Coordinated by the Florida Center for Environmental Studies at 
Florida Atlantic University 

Posters


Abstracts of each poster are available by clicking on the individual titles below. 


POSTER ABSTRACTS BY SUMMIT TOPIC

 

THE STATE OF THE SCIENCE: SEA LEVEL RISE & STORM SURGETHE PROBLEM

♦  SEA-LEVEL RISE VULNERABILITY MAPPING USING LiDAR DEMS View Poster as PDF
Hannah M Cooper, Charles H Fletcher, Qi Chen, Matthew M. Barbee, Florida Atlantic University

ABSTRACT: Natural and human coastal systems with low elevations are most vulnerable to sea-level rise (SLR). Decision-makers, faced with the problem of adapting to SLR, use elevation data to identify assets vulnerable to inundation. This paper reviews techniques and challenges stemming from the use of Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) in support of SLR decision-making. A significant shortcoming in the methodology is the lack of comprehensive standards for estimating LiDAR error, which causes inconsistent and sometimes misleading calculations of uncertainty. Researchers often aim to reduce uncertainty by analyzing the difference between LiDAR error and the target SLR chosen for decision-making. The practice of mapping SLR is based on the assumption that LiDAR errors follow a normal distribution with zero bias, which is sometimes violated. Approaches to correcting discrepancies between vertical reference systems for land and tidal datums may incorporate tidal benchmarks and a vertical datum transformation tool provided by the National Ocean Service (VDatum). LiDAR DEMs integrated into a GIS can be used to identify areas that are vulnerable to direct marine inundation and groundwater inundation (reduced drainage coupled with higher water tables). Spatial analysis can identify potentially vulnerable ecosystems as well as developed assets. A standardized mapping uncertainty needs to be developed given that SLR vulnerability mapping requires absolute precision for use as a decision-making tool.

♦  STRONG SENSITIVITY OF POLAR ICE SHEETS TO INCREASED TEMPERATURES
Andrea Dutton, Department of Geological Sciences, University of Florida; Jody Webster, University of Sydney; Dan Zwartz, Victoria University of Wellington; Kurt Lambeck, The Australian National University

ABSTRACT: An increasingly important and societally relevant issue regarding future climate change is to better understand the dynamics and sensitivity of sea level rise under sustained warming conditions. Historical observations of coastlines, ice sheets, climate, ocean circulation, and sea level provide crucial tools for assessing land-ocean-cryosphere-climate interactions that have influenced sea level in the recent past. However, these observations are insufficient to provide insight into the dynamic interplay of these variables in the absence of anthropogenic perturbations or for warmer climates.

Here we explore past sea level behavior during the last interglacial period, approximately 125,000 years ago. Although past interglacials are imperfect analogues for future sea level change, there are valuable observations that can be made regarding the degree of stability of sea level during warm climates, the sensitivity of the cryosphere to warmer temperatures than present, and the relative timing of changes in sea level with various climate parameters and forcings. We have surveyed, described and dated last interglacial fossil coral reefs in the Seychelles to ascertain peak sea level and hence infer maximum retreat of polar ice sheets attained during this time interval. Our observations imply a peak sea level 9.0 ± 1.5 m above present. Given the minimally warmer polar temperatures during the last interglacial period—equivalent to temperatures that will likely be attained in the next few decades—this strong response of sea level implies a high sensitivity of polar ice sheets to small increases in temperature.
♦  SEA LEVEL RISE 101
Mary Beth Hartman and Leonard Berry, Center for Environmental Studies, Florida Atlantic University

ABSTRACT:The poster provides an overview of various aspects of sea level rise and effects on Florida. The main causes are universal worldwide: thermal expansion resulting from ocean warming and increased melting of glaciers and polar ice caps. Current projections for The Four County Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact, beginning with 2010, are an increase of three to seven inches by 2030 and 9 to 24 inches by 2060. The porous limestone that lies under much of Florida makes the strategy of building barriers along the coast difficult. A recent study found that just six more inches of sea rise would compromise almost half of South Florida’s flood control capacity. Florida is the most vulnerable state for the impacts of sea level rise, due to over 1,200 miles of coastline and low elevation. Coastal counties generate 79% of the state’s annual economy and house three-fourths of its 18 million residents. We already see the effects of the few inches seas have risen since the 1960s. Low lying coastal cities experience flooding at lunar high tides and freshwater wells of coastal cities have become infiltrated with seawater. The combination of sea level rise, intense rainfall and storm surge creates the on-going potential for major flooding. The rate of sea rise is an inexact science and predictions vary. Nonetheless, the risks are real and serious and threaten buildings and infrastructure valued at billions of dollars. The choices we make today will determine how high sea levels rise, how fast it occurs and how effective our adaptation measures are.

