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Oceanography Fall 2013 Reading Course

Topic — Climate Change and Sea Level Rise (1 hour)

Professors — Dr. Larry P Atkinson and Dr. Hans-Peter Plag

Date and Time — Wednesday, 11:00 - 12:00

Venue: To be announced.

This reading course will focus on papers relevant to the Old Dominion University Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Initiative. The reading course will start with papers on the science of climate change, sea level variations, and coastal processes. Those papers will be followed by papers on the response to climate change in the coastal zone, including mitigation, adaptation, and increased resilience. Towards the end of the course, we will consider related papers on decision making and the science — policy relationship as this applies to the public climate change discussion.

Participation and Work Assignments

Students are asked to read at least one article/carry out one activity prior to each course hour and to provide a brief (about 0.5 pages), critical summary of the article/activity prior to the course hour to Hans-Peter Plag. The summaries will be made available on this course page to the participants and will provide a basis for the discussion during the course hour.

Required Work

The class will be rated as pass/fail. Condition for pass is that 60% of the summaries (in total eight (8) summaries) are delivered in a timely manner.


The schedule below will be further developed during the class. Summaries will be added, and, if necessary, post-class material will be made available.

WeekDateTopicPapers, MediaComment
103-Sep Introduction: The Anthropocene and Climate Change

Students are asked to watch either the movie “Thin Ice” (see or James Balog's AGU presentation (see

Rockström, J., Steffen, W., Noone, K., Persson, Å., Chapin, F. S. III, Lambin, E., Lenton, T. M., Scheffer, M., Folke, C., Schellnhuber, H., Nykvist, B., De Wit, C. A., Hughes, T., van der Leeuw, S., Rodhe, H., Sörlin, S., Snyder, P. K., Costanza, R., Svedin, U., Falkenmark, M., Karlberg, L., Corell, R. W., Fabry, V. J., Hansen, J., Walker, B., Liverman, D., Richardson, K., Crutzen, P., and Foley, J., 2009. A Safe Operating Space for Humanity, Nature, 461, 472-475. Read the article (local pdf); read also the Editorial ...

Syvitski, J., 2012. Anthropocene: An Epoch of Our Making. Global Change, 78, 12-15. Read the article ...

K. Ames: Balog
B. Bailey
C. Beale: Syvitski
W. Boll: Rockström
E. Cava: Syvitski and Rockström et al.; Balog
S. M. Cofield: Syvitski
A. Kajajian: Syvitski
R. Pleuthner: Balog
I. Sammler
M. Schmidtke:
1 Post-class comments:
The discussion revealed some concerns that James Balog's list of “immutable truths” that were overcome during the last 150 years, which includes the statement “Slavery is necessary,&rdqou; may push away those who today consider the statement “humankind is too small to change the planet,” an immutable truths and do not accept the evidence for climate change and, even more so, anthropogenic climate change. James Balog is not the first to mention the reasoning for the necessity of slavery in connection with those who reason against climate change and the necessity to continue to use fossil fuels. A good example is the speech by Lord Puttnam given on 27 November 2007; see also the commentary by Simon Bullock. Other related readings are:
211-Sep Climate change: What can we expect and how does this related to “natural variability”?

Editorial, 2013. Certain uncertainty. Nature Clim. Change, 3(8), 689. DOI: 10.1038/nclimate1978. (pdf)

Karl, T. R., et al., 2009. Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States. See Students are asked to read the Executive Summary. (local pdf)

Marcott, S., Shakun, J. D., Clark, P. U. and Mix, A. C., 2013. A Reconstruction of Regional and Global Temperature for the Past 11,300 Years. Science, 339, 1198-1201. DOI: 101126/science.1228026. (article, pdf, supplement material)

K. Ames: Marcott et al.
B. Bailey: Karl et al.
C. Beale: Karl et al.
W. Boll: Karl et al.
E. Cava: Editorial
S. M. Cofield: Editorial
A. Kajajian
R. Pleuthner: Editorial
I. Sammler: Karl et al.
M. Schmidtke:
318-Sep Climate change impacts: the physical environment, ecosystems and biosphere

