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WHOI Will Host Public Forum on Sea Level Rise

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September 21, 2009

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The Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change estimates that sea level may rise as much as two feet over the
next 100 years.  However, we lack a
full understanding of polar ice cap behavior, and there is concern that the
potential for future sea level rise may be significantly underestimated.  How fast can sea level rise?  How would rising sea level affect
coastline and how could we best manage those changes?

On Friday, September 25, 2009,
from 2 – 5 p.m., in Redfield Auditorium, Water Street, Woods Hole, the Woods
Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is hosting a free public colloquium
entitled “Where Land & Sea Meet: Managing Shoreline Change Over the Next
100 Years.”

The colloquium and panel
discussion will highlight connections between cutting-edge sea level research,
societal impacts of sea level rise, and public policy response.

The colloquium will begin with four
short (20 minute) talks to set the stage for a panel discussion and Q&A
session with the audience. The speakers and talks include:

  • “Insights
    into the next 100 years of sea-level rise from the long-term history
    of  sea-level change,” Mark
    Siddall, University of Bristol
  • “Lessons
    from sea-level history: how fast can sea level rise?” Edouard Bard,
    Collège de France
  • “Sea
    level rise impacts on beaches and coastal property,” Megan Higgins, Roger
    Williams University School of Law
  • “Sea-level
    Rise on Cape Cod: How Vulnerable Are We? What Can We Do?” Rob Thieler,
    USGS Woods Hole

The panel discussion will include:

  • William
    G. Thompson, paleoclimatologist, WHOI
  • Julia
    Knisel, Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management
  • John
    Whitehead, economist, Appalachian State University
  • Andrew
    Ashton, coastal geomorphologist, WHOI
  • Porter
    Hoagland, Marine Policy Center, WHOI

The public forum is part of an
ongoing series, called Morss Colloquia, to address issues of global importance
that confront the human race.
Created by a generous gift by Elisabeth W. and Henry A. Morss, Jr., the
Morss Colloquia go beyond routine scientific meetings, to expose the
Institution’s staff and public community to new issues and new perspectives
that cross disciplinary boundaries between the sciences and social sciences.

Elisabeth and Henry once wrote
“there is not a living cell that will remain unaffected in the next century by
what humans do and fail to do.” They foresaw the Morss Colloquia as a way to
heighten awareness and promote understanding among our community that addresses
the serious global problems confronting the human race today. They envisioned
an interdisciplinary link-up between the present and the future in seeking an
integrated overview of research and discovery. “An expanding world needs an
expanding dialogue and with a better global perspective, the meeting of minds
can mean a happy introduction of new advances in knowledge and thinking into
human and planetary acceptance.”

More information is
available on the Web at www.whoi.edu/MorssColloquium
or by calling 508-289-2252.


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The Woods
Hole Oceanographic Institution is a private, independent organization in
Falmouth, Mass., dedicated to marine research, engineering, and higher
education. Established in 1930 on a recommendation from the National Academy of
Sciences, its primary mission is to understand the oceans and their interaction
with the Earth as a whole, and to communicate a basic understanding of the
oceans’ role in the changing global environment.