2513425

Funding Adaptation

Resource type: Law review article

Description: [Abstract] Adapting the built environment to the challenges of climate change will be expensive. This Article examines such costs that fall within the responsibility of local governments and that are relevant to the provision of public services. Specifically, this Article explores the challenges facing local governments when utilizing municipal bonds to fund adaptation and whether municipal bonds are an effective tool to achieve adaptation goals.

Climate change will stress many local government services, such as those services involving stormwater management, potable water, mass transit, waste disposal, and the development and distribution of energy. Faced with steep budget deficits, rising costs, and declining revenues, many local governments are not in a position to absorb the significant costs associated with reducing climate-related risks to these services. The actual and potential risk of sustaining catastrophic losses due to climate changes is such that failing to take steps to protect local infrastructure is not a rational option. Typically, local governments would finance large infrastructure projects by issuing municipal bonds. Based on the unique circumstances surrounding the adaptation of local infrastructure to alleviate climate-induced damage, this Article suggests that municipal bonds will be inadequate to fully fund local adaptation needs. The Article suggests local governments pursue alternative and creative financing methods to supplement the funding of adaptation. Alternatives explored in the conclusion incorporate public/private partnerships as a means of increasing available capital. The alternatives also reconfigure the process of infrastructure financing to account for externalities and ecosystem impacts in an effort to enhance resiliency in investment. The objective is to incentivize investment in adaptation projects and to facilitate the protection of vital local infrastructure necessary to build resilient communities.

Reference: Funding Adaptation (2014). Jonathan D. Rosenbloom John Marshall Law Review, (invited Kratovil Conference) Forthcoming (May 21, 2014).

Link: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2436954 or http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2436954

Taking Action Against Ocean Acidification: A Review of Management and Policy Options

Resource type: Research article

Description: [Abstract] Ocean acidification has emerged over the last two decades as one of the largest threats to marine organisms and ecosystems. However, most research efforts on ocean acidification have so far neglected management and related policy issues to focus instead on understanding its ecological and biogeochemical implications. This shortfall is addressed here with a systematic, international and critical review of management and policy options. In particular, we investigate the assumption that fighting acidification is mainly, but not only, about reducing CO2 emissions, and explore the leeway that this emerging problem may open in old environmental issues. We review nine types of management responses, initially grouped under four categories: preventing ocean acidification; strengthening ecosystem resilience; adapting human activities; and repairing damages. Connecting and comparing options leads to classifying them, in a qualitative way, according to their potential and feasibility. While reducing CO2 emissions is confirmed as the key action that must be taken against acidification, some of the other options appear to have the potential to buy time, e.g. by relieving the pressure of other stressors, and help marine life face unavoidable acidification. Although the existing legal basis to take action shows few gaps, policy challenges are significant: tackling them will mean succeeding in various areas of environmental management where we failed to a large extent so far.

Reference: Taking Action Against Ocean Acidification: A Review of Management and Policy Options (2013). Raphaël Billé, Ryan Kelly, Arne Biastoch, Ellycia Harrould-Kolieb, Dorothée Herr, Fortunat Joos, Kristy Kroeker, Dan Laffoley, Andreas Oschlies, and Jean-Pierre Gattuso. Environmental Management 52:761–779.

Link: http://download.springer.com/static/pdf/318/art%253A10.1007%252Fs00267-013-0132-7.pdf?auth66=1411849452_f8f55d939bd3cf1f1c53a9dba55ce48c&ext=.pdf

Ensuring survival: Oceans, climate and security

Resource type: Research article

Description: [Abstract] The oceans play a vital role in the global carbon cycle, regulate climate and temperature, provide food security and support the livelihoods of billions of people around the globe, especially in coastal areas (where over half the global population resides) and in small island states, where some of the most vulnerable populations rely on marine resources. However, the provision of these life-sustaining services is at risk—climate change and ocean acidification are already affecting marine ecosystems and coastal populations, threatening the ability of the oceans to continue providing economic resources and environmental services on which we so critically depend. Citing evidence of these key points, this paper calls for improved governance, the use of ecosystem-based approaches in coastal and ocean management, and urgency in transition to a low-carbon economy. With enhanced governance frameworks and a reliance on science and best practices, we can improve food security, enhance ecosystem resilience, secure sustainable livelihoods, and provide man-made and, perhaps more importantly, natural protections to threats to human health and environmental security from rising seas, acidifying oceans, coastal hazards and extreme weather events. The oceans play a vital role in combating climate change impacts, which, as much current evidence shows, will be more extensive and disastrous than previously forecast by international experts. It is urgent that the international community concertedly and decisively act to protect this function, including with the improvement of climate change cost estimates and development of financing mechanisms. We must act to increase resilience of key ocean and coastal ecosystems that provide shoreline and infrastructure protection, water quality maintenance, food security, and livelihood support. In effect, we must act to protect our own security through “ocean security”

Reference: Ensuring survival: Oceans, climate and security (2014). Janot Mendler de Suarez, Biliana Cicin-Sain, Kateryna Wowk, Rolph Payet, and Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Ocean and Coastal Management 90: 27-37.

Link: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0964569113001877

National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan

Resource type: Implementation plan

Description: This Implementation Plan describes, under the following sections, how specific actions to implement the National Ocean Policy will benefit: (1) the ocean economy, (2) safety and security, and (3) coastal and ocean resilience. This will be accomplished through support of local choices, and the provision of foundational science and information. Subsections describe specific outcomes that advance those benefits and the types of actions federal agencies will take to achieve them. Specific planned actions are described in the appendix containing Implementation Actions.

Reference: National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan (2013). National Ocean Council, Executive Office of the President.

Link: http://www.whitehouse.gov//sites/default/files/national_ocean_policy_implementation_plan.pdf

Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change

Resource type: Executive order

Description: This executive order (EO) sets forth how the Federal government intends to manage the risks resulting from climate change through preparation, cooperation, and coordinated planning with state, local, tribal governments and other stakeholders to improve climate preparedness and resilience, in accordance with the President’s Climate Action Plan. Specifically, the EO directs Federal agencies to:

Modernize Federal programs to support climate-resilient investments: Agencies will examine their policies and programs and find ways to make it easier for cities and towns to build smarter and stronger. Agencies will also identify and remove any barriers to resilience-focused actions and investments– for example, policies that encourage communities to rebuild to past standards after disasters instead of to stronger standards – including through agency grants, technical assistance, and other programs in sectors from transportation and water management to conservation and disaster relief.

Manage lands and waters for climate preparedness and resilience: The EO directs agencies to identify changes that must be made to land- and water-related policies, programs, and regulations to strengthen the climate resilience of our watersheds, natural resources, and ecosystems, and the communities and economies that depend on them. Federal agencies will also evaluate how to better promote natural storm barriers such as dunes and wetlands, as well as how to protect the carbon sequestration benefits of forests and lands to help reduce the carbon pollution that causes climate change. 

Provide information, data and tools for climate change preparedness and resilience: The EO instructs Federal agencies to work together and with information users to develop new climate preparedness tools and information that state, local, and private-sector leaders need to make smart decisions. Agencies will also make extensive Federal climate data accessible to the public through an easy-to-use online portal.

Plan for climate change related risk: The EO builds on the set of Federal agency adaptation plans and directs Federal agencies to develop and implement strategies to evaluate and address their most significant climate change related risks. 

The EO also establishes an interagency Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience which includes senior officials from 25 Federal departments and agencies. To assist in achieving the goals of the EO, these agencies are directed to consider the recommendations of the State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. This Task Force will provide recommendations to the President on removing barriers to resilient investments, modernizing Federal grant and loan programs to better support local efforts, and developing the information and tools they need to prepare. Task Force members are comprised of governors, mayors, county officials and tribal leaders, representing a diverse range of communities.

Reference: Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change (11/1/2013). EO 13653; Fed. Reg. §78-66817.

Link: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/11/01/executive-order-preparing-united-states-impacts-climate-change

Center for Climate and Energy Solutions U.S. Climate Policy Maps

Resource type: Website

Description: The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) maintains a page on their website dedicated to mapping state and regional climate actions in the United States. On this page, users can view maps by different sectors. The site also provides maps on Climate Action Plans and Climate Adaptation Plans and Local Actions. The adaptation map shows how cities and states are adapting (or becoming more resilient) to their individual vulnerabilities. It highlights examples of municipal adaptation planning efforts and concrete adaptation actions. It also indicates the status of adaptation planning for each state, and provides plan details where available.

Link: http://www.c2es.org/us-states-regions/policy-maps

A Year after Sandy, the Wrong Policy on Rebuilding the Coast

Resource type: Online article

Description: One year after Hurricane Sandy devastated parts of the U.S. East Coast, the government is spending billions to replenish beaches that will only be swallowed again by rising seas and future storms. It’s time to develop coastal policies that take into account new climate realities.

Reference: A Year after Sandy, the Wrong Policy on Rebuilding the Coast (2013). Rob Young. Yale Environment 360 website (October 31, 2013).

Link: http://e360.yale.edu/feature/a_year_after_sandy_the_wrong_policy_on_rebuilding_the_coast/2705/

Sea-Level Rise and Coastal Zone Management

Resource type: Book chapter

Description: This chapter focuses on understanding the threat of sea-level rise and its implications, including the two types of responses that can be implemented: Mitigation—reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing carbon sinks, thus minimizing climate change, including sea-level rise, via climate policy; and Adaptation—reducing the impacts of sea-level rise via behavioral changes, from individual actions to collective coastal management policies, including upgraded defense systems, warning systems, and land management approaches. Given the uncertainties about sea-level rise, both optimistic and pessimistic perspectives on the implications are considered here.

Reference: Sea-Level Rise and Coastal Zone Management in: Climate Change and Land Policies (2011). Robert J. Nicholls (author), Gregory K. Ingram and Yu-Hung Hong (eds). Lincoln Institute of Land Policy: Cambridge, MA.

Link: https://www.lincolninst.edu/pubs/dl/2034_1356_LP2010-ch03-Sea-Level-Rise-and-Coastal-Zone-Management.pdf.

Coastal Sea-Level Change Needs Assessment Report

Resource type: Report

Description: This report focuses on the needs of the coastal managers, planners and decision-makers who are facing existing or emerging climate issues related to coastal sea-level change. The report is intended to provide NOAA with current information on the needs of coastal decision makers in order to guide its development of trainings, engagement efforts, decision-support tools, and applications. This report looks at the specified needs through the lens of NOAA’s strategic planning efforts. The gaps identified in the needs assessments reviewed for this report are organized by category and theme, by their relationship to the needs of other societal challenges, and by sector.

Reference: Coastal Sea-Level Change Societal Challenge Needs Assessment Report (2011). Nell C. Codner and Paul M. Scholz (co-leads); Adrienne Antoine, Carolyn A. Currin, Chris Ellis, Mary C. Erickson, Keelin Kuipers, Carolyn Lindley, Claudia Nierenberg, Kimberly M. Penn, and Diane M. Stanitski. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Coastal Services Center. Charleston, S.C.

Link: http://www.floods.org/ace-files/documentlibrary/committees/Coastal/NOAA_Coastal_Sea_Level_Change_Societal_Challenge_Needs_Assessment_Report.pdf

Overwhelming Risk: Rethinking Flood Insurance in a World of Rising Seas

Resource type: Report

Description: With sea levels projected to rise globally between at least eight inches and more than six and a half feet above 1992 levels by the end of this century, and at a substantially faster rate than at present along densely populated parts of the East Coast, the risk of physical and financial harm is rising rapidly, too. The insurance system urgently needs to reform so that it can help manage these risks effectively, even as investment in measures to slow global warming and sea level rise and prepare for their impacts continues.

Reference: Overwhelming Risk: Rethinking Flood Insurance in a World of Rising Seas (2013). Rachel Cleetus. Union of Concerned Scientists.

Link: http://www.ucsusa.org/floodinsurance

Adaptation

 

The shore is wider than the beach: Ecological planning solutions to sea level rise for the Jersey Shore, USA

Resource type: Journal article

Description: [Abstract] Coastal communities worldwide are faced with climate change effects that include sea level rise and increases in the severity and frequency of storms. We present a framework for coastal adaptation to these impacts in planning efforts, using the landscape of the Toms River-Barnegat Bay ecosystem in New Jersey (eastern coast of United States, 90 km south of New York City) as a case study. This plan is a proof-of-concept, showing that collaborative design can improve the ability of shore regions in many regions to recover from storms and sea level rise if it uses a broad concept of the shore’s ecological and geomorphological structures. Ecological connections are maintained or restored from the sand beach through the tidal bay to the mainland Pine Barrens, allowing species to migrate inland as their ecosystems change over time. This plan also re-envisions shore tourism by attracting visitors to the larger and wider shore area, an approach that can maintain or even increase social and economic activity as sea level changes. Transportation routes connecting the changing shoreline area to inland sites help to integrate social activities throughout the region. Watershed based projects to handle stormwater runoff from severe inland storms are also required. These principles can be applied in any coastal landscape where sea level rise is expected. This approach was fostered and supported by a USHUD program – Rebuild by Design – to incorporate unique, collaborative, architectural and ecological approaches to changing climate and sea level rise in Hurricane Sandy-affected states. These ecological concepts can be adapted for use to maintain biotic and economic processes in threatened coastal communities.

Reference: Joanna Burger, Karen O’Neill, Steven Handel, Brie Hensold, Gina Ford (2016). The shore is wider than the beach: Ecological planning solutions to sea level rise for the Jersey Shore, USA. Landscape and Urban Planning; 157: 512-522.

Link: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169204616301761

Guide for Considering Climate Change in Coastal Conservation

Resource type: Report

Description: This guide is part of NOAA's continuing effort to provide specific, coastal-relevant guidance on preparing for and addressing the impacts of climate change. The guide provides a step-by-step approach, with links to relevant tools, information, and other resources. The six iterative steps draw on existing guidelines for conservation, as well as newer climate adaptation resources. The information is suitable for anyone working to manage or conserve lands in coastal areas, such as coastal planners, land or watershed conservation organizations, wetland and floodplain managers, emergency managers, and more.

Reference: Long, Lauren, Rachael Franks Taylor, Elaine Vaudreuil, and Bethney Ward (2016). Guide for Considering Climate Change in Coastal Conservation. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Office for Coastal Management. pp. 54

Link: https://coast.noaa.gov/data/digitalcoast/pdf/considering-climate-change.pdf

Addressing the risk of maladaptation to climate change

Resource type: Journal article

Description: [Abstract] This paper reviews the current theoretical scholarship on maladaptation and provides some specific case studies—in the Maldives, Ethiopia, South Africa, and Bangladesh—to advance the field by offering an improved conceptual understanding and more practice-oriented insights. It notably highlights four main dimensions to assess the risk of maladaptation, that is, process, multiple drivers, temporal scales, and spatial scales. It also describes three examples of frameworks—the Pathways, the Precautionary, and the Assessment frameworks—that can help capture the risk of maladaptation on the ground. Both these conceptual and practical developments support the need for putting the risk of maladaptation at the top of the planning agenda. The paper argues that starting with the intention to avoid mistakes and not lock-in detrimental effects of adaptation-labeled initiatives is a first, key step to the wider process of adapting to climate variability and change. It thus advocates for the anticipation of the risk of maladaptation to become a priority for decision makers and stakeholders at large, from the international to the local levels. Such an ex ante approach, however, supposes to get a clearer understanding of what maladaptation is. Ultimately, the paper affirms that a challenge for future research consists in developing context-specific guidelines that will allow funding bodies to make the best decisions to support adaptation (i.e., by better capturing the risk of maladaptation) and practitioners to design adaptation initiatives with a low risk of maladaptation.

Reference: A. Magnan, E.L.F. Schipper, M. Burkett, S. Bharwani, I. Burton, S. Eriksen, F. Gemenne, J. Schaar, G. Ziervogel (2016). Addressing the risk of maladaptation to climate change. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change; 7: 646 - 665.

Link: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/wcc.409/abstract

The State of Climate Adaptation in U.S. Marine Fisheries

Resource type: Report

Description: This report presents the results of EcoAdapt’s efforts to survey adaptation action in marine fisheries management by examining the major climate impacts on marine and coastal fisheries in the United States, assessing related challenges to fisheries management, and presenting examples of actions taken to decrease vulnerability and/or increase resilience. First, we provide a summary of climate change impacts and secondary effects on fisheries, focusing on changes in air and water temperatures, precipitation patterns, storms, ocean circulation, sea level rise, and water chemistry. We then examine non-climatic factors that affect fisheries management, such as overfishing, bycatch, pollution, habitat degradation and modification, invasive and non-native species, and conflicting uses of marine and coastal ecosystems. Next, we examine how the aforementioned issues combine to influence abundance and productivity, distribution and recruitment, and essential fish habitat. Then we present the results of a survey sent to federal, tribal, state, and other practitioners to identify challenges, needs, and opportunities for climate-informed fisheries management and conservation. Summaries of and trends in commonly used adaptation approaches and examples from our survey and other resources are presented in four broad categories (Gregg et al. 2011; Gregg et al. 2012):

  1. Capacity Building: Strategies include conducting research and assessments, investing in training and outreach efforts, developing new tools and resources, and monitoring climate change impacts and adaptation effectiveness.
  2. Policy: Strategies include developing adaptation plans, creating new or enhancing existing policies, and developing adaptive management strategies.
  3. Natural Resource Management and Conservation: Strategies include incorporating climate change into restoration efforts, enhancing connectivity, reducing local change, and reducing non-climate stressors that may exacerbate the effects of climate change.
  4. Infrastructure, Planning, and Development: Strategies include protecting critical coastal infrastructure used by the fishing industry, and creating or modifying coastal development measures (e.g., removing shoreline hardening, encouraging low-impact development) to increase habitat resilience.

The majority of adaptation efforts in fisheries management to date have been focused on capacity building, including conducting research and assessments, creating resources and tools, and monitoring how climatic changes are affecting species, habitats, and fishing communities. Finally, we discuss several more options to advance adaptation in the fisheries sector that are either not yet represented or are only partially addressed by the examples from our survey. 

Reference: Rachel Gregg, Alessandra Score, Diana Pietri, and Lara Hansen (2016). The State of Climate Adaptation in U.S. Marine Fisheries. EcoAdapt,  Bainbridge Island, WA. pp. 120

Links: http://cakex.org/virtual-library/state-climate-adaptation-us-marine-fisheries-management
The State of Climate Adaptation in US Marine Fisheries Management.pdf

A Tale of Two Northern European Cities: Meeting the Challenges of Sea Level Rise

Resource type: Online article

Description: For centuries, Rotterdam and Hamburg have had to contend with the threat of storm surges and floods. Now, as sea levels rise, planners are looking at innovative ways to make these cities more resilient, with new approaches that could hold lessons for vulnerable urban areas around the world.

Reference: Daniel Grossman (2015). A Tale of Two Northern European Cities: Meeting the Challenges of Sea Level Rise. Yale Environment 360 (November 3, 2015).

Link: http://e360.yale.edu/feature/a_tale_of_two_northern_european_cities_meeting_the_challenges_of_sea_level_rise/2926/

Low Impact Development Manual for Coastal South Carolina

Resource type: Report

Description: The Low Impact Development (LID) Manual for Coastal South Carolina project is supported by years of outreach and research led by the South Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserves (NERRS) and South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium. The project includes key leaders in the area that serve on the LID Manual Advisory Committee, and incorporates public trainings/meetings throughout the process. The final product will be a guidance document defined and vetted by end users.

Reference: Keppler, B., G. Hoffman, S. Drescher, A. Turner, & K. Ellis. (2014). Low Impact Development Manual for Coastal South Carolina [Case study on a project of the ACE Basin and North Inlet-Winyah Bay NERRs, South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium, and Center for Watershed Protection]. Ed. Rachel M. Gregg.

Link: http://www.cakex.org/case-studies/low-impact-development-manual-coastal-south-carolina

Georgia Conservancy - Retreat. Adapt. Defend: Designing Community Response to Sea Level Rise in Five Coastal Georgia Communities

Resource type: Report

Description: Sea level rise is an emerging issue of concern to coastal communities in Georgia and will have future consequences for the entire state. This Design + Research Blueprints project by the GA Conservancy concentrates on sea level rise challenges and adaptation opportunities for five communities along the Georgia coast: City of Savannah, Tybee Island, City of Darien, City of Brunswick, and City of St. Marys. These locations were selected because of their various geographic positions along the coast, as well as their different challenges and opportunities.
This report aims to educate communities across the state and to prompt consideration of responses to climate change and sea level rise by supplying alternative planning and design approaches for these five coastal communities and developing a set of draft recommendations for stakeholder considerations.

