Sea Level Rise: Human and Scientific Challenges

Saturday, February 13, 2016: 3:00 PM-4:30 PM
Harding (Marriott Wardman Park)
Rising sea levels are already impacting coastal communities through storm surge, coastal erosion, and saltwater intrusion, among other effects. While the processes causing changes in sea level are relatively large in scale, the resulting effects and impacts can be very local, with different parts of the world affected in very different ways. Understanding the contributors to sea level on such local scales is important for planning, adaptation, and mitigation efforts throughout the world. Over the last decade, satellites -- coupled with in situ observing systems -- have provided direct observations of many of these contributors. Turning observations into actionable assessments of future sea level requires an interdisciplinary approach, and necessitates collaboration among communities accustomed to working independently. Further, communicating information about sea level rise to a growing, diverse group of stakeholders and policymakers is of the utmost importance. This diversity includes geographic and socioeconomic diversity, as different populations around the world will be affected in different ways by changes in sea level. The threat of sea level rise is an important challenge for scientists: not only to understand a complex and multifaceted scientific problem, but also to communicate information about a serious societal and financial threat -- both to a broad global audience and tailored to specific communities.
Benjamin Hamlington, Old Dominion University
Eric Lindstrom, NASA Earth Sciences Division and Michelle Covi, Old Dominion University
Steve Nerem, University of Colorado, Boulder
An Overview of the NASA Sea Level Change Team (N-SLCT)