The pre-Summit poster session took place on Wednesday June 20th and allowed participants to interact with local and national professionals and researchers. The event featured over 40 posters and displays that highlighted collaborative efforts, research and new and innovative projects surrounding sea level rise, its impacts on urban and natural areas, and methods for education and outreach.

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





 Climate Variability, Sea Level Rise and Water Management in South Florida
Jenifer Barnes, Lead Hydrologic Modeler, South Florida Water Management District


ABSTRACT: According to the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the scientific consensus presented in their 2007 report is that warming of the Earth's climate system is unequivocally taking place.

In south Florida, parts of the current regional drainage network are over 50 years old and were designed and built according to known climate averages and extremes of the time. Over the last two decades, South Florida Water Management District scientists have researched how natural, global climatic patterns such as the El Niño/La Niña-Southern Oscillation and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation are linked to south Florida.s weather and climate. Analyses of climatic and sea level data have been performed to gain a greater insight of potential trends.

The four primary areas with the greatest potential impact to south Florida are sea level rise, temperature, rainfall patterns, and tropical storms/hurricanes. The effects of these four categories alone could fundamentally alter traditional water management assumptions. Here we present the current knowledge and analyses of past, present and future trends.

 Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Project and Central Everglades Planning Project as a Counter-Measure to Sea Level Rise
Mary Crider, Kyle Dollman, Danielle Koushel, James O'Connell, Max Wallace, Summer Interns Arthur R. Marshall Foundation and Florida Environmental Institute, Inc.


ABSTRACT: Sea level rise (SLR) caused by global climate change has dramatic socio-economic and ecological consequences, especially in South Florida. The Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Project (CERP) and the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP) are ongoing efforts by Federal and State agencies to restore natural flow to the Everglades. In addition, these projects also provide a means to help address the impacts of a changing climate. An increase in freshwater head will help counteract saltwater intrusion into aquifers. The additional water depth and flow will also provide a physical barrier to reduce saltwater migration into coastal wetlands. Freshwater input will allow for re-vegetation, an accumulation of peat deposition in freshwater marshes, and an encouragement of mangrove and saltmarsh growth, which defends against impacts of SLR. The increased elevation of the enhanced Everglades ecosystem, due to heightened peat deposition, will provide for higher groundwater levels, augment flood and storm protection, and increase carbon sequestration. The broader economic benefits derived from restored flow include improvements to water supplies, water quality, air quality, fisheries, quality of life, recreational opportunities, and protection of threatened and endangered species and their habitats. All of these factors contribute to a highly favorable benefit to cost ratio of restoration when the full range of Ecosystem Services provided by a restored Everglades is considered. The threat of SLR therefore provides an additional incentive to proceed with an accelerated implementation of CERP and CEPP.

 Effects of Sea Level Rise on Southeast Florida's Water Resources
Barry N. Heimlich, Research Affiliate, Florida Center for Environmental Studies, FAU


ABSTRACT: The poster summarizes information on sea level rise and its likely impacts on Southeast Florida.s water resources. Charts and graphs illustrate how sea level rise and other climate change impacts are likely to affect Southeast Florida.s ground waters, surface waters, water supply, and stormwater drainage systems within the next several decades. Sea level rise of as little at 3 to 9 inches from 2000 levels, which could occur in the 2030 to 2040 timeframe, could exacerbate saltwater intrusion, increase water tables, and significantly increase the risk of flooding especially during heavy rain events such as intense thunderstorms, tropical waves, and tropical cyclones.

Heimlich, Bloetscher, Meeroff & Murley, 2009, Southeast Florida.s Resilient Water Resources: Adaptation to the Sea Level Rise and Other Impacts of Climate Change,

 Sea Level Rise Impacts and Studies at Everglades & Dry Tortugas National Parks
Leonard Pearlstine[1], Erik Stabenau[1], Jimi Sadle[1], Dewitt Smith[1], Carol Mitchell[1], Sonali Saha[2] Jordan Barr[1], Alice Clarke[1] and James Watling[3]
[1] NPS South Florida Natural Resources Center, Everglades National Park,Homestead, FL
[2] The Institute for Regional Conservation, Miami, FL
[3] University of Florida, Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center, Ft. Lauderdale, FL


ABSTRACT: Everglades National Park and Dry Tortugas National Park, because of their low elevation and geographic position are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of sea-level rise. Increased freshwater delivery toward the coast resulting from Everglades restoration may prevent some abrupt changes from salt water intrusion and allow ecosystems time to adapt to healthy habitats. We have initiated, and partnered to accomplish, a range of monitoring, research, and simulation modeling activities to describe the current and future influence of climate change and sea level rise on the Park.

 Sea Level Rise and Forest Retreat Along Florida's Gulf Coast
Francis E. "Jack" Putz, Professor, Department of Biology, University of Florida


ABSTRACT: Permanent sample plots monitored since 1994 along the Gulf Coast in Wacccasassa Bay (between Cedar Key and Crystal River) revealed substantial replacement of coastal forest by salt marsh. Controlled field and greenhouse experiments showed that the spatial patterns of forest loss and the sequence by which tree species died out are more closely closely related to salinity tolerance than to the effects of flooding. Tree seedlings typically succumbed and were replaced by salt marsh shrubs long before conspecific canopy trees died. The last trees that remain standing are cabbage palm (Sabal palmetto) and red cedar (Juniperus virginiana), stumps of which are evident throughout much of the surrounding salt marsh. The rate of forest dieback accelerated during the 2000-2005 period but this was likely due the combined effects of drought, storm surges, and what appears to have been a brief episode of extremely rapid sea level rise.

 U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources: Senate Testimony on Sea Level Rise
Compiled by Tricia Wojtisek


ABSTRACT: April 19th, 2012, FAU's Florida Center for Environment Studies. Director, Dr. Leonard Berry, testified before the United States Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources at the Full Committee on Impacts of Rising Sea Levels in Florida. Others to testify were

The purpose of the hearing was to receive testimony on the impacts of sea level rise on domestic energy and water infrastructure. In both oral and written testimony, Dr. Berry presented Florida as a special case particularly vulnerable to sea level rise impacts because of our low topography, limestone foundation, dense coastal population, hurricanes, and a transportation and energy infrastructure that is located in coastal areas. He also discussed research, adaptation activities, and efforts that are already underway, and outlined what Florida needed to do in order to protect and prepare its citizens.

The hearing was webcast live on the Committee's website and an archived video and each witness. testimony is now available.


 Climate Change Adaptation Through Building Design Criteria
Ricardo A. Alvarez,Florida Center for Environmental Studies, FAU; Vulnerability Assessment & Mitigation


ABSTRACT: Owners of new buildings expect them to last at least 75 years. There are millions of buildings throughout the country that have already exceeded 60 - 75 years of service. This expectation of longevity of service rests on design criteria based on historical levels of impacts and statistical annual probabilities of impacts.

