NOAA report highlights coastal climate risks

A new report highlights risks to coastal areas from climate change.

A new report highlights risks to coastal areas from climate change. 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a report this week detailing potential climate impacts to U.S. coastal regions.

A researcher from Oregon State University contributed to the report, coauthoring a chapter specifically related to changes in wave height and behavior.

The report's purpose is to help coastal communities become better prepared for changing weather patterns, rising sea levels and stronger storm surges.

“Sandy showed us that coastal states and communities need effective strategies, tools and resources to conserve, protect, and restore coastal habitats and economies at risk from current environmental stresses and a changing climate,” said Margaret Davidson, of NOAA’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management and co-lead author of the report, in a press release.

The stakes are high. Consider the following findings from the report (available online here):

  • Since 1980, roughly one half of the nation's new residential building permits were issued in coastal communities.
  • More than 50 percent of Americans live in coastal watershed communities — an area that includes the western portion of the Columbia River.
  • Coastal watershed communities contributed more than $8.3 trillion to the 2011 U.S. economy.

The report found that planning for climate change adaptation is ad hoc at best and outlined specific risk areas that governments, businesses and residents should be addressing in their planning.

Peter Ruggiero, assistant professor with Oregon State University's College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, contributed his expertise in wave research to the report.

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