Reference: Georgia Conservancy - Retreat. Adapt. Defend: Designing Community Response to Sea Level Rise in Five Coastal Georgia Communities (2013). Johanna McCrehan, Clay Mobley, and Katherine Moore (coordinators) and Richard Dagenhart and Tome Bebo (instructors). The Georgia Conservancy in cooperation with the School of City and Regional Planning, the School of Architecture, Georgia Institute of Technology.

Link: http://issuu.com/georgiaconservancy/docs/rad_final_for_web_sm

Resilient Cities Report 2015: Global developments in urban adaptation and resilience

Resource type: Report

Description: Resilient Cities is the global forum on urban resilience and adaptation convened in Bonn, Germany. The congress series provides an international platform to share the latest information, good practices, challenges, and innovations for creating more resilient cities. The outcomes present an annual snapshot of the state of urban resilience, building on discussions and developments from previous years.
In 2015, the 6th edition of Resilient Cities focused on practical application and implementation, with a prominent track dedicated to financing resilience. Through concrete examples, participants gained insight into topics such as resilient infrastructure, city data and indicators, disaster risk reduction, resilient urban food systems and collaborative approaches. Emergent topics including communicating resilience and resilient public health systems were also discussed. The importance of inclusive urban development and the informal sector were cross-cutting issues which will be further explored at Resilient Cities 2016.
This report aims to reflect the outcomes of Resilient Cities 2015 and broader activities in the field of urban resilience and climate change adaptation. Based on the expertise of international experts and practitioners, the following pages present case studies and lessons learned from around the world, as well as challenges and gaps. 

Reference: Resilient Cities Report 2015: Global developments in urban adaptation and resilience (2015). Evgenia Mitroliou and Laura Kavanaugh. Based on the proceedings of the 6th global forum on urban resilience and adaptation 8 - 10 June 2015 |Bonn, Germany. ICLEI.

Link: http://cakex.org/sites/default/files/documents/RC2015__Congress_Report__Final.pdf

American adaptation: Social factors affecting new developments to address climate change

Resource type: Research paper

Description: [Abstract] Climate change and extreme weather events are expected to increase in frequency and intensity in the United States. The social factors that drive cities to adapt to and/or prepare for these impacts are largely unknown. Sixty-five qualitative interviews were conducted with multi-sectoral decision-makers to assess factors driving adaptation in six cities across the United States: Tucson, Arizona; Tampa, Florida; Raleigh, North Carolina; Boston, Massachusetts; Portland, Oregon; and Los Angeles, California. We find that there are three type of factors that affect adaptation: (1) swing—characteristics of or events within localities that can lead toward or away from action; (2) inhibitors—ways of thinking and framing climate change available to decision-makers that slow, but do not necessarily stop change; and (3) resource catalysts—types of information and moral grounding that provide a rationale for change. These factors often intersect such that swing factors are only influential in cities with some political acceptance of climate change. In cities where public acceptance of climate change is slowly shifting, resource catalysts are more influential. This is the first qualitative study of climate change adaptation in American cities.

Reference: American adaptation: Social factors affecting new developments to address climate change (2015). Kathleen Carlson, and Sabrina McCormick. Global Environmental Change 35: 360–367; doi:10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2015.09.015

Link: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959378015300522

Living Shorelines: From Barriers to Opportunities

Resource type: Report

Description: Restore America’s Estuaries has released a new report, Living Shorelines: From Barriers to Opportunities, which provides a national assessment of institutional barriers that are preventing broader use of living shorelines and provides clear recommendations and strategies to move forward. Living shorelines are a suite of techniques that offer property owners the opportunity to protect and restore their shoreline using more naturally-occurring systems like salt marsh and oyster reefs while also providing benefits to bays and estuaries.

The report identifies three major obstacles to broader use of living shorelines: 1) institutional inertia; 2) lack of a broader planning context; and 3) lack of an advocate. To address these obstacles, the report identifies four broad strategies, including: 1) education and outreach; 2) regulatory reform; 3) improve institutional capacity; and 4) public agencies as role models. Each strategy identifies a number of specific and actionable recommendations for decision and policy makers. 

Reference: Restore America’s Estuaries (2015). Living Shorelines: From Barriers to Opportunities. Arlington, VA.

Link: https://www.estuaries.org/images/stories/RAEReports/RAE_LS_Barriers_report_final.pdf

The Adaptation Gap Report 2014: A Preliminary Assessment Report

Resource type: Report

Description: This first UNEP Adaptation Gap Report provides a framework for defining adaptation gaps and a preliminary assessment of the gap between adaptation needs and reality. It proposes an approach for identifying and assessing the current state and action in key adaptation areas, and comparing these with the potential now, and in the future, for additional adaptation to reduce risks. The assessment focuses on gaps in developing countries in three important areas: finance, technology and knowledge. Other gaps, including in capacity and governance, are equally important to consider, as are the complex interactions between various gaps. The report also points to a number of areas for further action and future analysis.

Reference: UNEP (2014). The Adaptation Gap Report 2014. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Nairobi

Links: http://www.unep.org/climatechange/adaptation/gapreport2014/portals/50270/pdf/AGR_FULL_REPORT.pdf (full report)
http://www.unep.org/climatechange/adaptation/gapreport2014/portals/50270/pdf/Executive_summary.pdf (Executive summary)
http://issuu.com/unep/docs/adaptation_gap_report/0 (e-book)

Being Prepared for Climate Change: A Workbook for Developing Risk-Based Adaptation Plans

Resource type: Report

Description: Identifying risks associated with climate change and managing them to reduce their impacts is essential. This Workbook presents a guide to climate change adaptation planning based on EPA’s experience with watershed management, the National Estuary Program and the Climate Ready Estuaries program. The Workbook will assist organizations that manage environmental resources to prepare a broad, risk-based adaptation plan.

The audience for this Workbook is professionals at organizations that manage environmental resources, especially organizations with a coastal or watershed focus. They are knowledgeable about their systems but not necessarily sophisticated about climate science or risk management. They may be addressing a myriad of issues that require immediate attention and have limited time to focus on adaptation planning for the future. Furthermore, they may need to adapt to climate change impacts within their organization’s existing resources. Despite these challenges, managers who realize that climate change will affect their ability to meet their goals will see the need to incorporate climate change risk into their planning.

Reference: Being Prepared for Climate Change: A Workbook for Developing Risk-Based Adaptation Plans (2014). EPA 842-K-14-002, Climate Ready Estuaries, Office of Water, U.S. EPA.

Link: http://www2.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2014-09/documents/being_prepared_workbook_508.pdf

Severe Weather Adaptation: Coastal Resiliency County Case Studies – Volume 2

Resource type: Report

Description: The case studies in this publication explore three counties’ approaches to reducing vulnerability and exposure using planning, technology and collaboration tools. The case studies feature: Monmouth County, NJ’s assistance program to help county communities apply for the National Flood Insurance Program’s Community Rating System (CRS); Monterey County, CA’s experience using Digital Coast when updating its hazard mitigation plan; and Calvert County, MD’s mitigation plan which includes pilot projects that elevate houses and alter septic systems to become sewered.

Reference: Severe Weather Adaptation: County Case Studies (2014). Alyssum Pohl; National Association of Counties, Washington D.C.

Link: http://www.naco.org/newsroom/pubs/Documents/Infastructure%20and%20Sustainability/final_WaterQuality_no2.11.06.14.pdf

Re-conceptualizing adaptation to climate change as part of pathways of change and response

Resource type: Research article

Description: [Abstract] The need to adapt to climate change is now widely recognized as evidence of its impacts on social and natural systems grows and greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated. Yet efforts to adapt to climate change, as reported in the literature over the last decade and in selected case studies, have not led to substantial rates of implementation of adaptation actions despite substantial investments in adaptation science. Moreover, implemented actions have been mostly incremental and focused on proximate causes; there are far fewer reports of more systemic or transformative actions. We found that the nature and effectiveness of responses was strongly influenced by framing. Recent decision-oriented approaches that aim to overcome this situation are framed within a “pathways” metaphor to emphasize the need for robust decision making within adaptive processes in the face of uncertainty and inter-temporal complexity. However, to date, such “adaptation pathways” approaches have mostly focused on contexts with clearly identified decision-makers and unambiguous goals; as a result, they generally assume prevailing governance regimes are conducive for adaptation and hence constrain responses to proximate causes of vulnerability. In this paper, we explore a broader conceptualization of “adaptation pathways” that draws on ‘pathways thinking’ in the sustainable development domain to consider the implications of path dependency, interactions between adaptation plans, vested interests and global change, and situations where values, interests, or institutions constrain societal responses to change. This re-conceptualization of adaptation pathways aims to inform decision makers about integrating incremental actions on proximate causes with the transformative aspects of societal change. Case studies illustrate what this might entail. The paper ends with a call for further exploration of theory, methods and procedures to operationalize this broader conceptualization of adaptation.

Reference: Re-conceptualizing adaptation to climate change as part of pathways of change and response (2014). R.M. Wise, I. Fazey, M. Stafford Smith, S.E. Park, H.C. Eakin, E.R.M. Archer Van Garderen, and B. Campbell; Global Environmental Change 28z: 325–336.

Link: http://ac.els-cdn.com/S095937801300232X/1-s2.0-S095937801300232X-main.pdf?_tid=cfaa28b4-7025-11e4-b115-00000aab0f6c&acdnat=1416427022_45d9b7d3187926931f6d0eb99f57616b

President’s State, Local, And Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience: Recommendations to the President

Resource type: Report

Description: The Task Force has developed the following recommendations on key actions the Federal Government can take to better support state, local, tribal, and territorial leaders working to prepare their communities for the impacts of climate change. These recommendations focus on opportunities to remove barriers to resilient investments, modernize Federal grant and loan programs to better support and encourage local efforts, and develop the information and tools that decision makers need to understand and prepare for the impacts of climate change.
Recommendations are organized across seven themes:

  • Building resilient communities;
  • Improving resilience in the Nation’s infrastructure;
  • Ensuring resilience of natural resources;
  • Preserving human health and resilient populations;
  • Supporting climate-smart hazard mitigation and disaster preparedness and recovery;
  • Understanding and acting on the economics of resilience, and
  • Building capacity for resilience.

Reference: President’s State, Local, And Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience: Recommendations to the President (2014).

Link: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/task_force_report_0.pdf

Reducing Coastal Risk on the East and Gulf Coasts

Resource type: Report

Description: Reducing Coastal Risk on the East and Gulf Coasts reviews the coastal risk-reduction strategies and levels of protection that have been used along the United States East and Gulf Coasts to reduce the impacts of coastal flooding associated with storm surges. This report evaluates their effectiveness in terms of economic return, protection of life safety, and minimization of environmental effects. According to this report, the vast majority of the funding for coastal risk-related issues is provided only after a disaster occurs. This report calls for the development of a national vision for coastal risk management that includes a long-term view, regional solutions, and recognition of the full array of economic, social, environmental, and life-safety benefits that come from risk reduction efforts. To support this vision, Reducing Coastal Risk states that a national coastal risk assessment is needed to identify those areas with the greatest risks that are high priorities for risk reduction efforts. The report also discusses the implications of expanding the extent and levels of coastal storm surge protection in terms of operation and maintenance costs and the availability of resources.

Reference: Reducing Coastal Risk on the East and Gulf Coasts (2014). Committee on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Water Resources Science, Engineering, and Planning: Coastal Risk Reduction; Water Science and Technology Board; Ocean Studies Board; Division on Earth and Life Studies; National Research Council

Link: http://www.nap.edu/download.php?record_id=18811 (to download full report or chapters)
        http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=18811 (to read online)

Encroaching Tides: How Sea Level Rise and Tidal Flooding Threaten U.S.East and Gulf Coast Communities over the Next 30 Years

Resource type: Report

Description: High tides are having a greater impact on U.S. communities today than in decades past for two reasons. First, our shoresare more heavily developed, so higher tides affect morepeople and infrastructure. Second, these tides are now occurringon top of elevated—and rising—sea levels.To analyze how often flooding now occurs at locations along the East and Gulf Coasts—and the frequency and extent offlooding that communities along these coasts can expect 15and 30 years from now—we relied on 52 tide gauges fromPortland, ME, to Freeport, TX (including Savannah/Tybee Island).Our analysis shows that many East Coast communities now see dozens of tidal floods each year. In some East Coast locations, such as Savannah, GA (at Fort Pulaski), and Lewisetta, VA, extensive flooding isexpected to occur with tides alone on a regular basis withinone or two decades.

By 2045, many coastal communities are expected to see roughlyone foot off sea level rise. As that occurs, one-third of the52 locations in our analysis would start to face tidal floodingmore than 180 times a year, on average, and nine locations can expect to seetidal flooding 240 times or more per year.In this future, days without high-tide floods could startto become the exception in certain places. Without sensiblepreparation for these disruptions, conducting daily life insuch flood-prone areas would become, at best, unreliable and,at worst, dangerous.

Reference: Encroaching Tides: How Sea Level Rise and Tidal Flooding Threaten U.S.East and Gulf Coast Communities over the Next 30 Years (2014). Erika Spanger-Siegfried, Melanie Fitzpatrick, and Kristina Dahl; Union of Concerned Scientists, Cambridge, MA.

Link: http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/impacts/effects-of-tidal-flooding-and-sea-level-rise-east-coast-gulf-of-mexico#.VDbFWBaj9nU (full report)
    http://www.ucsusa.org/sites/default/files/attach/2014/10/encroaching-tides-executive-summary.pdf (executive summary)

Restoring Habitats for Resilient Coastal Economies: A Series of County Initiatives

Resource type: Report

Description: This document provides coastal county leaders and coastal managers with an overview of how environmental restoration initiatives can help strengthen the ongoing vitality of coastal economies. The issue brief is divided into four sections that provide examples from counties that are pursuing coastal restoration projects to: promote storm and flood resiliency; support coastal tourism; protect healthy fisheries, and create coastal jobs.

Reference: Restoring Habitats for Resilient Coastal Economies: A Series of County Initiatives (2014). Coleman Davis, Jen Horton, and Kathy Nothstine. National Association of Counties, Coastal Counties Restoration Initiative.

Link: http://www.naco.org/newsroom/pubs/Documents/Restoring_Coastal_Habitats.pdf

Climate Change Impacts in the United States: Third U.S. National Climate Assessment

Resource type: Report

Description: This report assesses the science of climate change and its im­pacts across the United States, now and throughout this century. It integrates findings of the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) with the results of research and observations from across the U.S. and around the world, including reports from the U.S. National Research Council. This report documents climate change related impacts and responses for various sectors and regions, with the goal of better informing public and private de­cision-making at all levels. The report draws from a large body of scientific, peer-reviewed research, as well as a number of other publicly available sources. Case studies were also provided as illustrations of climate impacts and adaptation programs.

Also available is a Highlights report which presents the major findings and selected highlights from Climate Change Impacts in the United States, the third National Climate Assessment. The Highlights report is organized around the National Climate Assessment’s 12 Report Findings, which take an overarching view of the entire report and its 30 chapters. All material in the Highlights report is drawn from the full report. The Key Messages from each of the 30 report chapters appear in boxes throughout this document.

Additionally, an Overview booklet provides a high level compendium of Climate Change Impacts in the United States, the Third National Climate Assessment. The Overview covers the most important impacts at the national level but does not attempt to provide a comprehensive summary of the entire assessment. Numbered references can be found in the Highlights. To supplement this Overview, regional fact sheets are available that offer highlights from each of the eight regions.

Reference: Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment (2014). Jerry M. Melillo, Terese (T.C.) Richmond, and Gary W. Yohe (eds.). U.S. Global Change Research Program.

Link: http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/downloads  (full report)
     http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/highlights (Highlights from report)
     http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/highlights#section-5682 (Overview)

Especially relevant sections

Section 26: Decision Support: Connecting Science, Risk Perception, and Decisions

Description: Key messages from this section include: (1) decisions about how to address climate change can be complex, and responses will require a combination of adaptation and mitigation actions. Decision-makers – whether individuals, public officials, or others – may need help integrating scientific information into adaptation and mitigation decisions; (2) to be effective, decision support processes need to take account of the values and goals of the key stakeholders, evolving scientific information, and the perceptions of risk; (3) many decision support processes and tools are available. They can enable decision-makers to identify and assess response options, apply complex and uncertain information, clarify tradeoffs, strengthen transparency, and generate information on the costs and benefits of different choices; (4) ongoing assessment processes should incorporate evaluation of decision support tools, their accessibility to decision-makers, and their application in decision processes in different sectors and regions; and (5) steps to improve collaborative decision processes include developing new decision support tools and building human capacity to bridge science and decision-making.

Authors: R. Moss and P. L. Scarlett (convening lead authors); M. A. Kenney, H. Kunreuther, R. Lempert, J. Manning, and B. K. Williams (lead authors); J. W. Boyd, E. T. Cloyd, L. Kaatz, and L. Patton (contributing authors).

Link: http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/report/response-strategies/decision-support

Section 28: Adaptation

Description: Key messages from this section include: (1) substantial adaptation planning is occurring in the public and private sectors and at all levels of government; however, few measures have been implemented and those that have appear to be incremental changes; (2) barriers to implementation of adaptation include limited funding, policy and legal impediments, and difficulty in anticipating climate-related changes at local scales; (3) there is no “one-size fits all” adaptation, but there are similarities in approaches across regions and sectors. Sharing best practices, learning by doing, and iterative and collaborative processes including stakeholder involvement, can help support progress; (4) climate change adaptation actions often fulfill other societal goals, such as sustainable development, disaster risk reduction, or improvements in quality of life, and can therefore be incorporated into existing decision-making processes; (5) vulnerability to climate change is exacerbated by other stresses such as pollution, habitat fragmentation, and poverty. Adaptation to multiple stresses requires assessment of the composite threats as well as tradeoffs among costs, benefits, and risks of available options; and (6) the effectiveness of climate change adaptation has seldom been evaluated, because actions have only recently been initiated and comprehensive evaluation metrics do not yet exist.

Authors: R. Bierbaum, A. Lee, and J. Smith (convening lead authors); M. Blair, L. M. Carter, F. S. Chapin, III, P. Fleming, and S. Ruffo (lead authors); S. McNeeley, M. Stults, L. Verduzco, and E. Seyller (contributing authors).

                      Link: http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/report/response-strategies/adaptation

Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability Vol. 1: Global and Sectoral Aspects

Resource type: Report

Description: The objective of the contribution of Working Group II to the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability, is to consider the vulnerability and exposure of human and natural systems, the observed impacts and future risks of climate change, and the potential for and limits to adaptation. The chapters of the report assess risks and opportunities for societies, economies, and ecosystems around the world. The 30-chapter report is divided into two volumes. Volume I focuses on global and sectoral aspects. It introduces the report with chapters that provide the context for the AR5, followed by those on natural and managed resources and systems; human settlements, industry, and infrastructure; and human health, well-being, and security. Volume I has a set of four chapters on adaptation. The final three chapters in Volume I synthesize information from Volume I and II chapters to provide multi-sector impacts, risks, vulnerabilities, and opportunities.

Reference: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability (2014). Working Group II Contribution to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report.

Link: http://ipcc-wg2.gov/AR5/report/final-drafts/

Especially relevant chapters:

Chapter 14: Adaptation Needs and Options

Description: This chapter establishes a foundation for understanding adaptation by reviewing core concepts related to adaptation, with a focus on mapping out broad categories of needs and options. Here we use adaptation needs to refer to circumstances requiring information, resources, and action to ensure safety of populations and security of assets in response to climate impacts. Adaptation options are the array of strategies and measures available and appropriate to address needs. Since identifying needs and selecting and implementing options require the engagement of individuals, organizations, and governments at all levels, this chapter also briefly considers the range of actors involved in these processes and summarizes the risks of maladaptation. This chapter focuses on the socioeconomic systems that support human livelihoods, although it also touches upon the services provided by ecosystems (including ecosystem based adaptation). This chapter also highlights some important tools for implementing adaptation, namely approaches to assessing needs at national, subnational, and sectoral levels, and the challenges of applying metrics to determine adaptation needs and the effectiveness of adaptation actions.

Authors: Ian Noble, Saleemul Huq (coordinating lead authors); Yury Anokhin, JoAnn Carmin, Dieudonne Goudou, Felino Lansigan, Balgis Osman-Elasha, Alicia Villamizar (lead authors); Jessica Ayers, Frans Berkhout, Kirsten Dow, Hans-Martin Fussel, Joel Smigh, Kathleen Teirney, and Helena Wright (contributing authors).

