Page 54 - Respond 2014 | RTCC Publications
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cliMate iMpacts

on the world’s


By Dr. John T. Wells, Dean and Director of the Virginia
Institute of Marine Science, The College of William & Mary

The Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) is a leading source of knowledge as we face decisions
regarding the impacts of climate change on the world’s oceans, bays and estuaries

Marine environments are ecosystems of unsurpassed complexity and value, and our resources—and on occasion sluggish response
work informs colleagues and policy-makers at every level. to innovative proposals—have diminished the
attractiveness of traditional funding sources.
Within the coastal zone, we have advanced scientifc understanding through research
on: Given the magnitude of the problems associated with
• watershed processes as they interact with human activities such as agriculture climate change, there has never been a greater need
and industry; for engagement with, and support from, other funding
• water quality as measured by ocean observing systems that consist of automated sources such as industry and non-profts.
buoys and vessel-mounted sensors;
• shoreline fooding and erosion predictions derived from computer modeling of Case Study: Coastal Flooding and the Need for
sea-level rise and storm surge; Immediate Action
• climate-sensitive fsheries resources that require management at a multispecies Perhaps the most visible reminder of climate-change
level; impacts occurs at the shoreline, where rising seas cause
• biodiversity and the role of non-native species in the provision of ecosystem recurrent fooding on ever more frequent time scales,
services; and, often resulting in signifcant economic losses.
• transport of contaminants and pathogens, and the regional impact of aquatic
diseases. Reviewing a comprehensive list of strategies used
worldwide in areas vulnerable to fooding (
Much of this research has historically been supported by local, state, and federal vims_cf_report), reveals that no single response in Virginia
government. This is no longer a sustainable model. Stiff competition for limited will fully address the complex web of social, legal,
and environmental issues that contribute to fooding

Staircase approach for adapting to coastal fooding in rural and urban areas.

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