Thursday, May 31, 2012

North Carolina: Making Sea Level Rise Illegal?

Outer Banks, NC (
North Carolina, home to barrier islands and low-lying coastal lands popular with residents and tourists alike, is considering mandating that state agencies and local governments ignore the broad scientific consensus that accelerated sea level rise will have devastating effects for coastal communities in the coming years. The key part of House Bill 819 is the following:
“…rates shall only be determined using historical data, and these data shall be limited to the time period following the year 1900. Rates of [sea level rise] may be extrapolated linearly to estimate future rates of rise but shall not include scenarios of accelerated rates of [sea level rise].”
This proposed policy would essentially mandate a linear approach to a very non-linear phenomenon, demanding that scientists, planners, and decision makers ignore basic physics (e.g., how much change, how quickly will it happen). Being skeptical is one thing. Rejecting the existence or utility of science is another thing entirely. 

Read more at:
Check out some SLR-related projects over on CAKE:
And join the CAKE community discussion here.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Adaptation ABCs: K is for Knowledge

You know more than you think you know! Isn't that great? Most people approach climate change as if it were a mystery, an ark of secrets hidden from us by those much wiser. Funny thing is, the effects of climate change are pretty easy to wrap your mind around if you recognize that you already know a lot, and successfully adapting to climate change depends as much on knowledge about people, communities, and existing planning and management approaches as it does climate-specific knowledge. If you don't know something, talking with others may get you not only an answer, but a support system or community of practice. Even if the answer you get is that nobody knows the answer to the question you're asking, knowing that something is uncertain or unknown is real, important scientific knowledge that you can use. You can take action based on your knowledge of the certain and the uncertain, the known and the unknown. Knowledge is power and you are powerful.   

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

New report demonstrates how climate-informed maps can help guide conservation efforts in an era of change

In the past, we prioritized investments in conservation by identifying where imperiled species live, where biological diversity is high, or where iconic, scenic, or recreation areas are located. But in an era of climate change, species are likely to move to new areas, some habitats may shift while others may be more resilient to climate impacts, and the places we currently value are unlikely to stay as we currently recognize. So then, how do we prioritize our conservation investments in such a time of change?

Climate-informed conservation blueprints, which were created as part of the Sierra Club’s Resilient Habitats Campaign, can help provide a roadmap for building habitat resilience and guiding conservation efforts and investments under changing conditions. EcoAdapt and the Geos Institute were commissioned by the Sierra Club to create independent, science-based blueprints for the Greater Puget Sound ecoregion. The resulting climate-informed conservation maps identify areas that have contemporary ecological value – for example, high biodiversity or focal species habitats – and have greater vegetation stability or instability under modeled future climatic conditions. This information can be used to suggest priority areas and strategic conservation actions that may provide species and ecosystems with a greater likelihood of persistence and function throughout the rapidly changing climate over the next 75 years.

The report provides guidance regarding the interpretation, implementation, and limitations of the blueprint maps as well as a summary of methods used, key patterns and findings, and possible adaptation and conservation approaches. Fundamental approaches and principles recommended throughout include: (1) protect and restore intact or likely stable areas to provide current and future strongholds for species; (2) reduce non-climate stressors to increase the resilience of ecosystems to climate change; (3) utilize climate-smart restoration and management techniques; and (4) maintain or create connectivity corridors and linkages that allow species to shift as conditions change.

Please see A Climate-Informed Conservation Blueprint for the Greater Puget Sound Ecosystem on our website

- Jessi

Thursday, May 3, 2012

New Report Addresses Monitoring Climate Change in California’s Marine Protected Areas

EcoAdapt, in partnership with the California Ocean Science Trust’s MPA Monitoring Enterprise, has developed the report Monitoring Climate Effects in Temperate Marine Ecosystems to supplement monitoring efforts in California’s statewide network of marine protected areas with climate change monitoring in order to track effects on habitats and species. Focusing on the state’s South Coast (from Point Conception to the California/Mexico border, including the Channel Islands) and North Central Coast (from Alder Creek, near Point Arena, to Pigeon Point, including the Farallon Islands) regions, this innovative approach to monitoring contains recommendations for efficiently incorporating climate change monitoring following a three-tiered design pioneered by the MPA Monitoring Enterprise in order to provide scalable implementation options for managers that can track climate change impacts and provide ‘alerting signals’ for California’s marine ecosystems.

Climate change will affect marine ecosystems from pole to pole. While indicators and recommendations for climate change monitoring have been developed for tropical systems, temperate marine ecosystems have received little attention or guidance in regards to developing approaches to monitor climate change impacts. The report focuses on those climate changes and impacts most likely to (1) affect temperate marine ecosystems and (2) be effectively informed through MPA monitoring; these include – sea level rise, increased air and sea surface temperatures, increased intensity and frequency of storms, decreasing pH, and altered circulation patterns. The report uses the three-tiered design applied in the South Coast and North Central Coast MPA Monitoring Plans:
  •  Tier 1. Existing climate change indicators within the North Central Coast and South Coast MPA monitoring plans that provide information on climate change
  • Tier 2. Candidate climate change metrics that may be added to the MPA monitoring plans
  • Tier 3. Candidate new framework elements for climate change monitoring
This information will not only aid in the interpretation of monitoring results, but also can be designed to inform the management dialogue around potential climate change effects on marine ecosystems and adaptation or mitigation measures. We hope that this can lead to climate-savvy management for better future outcomes.