Link: http://ipcc-wg2.gov/AR5/images/uploads/WGIIAR5-Chap14_FGDall.pdf

Chapter 15: Adaptation Planning and Implementation

Description: This chapter examines and evaluates the literature on climate change adaptation, in order to assess the progress made toward CCA and explore difficulties encountered in the implementation of adaptation plans. This chapter focuses on the actions taken from international to local levels, in various sectors in order to assess; 1) the recent status of climate change adaptation planning and implementation across the globe; 2) the characteristics of adaptation in different settings; 3) the strategies, approaches and tools used in the adaptation practices; and 4) the governance of adaptation including building adaptive capacities. This chapter also draws attention to factors that motivate and facilitate the development of adaptation strategies, as well as how scientific and technical information, support and collaborative mechanisms are utilized in the process.

Authors: Nobuo Mimura, Roger Pulwarty (coordinating lead authors); Do Minh Duc, Ibrahim Elshinnawy, Margaret Hiza Redsteer, He-Qing Huang, Johnson Ndi Nkem, Roberto A. Sanchez Rodriguez (lead authors); Maarten van Aalst, Joseph Donohue, Habiba Gitay, Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm, Sofie Storbjörk, and Swenja Surminski (contributing authors).

Link: http://ipcc-wg2.gov/AR5/images/uploads/WGIIAR5-Chap15_FGDall.pdf

Chapter 16: Adaptation Opportunities, Constraints, and Limits

Description: This chapter assesses recent literature on the opportunities that create enabling conditions for adaptation as well as the ancillary benefits that may arise from adaptive responses. It also assesses the literature on biophysical and socioeconomic constraints on adaptation and the potential for such constraints to pose limits to adaptation. Given the available evidence of observed and anticipated limits to adaptation, the chapter also discusses the ethical implications of adaptation limits and the literature on system transformational adaptation as a response to adaptation limits. The chapter then presents a framework for adaptation, opportunities, and limits with an emphasis on explicit definitions of these concepts to facilitate assessment. Key components of this framework are assessed in subsequent chapter sections including the synthesis of how these components are treated among the different sectoral and regional chapters of the AR5 WGII report. The chapter subsequently assesses relationships between mitigation and adaptation opportunities, constraints, and limits as well as their ethical implications. The chapter concludes with discussion of key pathways forward for research and practice to seize opportunities, overcome constraints, and avoid limits.

Authors: Richard J.T. Klein, Guy F. Midgley, Benjamin L. Preston (coordinating lead authors); Mozaharul Alam, Frans G.H. Berkhout, Kirstin Dow, M. Rebecca Shaw (lead authors); Wouter Botzen, Halvard Buhaug, Karl W. Butzer, Carina Keskitalo, Yu’e Li, Elena Mateescu, Sarshen Marais, Robert Muir-Wood, Johanna Mustelin, Hannah Reid, Lauren Rickards, Timothy F. Smith, Adelle Thomas, Paul Watkiss, and Johanna Wolf (contributing authors).

Link: http://ipcc-wg2.gov/AR5/images/uploads/WGIIAR5-Chap16_FGDall.pdf

Chapter 17: Economics of Adaptation

Description: This chapter assesses the scientific literature covering: the economic aspects of adaptation; decision making and economic context of adaptation, including economic barriers to adaptation decision making, and uncertainty; costing adaptation; and the economic and related instruments to provide incentives for adaptation.

Authors: Muyeye Chambwera, Geoffrey Heal (coordinating lead authors); Carolina Dubeux, Stéphane Hallegatte, Liza Leclerc, Anil Markandya, Bruce McCarl, Reinhard Mechler, James Neumann (lead authors); Hans-Martin Füssel, Patrice Dumas, Samuel Fankhauser, Alistair Hunt, Howard Kunreuther, Richard S.J. Tol, Paul Watkiss, Richard Woodward, and David Zilberman (contributing authors).

Link: http://ipcc-wg2.gov/AR5/images/uploads/WGIIAR5-Chap17_FGDall.pdf

National Climate Assessment Health Sector Workshop, Southeast Region

Resource type: Report

Description: This synthesis white paper summarizes the findings from the National Climate Assessment Health Sector, Southeast regional workshop. The paper documents participant input in the following six areas: (1) current regional health impacts of climate change; (2) regional adaptation efforts; (3) key risks and vulnerabilities; (4) future projections of health impacts; (5) relevant indicator research and tracking; and (6) identification of research and monitoring needs. Additional products from the workshops include: a survey of existing projects, research, publications, and decision-support tools on health effects of climate change in the region; a plan for building sustained collaborations needed to support ongoing assessment efforts including roles for different institutions; and a draft Monitoring, Early Warning, Data and Surveillance meta-database, summarizing federal information related to climate change and health.

Reference: National Climate Assessment Health Sector Workshop: Southeast Region Report (2012). U.S. Global Change Research Program, National Climate Assessment Health Sector.

Link: http://downloads.globalchange.gov/nca/technical_inputs/Health_CC_SE_Report.pdf

Technical Report: Climate Change and Infrastructure, Urban Systems, and Vulnerabilities

Resource type: Report

Description: This report is a summary of the currently existing knowledge base on its topic, nested within a broader framing of issues and questions that need further attention in the longer run. A central theme of the report is that vulnerabilities and impacts are issues beyond physical infrastructures themselves. The concern is with the value of services provided by infrastructures, where the true consequences of impacts and disruptions involve not only the costs associated with the clean-up, repair, and/or replacement of affected infrastructures but also economic, social, and environmental effects as supply chains are disrupted, economic activities are suspended, and/or social well-being is threatened.

Reference: Climate Change and Infrastructure, Urban Systems, and Vulnerabilities: Technical Report to the U.S. Department of Energy in Support of the National Climate Assessment (2012). Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Link: http://www.esd.ornl.gov/eess/Infrastructure.pdf

Workshop Materials Available: Planning for Climate Change

Resource type: Informational material

Description: Materials are now available for Planning for Climate Change, a workshop that was developed as a national project for the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS). The workshop is geared primarily toward shoreline planners and developed so that Coastal Training Programs (and other agencies) around the country can customize the workshop and use it as part of their educational efforts regarding climate change. While it lays a foundation in current climate research, it primarily addresses the fundamentals of how to prepare and adapt to the anticipated impacts of climate change. Workshop materials, evaluation results, lessons learned, PowerPoint presentations, and streaming video of the training sessions are all posted on the NERRS website.

Link: http://nerrs.noaa.gov/CTPIndex.aspx?ID=455

Report on the U.S. EPA Southeast Climate Change Adaptation Planning Workshop

Resource type: Workshop report

Description: This report summarizes the discussions at the EPA’s Southeast Climate Change Adaptation Planning Workshop in February 2010. The goals of the workshop were to foster adaptation planning in the Southeast and to serve as a potential model for other regions. Emphasis was placed on exploring, understanding, and overcoming barriers to adaptation planning and action. Workshop participants identified a number of impediments and barriers to adaptation surrounding the following topics:

  • Availability and usefulness of information.
  • Level of understanding of risks from climate change.
  • Status of a mandate on adaptation.
  • Degree of public engagement.
  • Level of guidance and coordination on adaptation from the federal government.
  • Funding availability.
  • Legal and institutional barriers.
  • Resistance to some adaptations.

The solutions proposed at the workshop included:

  • Develop an education and outreach role on climate change.
  • Create a climate change information clearinghouse for the Southeast.
  • Conduct coordinated vulnerability assessments.
  • Define priorities.
  • Develop adaptation policies.

Reference: Report on the U.S. EPA Southeast Climate Change Adaptation Planning Workshop (2010). Prepared by Stratus Consulting for the U.S. EPA, Region 4, Office of Air and Radiation, Climate Change Division, Office of Water, Water Policy Staff.

Link: http://www.vanderbilt.edu/sustainvu/cms/files/Task.5.Report.05.10.2010.pdf

Preparing for and Managing Change: Climate Adaptation for Biodiversity and Ecosystems

Resource type: Research article

Description: The emerging field of climate change adaptation has experienced a dramatic increase in attention as the impacts of climate change on biodiversity and ecosystems have become more evident. Preparing for and addressing these changes are now prominent themes in conservation and natural resource policy and practice. Adaptation increasingly is viewed as a way of managing change, rather than just maintaining existing conditions. There is also increasing recognition of the need not only to adjust management strategies in light of climate shifts, but to reassess and, as needed, modify underlying conservation goals. Major advances in the development of climate-adaptation principles, strategies, and planning processes have occurred over the past few years, although implementation of adaptation plans continues to lag. With ecosystems expected to undergo continuing climate-mediated changes for years to come, adaptation can best be thought of as an ongoing process, rather than as a fixed endpoint.

Reference: Preparing for and managing change: climate adaptation for biodiversity and ecosystems (2013).  Bruce A Stein, Amanda Staudt, Molly S Cross, Natalie S Dubois, Carolyn Enquist, Roger Griffis, Lara J Hansen, Jessica J Hellmann, Joshua J Lawler, Erik J Nelson, and Amber Pairis. Front Ecol Environ 11(9): 502–510.

Link: http://www.esajournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1890/120277

2014 U.S. Climate Action Report to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change

Resource type: Report

Description: This U.S. Climate Action Report 2014 (2014 CAR) contains two separate, but complementary documents: (1) the Sixth National Communication of the U.S., and (2) the First Biennial Report of the U.S. The Biennial Report outlines how U.S. action on climate change puts the U.S. on a path to reach its commitments in Copenhagen, Cancún, and Durban, covering the period up to 2020, and contains additional reporting information in Annex I. Some of the information in the 2014 CAR and Biennial Report is duplicative, in order for the U.S. to meet its reporting requirements and ensure that each document is complete. The 2014 CAR also reflects extensive public comments, as well as edits from more than 21 federal agencies during four rounds of interagency review.

Reference: U.S. Climate Action Report 2014 (2014) U.S. Department of State.

Links: http://www.state.gov/e/oes/rls/rpts/car6/index.htm; http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/219038.pdf

Especially relevant chapter (located in The Sixth National Communication of the U.S.):

Chapter 6: Vulnerability, Assessment, Climate Change Impacts, and Adaptation Measures

Description: This chapter outlines, discusses, and provides examples of recently observed changes in climate and the associated impacts; observed and projected climate and global change vulnerabilities and impacts in the United States (regional, sectoral, and cross-cutting); ongoing and planned research to improve the understanding of impacts, vulnerabilities, and options for response; and ongoing adaptation measures, including examples of adaptation actions taking place at multiple scales throughout the United States.

Link: http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/218994.pdf

Climate Adaptations in the Southeast USA

Resource type: Book chapter

Description: Climate adaptation activities are currently under way around the Southeast. Efforts by local, state, and federal agencies include identification of relevant climate impacts, assessment of significant risks and vulnerabilities, and the creation of partnerships to support planning. In addition to specific projects, adaptive capacity also is being established through monitoring, research, and outreach. This analysis draws on multiple efforts to inventory adaptation in the Southeast. The authors identified few advanced examples of plans and projects that have been implemented. However, because of the number of efforts, diversity of groups involved, the mainstreaming of efforts, and the differences in how those efforts disseminated, this review may not fully represent adaptation activity in the Southeast.

Reference: Climate Adaptations in the Southeast USA (2013). Kirstin Dow and Lynne Carter (lead authors). In: Climate of the Southeast United States: Variability, Change, Impacts, and Vulnerability. K. Ingram, K. Dow, L. Carter, and J. Anderson (Eds) Washington DC: Island Press.

Link: http://cakex.org/sites/default/files/documents/Climate%20of%20the%20Southeast%20United%20States.pdf

Oceans and Marine Resources in a Changing Climate: Technical Input to the 2013 National Climate Assessment

Resource type: Report

Description: This report provides a comprehensive look at our current understanding of the effects of climate change on the oceans and marine ecosystems under U.S. jurisdiction. It reviews how climate variability is affecting the physical, chemical, and biological conditions of ocean ecosystems, and how these changes are already having societal impacts by affecting fisheries and other valuable ocean products and services. It also synthesizes information on projected climate-driven changes in U.S. ocean ecosystems over the next 25 to 100 years.

Reference: Oceans and Marine Resources in a Changing Climate: Technical Input to the 2013 National Climate Assessment (2013). Roger Griffis and Jennifer Howard (lead authors). Submitted to the National Climate Assessment Development Advisory Committee.

Link: http://downloads.usgcrp.gov/NCA/technicalinputreports/Griffis_Howard_Ocean_Marine_Resources.pdf.

Especially relevant section:

Section X. Ocean Management Challenges, Adaptation Approaches, and Opportunities in a Changing Climate

Description: Climate change presents both challenges and opportunities for marine resource managers and decision makers. Ocean-related climate information, tools, and services are being developed to address the needs of decision makers and managers. Opportunities for adaptation include incorporation of climate change into existing ocean policies, practices, and management efforts. Progress is being made across the U.S. to enhance ocean resilience to climate change through local, state, national, federal, and non-governmental adaptation frameworks and actions; however, much work still remains.

Authors: Laura Petes and Roger Griffis (lead authors); Jordan Diamond, Bill Fisher, Ben Halpern, Lara Hansen, Amber Mace, Katheryn Mengerink, and Josie Quintrell.

Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change

Resource type: Book

Description: This book is part of the America's Climate Choices series of climate change studies requested by Congress. Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change calls for a national adaptation strategy that provides needed technical and scientific resources, incentives to begin adaptation planning, guidance across jurisdictions, shared lessons learned, and support of scientific research to expand knowledge of impacts and adaptation.

Reference: Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change (2010). National Research Council. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

Link: http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12783.

Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation

Full Title: Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation - Special Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Resource type: Report

Description: Extreme weather and climate events, interacting with exposed and vulnerable human and natural systems, can lead to disasters. This Special Report explores the challenge of understanding and managing the risks of climate extremes to advance climate change adaptation. Opportunities for managing risks of weather- and climate-related disasters exist or can be developed at any scale, local to international. Some strategies for effectively managing risks and adapting to climate change involve adjustments to current activities. Others require transformation or fundamental change. This report assesses experience and theory in adaptation to extremes and disasters, focusing on issues and opportunities at the local scale, the national scale, and the international scale. The report also discusses the interactions among sustainable development, vulnerability reduction, and disaster risk, considering opportunities and constraints, as well as the kinds of transformations relevant to overcoming the constraints.

Reference: Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation. A Special Report of Working Groups I and II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2012). [C.B. Field, V. Barros, T.F. Stocker, D. Qin, D.J. Dokken, K.L. Ebi, M.D. Mastrandrea, K.J. Mach, G.-K. Plattner, S.K. Allen, M. Tignor, and P.M. Midgley (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, and New York, NY.

Links: http://www.ipcc-wg2.gov/SREX/images/uploads/SREX-All_FINAL.pdf  (full report)

http://www.ipcc-wg2.gov/SREX/images/uploads/SREX-SPMbrochure_FINAL.pdf (Summary for policymakers)           

Especially relevant chapters:

Chapter 5: Managing the Risks from Climate Extremes at the Local Level

Description: Disasters are most acutely experienced at the local level. Developing strategies for disaster risk management in the context of climate change requires a range of approaches, informed by and customized to specific local circumstances. While structural measures provide some protection from disasters, they may also create a false sense of safety. Sustainable land management is an effective disaster risk reduction tool. Ecosystem management and restoration activities that focus on addressing deteriorating environmental conditions are essential to protecting and sustaining people’s livelihoods in the face of climate extremes. Integration of local knowledge with additional scientific and technical knowledge can improve disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. Local participation supports community-based adaptation to benefit management of disaster risk and climate extremes. Mainstreaming disaster risk management into policies and practices provides key lessons that apply to climate change adaptation at the local level. The main challenge for local adaptation to climate extremes is to apply a balanced portfolio of approaches as a one-size-fits-all strategy may prove limiting for some places and stakeholders.

Authors: Susan Cutter, Balgis Osman-Elasha, John Campbell, So-Min Cheong, Sabrina McCormick, Roger Pulwarty, Seree Supratid, and Gina Ziervogel,

Chapter 6: National Systems for Managing the Risks from Climate Extremes and Disasters

Description: This chapter assesses how countries are managing current and projected disaster risks, given knowledge of how risks are changing with observations and projections of weather and climate extremes, vulnerability and exposure, and impacts. It focuses on the design of national systems for managing such risks, the roles played by actors involved in the system, and the functions they perform, acknowledging that complementary actions to manage risks are also taken at local and international level.

Authors: Padma Narsey Lal, Tom Mitchell, Paulina Aldunce, Heather Auld, Reinhard Mechler, Alimullah Miyan, Luis Ernesto Romano, and Salmah Zakaria.

Governing for Sustainable Coasts: Complexity, Climate Change, and Coastal Ecosystem Protection

Resource type: Research article

Description: (Abstract) The world’s coastal ecosystems are among the most complex on Earth, and they are currently being governed unsustainably, by any definition. Climate change will only add to this complexity, underscoring the necessity of finding new ways to govern for these ecosystems’ sustainable use. After reviewing the problems facing coastal ecosystems and innovations in their governance, this article argues that governance of coastal ecosystems must move to place-based adaptive management regimes that incorporate innovative and flexible regulatory mechanisms, such as market-based incentives.

Reference: Governing for Sustainable Coasts: Complexity, Climate Change, and Coastal Ecosystem Protection (2010). Robin K. Craig and J.B. Ruhl. Sustainability, 2:1361-1388.

Link: http://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/2/5/1361

A Summary of Present and Future Climate Adaptation Law

Resource type: Book chapter

Description: In anticipation of the inevitable shift from adaptation planning to adaptation action, this chapter provides a background on climate change adaptation policy and a survey of climate impacts and adaptation responses likely to put some demand on legal institutions and rules. The chapter opens by defining the key terms and concepts of climate change adaptation as it has been discussed in major policy analyses. The chapter then summarizes the scope and focus of federal, state, local, tribal, and private climate change adaptation planning initiatives. From there, the chapter reviews the current law of climate change adaptation, which as mentioned above is not yet extensive. What few morsels of legal initiative exist break down into five types: (1) coastal land use controls; (2) environmental impact assessment programs; (3) corporate disclosure requirements; (4) endangered species protection; and (5) anti-adaptation measures The chapter closes with a survey of the potential legal issues climate change adaptation could spark, organized into five categories: (1) land and resources; (2) infrastructure; (3) business disputes and regulation; (4) health and safety concerns; and (5) governance and process.

Reference: A Summary of Present and Future Climate Adaptation Law (2007). J.B. Ruhl. In: Global Climate Change and U.S. Law. Michael B. Gerrard (ed.) American Bar Association.

Link: http://ssrn.com/abstract_id=2214001

Adaptation and Mitigation

Resource type: Book chapter

Description: In the ten years since the first National Assessment of the Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change, the science and policy landscape for adaptation has evolved significantly. Adaptation is emerging as an essential strategy for managing climate risk and a broad range of adaptation initiatives are being pursued across a range of geopolitical scales. This interest in adaptation has emerged from an increased awareness that climate impacts are unavoidable; a growing availability of knowledge, data, and tools for the assessment of climate risk; and the interest of government agencies, businesses, and communities in increasing their resilience to both current climate variability as well as future climate change. However, adaptation strategies are not generally mainstreamed into the policy apparatus of governments or the development plans of the private sector. Also, although adaptation planning has an increasingly rich portfolio of case studies contributing to shared learning, the implementation of adaptation plans has proceeded at a much slower pace.

Reference: Adaptation and Mitigation (2012). Lara Hansen (Lead author). In: Coastal Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability: A Technical Input to the 2012 National Climate Assessment. V.R. Burkett and M.A. Davidson (eds.) Cooperative Report to the 2013 National Climate Assessment.

Link: http://downloads.usgcrp.gov/NCA/technicalinputreports/Burkett_Davidson_Coasts_Final_.pdf

Policy Solutions in the U.S.

Resource type: Research paper

Description: (Abstract) This paper focuses on relocation, retreat, zoning, insurance, and subsidy as major dimensions of coastal hazard mitigation measures that have resurfaced as potent forces for combating coastal inundation and climate change. It reviews the issues surrounding the practice of these measures and discusses compatibilities of policies, engineering measures, and natural defense. Property rights, development interest, and distorted financial incentives pose as main barriers to coastal relocation and retreat policies in hazard-prone areas. To understand and propose coastal adaptation solutions, the paper recommends place-based studies of local coastal adaptation strategies. Place-based studies offer an in-depth knowledge of local conditions specifically regarding the level of implementation of hazard mitigation policies, and shed light on important trade-offs and synergies of various hazard policies. In addition, coupling existing hazard mitigation policies with coastal management and community management can better inform long-term and comprehensive planning of coastal adaptation.

Reference: Policy Solutions in the U.S. (2011). So-Min Cheong. Climatic Change 106(1):57–70.

