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

Sea Level Rise Summit 2013

On October 16th and 17th, Florida Atlantic University’s Center for Environmental Studies hosted its 2nd Annual Sea Level Rise Summit 2013: Resilience in the Face of Change.   The Summit was held in the heart of downtown Fort Lauderdale and events included two full days of exceptional speakers and panel sessions, important keynotes, two screenings of the film  Shored Up  and a Sea Level Rise Adaptation Workshop on Friday October 18th.  Most Summit events took place at The Conference Center located at 301 East Broward Blvd.  The Summit was held in partnership with the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture’s Subtropical Cities Conference which took place October 18th & 19th

The risks from sea level rise are imminent and serious. This is not a distant problem, but one that is affecting us now and will certainly affect our children. Sea level rise will impact millions of Americans and threaten billions of dollars of building and infrastructure. Focusing on the impacts on our economy, health and built environment, this year’s Sea Level Rise Summit addressed the issues that professionals, local governments and communities face in adapting to sea level rise and other climate change related impacts. Local, national and international experts demonstrated best practices and state of the art research focusing on the needs of those planning our collective future.  

Panel Sessions included:

Sea Level Rise and Storm Surge: A Damaging Combination

  • Taking stock of our scientific knowledge of sea level rise, understanding storm surge & its damage on natural and built environments, and examining possibilities for collaboration between scientists and design professionals for the adaptation and resilience of vulnerable communities confronted with the dual threat of sea level rise and storm surge.

Adversity, Opportunity and Resilience: Economic Implications of Sea Level Rise

  • Examining economic impacts of sea level rise with a focus on the power, insurance and real estate industries, exploring opportunities for businesses and the issues that government, business, and society will face, including rising mitigation and adaptation costs and economic sustainability in the face of environmental uncertainty. 

Integrating the Health Impacts of Sea Level Rise into Resiliency & Adaptation Planning

  • Identifying on-going efforts and gaps in understanding the health impacts of sea level rise on resiliency and adaptation planning and providing perspectives from local, state, and federal partners illuminating the need to increase community resilience to the adverse public health impacts of climate change. 

Impacts on the Built Environment – Facing a New Design Paradigm

  • Examining the issues facing aging and/or vulnerable public infrastructure such as roads, utilities, electrical grid, water and waste management, and exploring new approaches to design thinking that should drive decisions in the immediate, near, and long-term future, along with addressing the needs of architects, planners and others charged with designing the built environment in the face of sea level rise and other climate change related impacts.

Adaptation, Innovation & Resilience on a Local, National & International Front

  • Identifying a potential adaptation strategy tool kit for Florida and by extension similar coastal areas nationally and globally and developing a concise set of recommendations for mitigation and adaptation approaches and priorities aiming at truly sustainable adaptation, linking local experience with insights from our international experts.  

We encourage community members, federal, state and local governments and agencies, non-profits, decision makers and professionals to join us at the Sea Level Rise Summit as we collectively work to ensure the sustainability and safety of our communities by understanding and planning for the effects of sea level rise.

For information on our 2012 Sea Level Rise Summit, go to our website  or you can download the  final report.

Steering Committee Members

  • Anthony Abbate, Associate Provost, CEO for the Broward Campuses, Professor, School of Architecture, Florida Atlantic University
  • Steve Adams, Senior Advisor - Adaptation, Institute for Sustainable Communities
  • Ricardo Alvarez, Vulnerability Assessment & Mitigation
  • Nick Aumen, Coordinator - Greater Everglades Priority Ecosystems Science (PES) Program, USGS
  • Len Berry, Director, Florida Center for Environmental Studies, Director, FAU Climate Change Initiative, Florida Atlantic University
  • G. Ronnie Best, Coordinator, Greater Everglades Priority Ecosystems Science, U. S. Geological Survey
  • Fred Bloetscher, Associate Professor, Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatics Engineering, Florida Atlantic University
  • Camille Coley, Assistant Vice President for Research, Florida Atlantic University
  • Isabel Cosio Carballo, Director of Public Affairs, Southeast Florida Regional Partnership Coordinator
  • Carolyn Cox, Coordinator, Florida Climate Institute, Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, University of Florida
  • Christina DeConcini, Director of Legislative Affairs, World Resources Institute
  • Julie Dennis, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Division of Community Development
  • Chrissy Elles, Outreach Specialist, Climate & Energy Program, Union of Concerned Scientists
  • Jane Gilbert, Community Affairs Officer - South Florida, Wells Fargo SRG
  • Scott Hagen, Professor, Civil, Environmental & Construction Engineering, University of Central Florida
  • Julia Higgs, Associate Professor, School of Accounting, Florida Atlantic University
  • Ken Hirsch, President, Hirsch Architects
  • Jennifer Jurado, Director, Natural Resources Planning and Management Division, Broward County
  • Debora Kerr, Chief Operating Officer, Florida Public Health Institute
  • Ben Kirtman, Professor and Associate Dean for Research, Rosenstiel School for Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami
  • Caroline Lewis, Founder and Director, The CLEO Institute
  • Ken Lindeman, Professor, Department of Education and Interdisciplinary Studies, College of Science, Florida Institute of Technology
  • Francis Lyn, Associate Professor, School of Architecture & Director, Broward Community Design Collaborative, Florida Atlantic University
  • Mantha Mehallis, Management-International Business Entrepreneurship, Florida Atlantic University
  • Jayantha Obeysekera, Department Director, Hydrologic & Environmental Systems Modeling, South Florida Water Management District
  • Rafe Pomerance, Climate Strategies Consultant
  • Dan Rizza, Manager and Research Associate for the Program on Sea Level Rise, Climate Central
  • Thomas Ruppert, Coastal Planning Specialist, Florida Sea Grant College Program
  • Ben Strauss, Chief Operating Officer and Director of the Program on Sea Level Rise, Climate Central
  • Kalanithy Vairavamoorthy, Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, Director, School of Global Sustainability, University of South Florida
  • Steve Weinstein, Senior Vice President, Chief Compliance Officer, General Counsel and Secretary, RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd.

For more information contact:
MaryBeth Hartman Kerber, Conference & Outreach Coordinator
Center for Environmental Studies at Florida Atlantic University or (954) 236-1203

 Last Modified 4/3/23