Climate Research and Development Program

Sea Level Change

Sea-level rise and associated storm surges threaten many parts of the Nation’s coast, where nearly half the citizens live. The Climate R&D Program conducts multidisciplinary research to understand the magnitude and rate of past and potential future sea-level rise; the mechanisms that control sea level and coastal storm surges; and impacts of sea-level rise on coastal ecosystems and infrastructure.

Filter Total Items: 8
Date published: April 17, 2020
Status: Active

The Response of Coastal Wetlands to Sea-level Rise: Understanding how Macroscale Drivers Influence Local Processes and Feedbacks

The purpose of this work is to advance our understanding of how coastal wetland responses to sea-level rise (SLR) within the conterminous United States are likely to vary as a function of local, regional, and macroscale drivers, including climate. Based on our interactions with managers and decision makers, as well as our knowledge of the current state of the science, we propose to: (a)...

Date published: February 26, 2020
Status: Active

Impacts of coastal and watershed changes on upper estuaries: causes and implications of wetland ecosystem transitions along the US Atlantic and Gulf Coasts

Estuaries and their surrounding wetlands are coastal transition zones where freshwater rivers meet tidal seawater.  As sea levels rise, tidal forces move saltier water farther upstream, extending into freshwater wetland areas. Human changes to the surrounding landscape may amplify the effects of this tidal extension, impacting the resiliency and function of the upper estuarine wetlands. One...

Contacts: Ken Krauss, Ph.D., Gregory Noe, Camille LaFosse Stagg, Ph.D., Hongqing Wang, Ph.D., Eric J Ward, Ph.D., Jamie A. Duberstein, William H. Conner, Zhaohua Dai, Thomas L. O'Halloran
Date published: May 30, 2019
Status: Active

Wetlands in the Quaternary

Wetlands accumulate organic-rich sediment or peat stratigraphically, making them great archives of past environmental change. Wetlands also act as hydrologic buffers on the landscape and are important to global biogeochemical cycling. This project uses wetland archives from a range of environments to better understand how vegetation, hydrology, and hydroclimate has changed on decadal to multi-...

Date published: April 19, 2019
Status: Active

Pacific Ocean Patterns, Processes, and Productivity (POP3): Impacts of ancient warming on marine ecosystems and western North America

Projections for AD 2100 suggest warming of +1-4°C in the North Pacific Ocean, which will result in widespread transformations throughout the marine environment and western North America. Many of these changes are beyond the predictive capabilities of current climate models. To better address this future uncertainty, our team is developing a geological framework using past warm intervals as...

Date published: April 13, 2019
Status: Active

Biogeochemistry of glaciers

Significant change to the Arctic and sub-arctic water cycle is underway, impacting hydrologic and biogeochemical fluxes.  In southcentral Alaska, glacier mass loss, changes to precipitation (including the rain/snow fraction), thawing ground ice, and vegetation encroachment will change both magnitude and timing of water and solute fluxes downstream.  Although altered fluxes of limiting...

Date published: March 28, 2019
Status: Active

Sea Level and Storm Hazards: Past and Present

Sea level and Storm Hazards: Past and Present is a multidisciplinary study of past changes in sea level. Prehistoric shorelines can be used as a baseline for current and future sea level changes under warmer-than-present climate. Emphasis is placed on looking at sea levels during warm periods of the last 500,000 years as well as how base level changes increase the risk of coastal inundation...

Date published: November 12, 2018
Status: Active

Geological Investigations of the Neogene

More than a third of the United States population lives in counties directly on the shoreline, making them vulnerable to hazards associated with changing sea level and storm surges associated with hurricanes and severe storms. The geologic record contains many examples of past intervals of warm climate and high sea level. "Geological Investigation of the Neogene" is examining proxy records of...

Date published: July 14, 2017
Status: Active

Geologic Records of High Sea Levels

This project studies past high sea levels on coastlines that preserve fossil coral reefs or marine terraces. We ascertain the magnitudes of sea-level high stands by field mapping, stratigraphic measurements, and precise elevation measurements. Geochronology is accomplished by radiocarbon dating of mollusks (for Holocene-to-last-glacial deposits), uranium-series dating of corals (for high-sea...