Link: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10584-010-9996-1

The State of Adaptation in the United States: An Overview

Resource type: Report

Description: This report surveys activities underway to help communities prepare for climate change and identifies needs, challenges, and potential actions that communities can now pursue. The paper provides examples of societal responses to climate change in our planning and management of cities, agriculture, and natural resources. These examples include regulatory measures, management strategies, and information sharing.

Reference: The State of Adaptation in the United States: An Overview (2013). L. Hansen, R.M. Gregg, V. Arroyo, S. Ellsworth, L. Jackson and A. Snover. A report for the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. EcoAdapt.

Link: http://www.georgetownclimate.org/the-state-of-adaptation-in-the-united-states-an-overview.

Adapting to Climate Change: A Call for Federal Leadership

Resource type: Report

Description: This report highlights the important role of the federal government in reducing the vulnerability and strengthening the resiliency of our economy and natural resources in the face of these changes. In addition to managing a significant amount of land and infrastructure that will be affected by climate change, the federal government is uniquely positioned to provide the necessary leadership, guidance, information, and resources. While many efforts to adapt to climate change will occur at the state and local level, the federal government is a critical player in an effective and coordinated approach to climate change adaptation in the United States. Drawing on the expertise of local, state, federal, and international leaders in this area, the authors provide concrete proposals for “mainstreaming” climate change adaptation within and across the federal government.

Reference: Adapting to Climate Change: A Call for Federal Leadership (2010). Joel B. Smith, Jason M. Vogel, Terri L. Cruce, Stephen Seidel, and Heather A. Holsinger. Prepared by Stratus Consulting for the Pew Center on Global Climate Change.

Link: http://www.c2es.org/docUploads/adaptation-federal-leadership.pdf

Climate Ready Estuaries: 2012 Progress Report

Resource type: Report

Description: This EPA document reports on 2012 program accomplishments and the new National Estuary Program projects started during 2012. The progress report uses NEP projects from 2008–2012 to illustrate how the risk management paradigm can be used for climate change adaptation.

Reference: Climate Ready Estuaries: 2012 Progress Report (2012). Michael Craghan. Oceans and Coastal Protection Division, Office of Water, NOAA.

Link: http://water.epa.gov/type/oceb/cre/upload/CRE_2012Report_122612a.pdf

Adapting to Climate Change: A Planning Guide for State Coastal Managers

Resource type: Guide

Description: NOAA’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management developed a plan to help U.S. state and territorial coastal managers develop and implement adaptation plans to reduce the risks associated with climate change impacts affecting their coasts. The guide was written in response to a request from state coastal managers for guidance from NOAA on adaptation planning in the coastal zone and is intended as an aid, not as a prescriptive directive, and a state may choose to use individual steps or chapters or the entire guide, depending on where they are in their planning process.

Reference: Adapting to Climate Change: A Planning Guide for State Coastal Managers (2010). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Ocean & Coastal Resource Management.

Link: http://coastalmanagement.noaa.gov/climate/docs/adaptationguide.pdf

Restore-Adapt-Mitigate: Responding to Climate Change through Coastal Habitat Restoration

Resource type: Report

Description: This study links ecologically important coastal habitat restoration with adaptation and mitigation strategies as a way to reduce the impacts of ongoing global climate change. The report demonstrates that coastal wetland restoration--everything from restoring salt marshes, to protecting mangroves, and creating new coastal wetlands--can be an integral part of public and private initiatives to combat climate change.

Reference: Restore-Adapt-Mitigate: Responding to Climate Change through Coastal Habitat Restoration (2012). [B.A. Needelman, J. Benoit, S. Bosak, and C. Lyons (eds), B.A. Needelman, S. Crooks, C.A. Shumway, J.G. Titus, R. Takacs, and J.E. Hawkes (contributing authors)]. Restore America’s Estuaries, Washington DC.

Link: http://www.estuaries.org/images/stories/RAE_Restore-Adapt-Mitigate_Climate-Chg-Report.pdf

Preliminary Review of Adaptation Options for Climate-Sensitive Ecosystems and Resources

Full Title: Preliminary Review of Adaptation Options for Climate-Sensitive Ecosystems and Resources - Final Report, Synthesis and Assessment Product 4.4 of the Subcommittee on Global Change Research

Resource type: Report

Description: This report provides useful information on the state of knowledge regarding adaptation options for key, representative ecosystems and resources that may be sensitive to climate variability and change including national estuaries and marine protected areas.

Reference: Preliminary review of adaptation options for climate-sensitive ecosystems and resources. A Report by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research (2008). [Julius, S.H., J.M. West (eds.), J.S. Baron, B. Griffith, L.A. Joyce, P. Kareiva, B.D. Keller, M.A. Palmer, C.H. Peterson, and J.M. Scott (authors)]. Climate Change Science Program, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC.

Link: http://downloads.globalchange.gov/sap/sap4-4/sap4-4-final-report-all.pdf

Especially relevant chapters:

Chapter 7: National Estuaries

Description: This chapter reviews the suite of management adaptations that might accommodate effects of climate change in ways that could preserve the ecosystem services of estuaries. On time scales of a few decades, management strategies exist that may build resilience sufficiently to minimize ecosystem service losses from estuaries. However, over longer time scales, despite these actions to enhance resilience, dramatic net losses in ecosystem services will arise, requiring trade-offs to be made among which services to preserve and which to sacrifice.

Authors: Charles H. Peterson, (lead author); Richard T. Barber, Kathryn L. Cottingham, Heike K. Lotze, Charles A. Simenstad, Robert R. Christian, Michael F. Piehler, and John Wilson (contributing authors).

Chapter 8: Marine Protected Areas

Description: Marine protected areas such as national marine sanctuaries provide place-based management of marine ecosystems through various degrees and types of protective actions. A goal of national marine sanctuaries is to maintain natural biological communities by protecting habitats, populations, and ecological processes using community-based approaches. Biodiversity and habitat complexity are key ecosystem characteristics that must be protected to achieve sanctuary goals, and biologically structured habitats (such as coral reefs and kelp forests) are especially susceptible to degradation resulting from climate change. Marine ecosystems are susceptible to the effects of ocean acidification on carbonate chemistry, as well as to direct and indirect effects of increasing temperatures, changing circulation patterns, increasing severity of storms, and other factors.

Authors: Brian D. Keller (lead author); Satie Airamé, Billy Causey, Alan Friedlander, Daniel F. Gleason, Rikki Grober-Dunsmore, Johanna Johnson, Elizabeth McLeod, Steven L. Miller, S. Steneck, and Christa Woodley (contributing authors).

Adaptation Planning – What U.S. States and Localities are Doing

Resource type: Research paper

Description: This paper focuses on adaptation planning efforts by both state and local governments. Many of these efforts are in their earliest stages. Some states are including adaptation within the scope of their state Climate Action Plans addressing greenhouse gas emissions. A few others have recognized the need for separate and comprehensive adaptation commissions to parallel their mitigation efforts. Many are simply responding to climate impacts as they occur, without necessarily attributing the impacts to climate change. Regardless of the basis for the response, states can learn a great deal from each other, and from localities where adaptation planning and implementation are already occurring. While comprehensive and proactive adaptation planning is still in its early stages, as states and localities complete their greenhouse gas mitigation plans, adaptation planning is gaining greater attention and resources.

Reference: Adaptation Planning – What U.S. States and Localities are Doing (2009). Terri L. Cruce. Pew Center on Global Climate Change.

Link: http://www.c2es.org/docUploads/state-adapation-planning-august-2009.pdf

Coastal Habitats Shield People and Property from Sea-Level Rise and Storms

Resource type: Research article

Description: Extreme weather, sea-level rise and degraded coastal ecosystems are placing people and property at greater risk of damage from coastal hazards. The likelihood and magnitude of losses may be reduced by intact reefs and coastal vegetation, especially when those habitats fringe vulnerable communities and infrastructure. Using five sea-level-rise scenarios, the authors calculated a hazard index for every 1 km2 of the U.S. coastline. They used this index to identify the most vulnerable people and property as indicated by presence in the upper quartile of hazard for the nation’s coastline. The number of people, poor families, elderly and total value of residential property that are most exposed to hazards can be reduced by half if existing coastal habitats remain fully intact. Coastal habitats defend the greatest number of people and total property value in Florida, New York and California. This analysis delivers the first national map of risk reduction owing to natural habitats and indicates where conservation and restoration of reefs and vegetation have the greatest potential to protect coastal communities.

Reference: Coastal habitats shield people and property from sea-level rise and storms (2013). Katie K. Arkema, Greg Guannel, Gregory Verutes, Spencer A. Wood, Anne Guerry, Mary Ruckelshaus, Peter Kareiva, Martin Lacayo, and Jessica M. Silver. Nature Climate Change 3: 913–918.

Link: http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v3/n10/full/nclimate1944.html

Coastal Adaptation with Ecological Engineering

Resource type: Research article

Description: The use of combined approaches to coastal adaptation in lieu of a single strategy, such as sea-wall construction, allows for better preparation for a highly uncertain and dynamic coastal environment. Although general principles such as mainstreaming and no- or low-regret options exist to guide coastal adaptation and provide the framework in which combined approaches operate, few have examined the interactions, synergistic effects and benefits of combined approaches to adaptation. This Perspective provides three examples of ecological engineering — marshes, mangroves and oyster reefs — and illustrates how the combination of ecology and engineering works.

Reference: Coastal adaptation with ecological engineering (2013). So-Min Cheong, Brian Silliman, Poh Poh Wong, Bregje van Wesenbeeck, Choong-Ki Kim, and Greg Guannel. Nature Climate Change 3: 787–791.

Link: http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v3/n9/full/nclimate1854.html#/main

Preparing for Climate Change: A Guidebook for Local, Regional and State Government

Resource type: Guidebook

Description: The purpose of this guidebook is to help decision-makers in local, regional, or state governments prepare for climate change by recommending a detailed, easy-to-understand process for climate change preparedness based on familiar resources and tools. The content was developed from reviews of scientific literature, the Climate Impacts Group’s experience working with U.S. Pacific Northwest decision-makers on preparing for climate change, and King County, Washington’s experience developing and implementing a climate change preparedness plan. ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability has also provided guidance based on its Climate Resilient Communities Program, its Five Milestones process for climate change adaptation, and its extensive experience with local and regional governments. The guidebook begins with an introduction which highlights both the urgent responsibility and opportunity for public decision-makers to prepare for climate change now and in the coming decades. Subsequent chapter provide: an overview of the science of global climate change and its projected national and regional consequences; reasons why local, regional, and state decision-makers should prepare proactively for the impacts of climate change to their communities; suggestions on the critical steps to take to initiate climate resiliency efforts; and recommendations on how to identify priority planning areas for action.

Reference: Preparing for Climate Change: A Guidebook for Local, Regional, and State Governments (2007). A.K. Snover, L. Whitely Binder, J. Lopez, E. Willmott, J. Kay, D. Howell, and J. Simmonds. In association with and published by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, Oakland, CA.

Link: http://www.cses.washington.edu/db/pdf/snoveretalgb574.pdf

Mitigating Shore Erosion along Sheltered Coasts

Resource type: Report

Description: Like ocean beaches, sheltered coastal areas experience land loss from erosion and sea level rise. In response, property owners often install hard structures such as bulkheads as a way to prevent further erosion, but these structures cause changes in the coastal environment that alter landscapes, reduce public access and recreational opportunities, diminish natural habitats, and harm species that depend on these habitats for shelter and food. This report recommends coastal planning efforts and permitting policies to encourage landowners to use erosion control alternatives that help retain the natural features of coastal shorelines.

Reference: Mitigating Shore Erosion along Sheltered Coasts (2007). Committee on Mitigating Shore Erosion along Sheltered Coasts, National Research Council; National Academies Press: Washington D.C.

Link: http://www.nap.edu/catalog/11764.html

Adaptation Tool Kit: Sea-Level Rise and Coastal Land Use

Resource type: Report

Description: This Tool Kit provides local and state governments and their citizens with practical knowledge to help adapt to sea-level rise in a prudent and balanced manner. After laying out the problem in clear terms, based on current scientific consensus, the Tool Kit offers a menu of generally used legal devices that can reduce future harms. Although some approaches may require the cooperation of state or federal government (and nearly all would benefit from such cooperation), a strong theme of the Tool Kit is that local governments have significant legal authority and tools now to plan for future changes. It also recognizes that not all tools are available in or suitable for all communities, and so anticipates and supports choice of approaches by each local and state government.

Reference: Adaptation Tool Kit: Sea-Level Rise and Coastal Land Use (2011). Jessica Grannis. Georgetown Climate Center, Washington, D.C.

Link: http://www.cakex.org/sites/default/files/Adaptation_Tool_Kit_SLR.pdf

The Relocation of Development from Coastal Hazards through Publicly Funded Acquisition Programs:
         Examples and Lessons from the Gulf Coast

Resource type: Law review article

Description: (Abstract) The encroachment of development along shorelines and the naturally hazardous conditions endemic to coastal areas are a dangerous and increasingly costly combination in an era of sea level rise and climate change. Coastal states and communities considering long-­term sea level rise and shoreline erosion - adaptation strategies should begin to evaluate relocating development away from hazard areas by acquiring fee simple title to vulnerable properties. Acquisition of vulnerable structures has occurred on scales large and small in response to flood hazards elsewhere. This article examines the experiences of acquisition programs in Louisiana and Mississippi following hurricanes and recommends, among other things, that states and communities considering a program of acquiring vulnerable properties first undertake a robust spatially informed planning process that engages and involves affected communities.

Reference: The Relocation of Development from Coastal Hazards through Publicly Funded Acquisition Programs: Examples and Lessons from the Gulf Coast (2012). David A. Lewis. Sea Grant Law and Policy Journal 5(1): 98.

Link: http://nsglc.olemiss.edu/SGLPJ/vol5No1/Lewis.pdf

Synthesis of Adaptation Options for Coastal Areas

Resource type: Report

Description: This guide provides a brief introduction to key physical impacts of climate change on estuaries and a review of on-the-ground adaptation options available to coastal managers to reduce their systems’ vulnerability to climate change impacts. Reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases, referred to as “mitigation,” is a necessary component of the overall response to climate change, and can help avoid, reduce, or delay future impacts. However, this guide focuses on climate change adaptation for estuaries and coastal areas because: (1) estuaries are highly and uniquely vulnerable to climate change, (2) adaptation will be necessary to address impacts resulting from warming which is already unavoidable due to past and current emissions, and (3) adaptation can help reduce the long-term costs associated with climate change.

Reference: Synthesis of Adaptation Options for Coastal Areas (EPA 430-F-08-024) (2008), Environmental Protection Agency, Climate Ready Estuaries. National Service Center for Environmental Publications.

Link: http://nepis.epa.gov/Exe/ZyPDF.cgi?Dockey=P1002UN9.PDF

Rising Seas, Coastal Erosion and the Takings Clause:
         How to Save Wetlands and Beaches without Hurting Property Owners

Resource type: Law review article

Description: In 2011, EPA published a rolling easement primer, to provide land owners, land trusts, and government agencies with a practical overview of how to implement a rolling easement policy. The newer primer provides a more thorough and up-to-date discussion of the possible objectives, legal approaches, and practical aspects of a rolling easement than this article. Nevertheless, this article provides a more thorough (albeit dated) argument for rolling easements over setbacks or laissez faire.

Reference: Rising Seas, Coastal Erosion and the Takings Clause: How to Save Wetlands and Beaches without Hurting Property Owners (1998). James Titus. 57 Md. L. Rev. 1279.

Link: http://papers.risingsea.net/takings.html

Rolling Easements

Resource type: Report

Description: This document presents an alternative vision, in which future development of some low-lying coastal lands is based on the premise that eventually the land must give way to the rising sea. We provide a primer on more than a dozen approaches for ensuring that wetlands and beaches can migrate inland, as people remove buildings, roads, and other structures from land as it becomes submerged. Collectively, these approaches are known as rolling easements. This primer examines more than a dozen different legal approaches to rolling easements. It differentiates opportunities for legislatures, regulators, land trusts, developers, and individual landowners. We also consider different shoreline environments (e.g. wetlands, barrier islands) and different objectives (e.g. public access, wetland migration).

Reference: Rolling Easements (2011). James G. Titus. Environmental Policy Agency, Washington, D.C.

Link: http://papers.risingsea.net/rolling-easements.html

Developing a Management Strategy for North Carolina’s Coastal Ocean

Resource type: Law review article

Description: This report is divided into five chapters, each devoted to an emerging ocean policy issue regarding the use of ocean resources. Each chapter provides background and technical information, along with an explanation as to why the issue was identified. At the end of each chapter are policy recommendations, along with a rationale behind each recommendation. At the end of the report are appendices that provide additional information.

Reference: Developing a Management Strategy for North Carolina’s Coastal Ocean (2009). Joseph Kalo, Lisa C. Schiavinato and Scott Geis. North Carolina Coastal Resources Law, Planning and Policy Center submitted to North Carolina Coastal Resources Commission.

Link: http://dcm2.enr.state.nc.us/opscreport.pdf

Protecting the Public Interest through the National Coastal Zone Management Program

Full title: Protecting the Public Interest through the National Coastal Zone Management Program - How Coastal States and Territories Use No-Build Areas along Ocean and Great Lake Shorefronts

Resource type: Report

Description: To better understand and communicate how state CMPs manage ocean and Great Lake shorefront development, OCRM conducted this study to look specifically at where states are employing shorefront no-build areas to protect the public interest. What follows is an overview of the laws and regulations that coastal states employ to establish no-build areas along their ocean and Great Lake shorefronts. These overviews include information about regulating agencies and authorities, shoreline type, where new development and redevelopment is not allowed (largely on dry land); exceptions, exemptions, and variances; and other notable provisions. Summary tables highlight key information about where boundaries and setbacks are set, but should not stand alone, and the text that follows each table provides important details. Associated provisions and details outside of the narrow focus of this study are not included, but may warrant further examination, and the overviews presented here should not be used out of context.

Reference: Protecting the Public Interest through the National Coastal Zone Management Program: How Coastal States and Territories Use No-Build Areas along Ocean and Great Lake Shorefronts (2012). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management.

Link: http://coastalmanagement.noaa.gov/resources/publications.html

The Front Lines of Climate Change: Charleston’s Struggle

Resource type: Online article

Description: Charleston, SC, a vulnerable city in a region highly skeptical of climate change, symbolizes the challenges many smaller cities face. Here, the difficulty in acknowledging the reality and science behind climate change itself complicates planning for the risks it poses.

Reference: The Front Lines of Climate Change: Charleston’s Struggle (2014). Bobby Magill. Climate Central website (January 9th, 2014).

Link: http://www.climatecentral.org/news/the-front-lines-of-climate-change-charlestons-struggle-16934

Sea-Level Rise and Coastal Land Use in Hawai’i: A Policy Tool Kit for State and Local Governments

Resource type: Report

Description: The purpose of this Tool Kit is to identify and explain key land use policy tools for state and local government agencies and officials in order to facilitate leadership and action in support of sea-level rise adaptation in Hawai‘i. This Tool Kit surveys state adaptation plans, federal efforts, and other key sources to identify and discuss important land use policy tools for Hawai‘i and suggests how these policies can be used by state and local governments to avoid or lessen the impacts of sea-level rise and related coastal hazards. Tes Tool Kit first reviews scientific research showing that climate change is causing sea-level rise in the Hawaiian Islands and around the world. The physical and environmental impacts of rising sea levels – including coastal erosion, flooding, wave inundation, and rising water tables – are chronicled, as well as the economic and social impacts. The necessity for adaptive management in the face of uncertainty is noted, as is the important role to be played by state and local governments in implementing adaptation measures.

Reference: Sea-Level Rise and Coastal Land Use in Hawai‘i: A Policy Tool Kit for State and Local Governments (2011). Douglas Codiga and Kylie Wager. Center for Island Climate Adaptation and Policy. Honolulu, HI.

Link to report: http://icap.seagrant.soest.hawaii.edu/icap-publications and http://www.islandclimate.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/icap-sealevelrisetoolkit_web.pdf

Link to Executive Summary and Action Matrix: http://www.islandclimate.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/icap-sealevelrisetoolkitexcerpts_web_1.pdf

Water Resources and Climate Change Adaptation in Hawai’i: Adaptive Tools in the Current Law and Policy Framework

Resource type: White paper

Description: This paper analyzes the structure of Hawai‘i’s water management scheme, with a special focus on adaptation. The paper identifies twelve potential adaptive tools that are not presently employed in Hawai‘i, or are only partially implemented. Each tool is consistent with existing law and policy framework, and each exhibits adaptive characteristics. Many of these tools are derived from existing models, already tested in in Hawai‘i or elsewhere. These tools include: planning and policy tools (e.g., incorporate climate change planning into the Hawai’i Water Plan; expand models of water- and climate-conscious land use plans and policies; and adopt existing models to integrate watershed conservation with water resource planning); regulatory tools (e.g., enforce and expand statewide water resource monitoring and reporting; expand Water Management Areas; and adopt more adaptive conditions for water use, well construction, and stream diversion permits); and market-based tools (e.g., encourage water-conscious construction and modifications with green-building benefits and credits; relate Water Commission fees more closely to the cost of water management and watershed protection; and adopt a public goods charge for water use).