♦ INTERNET-BASED MODELING, MAPPING, AND ANALYSIS FOR THE GREATER EVERGLADES (IMMAGE): WEB-BASED TOOLS TO ASSESS THE IMPACT OF SEA LEVEL RISE IN SOUTH FLORIDA
1Paul Hearn, 1David Strong, 2Eric Swain, and 2Jeremy Decker
1U.S. Geological Survey, Eastern Geographic Science Center, Reston, VA
2U.S. Geological Survey, Florida Water Science Center, Ft. Lauderdale, FL

ABSTRACT:South Florida's Greater Everglades area is particularly vulnerable to sea level rise, due to its rich endowment of animal and plant species and its heavily populated urban areas along the coast. Rising sea levels are expected to have substantial impacts on inland flooding, the depth and extent of surge from coastal storms, the degradation of water supplies by saltwater intrusion, and the integrity of plant and animal habitats. Planners and managers responsible for mitigating these impacts require advanced tools to help them more effectively identify areas at risk. The U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS) Internet-based Modeling, Mapping, and Analysis for the Greater Everglades (IMMAGE) Web site has been developed to address these needs by providing more convenient access to projections from models that forecast the effects of sea level rise on surface water and groundwater, the extent of surge and resulting economic losses from coastal storms, and the distribution of habitats. IMMAGE not only provides an advanced geographic information system (GIS) interface to support decision making, but also includes topic- based modules that explain and illustrate key concepts for nontechnical users. This poster is intended to familiarize both technical and nontechnical users with the IMMAGE Web site and its various applications.

♦ DATA-BASED SEA LEVEL RISE PREDICTIONS FOR THE DECADES AHEAD  View Poster as PDF
Barry N. Heimlich and David B. Enfield, Florida Atlantic University Center for Environmental Studies

ABSTRACT:Sea level rise in the coming decades was projected by extrapolating recent satellite topographical and gravimetric data without reference to global climate models. The coefficients of a quadratic acceleration equation were estimated from recent Topex/Jason satellite altimetry measurements of global average sea level and Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite measurements of ice mass loss for the Greenland and Antarctica Ice Sheets (GAIS). Global average sea level is on track to rise above 2010 levels by about 4” and 13” in 2030 and 2060. Extrapolation to 2100 predicts a rise of 32”. This is below the mid-range of many recent guidelines and model-based projections. GRACE mass loss data portend that SLR acceleration may increase ten-fold from 0.013 mm/yr2 during the 20th Century to about 0.132 mm/yr2 during the 21st Century. Surprisingly however, increased acceleration is not yet reflected in satellite sea level measurements. This suggests a possible time lag of not less than 10 years between ice sheet melt and global average SLR. The explanation may be the time required for ocean currents to redistribute ice sheet melt water around the globe.

♦ TOO CLOSE TO HOME: THE ROUGH RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SEA TURTLE NESTS AND THE OCEAN WAVES
Donna Selch and Callie Sharkey, Florida Atlantic University

ABSTRACT:Florida is home to many iconic endangered species including migratory residents. It serves as both natal beach and foraging area for the leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), loggerhead (Caretta caretta), green (Chelonia mydas), hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) and Kemp’s ridley (Lepidochelys kempii) sea turtles. Each of these species use Florida beaches as vital nesting grounds. While sea turtles have ability to live very long, hatchling survival rates are low – approximately 1/1,000 baby turtles survive to adulthood. But the number of eggs needed to produce a mature turtle is far greater. Female turtles lay several nests in one season, each with 100 eggs or more and for this reason, turtles prefer naturally dynamic beaches. Each winter the sand is washed away by storms and tidal conditions, and then re-deposited before the turtles return to nest the following summer. This leaves behind fresh sand ready for new nests to be dug and incubate for 50-70 days. The ocean influences these eggs from the moment they are laid. If a nest is too close to the tide line, it will be regularly washed over by incoming waves. This has multiple impacts: the cool water lowers the temperature within the nest, leading to nests with high male density; too many wash overs, or standing water over a nest will permeate the eggs and drown the embryos before they ever hatch. During storms, nests may completely wash away long before the hatchlings are developed. Add additional impacts of human to the beachfront, such as permanent sea walls, leads to the virtual disappearance of viable nesting beaches. Since sea turtles of every species return to their own natal beach, major coastline changes can lead to “lost” turtles that drop their eggs in the water – never to hatch – because they cannot find a safe spot of sand to lay them.