This approach to building design may render most structures incapable to perform effectively under the impact of future hazards. This is particularly true for buildings in coastal regions where some hazards, such as storm surge, are now and will continue to be exacerbated by climate change. For example: a building is designed today, on the basis of historical data and assumptions about probability of exceedance, to resist 10 feet of storm surge plus associated wave action, but sea level may rise 2 feet during this building service life. Because of these decisions, total future hydrodynamic loads acting on this building may be 150% - 200% higher than the original design criteria. The risk of future catastrophic damage to this building is extreme and quite probable.

A new design paradigm is needed in order to adapt our new buildings, in the coastal zone, to such potential for damage resulting from climate change and the exacerbation of natural hazards,; such new design paradigm must incorporate design criteria based on future loading condition, while a building is still in service. Building codes must reflect this paradigm now. Relative to this, it is critically important to consider that while a new approach to design only addresses new buildings in coastal locations, the existing built-environment will require renovation or retrofitting measures focused on adaptation, unless relocation or abandonment may be considered more cost-effective at the time.

 Climate Change and Buildings – Adaptation Or Consequences
Ricardo A. Alvarez,Florida Center for Environmental Studies, FAU; Vulnerability Assessment & Mitigation


ABSTRACT: The houses and buildings where we live, work, play and produce goods and services, generically called the built environment, have value not because of how much it might cost to replace them, but because of their critical role in sheltering the full range of human activity, and in protecting life and property. The built environment becomes vulnerable to the elements and to the impact of natural hazards, and the potential for damage these may cause.In the coastal region of Florida the potential for damage to the built environment from the impact of hazards exacerbated by climate change is quite real, and even more so as a consequence of sea level rise and the resulting increasingly worsening storm surge driven by recurring hurricanes.

Against this panorama of risks for the coastal built environment, there is the reality of billions of dollars in residences, buildings and structures, which have been built mostly without consideration for the impact of such hazards. In consequence, the outlook is cause for deep concern. In view of this prognosis, it is puzzling to see that while considerable effort has been dedicated to minimizing the impact of the built environment on the global climate, through mitigation practices, the same cannot be said with respect to minimizing the impact of a changing climate on the built environment.

It is clear radical changes are needed in the way we design buildings in the coastal regions. Equally radical approaches are needed relative to the huge stock of existing buildings in the coastal region. The practice of adaptation must become central to a new design paradigm, and the renovation or retrofit of the existing built environment. These changes must be identified, defined and adopted NOW!

 Storm Surge: a Dangerous and Neglected Hazard
Ricardo A. Alvarez, Florida Center for Environmental Studies, FAU; Vulnerability Assessment & Mitigation


ABSTRACT: WIND and WATER are the main causes of direct damage when hurricanes impact the built-environment. Water as a damage component can take several forms including storm surge that rushes overland applying hydrodynamic pressure to buildings and infrastructure, or waves riding above the surge and generating impact loads as they break against buildings.

Recognizing the impact of wind, the building-design sector has developed and adopted specific standards to quantify wind loads on buildings, which have been incorporated into the Florida Building Code. One such standard, ASCE-7 of the American Society of Civil Engineers, establishes the basic wind speed, measured as a 3-second gust in mph at a specific location, that structural engineers must use to establish design criteria.

Relative to storm surge, the same standards and codes are much less detailed and lack critical data, such as the velocity of flow, for calculating loads generated by hydrodynamic pressure on buildings. The Florida Building Code contains only a generic statement relative to the need for considering flooding and surge when designing buildings in the coastal zone.

It is important to highlight that water is on the average 800 times denser that air at sea level, accounting for the more catastrophic results of storm surge impacts when compared to wind. Also, storm surge is being exacerbated by sea level rise, leading to, deeper, faster flowing water and higher waves, and more damaging hydrodynamic loads in the future.

This deficiency in standards and codes address relative to storm surge must be corrected, through the collaboration of the design and research communities, so that design criteria to mitigate the impact of storm surge can be incorporated in every new or retrofitted building in vulnerable coastal locations.

 Development of a Methodology for the Assessment and Mitigation of Sea Level Rise Impacts on Florida’s Transportation Modes and Infrastructure
Dr. L. Berry, Dr. F. Bloetscher, N. Hammer, and T. Romah, Florida Center For Environmental Studies, Florida Atlantic University


ABSTRACT: Based on measurements at the Key West, Florida tidal station, sea level has risen about nine inches in the last 100 years (NOAA 2008). Sea level rise (SLR) is projected to continue and accelerate in the future. Many agencies like the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) are exploring ways to incorporate this prospect into their long-range planning, programming, and investment decision-making processes.

The FAU team preparing this report agrees with the guidance of the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for projecting SLR and recommends that projections developed using the USACE guidance be revisited in 2013-14 when both the new the USACE guidelines and IPCC projections will be available.

Methodology was developed for identifying and assessing potentially vulnerable transportation infrastructure and identifying critical data gaps, which, when filled, will enable a more precise evaluation of the physical infrastructure that might be affected by SLR. Improvements to the methodology are currently underway by developing and incorporating a groundwater surface layer into the model. To pull together the high resolution elevation data, soils, groundwater, slope, and hydrological features data of a region to create a higher accuracy prediction of SLR induced inundation and flooding.
Over time, SLR and its associated tidal ranges and storm surge will have impacts on roadways and bridge access points, rail, airports, and other transportation infrastructure. Therefore, comprehensive analyses and adaptation to these impacts is an important component of medium- and long-range planning, programming, project development, construction and investment decision-making processes for FDOT and other agencies.

 An Update on USACE Guidance for Ecosystem Restoration Projects Subject to Impact by Future Sea Level Change
Glenn Landers[1], Mark Shafer[1], Dan Vogler[1], Kris Esterson[2]
[1] U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District
[2](previously) Everglades Project Joint Venture, PBS&J support to USACE Jacksonville District


ABSTRACT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) issued guidance in 2009 requiring all Civil Works projects in the Planning, Engineering Design, Construction, or Operations and Maintenance phases to consider potential impacts from future sea level change. This guidance, Engineering Circular (EC) 1165-2-211, provides detailed information on how to calculate forecast low (historic), intermediate and high rates of sea level change, but provided very limited guidance on subsequent planning and decision making steps required to implement this EC. This presentation will provide current information on additional guidance now being developed, with particular attention to sections relevant for ecosystem restoration projects subject to impact by future sea level change. Examples will be given of different coastal environments around the United States and the range of potential ecosystem impacts which may need to be addressed in evaluating alternative adaptation strategies. NOTE: EC1165-2-211 expired in 2011 and was replaced with EC1165-2-212 which extends this guidance through 2013.

 The Impact of Sea-Level Rise on Housing Characteristics in Franklin County, FL.
Ariana Marshall, FAMU/NOAA ECSC


ABSTRACT: South Florida is planning for 10.4-60 inches of sea-level rise by 2100 (Miami-Dade 2008; Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council 2010). Cited in this planning, is the estimated cost of $345 billion of inaction if Florida does not commit to management for 36 inches sea-level rise (Stanton and Ackerman 2007). Franklin (FR) County ranks thirdly statewide considering the percentage of land which would be inundated by 27 inches of sea-level rise (Stanton and Ackerman 2007). However, this ranking underestimates the impact of local Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint watershed dynamics.