Reference: Water Resources and Climate Change Adaptation in Hawai‘i: Adaptive Tools in the Current Law and Policy Framework (2012). Richard Wallsgrove and David Penn. Center for Island Climate Adaptation and Policy, Honolulu, Hawai‘i.

Links: http://www.islandclimate.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Water_Resources_Adaptation_HI_1.pdf and http://icap.seagrant.soest.hawaii.edu/icap-publications

Executive summary link: http://www.islandclimate.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Water-Adaptation-Exec-Summary_1.pdf

Preparedness Planning

Resource type: Report

Description: This assessment specifically focuses upon the water-related impacts of climate change (precipitation decreases, heavy rainfall events, sea level rise, etc.) and how state governments are planning and preparing for these impacts. On the basis of the information gathered regarding a state’s actions on climate change preparedness and general water resources planning and implementation, each state was placed into one of four categories. These categories were developed to differentiate what are believed by the authors to be the best-prepared and most engaged states on climate change preparedness issues from those that are largely unprepared and lagging behind. Each state is classified, from Category 1 (most engaged) to Category 4 (least engaged). Recommendations include:

  1. Set greenhouse gas pollution reduction targets or goals and develop a plan for meeting these targets.
  2. Develop a stakeholder group to organize and coordinate state-level adaptation planning and implementation.
  3. Develop partnerships and foster collaboration to stay current on climate science and sector-specific developments.
  4. Conduct a statewide vulnerability assessment to determine potential climate change impacts.
  5. Develop a comprehensive adaptation plan to address climate risks in all relevant sectors, and integrate climate change preparedness into existing planning processes.
  6. Prioritize and support implementation of the adaptation plan.
  7. Measure progress regularly and update the adaptation plan as needed.

Reference: Preparedness Planning (2012). Ben Chou, Steve Fleischli, and Jenna Schroeder. Natural Resources Defense Council, Washington DC.  

Links: http://www.nrdc.org/water/readiness/files/Water-Readiness-full-report.pdf (Full report)
      http://www.nrdc.org/water/readiness/files/Water-Readiness-issue-brief.pdf (Issue brief)

National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan

Resource type: Implementation Plan

Description: This Implementation Plan describes, under the following sections, how specific actions to implement the National Ocean Policy will benefit: (1) the ocean economy, (2) safety and security, and (3) coastal and ocean resilience. This will be accomplished through support of local choices, and the provision of foundational science and information. Subsections describe specific outcomes that advance those benefits and the types of actions federal agencies will take to achieve them. Specific planned actions are described in the appendix containing Implementation Actions.

Reference: National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan (2013). National Ocean Council, Executive Office of the President.

Link: http://www.whitehouse.gov//sites/default/files/national_ocean_policy_implementation_plan.pdf

Climate Change Plans

Federal

Review of the U.S. Global Change Research Program's Update to the Strategic Plan Document

Resource type: Report

Description: The Update to the Strategic Plan (USP) is a supplement to the Ten-Year Strategic Plan of the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) completed in 2012. The Strategic Plan sets out a research program guiding thirteen federal agencies in accord with the Global Change Research Act of 1990. This report reviews whether USGCRP’s efforts to achieve its goals and objectives, as documented in the USP, are adequate and responsive to the Nation’s needs, whether the priorities for continued or increased emphasis are appropriate, and if the written document communicates effectively, all within a context of the history and trajectory of the Program.

Reference: Committee to Advise the U.S. Global Change Research Program; Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate; Division on Earth and Life Studies; Board on Environmental Change and Society; Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education; National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (2016).

Link: https://www.nap.edu/read/23396

Climate science strategy of the US National Marine Fisheries Service

Resource type: Report

Description: Changes to our climate and oceans are already affecting living marine resources (LMRs) and the people, businesses, and economies that depend on them. As a result, the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has developed a Climate Science Strategy (CSS) to increase the production and use of the climate-related information necessary to fulfill its LMR stewardship mission for fisheries management and protected species conservation. The CSS establishes seven objectives: (1) determine appropriate, climate-informed reference points; (2) identify robust strategies for managing LMRs under changing climate conditions; (3) design decision processes that are robust to climate-change scenarios; (4) predict future states of ecosystems, LMRs, and LMR-dependent human communities; (5) determine the mechanisms of climate-change related effects on ecosystems, LMRs, and LMR-dependent human communities; (6) track trends in ecosystems, LMRs, and LMR-dependent human communities and provide early warning of change; and (7) build and maintain the science infrastructure required to fulfill NMFS mandates under changing climate conditions. These objectives provide a nationally consistent approach to addressing climate-LMR science needs that supports informed decision-making and effective implementation of the NMFS legislative mandates in each region. Near term actions that will address all objectives include: (1) conducting climate vulnerability analyses in each region for all LMRs; (2) establishing and strengthening ecosystem indicators and status reports in all regions; and (3) developing a capacity to conduct management strategy evaluations of climate-related impacts on management targets, priorities, and goals. Implementation of the Strategy over the next few years and beyond is critical for effective fulfillment of the NMFS mission and mandates in a changing climate.

Reference: Shallin Busch, Roger Griffis, Jason Link, Karen Abrams, Jason Baker, Russell Brainard, Michael Ford, Jonathan Hare, Amber Himes-Cornell, Anne Hollowed, Nathan Mantua, Sam McClatchie, Michelle McClure, Mark Nelson, Kenric Osgood, Jay Peterson, Michael Rust, Vincent Saba, Michael Sigler, Seth Sykora-Bodie, Christopher Toole, Eric Thunberg, Robin Waples, and Richard Merrick (2016). Climate science strategy of the US National Marine Fisheries Service. Marine Policy; 74: 58-67. DOI: 10.1016/j.marpol.2016.09.001

Link: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308597X16305723

Comparison of 2014 Adaptation Plans: Report providing comparison of adaptation plans submitted to the White House in 2014

Resource type: Report

Description: This comparison of 2014 Adaptation Plans was undertaken to provide USACE staff with information about other agency climate preparedness and resilience actions to facilitate partnering and information sharing, identify actions taken by agencies with aligned missions and operations that could be useful to the Corps, and support a gap analysis to guide future actions. It is not intended to be a comprehensive comparison, rather an information resource to combine with other more detailed data. This report has two components: a compilation of individual agency adaptation plan highlights and a crosswalk between the USACE 2014 Adaptation Plan and the 37 other Adaptation Plans submitted in 2014.

Reference: Comparison of 2014 Adaptation Plans: Report providing comparison of adaptation plans submitted to the White House in 2014 (2015). Hannah Conners, Kathleen D. White, and Jeffrey R. Arnold. US Army Corps of Engineers. Washington, D.C.

Link: http://www.corpsclimate.us/docs/Comparison_of_2014_Adaptation_Plans_JUNE_2015.pdf or http://www.corpsclimate.us/interagencyact_adapt.cfm

Federal Agencies Detail Their Risks From, Responses to Climate Change

Five federal agencies (Depts. of Interior, Defense, Agriculture, Health and Human Services, and NASA) released their The Sustainability and Climate Change Adaptation Plans for 2015. The Plans detail how each agency’s actions have already reduced the Federal Government’s direct greenhouse gas emissions by more than 17% since 2008—the equivalent of permanently taking 1.8 million cars off the road. The Climate Change Adaptation Plans, which were issued for the first time last year, assess the vulnerability of Federal facilities, operations, and resources to the climate impacts that are affecting communities across the country—such as sea level rise, record heat waves, and more severe droughts—and demonstrate how the agencies will protect taxpayer investments.

To view the plans, go to: http://www.performance.gov/node/3406/view?view=public#supporting-info

 

Regional

The Governors’ South Atlantic Alliance Action Plan/Implementation Plan

Resource type: Action and implementation plans

Description: Promulgated by the Governors’ South Atlantic Alliance (North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida), the Action Plan is a regional response to address the key environmental, economic, and cultural issues facing the Southeastern U.S. coastal and ocean region. Healthy ecosystems, working waterfronts, clean coastal and ocean waters, and disaster-resilient communities were the priority issues identified as being of mutual importance to the region’s sustainability. Actions outlined by the plan concerning sea-level rise include:

  • Identify priority issues such as sea level rise and evaluate coastal resources at greatest risk to climate change and anthropogenic effects from coastal and inland development.
  • Integrate sea level rise into state and local hazard mitigation plans.
  • Develop standards, best practices, and adaptation options for addressing sea level rise at the regional, state, and local level.
  • Identify the most vulnerable areas along the coast and improve understandings if incentives and disincentives for development in those areas.
The 2011 Implementation Plan is a regional response to address key environmental, economic, national defense, and cultural issue areas facing the Southeastern U.S. coasts and ocean. Under this plan, Issue Area Technical Teams develop actions to address the objectives of the four Action Plan issue areas.

Link to Action Plan: http://74.254.77.90/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/12.17.10-Action-Plan-Final-with-Forward.pdf

Link to Implementation Plan: http://74.254.77.90/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/GSAA-Implementation-Plan-July-2011.pdf

Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact

Resource type: Adaptation plan/strategy

Description: The Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact represents a joint commitment of Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe and Palm Beach Counties to partner in mitigating the causes and adapting to the consequences of climate change. The Compact was formalized in 2009, when elected officials came together to discuss challenges and strategies for responding to the impacts of climate change. The Compact outlines an on-going collaborative effort among the Compact Counties to foster sustainability and climate resilience at a regional scale.

Link: http://southeastfloridaclimatecompact.org/

State

Comprehensive Plan Policies, Land Development Regulations, and a Parcel-Specific Implementation Strategy
         to Address Sea-Level Rise Impacts in Florida

Resource type: PowerPoint presentation

Description: The purpose of the presentation is to present selected model comprehensive planning goals, objectives, and policies to address sea-level rise adaptation in a hypothetical city/county in Southwest Florida.

Reference: Comprehensive Plan Policies, Land Development Regulations, and a Parcel-Specific Implementation Strategy to Address Sea-Level Rise Impacts in Florida (2010). Krystle Macadangdang, Melissa Newmons, and Thomas T Ankersen, University of Florida Conservation Clinic presentation to the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program.

Link: http://www.law.ufl.edu/_pdf/academics/centersclinics/clinics/conservation/sea_level_rise.pdf

A Framework for Climate Change Adaptation in Hawaii

Resource type: Adaptation plan/strategy

Description: The Hawaii Ocean Management Resources Plan Working Group developed this framework after recognizing the state lacked adaptation planning guidelines. The purpose of this document is to encourage and facilitate collaboration among agencies at state, local and federal levels, as well as with policy makers, businesses, and community partners, to plan ahead for the impacts of climate change. Suggested actions discussed include: building a climate change adaptation team, developing and adopting a long-term vision, identifying planning areas relevant to climate change, scoping climate change impacts to major sectors, conducting a vulnerability assessment, and conducting a risk assessment.

Reference: A Framework for Climate Change Adaptation in Hawaii (2009). A collaborative effort of the Ocean Resources Management Plan Working Group with the assistance of the University of Hawaii, Center for Island Climate Adaptation and Policy.

Link: http://www.islandclimate.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/HI_Adaptation_framework_2009_1.pdf

Anticipatory Planning for Sea-Level Rise along the Coast of Maine

Resource type: Adaptation plan/strategy

Description: This report constitutes Maine’s first systematic assessment of its vulnerability to a change in shoreline position as a result of accelerated sea level rise associated with global climate change. This report asserts that meaningful preparations can take place now, despite scientific uncertainty, by carefully building upon what is already known. It uses the following approach:

  • Start by identifying historic sea-level trends in Maine, by understanding global climate change theories, and by focusing on four of the projected physical impacts of global climate change which are most likely to be experienced in Maine: change in shoreline position, accelerated erosion/ inundation of dunes and beaches, inundation of wetlands and lowlands, and loss of natural coastal protection systems.
  • Utilize a range of likely sea-level rise scenarios to project the change in shoreline position and to assess vulnerability rather than limiting the analysis to a single projection.
  • Seek "no regrets" strategies, which the State will not regret implementing even if there is no acceleration in the rate of sea-level rise, and which recognize that sea-level rise is just one factor affecting coastal land loss.
  • Continue to participate in appropriate national and international emission reduction strategies to reduce the magnitude of future impacts of global climate change, including accelerated sea-level rise.
  • As a component of natural resource, land uses, and coastal zone management responsibilities, acknowledge that State governments will have primary responsibility for developing strategies to mitigate the impacts of accelerated sea-level rise.
Reference: Anticipatory Planning for Sea-Level Rise along the Coast of Maine (1995). Barbara A. Vestal, Alison Rieser, Joseph Kelley, Kathleen Leyden, and Michael Montagna. Prepared by the Marine Law Institute, the Maine State Planning Office, and the Maine Geological Survey. Environmental Policy Agency: Washington, D.C.

Link: http://nepis.epa.gov/Exe/ZyPDF.cgi?Dockey=40000XMN.PDF

Maryland Climate Action Plan

Resource type: Adaptation plan/strategy

Description: The Maryland Commission on Climate Change was established in April 2007, to develop a Climate Action Plan that discusses the drivers and consequences of climate change, necessary preparations for its ensuing impacts, and establishes firm benchmarks and timetables for policy implementation. The Plan includes a comprehensive assessment of climate change impacts in Maryland. It also includes the reports of three working groups: the Comprehensive Climate Change Impact Assessment; the Comprehensive Greenhouse Gas and Carbon Footprint Reduction Strategy; and the Comprehensive Strategy for Reducing Maryland’s Vulnerability to Climate Change.

Reference: Climate Action Plan (2008). Report of the Maryland Commission on Climate Change Adaptation and Response Working Group; prepared for Martin O’Malley, Governor of the State of Maryland and the Maryland General Assembly.

Link: http://www.mde.state.md.us/programs/Air/ClimateChange/Pages/Air/climatechange/legislation/index.aspx

Especially relevant chapter:

Chapter 5: Comprehensive Strategy for Reducing Maryland’s Vulnerability to Climate Change Phase I: Sea-level Rise and Coastal Storms

Description: Climate change, sea-level rise, and associated coastal storms are putting Maryland’s people, property, natural resources, and public investments at risk. To protect Maryland’s future economic well-being, environmental heritage, and public safety and to guide the fundamental intent of the Comprehensive Strategy for Reducing Maryland’s Vulnerability to Climate Change, the Adaptation and Response Working Group recommends that legislative and policy actions be taken to:

  • Promote programs and policies aimed at the avoidance and/or reduction of impact to the existing- built environment, as well as to future growth and development in vulnerable coastal areas.
  • Shift to sustainable economies and investments and avoid assumption of the financial risk of development and redevelopment in highly hazardous coastal areas.
  • Enhance preparedness and planning efforts to protect human health, safety, and welfare.
  • Protect and restore Maryland’s natural shoreline and its resources, including the tidal wetlands and marshes, vegetated buffers, and Bay islands, that shield Maryland’s shoreline and interior.
This report lays out the specific priority policy recommendations of the Adaptation and Response Working Group to address short-and long-term adaptation and response measures, planning and policy integration, education and outreach, performance measurement, and, where necessary, new legislation and/or modifications to existing laws.

Link: http://ian.umces.edu/pdfs/ian_report_197.pdf

Developing a Management Strategy for North Carolina’s Coastal Ocean

Resource type: Adaptation plan/strategy

Description: This 2009 report focuses on North Carolina’s emerging policy issues related to ocean and coastal resources. The goal of this study was to identify emerging challenges to the use of and access to ocean and coastal resources and to recommend appropriate policies and strategies to address these challenges.

Reference: Developing a Management Strategy for North Carolina’s Coastal Ocean (2009).Joseph Kalo, Lisa C. Schiavinato and Scott Geis. North Carolina Coastal Resources Law, Planning and Policy Center; submitted to North Carolina Coastal Resources Commission.

Link: http://dcm2.enr.state.nc.us/opscreport.pdf  

Climate Change Impacts to Natural Resources in South Carolina

Resource type: Report

Description: The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) recognizes the need to address potential climate change as a threat-multiplier that could create new natural resource concerns, while exacerbating existing tensions already occurring as a result of population growth, habitat loss, environmental alterations and overuse. Thoughtful and careful planning regarding climate change is needed in order to protect the state’s natural resources. In response to these challenges, SCDNR has identified potential impacts of climate change on the natural resources of South Carolina, and developed an adaptive response strategy to offset, minimize or delay the effects of a changing climate on natural resources.

Reference: Climate Change Impacts to Natural Resources in South Carolina (2013). Bob Perry. South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Climate Change Technical Working Group.

Link: http://www.dnr.sc.gov/pubs/CCINatResReport.pdf

Adapting to Shoreline Change: A Foundation for Improved Management and Planning in South Carolina

Resource type: Adaptation plan/strategy

Description: This report was published by the South Carolina Department of Health & Environmental Control's Shoreline Change Advisory Committee to propose policies for shoreline management and to provide guidance for future coastal planning. Each policy proposal is accompanied by a brief illustration of its use by another state. The report identifies four goals that should guide shoreline management: (1) limiting the exposure of communities to future erosion and sea-level rise; (2) improving planning for soft armoring and beach renourishment projects; (3) limiting the use of "hard" shoreline stabilization structures; and (4) enhancing the management of sheltered coasts.

Reference: Adapting to Shoreline Change: A Foundation for Improved Management and Planning in South Carolina; Final Report of the Shoreline Change Advisory Committee (2010). South Carolina Department of Health & Environmental Control.

Link: http://www.scdhec.gov/administration/library/CR-009823.pdf

Final Report: A Climate Change Action Plan

Resource type: Adaptation plan/strategy

Description: The Virginia Commission on Climate Change was established in 2007, to develop a Climate Change Action Plan that would evaluate expected impacts of climate change on Virginia's natural resources, the health of its citizens, and the economy, including the industries of agriculture, forestry, tourism, and insurance, and identify what is needed to prepare for the likely consequences. The report details its findings regarding the impacts of climate change and particularly sea-level rise on the state’s infrastructure, coastlines, and military installations. Adaptation strategies are discussed in the context of co-benefits with mitigation, and recommendations for specific state agencies to consider climate change in their planning and decision making processes are outlined.

Reference: Final Report: A Climate Change Action Plan (2008). Virginia Governor’s Commission on Climate Change.

Link: http://www.sealevelrisevirginia.net/docs/homepage/CCC_Final_Report-Final_12152008.pdf (PDF)

The Vermont Climate Assessment: Considering Vermont’s Future in a Changing Climate

Resource type: Climate assessment

Description: The Vermont Climate Assessment (VCA) is the first state-scale climate assessment in the country. The Assessment addresses three main goals: (1) further scientific understanding of global change trends using local, historical data; (2) develop a deeper understanding of future impacts of climate change, and (3) communicate the current state of knowledge on global change impacts in Vermont, focusing on agricultural production, forests, water resources and recreation industries. Additionally, the VCA serves to cultivate partnerships with stakeholders while investigating priority topics for research by performing a needs assessment to understand what information is most needed for adaptation and mitigation strategies to deliver Vermont towards a more resilient future.

Reference: Gillian L. Galford, Ann Hoogenboom, Sam Carlson, Sarah Ford, Julie Nash, Elizabeth Palchak, Sarah Pears, Kristin Underwood, and Daniel V. Baker (eds) (2014). Considering Vermont’s Future in a Changing Climate: The First Vermont Climate Assessment. Gund Institute for Ecological Economics.

Link: http://www.VTclimate.org

Local

Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Study for the City of Los Angeles

Resource type: Report

Description: The City of Los Angeles, along with a team of science and outreach experts, developed a science-based and stakeholder-supported adaptation planning process to begin planning for the impacts of climate change. The Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Study for the City of Los Angeles was developed to begin to prepare for accelerated sea level rise and associated storm impacts. The expert team conducted an assessment of the potential physical, social and economic impacts of sea level rise on the City's resources and population, as well as the possible impacts to coastal and shoreline assets.

Reference: The Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Study for the City of Los Angeles (2013). P.M. Grifman, J. F. Hart, J. Ladwig, A. G. Newton Mann, M. Schulhof. CSG-TR-05-2013.

