Researchers from California's leading climatological and ecological programs received two grants totaling more than $278,000 from CPO's Coastal and Ocean Climate Applications (COCA) program and NOAA Sea Grant to conduct a coastal ecosystem vulnerability assessment in the Santa Barbara area, California Sea Grant announced Tuesday, Feb. 4.
"This vulnerability assessment will contribute to resilient ecosystems by providing information that coastal communities can use to plan for climate change impacts," said Monique Myers, lead investigator and California Sea Grant extension specialist.
Formally titled the "Santa Barbara Area Coastal Ecosystem Vulnerability Assessment," the researchers will work with city and county partners to develop a guidance document that informs climate adaptation planning. The document also will detail the process used to create an ecosystem-based vulnerability assessment so it will be useful in other regions.
Though some coastal areas are currently developing climate change vulnerability assessments with an emphasis on infrastructure and physical environments, this work will specifically address impacts to ecological resources and adaptation measures for local government in the Santa Barbara region.
The assessment will address the dual missions of NOAA and NOAA Sea Grant, focusing on effective response to climate change and enhanced sustainability and resilience of ecosystems and coastal communities.
The final planning guidance document is expected to be available on the California Sea Grant website in 2015.
Myers' co-investigators on the grant are Jenifer E. Dugan of Marine Science Institute, UCSB, John M. Melack of Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, UCSB, Henry M. Page of Marine Science Institute, UCSB, Daniel Reed of Marine Science Institute, UCSB, Daniel R. Cayan of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD, and Sam F. Iacobellis of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD. Patrick Barnard of USGS is a collaborator.
Americans’ health, security and economic wellbeing are tied to climate and weather. Every day, we see communities grappling with environmental challenges due to unusual or extreme events related to climate and weather. In 2011, the United States experienced a record high number (14) of climate- and weather-related disasters where overall costs reached or exceeded $1 billion. Combined, these events claimed 670 lives, caused more than 6,000 injuries, and cost $55 billion in damages. Businesses, policy leaders, resource managers and citizens are increasingly asking for information to help them address such challenges.
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