There is a need to further understand sea-level rise planning opportunities in northwest Florida, in particular in rural counties. To do so, this study characterized the socio-economic impact of sea-level rise in FR. NOAA’s Sea-Level Rise and Coastal Flooding tool was used to compare the physical sea-level rise vulnerability between FR census tracts. Additionally, to understand the socio-economic vulnerability of FR census tracts, indicators which most explain variability in vulnerability between locales were selected (Boruff, Emrich and Cutter, 2005; Oxfam America, 2009). Rather than creating an updated census tract SOVI, a proportional approach was taken in quantifying this impact. Development density was the only highly ranked SOVI indicator representing housing and construction trends, although these trends are important in local community sea-level rise adaptation. Therefore, all U.S. Census 2010 housing characteristics were collected for this study. Results presented will focus primarily on the impact of sea-level rise on housing characteristics in Franklin County and give policy recommendations based on this impact.

 Holding Back the Sea: Approaches toward Shoreline Management and Planning to Reduce the Impact of Coastal Hazards
Diana Mitsova, Assistant Professor; Ann-Margaret Esnard, Professor; Marta Viciedo, Graduate student, FAU School of Urban and Regional Planning
Ravi Shankar, Professor & Director, CSI
Frank Wisinger, FAU Department of Computer & Electrical Engineering & Computer Science


ABSTRACT: Coastal erosion and accretion occur naturally along most of the world’s coastlines as a result of wave, wind, and tidal action. Near shore placement of urban development and subsequent shoreline armoring further impact coastal resources, accelerate erosion and increase economic losses. While hardened structures (e.g. seawalls, bulkheads, jetties, revetments, and groins) commonly used to protect our coasts are often necessary in areas of high wave energy, they often produce a host of problems. Their presence can reduce sediment sources along the shore, interrupt natural shoreline processes (sediment transport), further erode properties, affect water and habitat quality of the adjacent subaqueous land, and result in losses of ecosystem productivity. Sea level rise is expected to exacerbate such problems. An increasing number of scholars are promoting “soft” stabilization techniques as viable options that can ensure comparable protection under suitable landscape and environmental conditions. An emerging alternative is the “living” shorelines which preserve ecological functions, provide shoreline stabilization and erosion control using a combination of sediment stabilization materials and habitat restoration techniques. We are developing a geospatial inventory tool that will guide habitat conservation, restoration, and coastal development, and benefit several stakeholders who seek mitigation and adaptation strategies to shoreline changes resulting from various sea level rise scenarios. The inventory tool will use the built-in python interpreter to cull and analyze information from several sources by applying scripts that exploit functionality from built-in libraries or third party software/models loaded in the form of DLLs (Dynamic Link Libraries).


 Assessing Southeast Florida’s Demographic Vulnerabilities Climate Change Induced Sea Level Rise
Keren Bolter, PhD student, Florida Atlantic University


ABSTRACT: Global climate stressors must have their localized effects downscaled. Each global climate change stressor has impacts with a range of vulnerabilities that are location-specific. Given Southeast Florida’s flat topography and low elevation, Sea Level Rise (SLR) is the most foreboding climate change stressor. Coastal lands are particularly at risk due to their increased probabilities for erosion and inundation, high population density, and substantially valued properties and infrastructure. Many SLR vulnerability studies identify areas that are geographically vulnerable and carry the most financial risk, but they fail to consider inhabitants of properties with low values. Risk analysis must also consider the resilience of a displaced population. Residents in areas with less financial exposure are actually the most demographically vulnerable, with many communities living below the poverty line and therefore least likely to have the monetary means to relocate. This project aims to determine the socioeconomic patterns at near future increments of SLR and to evaluate opportunities for resilience. GIS is used to overlay census block data and property values with highly accurate LIDAR elevation maps to find low income areas at low relief in Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade counties. Results will pinpoint areas in which significant low-income, minority, or elderly inhabitants reside. The information can also be used to incorporate SLR into planning efforts and to characterize populations that are vulnerable.

 Influence of climate change on insect-plant interactions: Implications for biological control in Florida
Veronica Manrique, Senior Biological Scientist, University of Florida, Indian River Research and Education Center, Fort Pierce, FL


ABSTRACT: Global warming combined with rising atmospheric CO2levels could have drastic effects on the performance of invasive weeds and their insect herbivores. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of elevated temperatures and CO2levels on the performance of two invasive plant species and their presently effective biological control agents: 1) Melaleuca quinquenervia / Oxyops vitiosa, 2) Alternanthera philoxeroides / Agasicles hygrophila. A factorial experiment was conducted using two temperatures (28 and 32°C) and two levels of CO2 (400 and 800 ppm) in environmental growth chambers. Seedlings of each plant species (10 plants per treatment) were exposed to each of the four treatments for 21 days and several plant parameters were recorded weekly (e.g. plant height, number of stems). Then, ten first instars of O. vitiosa or A. hygrophila were caged with each plant and survival, developmental time, adult size and fecundity were recorded. Results showed that the two insect-plant combinations tested responded differently to climate change. Melaleuca quinquenervia plants growing under higher temperature and CO2 (32°C and 800 ppm) were taller and had fewer stems than other treatments, while no differences were detected in plant growth of A. philoxeroides among treatments. Percent survival to adulthood, adult size and fecundity of O. vitiosa were similar among treatments. In contrast, high temperature at both CO2 levels greatly reduced immature survival, adult size and fecundity of A. hygrophila. Thus, we predict that biological control of A. philoxeroides may be more severely disrupted by climate change than that of M. quinquenervia.


 SUS Climate Change Task Force: Science Addressing the Needs of Florida Agencies, Industry, and Citizenry
James Jones, Carolyn Cox, Florida Climate Institute, University of Florida


ABSTRACT: Florida, with its vast and growing coastal communities, increasing population, and changing demography is extremely vulnerable to weather and climate events. Projected changes in Florida’s climate will progressively impact many elements of life and economy in Florida. These changes include higher temperatures, more variable weather with more frequent extreme weather events such as drought and flooding, sea level rise, and the increase in intensity of tropical storms. Vulnerabilities to changes in climate exist in all of Florida’s natural and managed systems as well as to its citizens. Universities in Florida have responded with pure and applied research, cross disciplinary workshops, and curriculum development to identify threats and opportunities while focusing on training and education needed to develop the workforce required to address climate-related challenges.

The Florida Climate Institute, a joint institute of the University of Florida and Florida State University, and Florida Atlantic University joined together to create an SUS-wide focus on climate change. The project also included contributions by local, State and Federal agencies, water management districts, and representatives from key industries that are centrally involved in these issues. The project has helped identify and develop a core of expertise that can help address the complex climate impacts facing Florida. Outputs from this initiative include continued collaboration among universities, agencies, and industries, development of educational programs toward climate-literate citizens, four white papers that are a resource for Florida, and the expansion of the Florida Climate Institute into a state-wide consortium building on their experience in multi-disciplinary climate research.

 Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact’s Unified Sea Level Rise Projection
Nancy J. Gassman, Ph.D., Natural Resources Administrator, Broward County Natural Resources Planning and Management Division


ABSTRACT: The Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact, adopted by Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe and Palm Beach Counties in January 2010, commits to the development of a Regional Climate Change Action Plan. A number of technical work products were needed to aid in planning including a sea level rise (SLR) projection. Since several SLR projections had already been proposed for the region, a workgroup was formed to review the existing projections and the current science. A unified projection was agreed upon using a methodology prescribed by the US Army Corps of Engineers. The projection used 2010 as a baseline (SLR = 0) and focused on two planning horizons with 3-7 inches of SLR by 2030 and 9-24 inches of SLR by 2060. The projections allowed timelines to be associated with vulnerability assessments across the region for 1, 2 and 3 foot SLR scenarios. Recognizing that scientific advances would greatly influence future projections, the workgroup agreed to reconvene and revise the projection following the release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report in 2014.

 Preparing for Climate Change: Helping Small Coastal Communities Develop Adaptive Strategies
Gloria Putnam, Coastal Resources and Communities Specialist, North Carolina Sea Grant, North Carolina State University,
Co-Authors: Jack Thigpen (Extension Director) and Jessica Whitehead (Regional Climate Extension Specialist), North Carolina Sea Grant


ABSTRACT: There is a need at both the local and state level in North Carolina to better understand and assess the risks from climate change and sea level rise, and to develop strategies to address them. Recognizing these needs, North Carolina Sea Grant worked with East Carolina University’s Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI) and the Social and Environmental Research Institute in Massachusetts on a pilot project in the Town of Plymouth, North Carolina. In-depth, face-to-face interviews were conducted with community leaders to understand their knowledge and attitudes toward environmental changes in their town. Interviews conducted in 2010 showed local flooding caused by intense rainfall events, inadequate stormwater management, hurricanes, storm surge, and road construction, were a major concern. Impacts from flooding included erosion to waterfront property and drainage ditches, and overflows of the wastewater collection and treatment system. To help identify vulnerabilities from sea level rise in Plymouth, an inundation map was created using three sea level rise projections. In 2011, potential impacts to the town’s wastewater infrastructure were closely examined using a Vulnerability and Consequences Adaptation Planning Scenarios (VCAPS) process. In VCAPS, a facilitator leads a group through a structured discussion that allows them to think through a management issue and create a representative diagram on causes, impacts and solutions.

 The Coastal Areas Climate Change Education (CACCE) Partnership: Development and Planning Efforts for Climate Change Education in Florida and the Caribbean
Jeffrey Ryan, Professor and Chair, Geology, University of South Florida, Coastal Areas Climate Change Education Partnership


ABSTRACT: The CACCE Partnership (, with funded partners at Univ. South Florida, Univ. Puerto Rico-Mayaguez, Univ. Virgin Islands, the Florida Aquarium, and the Hillsborough County School System, is one of 15 NSF-funded CCEP Program Phase 1 projects, focused on developing a network of partnering organizations and a comprehensive strategic plan for climate change education focused on its impacts in low-lying coastal areas of Florida and the Caribbean, with a strong emphasis on issues of the "built environment". CACCE targets several key stakeholder audiences:

1) Planning and tourism professionals. CACCE works with the American Planning Association, HOK, FSU-DURP, and FCES-FAU, to provide education resources tailored to the needs of urban decision-makers, as well as key players in the Caribbean tourism industry (CTO, CMEX).
2) K-12 teachers and students. We are piloting a strategy to bring climate change content to high school students in Marine/Environmental Science courses, working with FL and PR science supervisors to provide professional development for teachers. As well, students and teachers in FL and PR participate in Multiple Outcomes Interdisciplinary Research and Learning (MOIRL) projects that engage them in climate change learning through participation in research activities.
3) Informal science educators. Working through the Florida Aquarium, we are assaying the climate education needs of regional informal education professionals and working with them to identify effective communication strategies.
4) International: We work through CoHemis-UPRM on climate education in Caribbean Spanish-speaking nations. We also cooperate with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, and the IADB on climate communication efforts.


 Geodesy for Evaluating the Impact of Sea Level Rise on NASA Centers and Facilities: Kennedy Space Center, Florida
Lynda Bell, Steven Nerem, Dallas Masters, Charles Meertens
Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Colorado, Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research


ABSTRACT: A detailed study proposed by the University of Colorado’s Center for Astrodynamics Research on the impact of sea level rise on a few of NASA’s most vulnerable facilities was recently funded by NASA. This project was supported with the intent to use this work towards a broader study that needs to be done for coastal infrastructure around the country, developed over the last few decades by NASA and its investigators. Sea level is rising in response to climate change. Currently this rate is a little over 3 mm/yr, but is expected to accelerate significantly over this century, with a total sea level change by 2100 of approximately 1± 0.5 meters. This will have a profound impact on coastal populations and infrastructure, including NASA centers and facilities. In this project, we will initially begin by using Kennedy Space Center, Florida as a case study. We will begin assessing the vulnerability of the center to sea level rise by using airborne lidar data and terrestrial laser scanning data to construct detailed digital elevation models (DEM) of the facility. In addition, GPS data will be used to assess the rate of vertical land movement at the facility and to tie the DEM to tide gauges and other reference points. We will use satellite altimeter data from TOPEX, Jason-1, and Jason-3 to assess the sea level change observed near NASA facilities over the last 20 years to see if it offers clues for the future. We will also use GRACE satellite gravity observations to predict the regional changes in sea level caused by the melting of ice complexes around the world. Finally, we will use these datasets along with sea level projections from global climate models and semi-empirical projections to make detailed maps of sea level inundation for the years 2050 and 2100 for varying amounts of sea level rise. This project will also be in coordination with other selected investigators to assess the effects of tidal variations and storm surge when coupled with changes in mean sea level, as storm surge is likely when initial damage due to sea level rise will occur

 Incorporating Climate Change Effects into Next-Generation Coastal Inundation Decision Support Systems: An Integrated and Community-Based Approach
Justin R. Davis, PhD, Research Assistant Scientist, University of Florida


ABSTRACT: This project, funded by the NOAA Climate Program and led by Peter Sheng at the University of Florida (UF), is developing the next generation decision support systems (DSS) for storm surge and coastal inundation by incorporating the climate change impacts on hurricanes and sea level rise (SLR) along the Florida and North Carolina coast. Using a new methodology (instead of the “bath tub” approach) enhanced by UF, highly accurate coastal inundation maps (Base Flood Elevations and Surge Atlas) are produced for current climatology. Atmospheric and climate scientists at Florida State University (FSU) and North Carolina State University (NCSU) are using global (FSU/COAPS) and regional (WRF) atmospheric models to estimate the range in hurricane activity during 2020-2040 and 2080-2100, using projected SSTs from the IPCC CMIP5 RCP8.5, RCP4.5, and RCP2.6 climate scenarios as lower boundary conditions. SLR experts at NCSU and FSU are analyzing historical sea level data and conducting numerical modeling to estimate the SLR at the coastal boundaries for the same IPCC scenarios. UF and NCSU will use the hurricane ensembles and the SLR scenarios provided by FSU and NCSU as input to storm surge and inundation models (CH3D-SSMS and CMAEPS) to produce high resolution inundation maps including climate change effects. These climate-enhanced coastal inundation maps, along with existing inundation maps, will be communicated to a wide spectrum of stakeholders for feedback, for further improvement. These new inundation maps will be much more accurate than the current ones and greatly improve the stakeholders’ ability to mitigate coastal inundation risk.