Link: http://www.usc.edu/org/seagrant/research/SeaLevelRise_docs/hires_pdfs/City%20of%20LA%20SLR%20Vulnerability%20Study%20FINAL%20Online%20w%20appen.pdf

Broward County, Florida Climate Change Action Plan: Addressing our Changing Climate

Resource type: Adaptation plan/strategy

Description: In 2010, the Broward County Climate Change Task Force developed 126 recommendations for a countywide climate program designed to mitigate the causes, and adapt to the consequences, of climate change, and to advise on the program’s implementation. The recommendations include information on planning horizon, status of action, likely responsible County entity, potential community partners, estimated resources required, and recommended performance measures. The Task Force deemed 65 of the recommendations critical to implementing the plan. These high-ranked recommendations represent a cross-section of natural, urban, local and regional interests reflective of the diversity of the County, its collaborative nature and regional focus. Some type of action has been taken on some of these high-ranked items including creating an Office of Sustainability, amending the county comprehensive plan, and incorporating climate change adaptation into public infrastructure planning.

Reference: Broward County (Florida) Climate Change Action Plan: Addressing our Changing Climate (2010). Broward County Climate Change Task Force.

Link: http://www.broward.org/NaturalResources/ClimateChange/Documents/FinalCCActionPlan_forBCBCCappdxB.pdf

Municipal Adaptation to Sea-Level Rise: City of Satellite Beach, Florida

Resource type: Adaptation plan/strategy

Description: In 2009, Satellite Beach, Florida, authorized a project designed to: (1) assess municipal vulnerability to rising sea level and (2) initiate steps to properly plan for anticipated changes to the built and natural environments. The purpose of this paper is to describe the methods used to assess municipal vulnerability to sea-level rise and the initial planning process to mitigate submergence. The assessment of municipal vulnerability to sea-level rise was undertaken in three steps: (1) development of a three-dimensional model or “base map” of the City, (2) compilation and mapping of “critical infrastructure and assets”, and (3) quantification of the extent to which the City and its critical assets would be inundated by sea-level rise. The City is expected to lose five percent of its landscape during the initial two feet of sea-level rise and this will be limited to fringing wetlands and canals. However, the subsequent two foot rise is forecast to submerge an additional 20 percent including residential neighborhoods, important transportation corridors, and numerous critical assets. The City appears to be responding to the threats imposed by rising sea level through adaptive management.

Reference: Municipal Adaptation to Sea-Level Rise: City of Satellite Beach, Florida (2010). Randall W. Parkinson. R.W. Parkinson Consulting, Inc.; submitted to the City of Satellite Beach, Florida.

Link: http://floridaswater.com/itsyourlagoon/technicaldocumentation/pdfs/Satellite_Beach_CRE_Final_Report.pdf

City of Punta Gorda, Florida Adaptation Plan

Resource type: Adaptation plan/strategy

Description: This report identifies the alternative adaptations that could be undertaken to address the identified climate change vulnerabilities for the City of Punta Gorda. These adaptations are presented in the order of prioritized agreement derived from public meetings. Only the highest agreement adaptation in each vulnerability area is fully developed for potential implementation. The eight major areas of climate change vulnerability for the city include, in order of priority: (1) fish and wildlife habitat degradation; (2) inadequate water supply; (3) flooding; (4) unchecked or unmanaged growth; (5) water quality degradation; (6) education and economy and lack of funds; (7) fire; and (8) availability of insurance. The top agreed upon adaptations for each area of vulnerability include: seagrass protection and restoration; xeriscaping and native plant landscaping; explicitly indicating in the comprehensive plan which areas will retain natural shorelines; constraining locations for certain high risk infrastructure; restrict fertilizer use; promote green building alternatives through education, taxing incentives, and green lending; and drought preparedness planning.

Reference: City of Punta Gorda Adaptation Plan (2009). James W. Beever III, Whitney Gray, Daniel Trescott, Dan Cobb, Jason Utley, David Hutchinson, John Gibbons, Tim Walker, Moji Abimbola, Lisa B. Beever, Maran Hilgendorf, and Judy Ott. Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council and the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program. Technical Report 09-48/14/2009.

Link: http://www.ci.punta-gorda.fl.us/userdata/growthmgmt/PuntaGordaAdapatationPlan8-14-09.pdf

Research

Using modelling to predict impacts of sea level rise and increased turbidity on seagrass distributions in estuarine embayments

Resource type: Research article

Description: [Abstract] Climate change induced sea level rise will affect shallow estuarine habitats, which are already under threat from multiple anthropogenic stressors. Here, we present the results of modelling to predict potential impacts of climate change associated processes on seagrass distributions. We use a novel application of relative environmental suitability (RES) modelling to examine relationships between variables of physiological importance to seagrasses (light availability, wave exposure, and current flow) and seagrass distributions within 5 estuarine embayments. Models were constructed separately for Posidonia australis and Zostera muelleri subsp. capricorni using seagrass data from Port Stephens estuary, New South Wales, Australia. Subsequent testing of models used independent datasets from four other estuarine embayments (Wallis Lake, Lake Illawarra, Merimbula Lake, and Pambula Lake) distributed along 570 km of the east Australian coast. Relative environmental suitability models provided adequate predictions for seagrass distributions within Port Stephens and the other estuarine embayments, indicating that they may have broad regional application. Under the predictions of RES models, both sea level rise and increased turbidity are predicted to cause substantial seagrass losses in deeper estuarine areas, resulting in a net shoreward movement of seagrass beds. Seagrass species distribution models developed in this study provide a valuable tool to predict future shifts in estuarine seagrass distributions, allowing identification of areas for protection, monitoring and rehabilitation.

Reference: Tom Davis, David Harasti, Stephen Smith, and Brendan Kelaher (2016). Using modelling to predict impacts of sea level rise and increased turbidity on seagrass distributions in estuarine embayments. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science; 181: 294-301. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecss.2016.09.005

Link: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0272771416303341

The Early Shorebird Will Catch Fewer Invertebrates on Trampled Sandy Beaches

Resource type: Research article

Description: [Abstract] Many species of birds breeding on ocean beaches and in coastal dunes are of global conservation concern. Most of these species rely on invertebrates (e.g. insects, small crustaceans) as an irreplaceable food source, foraging primarily around the strandline on the upper beach near the dunes. Sandy beaches are also prime sites for human recreation, which impacts these food resources via negative trampling effects. We quantified acute trampling impacts on assemblages of upper shore invertebrates in a controlled experiment over a range of foot traffic intensities (up to 56 steps per square metre) on a temperate beach in Victoria, Australia. Trampling significantly altered assemblage structure (species composition and density) and was correlated with significant declines in invertebrate abundance and species richness. Trampling effects were strongest for rare species. In heavily trafficked plots the abundance of sand hoppers (Amphipoda), a principal prey item of threatened Hooded Plovers breeding on this beach, was halved. In contrast to the consistently strong effects of trampling, natural habitat attributes (e.g. sediment grain size, compactness) were much less influential predictors. If acute suppression of invertebrates caused by trampling, as demonstrated here, is more widespread on beaches it may constitute a significant threat to endangered vertebrates reliant on these invertebrates. This calls for a re-thinking of conservation actions by considering active management of food resources, possibly through enhancement of wrack or direct augmentation of prey items to breeding territories.

Reference: Thomas Schlacher, Lucy Carracher, Nicholas Porch, Rod Connolly, Andrew Olds, Ben Gilby, Kasun Ekanayake, Brooke Maslo, Michael Weston (2016). The Early Shorebird Will Catch Fewer Invertebrates on Trampled Sandy Beaches. PLOS ONE ; 11(8): e0161905.

Links: The Early Shorebird Will Catch Fewer Invertebrates on Trampled Sandy Beaches.PDF
http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0161905

Grey swan tropical cyclones

Resource type: Research article

Description: [Abstract] We define ‘grey swan’ tropical cyclones as high-impact storms that would not be predicted based on history but may be foreseeable using physical knowledge together with historical data. Here we apply a climatological–hydrodynamic method to estimate grey swan tropical cyclone storm surge threat for three highly vulnerable coastal regions. We identify a potentially large risk in the Persian Gulf, where tropical cyclones have never been recorded, and larger-than-expected threats in Cairns, Australia, and Tampa, Florida. Grey swan tropical cyclones striking Tampa, Cairns and Dubai can generate storm surges of about 6 m, 5.7 m and 4 m, respectively, with estimated annual exceedance probabilities of about 1/10,000. With climate change, these probabilities can increase significantly over the twenty-first century (to 1/3,100–1/1,100 in the middle and 1/2,500–1/700 towards the end of the century for Tampa). Worse grey swan tropical cyclones, inducing surges exceeding 11 m in Tampa and 7 m in Dubai, are also revealed with non-negligible probabilities, especially towards the end of the century.

Reference: Grey swan tropical cyclones (2015). Ning Lin and Kerry Emanuel. Nature Climate Change Published online 31 August 2015; doi:10.1038/nclimate2777

Link: http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate2777.html

The coastal ocean response to the global warming acceleration and hiatus

Resource type: Research article

Description: [Abstract] Coastlines are fundamental to humans for habitation, commerce, and natural resources. Many coastal ecosystem disasters, caused by extreme sea surface temperature (SST), were reported when the global climate shifted from global warming to global surface warming hiatus after 1998. The task of understanding the coastal SST variations within the global context is an urgent matter. Our study on the global coastal SST from 1982 to 2013 revealed a significant cooling trend in the low and mid latitudes (31.4% of the global coastlines) after 1998, while 17.9% of the global coastlines changed from a cooling trend to a warming trend concurrently. The trend reversals in the Northern Pacific and Atlantic coincided with the phase shift of Pacific Decadal Oscillation and North Atlantic Oscillation, respectively. These coastal SST changes are larger than the changes of the global mean and open ocean, resulting in a fast increase of extremely hot/cold days, and thus extremely hot/cold events. Meanwhile, a continuous increase of SST was detected for a considerable portion of coastlines (46.7%) with a strengthened warming along the coastlines in the high northern latitudes. This suggests the warming still continued and strengthened in some regions after 1998, but with a weaker pattern in the low and mid latitudes.

Reference: Enhui Liao, Wenfang Lu, Xiao-Hai Yan, Yuwu Jiang, and Autumn Kidwell (2015). The coastal ocean response to the global warming acceleration and hiatus. Scientific Reports 5:16630; DOI:10.1038/srep16630.

Link: http://www.nature.com/articles/srep16630

Planetary boundaries: Guiding human development on a changing planet

Resource type: Research article

Description: [Abstract] The planetary boundaries framework defines a safe operating space for humanity based on the intrinsic biophysical processes that regulate the stability of the Earth system. Here, we revise and update the planetary boundary framework, with a focus on the underpinning biophysical science, based on targeted input from expert research communities and on more general scientific advances over the past 5 years. Several of the boundaries now have a two-tier approach, reflecting the importance of cross-scale interactions and the regional-level heterogeneity of the processes that underpin the boundaries. Two core boundaries—climate change and biosphere integrity—have been identified, each of which has the potential on its own to drive the Earth system into a new state should they be substantially and persistently transgressed.
Editor’s summary: The planetary boundary (PB) concept, introduced in 2009, aimed to define the environmental limits within which humanity can safely operate. This approach has proved influential in global sustainability policy development. Steffen et al. provide an updated and extended analysis of the PB framework. Of the original nine proposed boundaries, they identify three (including climate change) that might push the Earth system into a new state if crossed and that also have a pervasive influence on the remaining boundaries. They also develop the PB framework so that it can be applied usefully in a regional context.

Reference: Will Steffen, Katherine Richardson, Johan Rockström, Sarah E. Cornell, Ingo Fetzer, Elena M. Bennett, Reinette Biggs, Stephen R. Carpenter, Wim de Vries, Cynthia A. de Wit, Carl Folke, Dieter Gerten, Jens Heinke, Georgina M. Mace, Linn M. Persson, Veerabhadran Ramanathan, Belinda Reyers, and Sverker Sörlin (2015). Planetary boundaries: Guiding human development on a changing planet; Science 347:6223; DOI: 10.1126/science.1259855.

Link: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/347/6223/1259855.short

Lessons learned from ocean acidification research: Reflection on the rapidly growing field of ocean acidification research highlights priorities for future research on the changing ocean

Resource type: Research article

Description: [Abstract] : In the January issue of the journal Nature Climate Change Ulf Riebesell, professor for Biological Oceanography at GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, and Jean-Pierre Gattuso from the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) urge the international scientific community to undertake a concerted interdisciplinary effort. According to the two experts, future ocean acidification research will have to deal with three major challenges: It needs to expand from single to multiple drivers, from single species to communities and ecosystems, and from evaluating acclimation to understanding adaptation.

Reference: Ulf Riebesell and Jean-Pierre Gattuso (2014). Lessons learned from ocean acidification research; Nature Climate Change 5:12-14.

Link: http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v5/n1/pdf/nclimate2456.pdf

From the extreme to the mean: Acceleration and tipping points of coastal inundation from sea level rise

Resource type: Research article

Description: [Abstract] Relative sea level rise (RSLR) has driven large increases in annual water level exceedances (duration and frequency) above minor (nuisance level) coastal flooding elevation thresholds established by the National Weather Service (NWS) at U.S. tide gauges over the last half-century. For threshold levels below 0.5 m above high tide, the rates of annual exceedances are accelerating along the U.S. East and Gulf Coasts, primarily from evolution of tidal water level distributions to higher elevations impinging on the flood threshold. These accelerations are quantified in terms of the local RSLR rate and tidal range through multiple regression analysis. Along the U.S. West Coast, annual exceedance rates are linearly increasing, complicated by sharp punctuations in RSLR anomalies during El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phases, and we account for annual exceedance variability along the U.S. West and East Coasts from ENSO forcing. Projections of annual exceedances above local NWS nuisance levels at U.S. tide gauges are estimated by shifting probability estimates of daily maximum water levels over a contemporary 5-year period following probabilistic RSLR projections of Kopp et al. (2014) for representative concentration pathways (RCP) 2.6, 4.5, and 8.5. We suggest a tipping point for coastal inundation (30 days/per year with a threshold exceedance) based on the evolution of exceedance probabilities. Under forcing associated with the local-median projections of RSLR, the majority of locations surpass the tipping point over the next several decades regardless of specific RCP.

Reference: William V. Sweet and Joseph Park (2014). From the extreme to the mean: Acceleration and tipping points of coastal inundation from sea level rise; Earth’s Future DOI: 10.1002/2014EF000272.

Link: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/enhanced/doi/10.1002/2014EF000272/

Widespread, rapid grounding line retreat of Pine Island, Thwaites, Smith, and Kohler glaciers, West Antarctica, from 1992 to 2011

Resource type: Research article

Description: [Abstract] We measure the grounding line retreat of glaciers draining the Amundsen Sea sector of West Antarctica using Earth Remote Sensing (ERS-1/2) satellite radar interferometry from 1992 to 2011. Pine Island Glacier retreated 31 km at its center, with most retreat in 2005–2009 when the glacier ungrounded from its ice plain. Thwaites Glacier retreated 14 km along its fast flow core and 1 to 9 km along the sides. Haynes Glacier retreated 10 km along its flanks. Smith/Kohler glaciers retreated the most, 35 km along its ice plain, and its ice shelf pinning points are vanishing. These rapid retreats proceed along regions of retrograde bed elevation mapped at a high spatial resolution using a mass conservation technique that removes residual ambiguities from prior mappings. Upstream of the 2011 grounding line positions, we find no major bed obstacle that would prevent the glaciers from further retreat and draw down the entire basin.

Reference: Widespread, rapid grounding line retreat of Pine Island, Thwaites, Smith, and Kohler glaciers, West Antarctica, from 1992 to 2011 (2014). E. Rignot, J. Mouginot, M. Morlighem, H. Seroussi, and B. Scheuchl; Geophysical Research Letters 41(10): 3502–3509.

Link: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2014GL060140/pdf

Marine Ice Sheet Collapse Potentially Under Way for the Thwaites Glacier Basin, West Antarctica

Resource type: Research article

Description: [Abstract] Resting atop a deep marine basin, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet has long been considered prone to instability. Using a numerical model, we investigated the sensitivity of Thwaites Glacier to ocean melt and whether its unstable retreat is already under way. Our model reproduces observed losses when forced with ocean melt comparable to estimates. Simulated losses are moderate (<0.25 mm per year at sea level) over the 21st century but generally increase thereafter. Except possibly for the lowest-melt scenario, the simulations indicate that early-stage collapse has begun. Less certain is the time scale, with the onset of rapid (>1 mm per year of sea-level rise) collapse in the different simulations within the range of 200 to 900 years.

Reference: Marine Ice Sheet Collapse Potentially Under Way for the Thwaites Glacier Basin, West Antarctica (2014). Ian Joughin, Benjamin E. Smith, and Brooke Medley; Science 344(6185): 735-738.

Link: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/344/6185/735.full

Relative contributions of ocean mass and deep steric changes to sea level rise between 1993 and 2013

Resource type: Research article

Description: [Abstract] Regional and global trends of Sea Level Rise (SLR) owing to mass addition centered between 1996 and 2006 are assessed through a full-depth SLR budget using full-depth in situ ocean data and satellite altimetry. These rates are compared to regional and global trends in ocean mass addition estimated directly using data from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) from 2003 to 2013. Despite the two independent methods covering different time periods with differing spatial and temporal resolution, they both capture the same large-scale mass addition trend patterns including higher rates of mass addition in the North Pacific, South Atlantic, and the Indo-Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean, and lower mass addition trends in the Indian, North Atlantic, South Pacific, and the Pacific sector of the Southern Ocean. The global mean trend of ocean mass addition is 1.5 (±0.4) mm yr−1 for 1996–2006 from the residual method and the same for 2003–2013 from the GRACE method. Furthermore, the residual method is used to evaluate the error introduced into the mass budget if the deep steric contributions below 700, 1000, 2000, 3000, and 4000 m are neglected, revealing errors of 65%, 38%, 13%, 8%, and 4% respectively. The two methods no longer agree within error bars when only the steric contribution shallower than 1000 m is considered.

Reference: Sarah G. Purkey, Gregory C. Johnson, and Don P. Chambers (2014). Relative contributions of ocean mass and deep steric changes to sea level rise between 1993 and 2013, Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, published online: 7 NOV 2014   DOI: 10.1002/2014JC010180.

Link: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2014JC010180/abstract

Sea level and global ice volumes from the Last Glacial Maximum to the Holocene

Resource type: Research article

Description: [Abstract] Several areas of earth science require knowledge of the fluctuations in sea level and ice volume through glacial cycles. These includeunderstanding past ice sheets and providing boundaryconditions for paleoclimate models, calibrating marine-sedimentisotopic records, and providing the background signal for evaluatinganthropogenic contributions to sea level. From ∼1,000observations of sea level, allowing for isostatic and tectonic contributions,we have quantified the rise and fall in global ocean andice volumes for the past 35,000 years. Of particular note is thatduring the ∼6,000 y up to the start of the recent rise ∼100−150 yago, there is no evidence for global oscillations in sea level on timescales exceeding ∼200 y duration or 15−20 cm amplitude.

Reference: Sea level and global ice volumes from the Last Glacial Maximum to the Holocene (2014). Kurt Lambecka, Hélène Roubya, Anthony Purcella, YiyingSunc, and Malcolm Sambridgea; Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,doi: 10.1073/pnas.1411762111.

Link: www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1411762111

This article contains supporting information online at www.pnas.org/lookup/suppl/doi:10.1073/pnas.1411762111/-/DCSupplemental

Land Cover Changes and their Biogeophysical Effects on Climate

Resource type: Research article

Description: Land cover changes (LCCs) play an important role in the climate system. Research over recent decades highlights the impacts of these changes on atmospheric temperature, humidity, cloud cover, circulation, and precipitation. These impacts range from the local- and regional-scale to sub-continental and global-scale. It has been found that the impacts of regional-scale LCC in one area may also be manifested in other parts of the world as a climatic teleconnection. In light of these findings, this article provides an overview and synthesis of some of the most notable types of LCC and their impacts on climate. These LCC types include agriculture, deforestation and afforestation, desertification, and urbanization. In addition, this article provides a discussion on challenges to, and future research directions in, assessing the climatic impacts of LCC.

Reference: Land cover changes and their biogeophysical effects on climate (2014). Rezaul Mahmood, Roger A. Pielke Sr., Kenneth G. Hubbard, Dev Niyogi, Paul A. Dirmeyer, Clive McAlpine, Andrew M. Carleton, Robert Hale, Samuel Gameda, Adriana Beltrán-Przekurat, Bruce Baker, Richard McNider, David R. Legates, Marshall Shepherd, Jinyang Du, Peter D. Blanken, Oliver W. Frauenfeld, U.S. Nair, and Souleymane Fall. International Journal of Climatology 34(4): 929-953.

