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Climate change and sea level rise is increasingly on the agenda of the public, the media, and decision makers in the public, private and social sectors of society. Focus is almost solely on the hazards and the potential disasters we might be facing. MARI at Old Dominion University is focusing on the solutions, the options we have to mitigate the impacts of climate change and sea level rise, and to adapt to the changes.

To develop the practice-relevant solutions, MARI engages in research that produces the practice-relevant knowledge needed to cope with the impacts of climate change and sea level rise on the coastal zone and the urban coast in particular. In doing so, MARI responds to the knowledge needs of a wide range of community stakeholders, including government, military, private sector, and citizens. The high rate of local sea level rise, the exposure to extreme weather events, and the complex socio-economic structure makes Hampton Roads a natural laboratory for climate change and sea level rise. MARI utilizes this laboratory and works with stakeholders within and outside the region to generate the knowledge that can enable them not only to reduce the negative impacts but also to utilize the opportunities in the changes to come. To ensure that the stakeholders get the knowledge they can apply, MARI works closely with them to ensure a co-creation of practice-relevant knowledge and to support them in the use of this knowledge.

ODU students on their way home during the nuisance flooding on October 2, 2015.


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  • ULI Virginia (Hampton Roads) Resilient Region Reality Check: Rising Above the Waters: The Urban Land Institute in Hampton Roads organized the next event in the sequence of “Resilient Region Reality Checks” on September 16, 2015, from 9:30 AM to 3:00 PM in the Mariners' Museum at 100 Museum Drive, Newport News, VA 23601. For more information, see the 3RC page.

  • Adaptation to Sea Level Rise: In the Opening Session at the WaterJAM 2015 held in Virginia Beach on September 15-16, 2015, Hans-Peter Plag addressed the question “Adaptation to sea level rise: protecting against, or preparing the coastal zone for, inundation?” See the associated article in the Summer 2015 Tap Into Virginia issue on page 41. The presentation is available as keynote and pdf file.

  • Can we Continue to Live at the Edge of the Sea (with reference to future extreme events and climate change)?: On Monday, September 14, 2015, in the joint CCPO/MARI Seminar, Malcolm Bowman, School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, Stony Brook University, shared his thoughts on this important questions. For more information, see the Seminar Page.

  • The Elephant in the Room - Quantitative Risk Analysis with an Uncertain Future: In the OEAS Seminar on September 10, 2015, Dr. Paul Smith, Arup, U.K. talked about risk analysis for extreme risks under large uncertainty, i.e., a situation that applies to future sea level rise. The seminar took place 3:00 - 4:00 PM in the OEAS building at ODU, room 200. Read the abstract and brief bio.

  • Workshop on “Mitigation and Adaptation Research in Virginia”: MARI organized a workshop on August 11-13, 2015 at the Hilton Garden Inn, Suffolk, VA. The goal of the workshop was to review the status of mitigation and adaptation research in Virginia and to design a research agenda that can help to provide the practice-relevant knowledge the communities in Virginia need to meet current and future challenges. For more information, see the Workshop Page.

  • Follow-up to 3RC: A follow-up event on the recent “Resilient Region Reality Check” on March 17, 2015 at ODU took place on June 9, 2015 in the Slover Library, 235 E Plume St, Norfolk, VA 23510. The available reports include:

  • Resilient Region Reality Check (3RC): March 17, 2015. Old Dominion University and the Urban Land Institute (ULI Hampton Roads) in cooperation with a number of organizations in the region jointly organized a Resilient Region Reality Check focusing on perceptions of climate change and sea level rise in Hampton Roads. See for more information.

  • GEOSS Science and Technology Stakeholder Workshops: March 22-26, 2015 in Norfolk, VA. MARI supported the organization of two high-level workshops organized by the GEOSS Science and Technology Stakeholder Network of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO). The first workshop addressed “NAVIGATING SUSTAINABILITY ON A CHANGING PLANET” and the second Workshop focused on “CONCEPTS, TECHNOLOGIES, SYSTEMS AND USERS OF THE NEXT GEOSS.” For more information, see 3rd Workshop announcement and 4th Workshop announcement.

  • For more past events, see here ...


[September 11, 2015] Has humanity eveloved into an extreme hazard?: In his latest column in APOGEO, Hans-Peter Plag compares humanities energy to the energy released by extreme geohazards and asks the question whether the resulting anthropogenic cataclysm makes humanity one of the most extreme hazards that need to be accounted for in disaster risk reduction.

[August 29, 2015] NASA is worried about increased melting of the Greenland ice sheet: In an article in “The Washington Post,” Chris Mooney summarizes a NASA press briefing, at which NASA scientist expressed concern about the increased likelihood of a non-linear increase of ice melt in Greenland, which could accelerate sea level rise significantly.

[August 24, 2015] How long can New Orleans withstand rising seas and sinking lands?: An article by Chris Mooney in “The Washington Post provides a comprehensive overview of the challenges New Orleans faces due to rapidly shifting coastlines and the options and activities to revert the loss of coastal areas and to mitgate the impacts.

[August 20, 2015] Another record: July was the warmest month so far recorded: In an article in the “Time magazine, by Tessa Berenson reports that NOAA's National Center for Environmental Information identified July 2015 as the warmest months ever recorded.

[August 17, 2015] The question is how fast sea level rise will rise and by how much: In an article in “The Washington Post, Chris Mooney reviews the extensive discussion of the recent Hansen et al. paper, which found indications that sea level may rise much faster than projected in the last IPCC assessment. Mooney concludes that “the question of just how fast the seas will rise — and by how much — has become one of the most important ones on the planet.

[August 14, 2015] The relevance of Climate Fiction (CliFi) in the societal discourse on climate change: In an article in “The Atlantic, J. K. Ullrich asks whether climate fiction books can save the planet. CliFi, a new literary genre, is increasingly impacting the perception of climate change in a growing fraction of the population.

[August 8, 2015] Vulnerability and risk is on the rise in most river deltas: River deltas offer many advantages to human settlements, and population in many river deltas is rapidly increasing. So are the human impacts and sea level is rising. This is leading to an increase in vulnerability and risk, and increasing costs to protect the human assets in these areas, finds a new study published in Science. The costs for protection and adaptation eventually my exceed the copying capcity of the population in these areas. See also the article by Chris Mooney in the Washington Post.

[August 7, 2015] Cost of disasters caused by natural hazards: The New York Times produced a few short videos comapring the cost of disasters in different regions of the country. You can watch these videos here.