 The Construction of Socio-ecological Vulnerability to Climate Change in South Florida
Emily Eisenhauer, Research Assistant, Florida International University


ABSTRACT: The vulnerability of different socio-economic groups to weather related disasters is well-established. In particular sociological research done after Hurricanes Andrew and Katrina found that lower-income, elderly, and racial and ethnic minority groups suffered disproportionate impacts and had a more difficult time recovering. Yet disaster mitigation planning, and to date much of climate change adaptation planning, particularly in “developed” country settings, focuses largely on technological solutions rather than increasing the resilience of socially vulnerable groups. In fact, a human security approach may lead to solutions that are more effective and legitimate, simpler, and more ethical. This research will explore how socially vulnerable groups may be vulnerable to climate change, including vulnerability to first-order weather related impacts and to second-order impacts of adaptation planning itself. The goal will be to suggest solutions that go beyond physical adaptation to social policy recommendations to increase the resilience of South Florida communities.

 Wetland Mitigation Analysis in Broward County
Nicole Estevez and Brett Waldman, Graduate Students, Florida Atlantic University, School of Urban and Regional Planning


ABSTRACT: South Florida, as a coastal urban region that is highly susceptible to climate change and sea level rise, will be forced to be more proactive towards establishing preemptive land uses to combat ecological changes. This project focuses on locating an ideal site for wetland mitigation, in Broward County, as an example of adaptation preparedness for the future of the region. This analysis consists of: GIS land use mapping and suitability analysis, storm water run-off calculation and preliminary ecological design recommendations.

Through the use of GIS, a 6-mile buffer from the New River was created and used as the study area. The New River, once an ecological rich area, is the county’s natural connection between the Everglades and the Atlantic Ocean. The suitability model has a two-tier criterion for wetland mitigation site feasibility: sites with proximity to open space are ranked as suitable while proximity to infrastructure and industrial land uses are ranked undesirable. Vacant parcels were chosen for wetland creation and analyzed based on soil type to calculate current storm water run-off.

The final phase provided recommendations towards habitat recreation that included wetlands, uplands, open pasture, and rain gardens. The final results included a proposed mitigation design for four sites that would extend an existing ecological preserve along the Pine Island Ridge; it includes both Long Key Natural Area and Flamingo Gardens. This enhancement allows for a distinct presence of a natural ecological system within the built urban environment which benefits society, by maintaining the environmental quality and supporting biodiversity.

 Human Population Estimation in the United States from DMSP-OLS Night Light Images
Dolores Jane Forbes, Ph.D. Student, Florida Atlantic University


ABSTRACT: Human population distribution is one of the key data sets required for global change research. Intercensal knowledge of population size, density, and location are critical to support decisions underlying many national priorities. Worldwide acceleration of urbanization continues. Spatially explicit methods for population estimation in a standardized grid format are needed to monitor human population distribution so as to evaluate and determine populations at risk from infectious disease, sea level rise, reduced water supplies and increasing occurrence of natural disasters. Statistically significant, high confidence population estimation methods need to be calculated quickly from readily available or easily obtainable data. The DMSP-OLS night light image datasets correlate well with population and gross domestic product (GDP) using bi-variate correlation analysis at county and state scales, but with significant outliers. This study uses multi-variate regression analysis at multiple spatial extents across time in order to better understand variable dependencies and to inform a population estimation model using the DMSP-OLS night light images. Preliminary results indicate that the best spatial extent for model building is defined at the Metropolitan Statistical Area using DMSP-OLS brightness values (BVs), GDP, and area as independent predictors of population. GDP is highly co-linear with both population and the BVs. The use of transportation statistics as a proxy for GDP may yield a well-described model that meets the assumptions of ordinary least squares regression. Preliminary tests to predict population both forward and backward in time from a geographically-weighted linear model are favorable.

 Six Adaptation Planning Projects Led by UF’s College of Design, Construction and Planning
Kathryn Frank, Ph.D., Assistant Professor; Zhong-Ren Peng, Ph.D., Professor; Sean Reiss, Research Assistant, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Florida
Thomas Hoctor, Ph.D., Director, Center for Landscape Conservation Planning, University of Florida
Alexis Thomas, Director of Operations, GeoPlan Center, University of Florida


ABSTRACT: Researchers at the University of Florida’s College of Design, Construction and Planning are currently leading six sea level rise adaptation planning projects focused on Florida. The poster will provide a short description and contact information for each of the following projects: (1) Planning for Sea Level Rise in the Matanzas Basin: Piloting an Adaptive Conservation Design Process for the National Estuarine Research Reserve System; (2) Planning for Coastal Change in Levy County: Piloting a Scoping and Engagement Process for Florida’s Big Bend; (3) A Spatial-Temporal Econometric Model to Estimate Costs and Benefits of Sea Level Rise Adaptation Strategies; (4) Development of Sea Level Rise Adaptation Planning Procedures and Tools Using the NOAA Sea Level Rise Impacts Viewer; (5) Development of a Geographic Information System (GIS) Tool for the Preliminary Assessment of the Effects of Predicted Sea Level and Tidal Change on Transportation Infrastructure; (6) Predicting and Mitigating the Effects of Sea Level Rise and Land Use Changes on Imperiled Species and Natural Communities in Florida.