♦ PLANNING FOR SEA LEVEL RISE AND HURRICANE STORM SURGE VULNERABILITY IN A COASTAL COMMUNITY
Jennifer Shafer and David Shafer, Shafer Consulting

ABSTRACT:Coastal communities routinely face hazards from hurricane land fall, including inundation of low-lying areas from storm driven tidal surge. Under future scenarios of climate change, sea level rise could exacerbate this effect, creating more extreme flooding events even during lesser storms. Storm surge augmented by future sea level rise could produce a cascade of consequences affecting things such as land use, infrastructure, facilities, waterway navigation, local economy, public health, public safety, drinking water supplies, and ecosystems. Due to the interconnectivity of water management systems throughout the floodplain, slight changes in sea level could impact not only the coastal regions, but inland regions as well. A Florida coastal community is used as a case-study to demonstrate a methodology to conduct a preliminary assessment of how sea level rise scenarios may alter the impacts of future storms. We modeled three possible future scenarios: 3 ft SLR plus storm surge from Category 1, 3 and 5 hurricanes, respectively. Community vulnerability to the resulting inundation zones was evaluated along multiple dimensions, including: Critical Facilities, Ecosystems, Economy, Coastal Resources, Water Resources, and Population. This study serves as an example planning tool for coastal communities exploring mitigation options for sea level rise, including armoring shorelines against future inundation, adapting structures to accommodate future inundation, and retreating from vulnerable coastal locations. By understanding the influence of sea level rise on the jurisdiction’s vulnerability to hurricane storm surge hazards, it may be possible to proactively implement adaptation strategies during post-disaster redevelopment efforts.

♦ THE COASTAL DYNAMICS OF SEA LEVEL RISE: A CASE STUDY IN THE NORTHERN GULF OF MEXICO   View Poster as PDF
Sonia Stephens and Scott C. Hagen, University of Central Florida

ABSTRACT:This presentation describes the Ecological Effects of Sea Level Rise-Northern Gulf of Mexico (EESLR-NGOM) project, an integrated field observation and modeling study that will predict how sea level rise (SLR) interacts with coastal hydrology to affect different marsh and coastal species. This multidisciplinary project builds on lab and field experiments and observations to inform a suite of predictive computer models. The project combines models of water circulation, overland flow, coastal hydrodynamics, and sediment transport. Models and ground-based assessments will provide forecasts of intertidal marsh evolution and inform marsh, seagrass, and oyster habitat models. The ultimate predictions will include the impact of SLR on intertidal marshes, oysters, and submerged aquatic vegetation at the three National Estuarine Research Reserves (NERRs). Science team members are working with coastal resource managers to ensure that project results and decision support tool products are useful to them. Partners include: Univ. of Central Florida; Florida State Univ.; Univ. of South Carolina; Apalachicola, Grand Bay and Weeks Bay NERRs; and Dewberry.

♦ THE IMPACT OF SEA LEVEL RISE OF STORM SURGE IN SOUTH FLORIDA
Michelle Wilson and Brian Soden, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami

ABSTRACT:In this study, the National Weather Service’s Sea, Lake, and Overland Surges from Hurricanes (SLOSH) model and ArcGIS were used to simulate the impact of projected changes in sea level on inundation in South Florida due to tropical cyclones. Forty-six historical tropical cyclones between the years of 1900-2010 that made landfall in South Florida and twenty-six other storms that skirted the Florida coast were selected for simulating the maximum surface water elevation. The input wind parameters for SLOSH were extracted from the National Hurricane Center’s (NHC) best track data for each storm. Five different sea level rise simulations were done in the SLOSH model. The values that were used for sea level rise were 0, or today’s current sea level, 0.5, 1, 2 and 3 ft. These values simulate current and future climate scenarios projected out to the year 2100 for South Florida by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE 2009).

The SLOSH modeling system provides 37 localized grid basins (12 operational) for the state of Florida. The grid basin that is used in this study is for Biscayne Bay. The SLOSH model for each storm with specific sea level rise values was imported into ArcGIS. An analysis of storm surge impact with various sea level rise scenarios to the different demographic and economic sectors of South Florida is possible by combing the SLOSH model with Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The area of land (km2) with inundation was calculated for each storm and each county. The social impacts of hurricane storm surge and changes in sea level rise are extremely important as the United States’ coastlines continue to grow putting more people in danger. For this project population density and locations of residential areas from Florida land use data are used to evaluate the social impacts of sea level rise.

ECONOMIC IMPLICATIONS OF SEA LEVEL RISE

♦  ASSESSING COASTAL RESILIENCY IN PINELLAS COUNTY, FL View Poster as PDF
Libby Carnahan, UF IFAS Pinellas County Extension

ABSTRACT: Coastal communities are increasingly vulnerable to hurricanes, storm surge, and coastal flooding. County extension agents are well placed to work with coastal constituents to protect natural resources, improve community resiliency, and maintain the coastal economy. The Coastal Resilience Index (CRI) tool developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration provides a solid platform to assess community vulnerabilities and provide information for improved emergency preparedness.