Link: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/joc.3736/abstract

Extreme Summer Weather in Northern Mid-Latitudes Linked to a Vanishing Cryosphere

Resource type: Research article

Description: (Abstract) The past decade has seen an exceptional number of unprecedented summer extreme weather events in northern mid-latitudes, along with record declines in both summer Arctic sea ice and snow cover on high-latitude land. The underlying mechanisms that link the shrinking cryosphere with summer extreme weather, however, remain unclear. Here, the authorscombined satellite observations of early summer snow cover and summer sea-ice extent with atmospheric reanalysis data to demonstrate associations between summer weather patterns in mid-latitudes and losses of snow and sea ice. Results suggest that the atmospheric circulation responds differently to changes in the ice and snow extents, with a stronger response to sea-ice loss, even though its reduction is half as large as that for the snow cover. Atmospheric changes associated with the combined snow/ice reductions reveal widespread upper-level height increases, weaker upper-level zonal winds at high latitudes, a more amplified upper-level pattern, and a general northward shift in the jet stream. More frequent extreme summer heat events over mid-latitude continents are linked with reduced sea ice and snow through these circulation changes.

Reference: Extreme Summer Weather in Northern Mid-Latitudes Linked to a Vanishing Cryosphere (2013). Qiuhong Tang, Xuejun Zhang, and Jennifer A. Francis. Nature Climate Change doi:10.1038/nclimate2065. Published online 08 December.

Link: http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate2065.html

Assessing “Dangerous Climate Change”: Required Reduction of Carbon Emissions to Protect Young People, Future Generations and Nature

Resource type: Research article

Description: We assess climate impacts of global warming using ongoing observations and paleoclimate data. We use Earth’s measured energy imbalance, paleoclimate data, and simple representations of the global carbon cycle and temperature to define emission reductions needed to stabilize climate and avoid potentially disastrous impacts on today’s young people, future generations, and nature. A cumulative industrial-era limit of ~500 GtC fossil fuel emissions and 100 GtC storage in the biosphere and soil would keep climate close to the Holocene range to which humanity and other species are adapted. Cumulative emissions of ~1000 GtC, sometimes associated with 2°C global warming, would spur “slow” feedbacks and eventual warming of 3–4°C with disastrous consequences. Rapid emissions reduction is required to restore Earth’s energy balance and avoid ocean heat uptake that would practically guarantee irreversible effects. Continuation of high fossil fuel emissions, given current knowledge of the consequences, would be an act of extraordinary witting intergenerational injustice. Responsible policymaking requires a rising price on carbon emissions that would preclude emissions from most remaining coal and unconventional fossil fuels and phase down emissions from conventional fossil fuels.

Reference: Assessing “Dangerous Climate Change”: Required Reduction of Carbon Emissions to Protect Young People, Future Generations and Nature (2013). J. Hansen, P. Kharecha, M. Sato, V. Masson-Delmotte, F. Ackerman, et al.. PLOS ONE 8(12): e81648. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0081648.

Link: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0081648

Lower Satellite-Gravimetry Estimates of Antarctic Sea-Level Contribution

Resource type: Research article

Description: Estimates for recent mass loss from Antarctica vary widely, making it difficult to calculate any subsequent contributions to sea level rise. One prominent approach uses the GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) satellites to detect changes in gravity, but the final estimates are dependent on the modelled response of the continent to changes in ice loading over time and to changes in lithospheric elastic rebound. Matt King and colleagues apply a new model of this glacial isostatic adjustment to the GRACE data and estimate Antarctic mass loss between 2002 and 2010 to be about 69 giga-tons per year, much lower than previous estimates and equivalent to an annual sea level rise of about 0.2 millimeters.

Reference: Lower Satellite-Gravimetry Estimates of Antarctic Sea-Level Contribution (2013). Matt A. King, Rory J. Bingham, Phil Moore, Pippa L. Whitehouse, Michael J. Bentley, and Glenn A. Milne. Nature 491, 586–589 (22 November 2012).

Link: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v491/n7425/full/nature11621.html

EPA Climate Change Research (Science Matters Newsletter; July 26, 2013)

Resource type: Newsletter

Description: This issue of EPA’s Science Matters features stories on how Agency researchers and their partners are helping decision makers, communities, and individuals incorporate the latest science into strategies and actions designed to protect public human health and the environment in the face of a changing climate. What EPA researchers are learning is bringing a strong scientific foundation to the expanding conversation on climate change. The newsletter explores the impacts of climate change and highlights the foundational role played by science to advance an understanding of the impacts of global change.

Link: http://www.epa.gov/research/sciencematters/climatechange/index.htm  

Modeling Sea Level Rise Impacts on Storm Surges along U.S. Coasts

Resource type: Research article

Description: (Abstract) Sound policies for protecting coastal communities and assets require good information about vulnerability to flooding. Here, the authors investigated the influence of sea level rise on expected storm surge-driven water levels and their frequencies along the contiguous United States. They used model output for global temperature changes, a semi-empirical model of global sea level rise, and long-term records from 55 nationally distributed tidal gauges to develop sea level rise projections at each gauge location. They employed more detailed records over the period 1979–2008 from the same gauges to elicit historic patterns of extreme high water events, and combine these statistics with anticipated relative sea level rise to project changing local extremes through 2050. Thet found that substantial changes in the frequency of what are now considered extreme water levels may occur even at locations with relatively slow local sea level rise, when the difference in height between presently common and rare water levels is small. They estimated that, by mid-century, some locations may experience high water levels annually that would qualify today as ‘century’ (i.e., having a chance of occurrence of 1% annually) extremes. Today’s century levels become ‘decade’ (having a chance of 10% annually) or more frequent events at about a third of the study gauges, and the majority of locations see substantially higher frequency of previously rare storm-driven water heights in the future. These results add support to the need for policy approaches that consider the non-stationarity of extreme events when evaluating risks of adverse climate impacts.

Reference: Modeling Sea Level Rise Impacts on Storm Surges along U.S. Coasts (2012). Claudia Tebaldi, Benjamin H. Strauss, and Chris E. Zervas. Environ. Res. Lett. 7.

Link: http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/7/1/014032

Comparing Climate Projections to Observations up to 2011

Resource type: Research article

Description: (Abstract) The authors analyzed global temperature and sea-level data for the past few decades and compared them to projections published in the third and fourth assessment reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The results show that global temperature continues to increase in good agreement with the best estimates of the IPCC, especially if the effects of short-term variability due to the El Niño/Southern Oscillation, volcanic activity and solar variability are accounted for. The rate of sea-level rise of the past few decades, on the other hand, is greater than projected by the IPCC models. This suggests that IPCC sea-level projections for the future may also be biased low.

Reference: Comparing climate projections to observations up to 2011 (2012). Stefan Rahmstorf, Grant Foster, and Anny Cazenave. Environ. Res. Lett. 7(4): 5.

Link: http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/7/4/044035/pdf/1748-9326_7_4_044035.pdf

A Reconciled Estimate of Glacier Contributions to Sea Level Rise: 2003 to 2009

Resource type: Research article

Description: Glaciers distinct from the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets are losing large amounts of water to the world’s oceans. However, estimates of their contribution to sea level rise disagree. We provide a consensus estimate by standardizing existing, and creating new, mass-budget estimates from satellite gravimetry and altimetry and from local glaciological records. In many regions, local measurements are more negative than satellite-based estimates. All regions lost mass during 2003–2009, with the largest losses from Arctic Canada, Alaska, coastal Greenland, the southern Andes, and high-mountain Asia, but there was little loss from glaciers in Antarctica. Over this period, the global mass budget was –259 ± 28 gigatons per year, equivalent to the combined loss from both ice sheets and accounting for 29 ± 13% of the observed sea level rise.

Reference: A reconciled estimate of glacier contributions to sea level rise: 2003 to 2009 (2013). Alex S. Gardner, Geir Moholdt, J. Graham Cogley, Bert Wouters, Anthony A. Arendt, John Wahr, Etienne Berthier, Regine Hock, W. Tad Pfeffer, Georg Kaser, Stefan, R. M. Ligtenberg, Tobias Bolch, Martin J. Sharp, Jon Ove hagen, Michiel R. van den Broeke, and Frank Paul. Science 340(6134): 852-857.

Link: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/340/6134/852.full.

Coverage Bias in the HadCRUT4 Temperature Series and its Impact on Recent Temperature Trends

Resource type: Research article

Description: Incomplete global coverage is a potential source of bias in global temperature reconstructions if the unsampled regions are not uniformly distributed over the planet's surface. The widely used HadCRUT4 dataset covers on average about 84% of the globe over recent decades, with the unsampled regions being concentrated at the poles and over Africa. Three existing reconstructions with near-global coverage are examined, each suggesting that HadCRUT4 is subject to bias due to its treatment of unobserved regions.Two alternative approaches for reconstructing global temperatures are explored, one based on an optimal interpolation algorithm and the other a hybrid method incorporating additional information from the satellite temperature record. The methods are validated on the basis of their skill at reconstructing omitted sets of observations. Both methods provide superior results than excluding the unsampled regions, with the hybrid method showing particular skill around the regions where no observations are available.Temperature trends are compared for the hybrid global temperature reconstruction and the raw HadCRUT4 data. The widely quoted trend since 1997 in the hybrid global reconstruction is two and a half times greater than the corresponding trend in the coverage-biased HadCRUT4 data. Coverage bias causes a cool bias in recent temperatures relative to the late 1990s which increases from around 1998 to the present. Trends starting in 1997 or 1998 are particularly biased with respect to the global trend. The issue is exacerbated by the strong El Niño event of 1997-1998, which also tends to suppress trends starting during those years.

Reference: Coverage Bias in the HadCRUT4 Temperature Series and its Impact on Recent Temperature Trends (2013). Kevin Cowtan and Robert G. Way. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, DOI: 10.1002/qj.2297.

Link: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/qj.2297/abstract

Forecasting the Effects of Accelerated Sea Level Rise on Tidal Marsh Ecosystem Services

Resource type: Research article

Description: (Abstract) The authors used field and laboratory measurements, geographic information systems, and simulation modeling to investigate the potential effects of accelerated sea-level rise on tidal marsh area and delivery of ecosystem services along the Georgia coast. Model simulations using the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) mean and maximum estimates of sea-level rise for the year 2100 suggest that salt marshes will decline in area by 20% and 45%, respectively. The area of tidal freshwater marshes will increase by 2% under the IPCC mean scenario, but will decline by 39% under the maximum scenario. Delivery of ecosystem services associated with productivity (macrophyte biomass) and waste treatment (nitrogen accumulation in soil, potential denitrification) will also decline. Our findings suggest that tidal marshes at the lower and upper salinity ranges, and their attendant delivery of ecosystem services, will be most affected by accelerated sea level rise, unless geomorphic conditions (i.e., gradual increase in elevation) enable tidal freshwater marshes to migrate inland, or vertical accretion of salt marshes to increase, to compensate for accelerated sea-level rise.

Reference: Forecasting the Effects of Accelerated Sea Level Rise on Tidal Marsh Ecosystem Services (2009). Christopher Craft, Jonathan Clough, Jeff Ehman, Samantha Joye, Richard Park, Steve Pennings, Hongyu Guo, and Megan Machmuller. Front Ecol Environ 7(2): 73-78.

Link: http://www.esajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1890/070219.

Climate Change Journals/Newsletters

SERCH & FIND newsletter

The SERCH & FIND newsletter is produced by the Southeast Regional Climate Hub (in partnership with North Carolina State University, the Global Change Forum, and the Southeast Climate Science Center) as part of its mission to connect with public, academic, and private sector organizations, researchers, and outreach specialists to deliver technical support and provide tools and strategies for climate change response to help producers cope with challenges associated with drought, heat stress, excessive moisture, longer growing seasons, and changes in pest pressures.

Link: https://globalchange.ncsu.edu/serch/

International Journal of Climatology

The International Journal of Climatology aims to span the rapidly growing field of climatology, through the publication of research papers, major reviews of progress and reviews of new books and reports in the area of climate science. Coverage includes: climate system science; local to global scale climate observations and modelling; seasonal to interannual climate prediction; climatic variability and climate change; synoptic, dynamic and urban climatology, hydroclimatology, human bioclimatology, ecoclimatology, dendroclimatology, palaeoclimatology; application of climatological knowledge to environmental assessment and management and economic production; and climate and society interactions.

Link: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1002/%28ISSN%291097-0088

Digital Coast Connections

This is a monthly newsletter showcasing products and services available from the Digital Coast Partnership and the NOAA Coastal Services Center.

Link: http://www.csc.noaa.gov/digitalcoast/newsletter

Newsletter of the U.S. Climate Change Research Program

The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) and the National Climate Assessment (NCA) publish a newsletter that comes out four to six times a year. The newsletter informs the reader about the latest goings on in agency, program, international, and health news, including news of workshops, conferences, webinars and the new reports and other publications. Subscription is through email. Back issues of the newsletter through 2010 are available online.

Links: http://www.globalchange.gov/resources/news-archive

Sustainability — Open Access Journal

Sustainability is an international and cross-disciplinary, scholarly, open access journal of environmental, cultural, economic and social sustainability of human beings, which provides an advanced forum for studies related to sustainability and sustainable development published monthly online by MDPI.

Link: http://www.mdpi.com/journal/sustainability

Marine Science Review

 SeaWeb's e-newsletter Marine Science Review compiles citations and abstracts of significant marine-related research, selected from more than 650 science journals. Each of its 12 subject areas, which include the range of important issues involving the intersection of human activity with coastal and marine environments, is distributed monthly.

Especially relevant subjects

Contaminants and Pollution: Ocean Acidification

Posted on February 20, 2014. http://seaweb.org/science/MSRnewsletters/MSR_CP_OceanAcidificationPartIII_2-2014.php

Posted on February 19, 2014. http://www.seaweb.org/science/MSRnewsletters/MSR_CP_OceanAcidificationPartII_2-2014.php

Posted on February 18, 2014. http://www.seaweb.org/science/MSRnewsletters/MSR_CP_OceanAcidification_2-2014.php

Posted on September 10, 2013. http://www.seaweb.org/science/MSRnewsletters/MSR_CP_OceanAcidificationPartIII_9-2013.php

Posted on September 5, 2013. http://www.seaweb.org/science/MSRnewsletters/MSR_CP_OceanAcidificationPartII_9-2013.php

Posted on August 29, 2013. http://www.seaweb.org/science/MSRnewsletters/MSR_CP_OceanAcidificationPartI_8-2013.php

Posted on June 11, 2013. http://www.seaweb.org/science/MSRnewsletters/MSR_CP_OceanAcidification_June-2013.php

Posted on January 24, 2013.  http://www.seaweb.org/science/MSRnewsletters/MSR_CP_OceanAcidification_1-2013.php

Posted on January 4, 2013. http://www.seaweb.org/science/MSRnewsletters/MSR_CP_OceanAcidification_11-2012.php

Posted on June 22, 2012. http://www.seaweb.org/science/MSRnewsletters/MSR_CP_OceanAcidification_6-2012.php

Posted on August 7, 2012. http://www.seaweb.org/science/MSRnewsletters/MSR_CP_OceanAcidification_3-2012.php

Posted on December 1, 2011. http://www.seaweb.org/science/MSRnewsletters/MSR_CandP_OceanAcidification_12-2011.php

Climate and Climate Change: Sea Level Rise

Posted on December 20, 2013. http://www.seaweb.org/science/MSRnewsletters/MSR_CC_SeaLevelRise_12-2013.php

Posted on August 21, 2013. http://www.seaweb.org/science/MSRnewsletters/MSR_CC_Sea-LevelRise_8-2013.php

Posted on April 30, 2013. http://www.seaweb.org/science/MSRnewsletters/MSR_CC_SeaLevelRise_4-2013.php

Posted on November 21, 2012. http://www.seaweb.org/science/MSRnewsletters/MSR_CC_SeaLevelRise_11-2012.php

Posted on December 15, 2011. http://www.seaweb.org/science/MSRnewsletters/MSR_ClimateChange_Sea_Level_Rise_Dec_2011.php

Climate Change

Climatic Change is dedicated to the totality of the problem of climatic variability and change - its descriptions, causes, implications and interactions among these. The purpose of the journal is to provide a means of exchange among those working in different disciplines on problems related to climatic variations. This means that authors have an opportunity to communicate the essence of their studies to people in other climate-related disciplines and to interested non-disciplinarians, as well as to report on research in which the originality is in the combinations of (not necessarily original) work from several disciplines. The journal also includes vigorous editorial and book review sections.

Link: http://www.springer.com/earth+sciences+and+geography/atmospheric+sciences/journal/10584

Nature: Climate Change

Nature Climate Change is a monthly journal dedicated to publishing the most significant and cutting-edge research on the science of climate change, its impacts and wider implications for the economy, society and policy. The journal publishes original research across the physical and social sciences and strives to synthesize interdisciplinary research. Nature Climate Change also provides a forum for discussion among leading experts through the publication of opinion, analysis and review articles. It also highlights the most important developments in the field through Research Highlights and publishes original reporting from renowned science journalists in the form of feature articles.

Link: http://www.nature.com/nclimate/index.html

Climate Change Websites

Organizations

Berkeley Earth

Berkeley Earth is an independent, non-profit organization whose initial mission was to systematically address five major concerns that global warming skeptics identified in an objective manner. These included potential biases from data selection, data adjustment, poor station quality, and the urban heat island effect. Current objectives involve further scientific investigations on the nature of climate change, a major education and communications program to strengthen the scientific consensus on global warming, and work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the places that will be the worst emitters over the next 30 years by trying to form a new coalition between industry and environmental groups for the use of cleanly-produced natural gas as a bridging fuel to slow global warming over the next few decades.

Link: http://www.berkeleyearth.org

Climate Change News

Climate Change News is hosted by the Mason Center for Climate and Society which provides education, independent analysis and research to simultaneously fight global climate change and reduce world poverty. The site aggregates news articles from several sources including The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Business Green, and CSRwire.

Link: http://climate.society.gmu.edu/aggregator/categories/2

Environmental and Energy Study Institute

The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting environmentally sustainable societies. EESI believes meeting this goal requires transitions to social and economic patterns that sustain people, the environment and the natural resources upon which present and future generations depend. EESI advances innovative policy solutions to deal with the impacts of climate change in order to set the US on a cleaner, more secure and sustainable energy path.

Link:http://www.eesi.org/about#.U4zZaiij9I0

Inside Climate News

InsideClimate News is a Pulitzer prize-winning, non-profit, non-partisan news organization that covers clean energy, carbon energy, nuclear energy and environmental science—plus the territory in between where law, policy and public opinion are shaped. Their mission is to produce clear, objective stories that give the public and decision-makers the information they need to navigate the heat and emotion of climate and energy debates.

Link: http://insideclimatenews.org/

Climate Desk

The Climate Desk is a journalistic collaboration dedicated to exploring the impact—human, environmental, economic, political—of a changing climate. Its partners are The Atlantic, Center for Investigative Reporting, The Guardian, Grist, The Huffington Post, Mother Jones, Slate, and Wired.

Link: http://climatedesk.org/

Center for Climate and Energy Solutions

The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to advance strong policy and action to address the twin challenges of energy and climate change.

Link: http://www.c2es.org/about

Climate Central

Climate Central surveys and conducts scientific research on climate change and informs the public of key findings. Our scientists publish and our journalists report on climate science, energy, sea level rise, wildfires, drought, and related topics. Climate Central is not an advocacy organization. We do not lobby, and we do not support any specific legislation, policy or bill.

Link: http://www.climatecentral.org/

Georgetown Climate Center

The nonpartisan Georgetown Climate Center seeks to advance effective climate, energy, and transportation policies in the United States—policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help communities adapt to climate change. The Center works with government officials, academics, and an array of stakeholders to strengthen state and federal climate partnerships. The Center analyzes the provisions of federal policy relevant to states and territories, and encourages policymakers to learn from and adopt innovative policies emerging from the states.

Link: http://www.georgetownclimate.org/about-us

Mason Center for Climate and Society

The Mason Center for Climate and Society provides education, independent analysis and research to simultaneously fight global climate change and reduce world poverty. The Center involves nearly all colleges, schools and institutes of George Mason University, as well as national and international partners to deliver this mission through balanced analysis including science, technology, economics, ethics, policy and public health. MCCS partners with US and foreign universities, NGOs and foundations to achieve its goals.