 Geochemical Scenarios of Saline Intrusion Impacts on Biscayne Aquifer Water Quality and Adaptive Recharge
Yonas T. Habtemichael, PhD student; Héctor R. Fuentes, Professor & Corresponding Author
Florida International University


ABSTRACT: Saltwater intrusion has been an issue of concern in southeastern Florida since the 1930s. Sea level rise and continuous withdrawal of ground water are expected to enhance intrusion. This study applies the geochemical model PHREEQC to estimate potential changes in Biscayne groundwater quality as function of saltwater intrusion and evaluate the effect of artificial recharge using stormwater, as a possible adaptive approach to control the intrusion. Simulations mixed typical water quality of the Biscayne aquifer with seawater in thermodynamic equilibrium with calcite and dolomite. The seawater fraction in the seawater-Biscayne groundwater mixture was equilibrated in increments of 20%, with and without addition of stormwater; resulting changes in constituent concentrations (i.e., ions) were then analyzed for trends and compliance with drinking water standards. Results lead to a number of observations, among others, as follows: a) Na, Cl and SO4, increase with salinity, violating secondary maximum contaminant levels (MCL), but are reduced by stormwater; b) Mn recurrently exceeds secondary MCL, but decreases with salinity; c) dissolution of calcite and precipitation of dolomite increase with salinity, but are decreased by stormwater recharge; d) F, Fe and Ba remain within MCL limits in all simulations; e) the positive redox potential of stormwater may significantly change that of the Biscayne aquifer; and f) pH remains constant within expected limits (i.e., 6.5-8.5) in all simulations. In sum, the model should be a valuable tool to estimate the impact of salinity and artificial recharge on the water quality of the aquifer, pointing changes in constituent concentrations, compliance with drinking water standards and identification of treatment needs.

 Assessing Current and Future Saltwater Intrustion in South Miami-Dade County
Nichole Hefty, Manager, Office of Sustainability, Miami-Dade Dept. of Regulation and Ecomonic Resources


ABSTRACT: Miami-Dade County is a diverse, low-lying county of approximately 2.5 million inhabitants, situated along the subtropical stretches of the southeastern United States and bordered by two National Parks. Miami-Dade County has long been aware of its acute vulnerability to climate change, particularly sea level rise and saltwater intrusion, and has begun analyzing and implementing mitigation strategies decades before “climate change” and “sustainability” became mainstream. It is also one of the first local communities to begin actively planning for climate change. Through multiple partnerships and collaborations, the county has taken active steps to engage and leverage support at the local, regional, state, and federal levels. South Miami-Dade coastal zones, wetlands, and low-lying areas have been identified as among the most vulnerable to potential sea level rise associated with climate change. This region between Everglades and Biscayne National Parks also is strategically important in ongoing Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) projects, Miami-Dade County Environmentally Endangered Lands (EEL) Acquisition, public wellfield protection programs, agriculture, land use planning and water management practices intended to balance conservation, flood protection, and a sustainable water supply. Miami-Dade, in partnership with Department of the Interior agencies, the South Florida Water Management District, and other stakeholders are applying a combination of strategies, including monitoring, conservation land management, modeling, monitoring, and construction of water control features to identify water and habitat resources at greatest risk and offset saltwater intrusion.

 Identify and Protect Upland Habitat
Jaclyn Lopez, Staff Attorney, 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

 Investigating Coastal Geomorphic Behavior near Critical Infrastructure along NASA Kennedy Space Center Coast, Cape Canaveral, Florida
Richard A. MacKenzie, PhD Candidate, University of Florida


ABSTRACT: A presidential initiative has been proposed to improve, expand, and modernize NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC) infrastructure. Even with the modernization efforts, launch operational imperatives will require that much of the infrastructure be within 500 m of the Atlantic Ocean shoreline. Shoreline retreat near existing critical infrastructure threatens these facilities as well as critical endangered-species habitat along several kilometers of the Cape Canaveral coast. The causative factors for the spatial patterns of accretion and erosion observed at KSC are likely due to sea level rise and transformation of offshore waves by the unique shoal bathymetry of the shelf and the antecedent geologic framework.
To better understand the coastal geomorphology and patterns of shoreline advance and retreat along the Cape Canaveral coast, a Coastal and Dune Vulnerability Team (CDVT) was assembled by NASA, and included participants from the University of Florida (UF), the United States Geological Survey (USGS), Innovative Health Applications (IHA), United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), private engineering firms, and The United States Air Force (USAF). Since May 2009, the CDVT has assembled data on decadal to event-scale shoreline change (RTK-GPS), beach and nearshore morphodynamics (RTK-GPS and Argus), beach sedimentary character (grain size analysis), wave climate and transformation (ADCP), and inner shelf bathymetry (Echo Sounding) in an effort to assess dune vulnerability and flooding risk. In addition, SWAN numerical modeling simulations offer insight into the influence of irregular bathymetry (cape-associated shoals) on the alteration of spatial patterns of wave energy flux under a scenario of shifts in deep-water wave climate. By combining contemporaneous data of coastal geomorphic and sedimentary response to wave forcing with numerical model results that explore a range of climate scenarios, we aim to develop a useful understanding of the coastal geomorphic behavior at KSC that can be used to make a mitigation recommendation.

 A GIS Model to Assess Relative Policy Options for Coastal Climate Change
Charles Nettleman, III, PhD Candidate, University of Florida


ABSTRACT: Coastal boundaries are in frequent contention due to increasing population and rising land values while the coastal zone is exposed to increased risks such as storm surge, sea level rise, and increased weather events. Climate change will not only physically alter the coastline but present new legal challenges regarding how we delineate coastal property ownership and land rights . Possible policy solutions countering the effects of global warming on Florida’s beaches include protection, adaptation and or retreat. Many coastal policies have been proposed along Florida's coast and studied quite extensively but few policy options have been modeled in a GIS to determine their predicted impacts and costs over the next century. My research uses a raster/vector hybrid GIS model to determine the relative differences to property owners between three different policy options in two large-scale study areas. The data used in this study includes a digital elevation model created from high resolution LiDAR, fifty sea level rise projections, tax parcel data and FEMA floodplain zones.

 A Geochemical Modeling Application to Assess Impacts of Saline Intrusion on the Fate of Mercury in Florida Aquifers
Nantaporn Noosai, Ph.D. Candidate, and Hector R. Fuentes, Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Florida International University,


ABSTRACT: Concern over environmental contamination by mercury (Hg), specifically the presence of organomercury compounds in Florida groundwater aquifers, is linked to toxicity. Specific questions relate to aquifer storage and recovery programs and saline intrusion within the context of climate change. This study used the USGS geochemical model, PHREEQC, to simulate the effect of seawater intrusion into fresh groundwater. The effort first assessed the applicability of the model to Floridian aquifer groundwater and then estimated the effect of saline and freshwater mixing in Hg-speciation. Model simulations, mixing saline with freshwater water quality compositions, were carried out within assumptions and then compared with water quality records from over 30 monitoring wells in the central to south Florida region; predictions of most major ions (i.e., Ca2+, Mg2+, K+1, Na+1, Cl-1 and SO4-2) were quite satisfactory, especially at salinities less that 10‰. The mixing simulations also yielded information on the Hg-speciation, showing a significant influence of salinity on the relative distribution and prevailing Hg-species. Results did confirm that Hg-speciation is strongly influenced by Cl- concentration and the Hg-Cl binding constants (i.e., log K). At low salinity (i.e., low Cl- concentrations) Hg-Cl species formation was dominated by HgCl2; at higher salinities, HgCl2 declined and HgCl3- and HgCl42- increased. Overall, the model is a good tool to estimate the fate of Hg in groundwater as function of salinity and offers a framework to understand differences in species mobility and their potential contribution to toxicity.