Extension agents utilized face-to-face meetings, follow-up evaluations, and surveys to facilitate the CRI with four communities in Pinellas County. Communities voluntarily participated and received a CRI report with a verbal assessment estimating the community’s ability to respond to a disaster.

The CRI tool collects information in six categories and assessment scores are identified as “High”, “Medium” or “Low.” Qualitative data indicates that communities are well prepared but require assistance with funding and incentives for community-wide mitigation strategies. Although business planning for disaster preparedness is emphasized in large retail, it is not well articulated for small businesses. Overall, the CRI tool provided communities with the opportunity to identify strengths and weaknesses of current disaster planning functions.

Coastal communities are aware of their inherent vulnerabilities and are seeking to engage in pro-active planning to address disaster preparedness and resiliency. Collaboration and “communities of practice” offer the greatest insight for communities desirous of innovative ways to address common vulnerabilities. The University of Florida Extension Service is well equipped to provide information, assist local communities, and develop programs to address disaster preparedness and resiliency.

♦  AN ECOSYSTEM SERVICES VALUATION OF A RESTORED KISSIMMEE-OKEECHOBEE-EVERGLADES WATERSHED IN THE FACE OF SEA LEVEL RISE
Mary Crider, Kyle Dollman, Danielle Koushel, James K. O’Connell, and Max Wallace, 2012 interns, Marshall Foundation for The Everglades

ABSTRACT: America’s Everglades is an icon of South Florida and currently is a highly degraded, channelized, and managed system. With large restoration projects underway and oncoming sea level rise, a method is needed to accurately assess the economic value of given ecosystems. Ecosystem services valuations allow for comparison of public works projects alternatives. In this study, two ecosystem services valuations, Costanza et al. (1997b) and Batket et al. (2010), were synthesized through a value transfer to calculate the annual value of ecosystem services provided by the Kissimmee-Okeechobee-Everglades watershed. The specific function of stormwater treatment areas to remove phosphorus was accounted for in valuing constructed wetlands. A net present value was also calculated to illustrate the future value of the system over the lifetime of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. The watershed considered has an annual economic value of $12.3 - $45.5 billion and is projected to retain its value over time. Restoration projects are likely to realize the full value, and a rehabilitated system will have an improved resilience to rising sea levels. The values calculated for this watershed support funding of restoration efforts and encourage project managers to continue working efficiently to prepare for sea level rise.

♦  EVERGLADES RESTORATION AS A MITIGATION TOOL FOR SEA LEVEL RISE
Casey Hickcox, Sarah Denison, Jessica James, Tomena Scholze, and Kelsie Timpe, 2013 Interns, Marshall Foundation for The Everglades

ABSTRACT: One of the most threatening effects of climate change is sea level rise (SLR). The U.S. National Climate Assessment predicts that the sea will rise at least 0.2 meters and no more than 2 meters by 2100. SLR will affect both urban and natural environments in many ways including: increased contamination from salt water intrusion, magnified saltwater inundation and storm surge, destruction of coastal mangrove storm barriers, habitat conversion, and trophic disruption. Salt water intrusion threatens coastal surficial aquifer system (SAS) wellfields, necessitating wellfield relocation and diversification of Florida’s water supply. Alternative water supply options include: desalinization of brackish water from the Floridan Aquifer System, seawater desalinization, water reclamation, rainwater catchment, water conservation, and Everglades restoration. The natural environment is threatened by SLR through storm surge, peat collapse, soil erosion, loss of biological storm barriers, habitat conversion, and trophic disruption. Calculated total ecosystem value decreased as shoreline migration and SLR-influenced ecosystem succession were simulated. Restoring the Everglades through the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) and the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP) will help mitigate the effects of SLR by recharging the SAS and Biscayne aquifer, increasing surface water storage, preventing peat degradation, reducing saltwater intrusion and nutrient enrichment, maintaining freshwater habitats, and maintaining the coastal mangrove storm barrier.

♦  THE ECONOMIC DILEMMA OF SEA LEVEL RISE: WHO IS FINANCIALLY RESPONSIBLE?
Matthew Long and Teresa Thornton, Oxbridge Academy of the Palm Beaches

ABSTRACT:After Hurricane Sandy the Northeastern US Coast was left devastated. Scientific projections of sea level rise (SLR) put the ocean three feet above present levels. This is enough to put Florida and other parts of the US eastern coast under water. Relief given to Hurricane Sandy was debated in the house, senate, and the media as well as in the streets of affected cities. Fifty billion dollars was said to have been poorly allocated, as none was given for the prevention of flooding and future disasters (Ham, 2012). This research will attempt to address the economic and monetary concerns of sea level rise, by including the realistic expectations of the public with the actual fiscal responsibilities of governmental agencies through interviews with representatives from different political parties, economists, and researchers who have experienced Sea Level Rise in different countries.