Link: http://climate.society.gmu.edu/about

National Association of Counties, Coastal Services Center

Coastal counties face considerable challenges in fostering the growth of resilient communities. These counties have distinctive needs when dealing with changes in sea or lake level, rising temperatures, and more frequent storm events. These challenges center on the availability of reliable, unbiased data and tools to adapt policies meeting the changing faces of coast. NaCo’s partnership with NOAA’s Digital Coast has enjoyed great success assisting the Coastal Services Center to develop tools, programs, workshops and assessments to help coastal counties access greater resources to mitigate the effects of a changing climate using the stated needs of elected county officials, county managers and other county staff.

Link: http://www.naco.org/programs/csd/Pages/CoastalCounties.aspx

Subscribe to NaCo’s Coastal Counties Newsletter at: http://www.naco.org/programs/csd/Pages/Coastal-Counties-Newsletter.aspx.

Federal Agencies

The U.S. Global Change Research Program

The federal government created the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) in 1989 in order “to understand, assess, predict, and respond to human-induced and natural processes of global change." Through its consortium of 15 agencies and departments, the USGCRP has conducted or supported extensive work in the areas of understanding, assessing, and predicting the effects of climate change. The USGCRP is overseen by the Executive Office of the President through the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Council on Environmental Quality, and the Office of Management and Budget.

Link: http://library.globalchange.gov

Especially relevant offices/divisions within the agency:

Federal Adaptation Planning and Implementation Resources

This site includes an array of resources that can help Federal agencies with their climate change adaptation planning and implementation efforts. Resources include relevant executive orders and strategic plans, technical reports on scientific research, guidance and frameworks for adapting to climate change, and summary documents for decision-makers who need only an overview.

Link: http://www.globalchange.gov/resources/federal-agency-adaptation-planning-resources

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce

NOAA’s research and information services work to advance scientific understanding of climate variability and change, and their impacts on human and natural systems.  In addition, NOAA maintains a network of marine protected areas including the National Estuarine Research Reserves, National Marine Sanctuaries and a national marine monument that protect habitats and provide venues for research, recreation and education.

Link: http://www.noaa.gov

Especially relevant offices/divisions within the agency:

National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service

The NESDIS provides timely access to global environmental data from satellites and other sources to promote, protect, and enhance the Nation's economy, security, environment and quality of life. To fulfill its responsibilities, NESDIS acquires and manages the Nation's operational environmental satellites, operates the NOAA National Data Centers, provides data and information services including Earth system monitoring, performs official assessments of the environment, and conducts related research.

Link: http://www.nesdis.noaa.gov/AboutNESDIS.html

National Climatic Data Center   http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/about-ncdc

National Oceanographic Data Center   http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/General/NODC-About/NODC-overview.html

National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service

The NESDIS provides timely access to global environmental data from satellites and other sources to promote, protect, and enhance the Nation's economy, security, environment and quality of life. To fulfill its responsibilities, NESDIS acquires and manages the Nation's operational environmental satellites, operates the NOAA National Data Centers, provides data and information services including Earth system monitoring, performs official assessments of the environment, and conducts related research.

Link: http://www.nesdis.noaa.gov/AboutNESDIS.html

National Climatic Data Center   http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/about-ncdc

National Oceanographic Data Center   http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/General/NODC-About/NODC-overview.html

National Weather Service

The NWS provides weather, hydrologic, and climate forecasts and warnings for the U.S., its territories, and adjacent waters and ocean areas. NWS data and products form a national information database and infrastructure which can be used by other governmental agencies, the private sector, the public, and the global community.

Link: http://www.weather.gov/about

Climate Services Division   http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/csd/index.php?section=about

Southern Region’s Climate Services Program http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/csd/index.php?section=programs

National Ocean Service

The National Ocean Service (NOS) translates science, tools and services into action, to address threats to coastal areas such as climate change, population growth, port congestion, and contaminants in the environment, all working towards healthy coasts and healthy economies.

Link: http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/

National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science   http://www.coastalscience.noaa.gov

Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Research   http://www.cop.noaa.gov/

The National Water Level Program   http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/nwlon.html

The Coastal Services Center   http://www.csc.noaa.gov

The Digital Coast  http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/digitalcoast/about

Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management   http://www.coastalmanagement.noaa.gov

NOAA’s State of the Coast   http://www.stateofthecoast.noaa.gov/about.html

The Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program http://coastalmanagement.noaa.gov/land/welcome.html

Office of National Marine Sanctuaries   http://www.sanctuaries.noaa.gov

Office of Coastal Survey   http://www.nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/staff/aboutus.htm

NowCOAST   http://nowcoast.noaa.gov

Office of Response and Restoration   http://www.response.restoration.noaa.gov

Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research

The OAR functions as the research arm of NOAA. Research focuses on enhancing understanding of environmental phenomena such as tornadoes, hurricanes, climate variability, changes in the ozone layer, El Niño/La Niña events, fisheries productivity, ocean currents, deep sea thermal vents, and coastal ecosystem health. The OAR network consists of internal research laboratories, programs for Undersea Research and Ocean Exploration, a grants program through the Climate Program Office, external research at Sea Grant universities and programs, and Cooperative Joint Institutes with academia.

Link: http://www.research.noaa.gov/aboutus/who.html

The Climate Program Office   http://www.cpo.noaa.gov/

National Sea Grant College Program   http://www.seagrant.noaa.gov/

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Defense

Especially relevant offices/divisions within the agency:

Civil Works Program

The Civil Works Program includes water resource development activities including flood control, navigation, recreation, infrastructure, environmental stewardship, and emergency response.

Link: http://www.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks.aspx

Institute for Water Resources   http://www.iwr.usace.army.mil/index.php/mission

Responses to Climate Change Program   http://www.corpsclimate.us

Flood Risk Management Program   http://nfrmp.us/aboutFRMP.cfm

Environmental Program

The Corps' partnership with other federal and state agencies, non-governmental organizations and academic institutions to find innovative solutions to challenges such as sustainability, climate change, endangered species, environmental cleanup, and ecosystem restoration. The Corps works to restore degraded ecosystem structure, function, and dynamic processes to a more natural condition through large-scale ecosystem restoration projects, and by employing system-wide watershed approaches to problem solving and management for smaller ecosystem restoration projects. The Corps’ regulatory program works to ensure no net loss of wetlands while issuing about 90,000 permits a year. The Corps environmental cleanup programs focus on reducing risk and protecting human health and the environment in a timely and cost-effective manner.

Link: http://www.usace.army.mil/Missions/Environmental.aspx

U.S. Geological Survey, Department of Interior

The USGS serves as the DOI’s primary science agency and has made significant scientific contributions to understanding how the Earth’s climate and land surface has changed in the geologic past and how these changes have influenced water resources, land cover, species distribution, and other ecosystem aspects.

Link: http://www.usgs.gov

Especially relevant offices/divisions within the agency:

Climate and Land Use Change Mission Area

The USGS undertakes scientific research, monitoring, remote sensing, modeling, synthesis, and forecasting to address the effects of climate and land use change on the U.S.’s resources. The resulting research and products are provided as the scientific foundation upon which policymakers, natural resource managers, and the public make informed decisions about the management of natural resources.

Link: http://www.usgs.gov/climate_landuse/

National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center   http://www.usgs.gov/climate_landuse/

Climate Science Centers   https://nccwsc.usgs.gov/

The Southeast Climate Science Center   http://www.doi.gov/csc/southeast/about.cfm

Landscape Conservation Cooperatives

The DOI created Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) for applied adaptation research. LCCs work with other federal agencies (e.g., the Fish & Wildlife Service and the National Parks Service), state, local, and tribal governments, as well as the private sector to develop landscape-level strategies for understanding and responding to climate change impacts. The LCCs are intended to work interactively with DOI Climate Science Centers to help coordinate regional adaptation efforts. The LCC network is composed of 22 individual LCC’s including four in the southeast: Peninsula Florida, South Atlantic (includes Georgia), Appalachian, and Gulf Plains and Ozarks. The role of an individual LCC is to: leverage funding, staff and resources; develop common goals; develop tools and strategies to inform landscape-scale planning and management decisions; link science to management; and facilitate information exchange among partners. The role of the national LCC network is to: provide a forum for national and international conservation planning; integrate the efforts of the 22 LCCs; and facilitate efforts across and among individual LCCs.

Link: http://www.doi.gov/lcc/index.cfm

The South Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative   http://www.doi.gov/lcc/South-Atlantic.cfm

Southeast Regional Assessment Project

SERAP will convert a set of global models into regional climate projections and develop landscape change datasets that can be used to project likely changes to the Southeast’s climate and ecosystems.

Link: http://serap.er.usgs.gov/

Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of Interior

The USFWS, and its many partners, are preparing for a rapidly changing climate to safeguard fish and wildlife. The USFWS climate change strategy, Rising to the Urgent Challenge: Strategic Plan for Responding to Accelerating Climate Change, establishes a basic framework within which the USFWS will work as part of the larger conservation community to help ensure the sustainability of fish, wildlife, plants and habitats in the face of accelerating climate change.

Link: http://www.fws.gov/home/climatechange/strategy.html

Especially relevant offices/divisions within the agency:

National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program

Under the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation GrantProgram, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provides matching grants to States for acquisition, restoration, management or enhancement of coastal wetlands. To date, about $183 million in grant monies have been awarded to 25 coastal States and one U.S. Territory to acquire, protect, or restore over 250,000 acres of coastal wetland ecosystems. Typically, between $13 million and $17 million in grants are awarded annually through a nationwide competitive process. Funding for the program comes from excise taxes on fishing equipment and motorboat and small engine fuels. States provide 50 percent of the total costs of a project. If, however, the State has established and maintains a special fund for acquiring coastal wetlands, other natural areas or opens spaces, the Federal share can be increased to 75 percent. Grants awarded under the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program cannot exceed $1 million for an individual project.

Link: http://www.fws.gov/coastal/CoastalGrants

National Parks Service, Department of Interior

Especially relevant offices/divisions within the agency:

Inventory and Monitoring Program

As part of the National Park Service's efforts to improve park management through greater reliance on scientific knowledge, the Inventory and Monitoring Program collects, organizes, analyzes, and synthesizes natural resource data and information, and provides the results in a variety of useful formats.

Link: http://science.nature.nps.gov/im/

Southeast Coastal Network   http://www.nps.gov/climatechange/docs/SECN_CC.pdf

Environmental Protection Agency

Especially relevant offices/divisions within the agency:

Global Change Research Program, Office of Research and Development

The Global Change Impacts and Adaptation Program assesses the potential vulnerability to climate change of EPA's air, water, ecosystem, and human health protection efforts at the federal, regional, state, municipal, and tribal levels, as well as adaptation options to build resilience in the face of these vulnerabilities. The Program carries out interdisciplinary research across newly emerging scientific findings to identify potential impacts, characterize and communicate the uncertainty in the science, and to provide support for decision makers and managers.

Link: http://www.epa.gov/ord/npd/globalresearch-intro.htm

Global Change Impacts and Adaptation Program  http://www.epa.gov/ncea/global/about_us.htm

Climate Ready Estuaries  http://water.epa.gov/type/oceb/cre/index.cfm

Climate Ready Water Utilities  http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/watersecurity/climate/

National Water Program  http://water.epa.gov/scitech/climatechange/2012-National-Water-Program-Strategy.cfm

National Aeronautic and Space Administration

NASA’s research encompasses the global atmosphere; the global oceans including sea ice; land surfaces including snow and ice; ecosystems; and interactions between the atmosphere, oceans, land, and ecosystems, including humans. NASA’s goal is to understand the changing climate, its interaction with life, and how human activities affect the environment.

Link: http://www.climate.nasa.gov/

Especially relevant offices/divisions within the agency:

Earth Science Division

NASA’s Earth Science Division contributes to the space-based observations, research, and applications the U.S. requires in order to respond to the challenges of climate change. A major component of NASA’s Earth Science Division is a coordinated series of satellite and airborne missions for long-term global observations of the land surface, biosphere, solid Earth, atmosphere, and oceans. This coordinated approach enables an improved understanding of the Earth as an integrated system.

Link: http://nasascience.nasa.gov/earth-science/

Climate Variability and Change  http://science.nasa.gov/earth-science/focus-areas/climate-variability--change/

Cryospheric Science Program http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/icebridge/index.html

National Science Foundation

NSF global change research programs support research and related activities to advance the fundamental understanding of physical, chemical, biological, and human systems and the interactions among them. The programs encourage interdisciplinary activities and focus particularly on Earth system processes and the consequences of change for organisms and ecosystems and the essential services they provide to society.

Link: http://www.nsf.gov/

Climate Change Adaptation Task Force

The Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force was convened by Executive Order and charged with developing a report with recommendations for how the federal government can strengthen policies and programs to better prepare the U.S. to adapt to the impacts of climate change. In 2011, the Task Force released its second Progress Report outlining the federal government's progress in expanding and strengthening the Nation's capacity to better understand, prepare for, and respond to extreme events and other climate change impacts. The report provides an update on actions in key areas of federal adaptation, including: building resilience in local communities, safeguarding critical natural resources such as freshwater, and providing accessible climate information and tools to help decision-makers manage climate risks.

Link: http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ceq/initiatives/adaptation

National Ocean Council  

The National Ocean Council is an executive committee which has nine priority objective areas including: coastal and marine spatial planning; resiliency and adaptation to climate change and ocean acidification; water quality and sustainable practices on land; changing conditions in the Arctic; and ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes observations.
As part of the National Ocean Policy, the National Ocean Council released an Implementation Plan to address some of the most pressing challenges facing the ocean, coasts, and the Great Lakes. The Plan describes more than 50 actions the federal government will take to improve the health of the ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes.

Link: http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/oceans/about
Link to the Implementation Plan: http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/oceans/implementationplan

Council on Environmental Quality

CEQ is working with the Office of Science and Technology Policy and NOAA to coordinate a national strategy on climate change adaptation. In addition, CEQ recently issued guidelines to federal agencies on how to integrate climate change adaptation into their planning, operations, policies, and programs. This includes the development of climate change adaptation plans by agencies.

Link: http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ceq/initiatives/nepa/ghg-guidance

Conferences, Workshops, and Webinars

2016 Carolinas Climate Resilience Conference

Hilton Charlotte University Place
Charlotte, North Carolina
September 12–14, 2016

The impacts of current climate variability and the evidence of climate change are continuing to grow and with it our understanding of the challenges we face in adapting to those changes. Building resilience — the ability to adjust easily to or recover from a stress or change — is an important step in preparing to successfully address current and future pressures. The Carolinas Climate Resilience Conference seeks to assist by providing a platform to share experience and knowledge of opportunities, tools, resources, local initiatives, and expertise.

Sessions are designed to facilitate interaction, training, collaboration and discussion around topics including:

  • Updates about climate science and available resources
  • Communicating about climate in the Carolinas
  • Mainstreaming climate into ongoing activities
  • Case studies of local adaptation efforts underway
  • Climate connections with public health, tourism, recreation, natural resources, hazards management, water management, and other sectors

For more information, go to: http://www.cisa.sc.edu/ccrc/

Miscellaneous Links

Louisiana Disappearing: Living on the Brink of Climate Change

Resource type: Video

Description: Every hour, Louisiana loses a football field worth of land to the Gulf of Mexico, thanks to rising sea levels and canals dredged by oil and gas companies. At this rate, most of southeastern Louisiana not protected by levees will be underwater in just 50 years. Looking at two towns on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana, Slidell and Dulac), the film (five-minutes in length) outlines the effects climate change has already had on these communities and what their future will hold.

Reference: Louisiana Disappearing: Living on the Brink of Climate Change (2015). Al Jazeera; http://www.ajplus.net/

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4THdX9KOZ_4

Report Cites Benefits of Living Shorelines

Resource type: Online article

Description: A newly issued report, “Living Shorelines: From Barriers to Opportunities, developed under the auspices of Restore America’s Estuaries, a national nonprofit umbrella organization of conservation groups, concludes that, ‘Living shorelines are the best shoreline management alternative for both the environment and property owners when they are used in the right locations, designed correctly, constructed properly and maintained appropriately.’”

Reference: Brad Rich (2015). Report Cites Benefits of Living Shorelines. Coastal Review Online (July 27, 2015).

Link: http://www.coastalreview.org/2015/07/report-cites-benefits-of-living-shorelines/

Record low river flows show need for improved water planning

Resource type: News article

Description: Recent studies by researchers at the Georgia Water Resources Institute at Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia show that the amount of water going down the Oconee River has declined about 20 percent in the past 50 years, and similar declines in the Chattahoochee-Flint and other Georgia river basins. An analysis of river flow statistics for the Middle Oconee River dating back to 1935 revealed that about 90 percent of the record low flows have been recorded in the last 10 years. And according to U.S. Geological Service statistics, annual river flow in the Oconee River, measured in cubic feet per second, was the lowest ever recorded in 2012.

Reference: Lee Shearer (2014). Record low river flows show need for improved water planning. Athens Banner-Herald (June 1).

Link: http://onlineathens.com/uga/2014-05-31/record-low-river-flows-show-need-improved-water-planning

A Changing Climate: Multimedia Stories

Resource type: Website

Description: The Story Group is an independent, multimedia journalism company that believes that storytelling remains a powerful tool in covering the critical issues of our times. Beginning in May, the website is featuring its Climate Change series, produced in support of the 2014 National Climate Assessment. The series consists of stories about how climate change is currently affecting real people’s lives. A recent video describes how one family of fifth-generation oyster farmers is dealing with the effects of ocean acidification on oyster shells. Other videos feature synopses of chapters from the National Climate Assessment.

Link: http://thestorygroup.org/category/nationalclimateassessment/

Losing Ground: Managing Climate Risks in the Southeast

Resource type: Briefing summary

Description: The Environmental and Energy Study Institute held a briefing examining the current and projected impacts of climate change in the Southeast, and efforts to manage these risks. The briefing included speakers from the Navy, the USGS, and the U.S. Department of Transportation. Videos of the presentations are available for viewing and slides may be downloaded.

Links: http://www.eesi.org/briefings/view/052214southeast#.U4zZ6Sij9I0 (Summary of briefing)
      http://www.eesi.org/audio/052214audio_Southeast.mp3 (Audio of the briefing)

South Florida’s Rising Seas

Resource type: Video/Flash

Description: Kate MacMillin and Juliet Pinto explore the narrative of a South Florida community under threat from sea level rise in this half-hour documentary. Interviews with geologists, engineers, community leaders, and activists help explain sea level rise, the threats it poses to the region, and what is being to respond to these changes.

Link: http://cakex.org/virtual-library/south-floridas-rising-seas?utm_source=February+2014+Slice+of+CAKE_2&utm_campaign=February+2014+Slice&utm_medium=email

Social Coast Forum 2014: Exploring the Values of the Coast

Hosted by the NOAA Coastal Services Center, this event focused on the application and integration of social science in coastal decision-making. Participants discussed the use of social science tools, data, and methods to address issues such as climate change, land use planning, ecosystem services, and human uses of the oceans. Abstracts and presentations from the forum are posted on the Coastal Services Center website.

Link: http://www.csc.noaa.gov/socialcoastforum/SocialCoastForum2014-AbstractsandPresentations.pdf

NASA Satellites to Track Biological Impacts of Climate Change

Resource type: Press announcement

Description: April 22, 2011 - NASA announced 15 new research studies to examine how climate change will affect key species and ecosystems. NASA's Earth Science Division is funding the new research projects to see whether environmental data collected by satellites can be used to improve ecological models that predict the behavior of a species or ecosystem. Projects NASA and its partners are funding include efforts to understand how climate change will affect coastal salt marshes and Atlantic bluefin tuna in the Gulf of Mexico. ffff

Link: http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/climate_partners.html

News: Coastal Blue Carbon Is Recognized Trading Category

Resource type: Press announcement

Description: October 4, 2012 - An initiative that was aimed at creating greenhouse gas offset opportunities is paving the way for increased private investment in wetland restoration and conservation projects. The new Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) requirements for Wetlands Restoration and Conservation create a project category for measuring and crediting climate benefits from a broad range of wetlands, including mangroves, freshwater tidal coastal wetlands, salt marshes, seagrasses, floodplains, peatlands, and other wetland types. The importance of the VCS wetland carbon credit registry cannot be overstated, according to Patrick Megonigal, Senior Scientist and Deputy Director, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. “This is the first carbon-crediting standard to advance conservation and restoration across the full diversity of the world’s wetlands,” said Megonigal.

Link: http://www.estuaries.org/vcs-recognizes-coastal-blue-carbon-as-new-trading-category.html

State and Local Climate and Energy Program

Resource type: Webpage

Description: The State Climate and Energy Program helps states develop policies and programs that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, lower energy costs, improve air quality and public health, and help achieve economic development goals. EPA provides states with and advises them on proven, cost–effective best practices, peer exchange opportunities, and analytical tools.

Link: http://www.epa.gov/statelocalclimate/

 

 

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This page was updated August 11, 2015