 Sea Level Rise and Coastal Ecosystem Services: Improving Understanding of Policy, Perceptions, and Values
Laila Racevskis, Assistant Professor, University of Florida


ABSTRACT: Increasing sea levels create complex social, economic and environmental challenges that we must address if we are to hope for a sustainable future on this planet. The overall goal of this study is to provide information that can serve as an input to the design of incentive-based conservation programs that can help to mitigate the effects of sea level rise on coastal ecosystems and infrastructure. We can begin to effectively tackle the complex challenges presented by sea level rise by: 1) improving our understanding of local, state, national and international sea level rise policy and planning approaches; 2) understanding how the public perceives sea level rise and associated changes in coastal ecosystems; and 3) understanding the perceptions of people who work in a professional context with sea level rise research, preparation and/or planning. This study achieves these objectives through focus group research, policy and literature review, stakeholder interviews, and a public mail survey of Florida residents in 3 regions of the state. The research also develops a suite of incentive-based policy scenarios for mitigating the ecosystem effects of sea level rise with a specific focus on submerged aquatic vegetation (i.e. seagrass). By collecting data from a representative sample of Florida residents in three study regions, as well as information from key stakeholders involved in sea level rise planning and policy, this study provides information on how Florida residents and stakeholders perceive the challenges presented by sea level rise, as well as possible solutions.

 Assessing Salinity in Whitewater Bay using Remote Sensing
Donna Selch, Florida Atlantic University


ABSTRACT: Minute changes in salinity can have drastic consequences for sensitive species in brackish ecosystems. These changes will be exacerbated in the near future due to global climate change stressors including sea level rise and increased temperatures. In Whitewater Bay, salinity fluctuates with the inflow of freshwater from the mainland of Florida. The USGS performed salinity surveys in Whitewater Bay. Four models were run and analyzed to compare predicted salinity data to actual field data. Since this research is using photographic imagery taken January 2005, salinity data gathered in December 2004 will be used for training and validation purposes. The digital numbers from the three individual bands were extracted and the Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) was calculated and compared for each of the four models.

This study explored the use of remote sensing to assess salinity as a monitoring tool for Whitewater Bay. The historical alteration of flow decreased the amount of freshwater input into my study site. Current restoration work through CERP aims to reinstate former water flow through the KOE into Whitewater and Florida Bay. The quantitative techniques modeled in this research allow for a less costly and quick assessment of salinity values and hence freshwater input into the ecosystem. Changes in local salinity levels and the effectiveness of restoration projects can thus be evaluated. This research has shown that a relationship can be quantified between salinity values and digital numbers extracted from satellite imagery.

 A GIS Methodology to Assess Exposure of Coastal Infrastructure to Storm Surge & Sea-Level Rise: A Case Study Of Sarasota County, Florida
Christopher Allen Tate, Student, University of Idaho Department of Geography


ABSTRACT: Abstract: Storm surge is the leading cause of loss of life and property from hurricanes. Recent research using geographical information system (GIS) technology has demonstrated sea-level rise (SLR) will increase storm surge inundation zones. While effective and accepted GIS models exist for framing surge inundation there is a lack depth information and consideration of SLR that may be critical for examining the exposure of coastal assets to current and future storm surge hazards. There is a need for a methodology that relates depth to inundation and asset exposure, and is supported by recent hazard vulnerability and resilience literature. Furthermore, new data has been collected that facilitates more detailed SLR modeling than available in previous research. We provide a methodology for a GIS depth modeling of contemporary and SLR enhanced storm surge that is superior to two-dimensional inundation modeling for examining exposure of societal assets to storm surge and SLR in Sarasota County, Florida. The effectiveness of this methodology is demonstrated in a GIS by comparing inundation modeling, depth modeling, and SLR modeling as applied to the exposure of flood-depth sensitive infrastructure in Sarasota County, Florida. [Key Words: sea-level rise, infrastructure, storm surge, modeling, GIS, vulnerability, resilience, hurricane, planning.]

 " small plans." A Vision for Southeast Florida Coast 2100
Daniel Williams, FAIA, APA, Director of Design and Planning, dwa-design Seattle, Adjunct. Professor Sustainable Design, University of Florida, Singapore Extension.


ABSTRACT: This is the supporting illustration/poster to Daniel Williams' talk - Session Four: Impacts on Built Environments: Urban Planning. This poster illustrates a vision informed by the challenges of climate change and sea level rise along the southeast coastal zone of Florida.


 Southeast Florida Sea Level Awareness Project Poles
Leah Booher, Student, FAU High School and The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Boca Raton


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. 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.

 Creating a Learning Community for Solutions to Climate Change (CAMEL)
Ginny Brown, Project Director, National Council for Science and the Environment


ABSTRACT: CAMEL (Climate, Adaptation, Mitigation, E-Learning) is a FREE, COMPREHENSIVE, INTERDISCIPLINARY, MULTI-MEDIA ONLINE resource for EDUCATORS to enable effective teaching about CLIMATE CHANGE and allowing them to create and share curricular resources.

CAMEL was created by the National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE) and its Council of Environmental Deans and Directors (CEDD) and is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to create a learning community for solutions to climate change.

CAMEL's extensive, interdisciplinary taxonomy reflects the complexity of climate change. Topics related to causes, consequences, solutions and actions are included. Its web-based infrastructure includes tools to allow a growing community of educators and students to network, share and evaluate approaches and materials, and host courses.

NCSE received supplemental funding from NSF to enable CAMEL to work with the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) to connect tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) into the climate change education community and to incorporate Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and American Indian cultural perspectives into climate change education.

The result will be enhanced climate learning at a wide range of colleges and universities, involving cross-institutional and multidisciplinary teams to develop culturally-appropriate curricular resources

Join the community of climate change educators at:

 Climate Science Investigations (CSI): South Florida Using NASA Data to Improve Young Adults’ Climate and Science Literacy
Dr. Julie Lambert, Florida Atlantic University


ABSTRACT: Climate Science Investigations (CSI): South Florida is an online, interactive series of modules that are currently under development. The objective of CSI: South Florida is to develop and pilot six modules that enable high school and undergraduate students to analyze and use data to address the public’s questions and commonly held misconceptions about climate change.

The instructional approach is not simply to teach students the answers to common questions about climate change, but to use the questions themselves and the arguments that underlie them as a basis for teaching the practices of science and the processes that underlie climate science.

In the first module, students are introduced to climate science inquiry and the practices and nature of science. They examine extreme weather events and review Earth’s energy balance (which is fundamental to understanding an enhanced greenhouse effect and climate science). In the second module, students investigate the temporal and spatial temperature data to answer the question of whether Earth is warming. In the third module, students investigate the variety of observations that indicate Earth has warmed (e.g., melting ice and rising sea level). In the fourth module, students compare natural and anthropogenic causes of climate change. Students will understand that the observations can only be explained when both are included in the climate models. Students investigate the potential impacts of climate change in the fifth module. In the culminating module, students will examine feedbacks on the climate system, the probability and uncertainty of the evidence, the various types of climate change arguments, and potential solutions to slow the rate and consequences of global warming.