CLIMATE CHANGE EDUCATION

♦  SUSTAINABLE CITIES, FUTURE LEADERS  View Poster as PDF
Valerie J. Amor, Drawing Conclusions LLC

ABSTRACT: My poster will highlight a child’s perspective on climate change and sea level rise. This is based on two award winning educational programs that I am the designer and director of called SCALe, (Sustainability, Community, Architecture, Leadership and Education) and Architects in the Making, AIM Leadership. Working with children and adults, we design and build models of sustainable, climate resilient cities using all recycled materials. We explore - where do we live? how do we live? issues of water, energy, waste, food production and more.

Through a pictorial presentation of models, pictures and words that have been created by them in this past year’s summer camps, children ages 6-14 will reveal how our next generation looks at sea level rise and climate change and what it means to them. Surprisingly, it is not a chance to be overwhelmed but rather an opportunity to become leaders and prepare for a better world.

As adults we need to simultaneously share the reality of the present with them while being partners in creating a transformative future. This poster and models highlight this perspective and shine a light on the voices of our future leaders for sustainable cities.

♦  SOUTHEAST FLORIDA SEA LEVEL AWARENESS PROJECT POLE   View Poster as PDF
Leah Booher, FAU High School and SE FL Sea Level Awareness Project

ABSTRACT: The Southeast Florida Sea Level Awareness Project (S.L.A.P.) encourages educators and others to create S.L.A.P. Poles with their students, and to arrange to have them displayed in public spaces. S.L.A.P. poles are currently installed at Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, Veteran's Park Youth Activity Center in east Boca Raton, and in the Sanctuary Garden of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Boca Raton.

Creating a S.L.A.P. Pole is a science-based community service project designed to: (1.) alert citizens to the effects of climate change related sea level rise on Southeast Florida’s infrastructure and coastal lands; (2.) inform the public that the bipartisan Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Action Plan addresses sea level rise, and (3.) create awareness about the causes of Global Climate Change, and the actions individuals can take to help address this problem.

♦  THE CLIMATE CHANGE NARRATIVE GAME EDUCATION (CHANGE) PROJECT View Poster as PDF
Allan Feldman, Yiping Lou, Glenn Smith, and Ping Wang, University of South Florida

ABSTRACT: The Climate Change Narrative Game Education (CHANGE) project is designed to help high school students learn complex Global Climate Change (GCC) science by making it personally relevant and understandable. GCC is a complex topic involving numerous factors and uncertainties making teaching this extremely important topic very difficult. CHANGE responds to this challenge by combining: (a) scientifically realistic text narratives about future Florida residents (text stories with local Florida characters, 50-100 years in the future), (b) local, place-based approach using scientific data, (c) a focus on the built environment, (d) simulations & games based on scientific data to help students learn principles of GCC so students can experience and try to cope with the potential long term effect of GCC via role-play and science-based simulation, and (e) a web-based intermedia eBook narrative where sections of narrative text alternate with simulations/computer games. The result is a prototype curriculum that can be integrated into the existing Florida elective Marine Sciences high school course. The CHANGE project also includes an educational research component to provide new knowledge for instructional technologists and serious game developers regarding effective interface and usability design of intermedia narrative gaming-simulations for education; as well as findings related to student learning and teacher professional development. In addition, CHANGE will develop a place-based futuristic gaming simulation model that can easily extend to the other locales in other states, based on local climate change effects, local stakeholders, local economic and social effects to motivate the high school students in that area.

♦  CLIMATE SCIENCE INVESTIGATIONS (CSI): USING EVIDENCE-BASED ARGUMENTATION TO ADDRESS SKEPTICS' CLAIMS  View Poster as PDF
Julie Lambert and Alana Edwards, Florida Atlantic University; Brian Soden, University of Miami; Robert Bleicher, California State University Channel Islands; Anne Henderson, FAU Pine Jog Environmental Education Center

ABSTRACT: Climate Science Investigations (CSI) is an online, interactive series of modules and teaching resources that enable secondary and undergraduate students to analyze and use NASA data to address the public’s questions and commonly held misconceptions about climate change. The instructional approach is to use the questions about climate change, and the arguments that underlie them, as a basis for teaching the practices of science and the critical thinking skills inherent in these processes.

The modules are sequenced so that students progressively discover the evidence of climate change and human involvement. They examine data and are guided to formulate reasonable explanations about the causes of climate change as they move through the modules. In the first module, students are introduced to climate science inquiry and the practices and nature of science and skepticism. In the second module, students examine extreme weather events and review the difference between weather and climate. Students examine the concept of balancing Earth’s energy budget, a fundamental concept to understanding climate science, in the third module; and in the fourth module, they investigate the temporal and regional temperature data to examine the question of whether Earth is warming, and if so, how rapidly. In the fifth module, students compare natural and human causes of climate change and discover that the observations can only be explained when both are included in the climate models. In the sixth module, students investigate the observed and projected impacts of climate change. In the seventh module, solutions for adaption and mitigation are explored, and finally, as a culminating module, students practice refuting skeptics claims.

