New Online Tools for Coastal Climate Learning and Training Now Available

  • 13 June 2011
New Online Tools for Coastal Climate Learning and Training Now Available
Total amount of summer melt at the ice surface and at the bottom of the ice
As coastal communities confront intensified storm surges, flooding and a host of other impacts as a result of the Earth's changing climate, a multimedia self-guided educational module on coastal climate change was released today. This new resource can assist localities in developing strategies to cope with a variety of hazards—whether ongoing or intensified by climate change.

The material can be found online thanks to a collaboration among the Wisconsin Sea Grant College Program, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research's COMET program, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Program Office's Sectoral Applications Research Program. Users will need to register prior to taking the course, but registration is free and easy.

In addition to case studies, video and other tools available through the online courses, a companion wiki includes additional resources that can be customized to address local needs. This dynamic site enables users to add and develop coastal climate content such as news about regional projects, uploaded presentations or even video. The wiki also offers grab-and-go PowerPoint templates based on the UCAR modules that can be adapted for local training or presentation opportunities.

Both websites have been designed to help "teach the teachers." Extension educators and communicators, and those civic leaders and resource managers who live and work in coastal areas will benefit most from the material. These professionals face ever-increasing responsibilities to communicate and address the many and complex facets of coastal climate change.

"From rising seawater lapping on our Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf coasts, to increased and severe weather events in the Great Lakes basin, the implications of coastal climate change are varied, but will be significant in many areas. These modules break things down and make life easier for those who need to share information on why this is happening, how rapidly it is happening and how communities can adapt," said Michael Liffmann, leader with NOAA's National Sea Grant College Program.

The modules provide details on:

  • Downscaling climate models
  • Working with state and local governments
  • Preparing the coasts from the perspective of sustainable development
  • Working toward hazard-resilient coasts
  • Ensuring a safe and sustainable seafood supply in the face of climate change
  • Ensuring healthy coastal ecosystems in the face of climate change
  • Mitigation, adaption, and costs of building resiliency
  • Impacts on inland lakes
  • Saltwater intrusion and aquifer contamination.
The information presented in the COMET modules was developed cooperatively with collaborators from UCAR, NOAA, many Sea Grant programs of the nation's 32 and their university partners under the leadership of Wisconsin Sea Grant.

"The COMET program is very happy to have had the opportunity to collaborate with NOAA Sea Grant and the University of Wisconsin (my alma mater) to develop this new module on coastal climate change. We feel it is important to be working through Sea Grant and its extension agents who are on the front lines helping to educate the public on climate and the potential impacts of climate change," said COMET Director Tim Spangler.

The coastal climate change modules and the coastal climate wiki are funded by NOAA-SARP.

While the climate change courses will remain static for the foreseeable future as a vital educational resource, they are nicely complemented by the organic nature of the coastal climate wiki site that fosters online discussions and information sharing among top-notch scientists and those "on the ground" Sea Grant and other extension agents, and other coastal leaders and planners leading to coordinated tactics and strategies.

"An article in this week's issue of Newsweek reports that 14 states are working on climate change adaptation plans. These modules are a resource for those already putting plans into place, and those 36 states who may want to ramp up," said Jim Hurley with the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a leader on the websites' development. "Extension staff, educators, communicators, civic leaders, resource managers and planners of every stripe can benefit from these new tools."



Climate and Fisheries Adaptation Program (CAFA)

MISSION: The Climate and Fisheries Adaptation Program (CAFA) is a partnership between the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (NOAA Research) Climate Program Office, and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) Office of Science and Technology that supports targeted research to promote adaptation and resilience of the nation's valuable fisheries and fisheries-dependent communities in a changing climate. By bringing together NOAA scientists with many partners, CAFA addresses priority needs for information and tools identified in the NOAA Fisheries Climate Science StrategyRegional Action Plans, and other sources.  

ISSUE: Healthy fisheries are a significant component of the U.S. economy. Commercial and recreational marine fisheries generate over $200 billion in economic activity and support more than 1.8 million jobs annually (FEUS 2016). Fisheries also support working waterfronts and coastal communities, provide opportunities for commerce, are tied to rich cultures, and help meet the growing demand for seafood across the U.S. and the world.

Climate change is impacting fish stocks, fisheries, and fishing communities, and these impacts are expected to increase. Changing climate and ocean conditions (e.g. warming oceans, changing currents, coastal inundation, extreme events, etc.) can affect the abundance, distribution, and productivity of fish stocks that support economically important fisheries. Sustainable fisheries management requires an improved understanding of how climate, fishing, and other stressors interact to affect fish stocks (including their habitats and prey), fisheries and fishing-dependent communities.  

PROGRAM HISTORY: The CAFA Program was established by the NOAA Research Climate Program Office and the NOAA Fisheries Office of Science and Technology in 2014 to advance understanding of climate‐related impacts on fish stocks, fisheries and fishing communities. The partnership originated through the former Coastal and Ocean Climate Applications (COCA) Program and in 2021 was renamed the Climate and Fisheries Adaptation (CAFA) Program as part of the Climate Program Office Adaptation Sciences Program.

SPONSORS: Funding for the CAFA Program comes from the OAR Climate Program Office and the NMFS Office of Science and Technology, the Office of Sustainable Fisheries, and the Northeast Fisheries Science Center. 




CAFA PI Spotlight



Contact Us


Jennifer Dopkowski
NOAA Research
Climate Program Office
P: (301) 734-1261

Roger Griffis
NOAA Fisheries
Office of Science and Technology

P: (301) 427-8134


1315 East-West Highway Suite 100
Silver Spring, MD 20910


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.