 CLEAN: A Collection of Vetted Educational Resources to Support Teaching about Climate Science
Tamara Shapiro Ledley, Chair and Senior Scientist, Center for Science Teaching and Learning, TERC


ABSTRACT: Educators need scientifically and pedagogically robust teaching materials and professional development to help students and citizens build an understanding of the science that contributes to urgent societal issues such as sea level rise. The NSF-funded Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network (CLEAN, meets this need with a collection of relevant, peer-reviewed teaching materials and teaching tips for educators of grades 6-16.

The CLEAN collection features learning activities, videos, visualizations, short demonstrations/experiments and selected modules for all topic areas that are relevant to teaching climate and energy, from the underlying science and research methods used by climate scientists, to human contribution and consequences of climate change, to solutions and mitigation strategies such as what individuals can do to make a change.

Each featured teaching resource has undergone a rigorous review process and provides teaching tips by experts of how to implement it in the classroom. All materials are aligned with the Climate Literacy Essential Principles of Climate Science, Energy Literacy Essential Principles, Benchmarks for Science Literacy, and National Science Education.

The poster describes the review process, our Teaching about Climate and Energy Web pages, the interactive Maps of Climate and Energy Concepts, the CLEAN Widget which can bring relevant CLEAN resources to your web site, and our professional development activities.

 The CLEO Project - Amplifying Community Conversations on Climate Change
Caroline Lewis, Executive Director, The CLEO Institute


ABSTRACT: The CLEO Project, seeks to engage masses of everyday people and everyday groups, large and small, in addressing the question: What’s climate change all about, and what’s my role?

The CLEO Project is inclusive and celebratory, facilitating social learning around the topic of climate change. Thus, we coordinate science cafes, film screenings with panel discussion, campus forums, symposia, workshops, communication contests, ecoArt showcases, etc. These initiatives are spearheaded and replicated at multiple sites, with the help of a robust and growing CLEO Youth Task Force of motivated high school and college students.

CLEO Participants are able to interact with climate scientists, elected officials, industry leaders, researchers, educators and other experts participating in CLEO forums, panels, discussions, screenings, showcases, and trainings.

Designed as a public engagement model, the idea is to trigger a multitude of community conversations within varied social, cultural, economic, academic, religious and political gatherings. The Project’s design spirals the learning and engagement between active participants and the community in a sustained, iterative manner.

We believe an informed and engaged citizenry is better poised to respond to robust efforts towards climate resilience for our region. We therefore work with all audiences - schools, colleges, businesses, government offices, foundations, non-profits, and other institutions, engaging scientists, principals, teachers, college professors, students, artists, bankers, doctors, lawyers, civic leaders, and concerned citizens. We have set a cumulative outreach target of 30,000 by 2014, but intend to sustain the CLEO Project indefinitely and to replicate it beyond South Florida.

 Sea Level Science, A Powerful Tool for Teaching Climate Change
Juan Millan-Otoya, Masters Student, University of South Florida, College of Marine Science


ABSTRACT: : As part of the Coastal Areas Climate Change Education partnership (CACCE project) a series of small projects planned as Multiple Outcome Interdisciplinary Research and Learning (MOIRL) was developed. These projects intend to work with school students using different topics that could be linked to climate change relying on real data that is being used or has been used in scientific research. The present MOIRL project was developed at Stewart Middle Magnet School in Tampa. Working with 47 students (27 seventh graders and 20 eighth graders) to understand what were their beliefs regarding sea level, sea level rise and climate change, as well to identify misconceptions and to improve their knowledge and understanding on the subject. A test including questions on climate change and sea level was developed and implemented before and after the teaching process with the students to assess changes in their level of understanding. The teaching process included a series of lectures with hands on activities for teaching sea level (past, present and future) and its relation with climate change. Preliminary results show that eighth graders had a better performance and apparently their misconceptions were solved, whereas several seventh graders are still struggling with some of the most complex concepts regarding both climate change and sea level science. However in general all students improved their knowledge and important concepts were retained and understood.

 Creating High-School Teaching Materials that Interweave Sea-Level Rise Research with Florida’s Next Generation Sunshine State Standards
Leah Reidenbach, Myra Noss, Joshua S. Reece, and Reed F. Noss, University of Central Florida


ABSTRACT: As sea-level rise becomes a more apparent and imminent threat to Florida’s ecosystems, species, infrastructure, and economy, educating Florida’s future generations becomes increasingly important. Sea-level rise threatens coastal biodiversity in part because anthropogenic infrastructure makes it difficult for many species to migrate inland. Moreover, once sea-level rise encroaches on coastal infrastructure, many people may seek refuge inland, which will fragment the habitats of inland species and prevent inland retreat of coastal species. We are working with Florida educators to develop a program that will inform students about the effects of sea-level rise on their communities and on Florida’s biodiversity, and about options for adaptation. These concepts can be readily integrated into Florida’s existing Next Generation Sunshine State Standards (NGSSS). Our goal is to create multimedia educational materials in a language that students can understand and that teachers can easily implement in the classroom. Florida’s educational system heavily depends on NGSSS; teachers are required to teach them and students are tested on them annually. Using NGSSS as a venue to teach students about sea-level rise will encourage teachers to use our lesson plans in the classroom. We are currently developing lesson plans and materials for teachers and plan to invite science teachers from around the state to workshops to learn about current knowledge and research on sea-level rise. We stress the concept of how humans can adapt and plan for sea-level rise in a way that reduces negative impacts to both human and natural communities.

 Climate, Sea Level and Caves: An Authentic Climate Change Research Experience for Middle and High School Students at the Camuy Cave in Puerto Rico
Vanessa Vernaza-Hernández, Science Education Doctoral Student, University of South Florida (USF)


ABSTRACT: The Coastal Area Climate Change Education (CACCE) Partnership is funded by the NSF to focus on the impact of climate change in coastal areas. As part of the CACCE educational efforts and based on the model of Multiple Outcome Interdisciplinary Research and Learning (MOIRL) (Feldman, 2010), an educational research project was conducted in Puerto Rico (PR). The purpose of the Cave Deposits and Climate: Camuy Cave Project is to help students to understand how cave deposits provide clues to climate change. A total of 90 students and three schools participated in the project.

The students made an educational visit to the Camuy Cave during which they had the opportunity to interact with an USF professor who is an expert on the cave’s topic. Also, the students analyzed temperature, relative humidity, and water isotopes data inside and outside the cave. The data were collected during one year in a cave in PR. The students had the opportunity to develop a poster in which they presented the results obtained in the study. During these activities the students learned about the formation of the caves, how the study of caves can provide information on how climate has changed over time, and how it can be used to predict future changes in climate and sea level. The effects of the students’ participation in this project were studied using a mixed-methods approach. This authentic experience helped the students to develop an understanding on caves topic, climate change and sea level.

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

 Last Modified 4/3/23