♦  PRESERVATION OF UPLAND HABITAT: KEY TO FLORIDA SPECIES’ SURVIVAL  View Poster as PDF
Jaclyn Lopez, Center for Biological Diversity

ABSTRACT: Florida coastal ecosystems and the species that depend on them face a growing threat from rising sea levels and increasing storm surge. Many Florida coastal species are at risk of being trapped between these rising seas and areas of human development. They are limited in their ability to move landward because much of their coastal habitat has already been lost and degraded due to development and dense human populations along the coast. Sandy beaches that are narrow, lack extensive dune systems, or are backed by armoring are also vulnerable to disappearing entirely. Undeveloped areas that might be suitable for species’ landward migration are likely to be claimed by development as human populations retreat landward. Thus, there is a critical need to proactively protect and manage upland habitats needed to enable adaptive habitat shifts by coastal species. Fortunately, an effective tool—the U.S. Endangered Species Act—already exists to protect upland habitat for the twelve threatened and endangered species that depend on Florida’s sandy shorelines to ensure that they are able to move inland as their habitats are inundated. The first step is to identify the upland areas that will become important habitat for the landward migration of these imperiled species as the coasts are inundated by projected sea level rise and intensified storm surge in this century. Once these areas are identified, the upland habitat vital to these species can be protected through the designation of critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act, and through consultation with wildlife management agencies.

♦  RAISING MINDS ABOUT RISING SEAS
David Shafer and Jennifer Shafer, Shafer Consulting

ABSTRACT: Despite robust scientific consensus on the measurement, causality and risks of sea level rise, there remains significant confusion, complacency and dismissiveness among the public and policy-makers about how to respond. Improved communication and outreach is central to promoting best-science approaches to climate policy and planning as well as for raising the political and social capital necessary for appropriate action.

Rising Seas is an independent, Southwest Florida based initiative dedicated to advancing public understanding about the science of sea level rise, vulnerabilities of our natural and built environments, and potential strategies to mitigate or adapt to the risks (www.rising-seas.com). Our poster discusses strategies and tactics employed by the initiative to effectively present complex, multi-disciplinary science in such a way that is sufficiently nuanced and scientifically-grounded, but also meaningful and accessible to multiple stakeholders from broad educational, occupational, political and cultural backgrounds.

The initiative was launched in 2012 by Shafer Consulting with the support of non-profit partners: Science and Environment Council of Southwest Florida, Union of Concerned Scientists, New College of Florida, Eckerd College, Sarasota Tiger Bay Club, private partner BDH Associates and a growing list of others. To date, the initiative has directly communicated to over a thousand people through a Rising Seas lecture and discussion panel series, a WEDU film screening, a Sarasota Bay and Tampa Bay Estuary Program photo exhibit, a Tiger Bay business luncheon and a Sierra Club lecture. Rising Seas seeks partners, opportunities and funding for the 2013-2014 season to present film screenings, author lectures, panel discussions and workshops in Southwest Florida about sea level rise.

IMPACTS ON HUMAN HEALTH

♦  HOW CAN WE PREPARE FOR THE HEALTH IMPLICATIONS OF SEA LEVEL RISE IN SOUTH FLORIDA?
Keren Bolter and Nicole Hernandez Hammer, Florida Atlantic University Center for Environmental Studies

ABSTRACT: Health is an issue that is not often considered in climate change assessments, policies, and adaptation projects. It is critical to assess the short and long term impacts of both direct and indirect effects of climate change on health. The first step to understanding and integrating sea level rise health impacts into resiliency and adaptation planning is to understand what these impacts are. Increased flooding will lead to water contamination, increased vectors for disease, and mold. A higher storm surge has similar impacts that also include increased injuries and infrastructure damage. Salinization of the groundwater will impact the water supply and limit agriculture and landscaping. Saturated soils can cause seepage from landfills, brownfields, and sewage treatment areas such as septic tanks. Indirect influences will be food insecurity and mental health impacts. It is crucial to assimilate health into existing adaptation efforts and policy, from transportation to economic development, and to use an integrative approach to increase resilience.

♦  FLORIDA AS A LABORATORY FOR SEA-LEVEL RISE AND FUTURE HEALTH RISKS OF DRINKING WATER SOURCES
Treavor H. Boyer, Louis Motz, Paul Chadik, Jon Martin, Kathryn Frank, University of Florida

ABSTRACT: Abstract

♦ PUBLIC/PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP: THE ROLE OF PUBLIC HEALTH IN WATER SUSTAINABILITY POLICY
Claude Earl Fox¹, Debora Kerr¹, Daniel Parker², Patti Anderson², Nancy Schneider³ - ¹Florida Public Health Institute, ²Florida Department of Health, ³Florida Public Health Institute Consultant

ABSTRACT: Climate change is a significant threat to public health across both a national and international scope. Variability in climate change can lead to changes in freshwater quantity, quality and safety. Heat waves, heavy precipitation events, flooding, droughts, more intense storms such as hurricanes, and sea level rise all can affect our fresh water supplies. Florida coastal areas remain most vulnerable to such impacts. It is imperative to develop and implement policies to mitigate natural and human influences on climate change and to respond to new challenges of adaptation at the regional and local level to reduce health risks. Promotion of environmental policies that prepare for climate change and adaptation can reduce health burdens and other uncertainties through information and education, partnership and collaboration of both private and public sectors. A sustainable policy making approach that considers total cost accounting, life cycle assessments, conservation of natural resources, and zero waste will educate and empower citizenry on the true costs and limited nature of our resources while providing more sustainable decision-making guidance for policymakers. An approach that begins with water is both timely and effective. Sustainable decision-making and climate change adaptation sensitive policies will allow a better overall assessment of the various uses of our water, a shifting away from wasteful practices, and promotion of long term economic and public health savings. Such a model can also be applied to policy decisions on other critical issues in the state. Working together, collaborative partners can assess current interventions and design new and effective adaptation and mitigation strategies that promote sustainable, livable communities.

THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT: PHILOSOPHIES AND TECHNOLOGIES OF ADAPTATION

♦  ACTUAL VERSUS PERCEIVED RISK TO SEA LEVEL RISE: A CASE STUDY IN BROWARD COUNTY, FL
Keren Bolter, Florida Atlantic University

ABSTRACT: Global climate change stressors downscale to specific local vulnerabilities, thus requiring unique local adaptation strategies. In southeast Florida, sea level rise (SLR) is of specific concern, both as a present and as an impending threat that requires a localized planning approach. Robust SLR adaptation options require significant economic costs that many people may not be willing to pay for if they do not perceive an actual risk.

The overall objectives of this study are to 1) Identify perceived risk to influences of SLR on storm surge, inundation, flooding, and society 2) Determine actual risk based on social and physical data and 3) Compare perceived risk to actual risk both spatially and socioeconomically to determine how closely residents perception of risk matches their actual risk.

A preliminary study was conducted in the study area, Broward County, FL. Actual risk was be determined by creating a physical vulnerability index (PVI) to identify physical risk and a social vulnerability index (SVI). The results of the initial physical and social vulnerability indexes suggest that the vulnerability to SLR in Broward County, FL is not limited to the coastal populations. Based on the aggregated social risk, the majority of vulnerable people live landward of gravity driven flood control structures. Physical vulnerability is also not limited to coastal communities, with increasing risk from the northeast to southwest portions of the county. SVI results show that the social risk indicators of population density and mean household income have more relationship to the composite vulnerability level than age.

♦  HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY TRANSPORTATION VULNERABILITY ASSESSMENT AND ADAPTATION PILOT
Keren Bolter, Florida Atlantic University; Allison Yeh, Hillsborough County Planning Commission/MPO; Josh DeFlorio, Cambridge Systematics

ABSTRACT: Abstract coming soon!

♦  APPLICATION OF SE FL COMPACT’S UNIFIED SEA LEVEL RISE PROJECTION AND VULNERABILITY ASSESSMENTS
Nancy Gassman, Broward County Natural Resources Planning and Management Division

ABSTRACT: The Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact (Compact) convened a group of experts who came to consensus on a unified sea level rise (SLR) projection for the Southeast Florida region. Individual Compact Counties’ staff performed the vulnerability analyses for 1, 2 and 3 foot SLR scenarios using the projection to estimate timeframes of potential impacts. The projection and the vulnerability assessments have been applied to a variety of planning processes incorporating impacts from sea level rise. These planning documents include comprehensive plan, land use plans, climate action plans, local mitigation strategies and long range prosperity plans. Regional examples are provided.

♦  GIS-BASED MODELING OF SEA LEVEL RISE EFFECT ON COASTAL PROPERTY MANAGEMENT POLICIES View Poster as PDF
Charles Anthony (Tony) Nettleman, III, University of Florida

ABSTRACT: The effects of Sea Level Rise (SLR) on two study areas in Key West (Monroe County) and Pinellas County were analyzed under three policy scenarios: armoring prohibition, armoring, and relocation (rolling easements), using high-resolution digital elevation models (DEM) derived from airborne light detection and ranging (LiDAR) measurements, parcel data, and beach transects from the Army Corps of Engineers. To better address SLR uncertainty, a range of SLR estimates from 0.15 m to 1.5 m, in 0.15-m steps, was used to simulate the three policy options. Each policy scenario was created by selecting the primary criteria through the literature and simulating those using ArcGIS. The results show that Key West will be rapidly inundated by rising waters, leaving little room for “relocation,” but the mainland of Pinellas is inundated much more slowly, allowing for progressive policy options to be implemented.

♦  THE DUTCH APPROACH: WATER GOVERNANCE - COLLABORATE ON SOLUTIONS FOR WATER ISSUES
Pam Nijssen, Twynstra & Gudde, Netherlands

ABSTRACT: The Dutch approach: Water Governance - Collaborate on solutions for water issues “Technically the possibilities are many, but how do we get water governance on an operational level?” This is the main issue in modern water management in the Netherlands. The Dutch approach accepts a shared responsibility of many stakeholders to combat the consequences of climate change. It also accepts that solutions need to be integrative and that the measures can only be effective if there is broad support. This is partly a cultural phenomenon as the Dutch have been fighting the water for centuries. But it is also a strong belief that has proven to be successful.

Water Governance, is a term referring to the embedding of social measures, linking tasks, ensuring support and structuring the decision-making process. It also has to do with organizational design and the practical implementation of different programs and projects. This is based on the realization that knowledge of content alone is not enough, but that other external factors, such as politics, culture and organization play a crucial role in the success or failure of a project.

Twynstra Gudde is a leading independent consultancy firm based in the Netherlands and part of the Cordence Worldwide network, with offices all over the US. Our distinguished consultants and managers are well-known for their general knowledge of the water sector combined with their organizational and process skills – a powerful combination essential for complex water management issues.

♦  MEGAREGION NETWORK SIMULATION FOR EVACUATION ANALYSIS
Katherine Spansel, Zhao Zhang, and Brian Wolshon, Louisiana State University

ABSTRACT: This poster describes a project to develop a micro-level traffic simulation for a megaregion. To accomplish this, a mass evacuation event was modeled using a traffic demand generation process that created a spatial and temporal distribution of departure times, origins, and destinations based on past hurricane scenarios. A megaregion-scale simulation was required to assess this event because only at this level can traffic from multiple cities, over several days, with route assignments in multiple and overlapping directions be analyzed. Among the findings of the research was that it is possible to scale-up and adapt existing models to reflect a simultaneous multi-city evacuation covering a megaregion. The movements generated by the demand and operational models were both logical and meaningful and they were able to capture the key elements of the system, including the traffic progression over vast spaces and long time durations. They were also adequate to demonstrate benefits of proactive traffic management strategies and the effect of increased and decreased advanced warning times. The project also revealed numerous limitations of existing modeling and computational processing capabilities. The knowledge and results gained from this research can be adaptable and transferable for the evaluation of other locations with different road networks, populations, transportation resources, and hazard threats. Models such as this can also be modified to represent future anticipated growth and development within other large regions and can be used to evaluate the performance, varying conditions, and interrelationships between behavioral response and regional transportation management strategies.

♦  EVALUATION OF INFRASTRUCTURE FOR CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION IN COASTAL COMMUNITIES
Carlos E. Tamayo, M.S., Florida International University

ABSTRACT: Receding shorelines is a problem that has been affecting regions worldwide for centuries. As climate-change driven events become more frequent, they are expected to increasingly cause more disasters across the country and around the globe. Severe tropical storms and hurricanes are amongst the major agents triggering floods in coastal cities. Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy are two very good examples of how storm surge is capable of flooding entire communities.

Sea level rise (SLR) is another consequence of climate change, which also potentially poses major threats to coastal communities and infrastructure. This phenomenon is of most concern along the eastern coastlines of the United States, where most of the largest cities in the country are located. That being said, it is clear that the need for adapting infrastructure and making it more resilient is imminent.

The large existing infrastructure and the inherent characteristics of Miami-Dade County (i.e., being the most populous county in Florida and the seventh most populous in the United States) place this entire area in the top most vulnerable cities to the effects of climate change, with sea level rise being one of them.

This study discusses experiences taken in response to climate-change effects on people, environment, and infrastructure. Then, it highlights conventional and cutting-edge adaptation strategies for infrastructure from both soft and engineered perspectives. Finally, from an inventory of adaptation experiences, those believed to be of some value to Miami, Florida, are identified and their pros and cons discussed.


For more information contact:
Mary Beth Hartman, Conference & Outreach Coordinator
Center for Environmental Studies at Florida Atlantic University
Mary Beth Hartman or 561-799-8558

 

 
 
 
 Last Modified 4/19/16