Diffenbaugh. N. S., Field, C. B., 2013. Changes in Ecologically Critical Terrestrial Climate Conditions. Science, 341(6145), 486-492. DOI:10.1126/science.1237123. (pdf, supplement pdf)

K. Ames: Diffenbaugh and Fields
B. Bailey: Diffenbaugh and Fields
C. Beale: Diffenbaugh and Fields
W. Boll
E. Cava
S. M. Cofield: Diffenbaugh and Fields
A. Kajajian
R. Pleuthner: Diffenbaugh and Fields
I. Sammler: Diffenbaugh and Fields
M. Schmidtke: Diffenbaugh and Fields

LA gone, HPP gone
425-Sep Climate change impacts: the social and economic environment

Hallegatte, S., 2012. Economics: The rising costs of hurricanes. Nature Clim. Change, 2(3), 148-149. DOI: 10.1038/nclimate1427. (PDF)

Hallegatte, S., Green, C., Nicholls, R. J., Corfee-Morlot, J., 2013. Future flood losses in major coastal cities. Nature Clim. Change, online publication on 2013/08/18/. DOI: 10.1038/nclimate1979 (pdf, supplement 1 pdf, supplement 2 pdf)

Mabey, N., Gulledge, J., Finel, B. and Silverthorne, L., 2011. Degrees of Risk - Defining a Risk Management Framework for Climate Security. (pdf, local copy)

K. Ames: Chen et al.
B. Bailey: Hallegatee
C. Beale: Hallegatte
W. Boll: Hallegatte
E. Cava: Hallegatte et al.
S. M. Cofield: Hallegatte
A. Kajajian: Hallegatte
R. Pleuthner: Hallegatte
I. Sammler: Hallegatte
M. Schmidtke: Chen et al.
52-Oct Special Event

Listen to “Moving Forward: Next Steps for Confronting Increased Flood Risks” presented by Molly Mitchell, Center for Coastal Resource Management, Virginia Institute of Marine Science at the Fourth Meeting of the Hampton Roads Sea Level Rise/Flooding Adaptation Forum, see

K. Ames: Sea Level Rise Forum
B. Bailey:
C. Beale:
W. Boll:
E. Cava: Sea Level Rise Forum
S. M. Cofield: Mitchell
A. Kajajian:
R. Pleuthner: Mitchell
I. Sammler:
M. Schmidtke:

LA: Oct 2 Forum, HPP: Oct 2 Forum
69-Oct Sea level changes: What is going on and what is possible?

Cazenave, A., Chambers, D. P., Cipollini, P., Fu, L. L., Hurell, J. W., Merrifield, M., Nerem, R. S., Plag, H.-P., Shum, C. K., Willis, J., 2010. Sea level rise: Regional and global trends. Plenary Paper, in Hall, J., Harrison, D.E. & Stammer, D. (eds.): Proceedings of OceanObs'09: Sustained Ocean Observations and Information for Society (Vol. 1), Venice, Italy, 21-25 September 2009, ESA Publication WPP-306, doi:10.5270/OceanObs09.pp.11. (Abstract and access to pdf).

Chen, J. L., Wilson, C. R., Tapley, B. D., 2013. Contribution of ice sheet and mountain glacier melt to recent sea level rise.Nature Geosci., 6(7), 549-552. DOI: 10.1038/ngeo1829. article.

Church, J. A., White, N. J., 2011. Sea-level rise from the late 19th to the early 21st century, Surv. Geophys., 32, 585—602, doi:10.1007/s10712-011-9119-1.

K. Ames: Chen et al.
B. Bailey:
C. Beale: Church & White
W. Boll: Church & White
E. Cava: Church & White
S. M. Cofield: Chen et al.
A. Kajajian: Chen et al.
R. Pleuthner:
I. Sammler: Chen et al.
M. Schmidtke: Chen et al.
716-Oct Decision support through IPCC

IPCC, 2013. Summary for Policymakers. pdf.

K. Ames:
B. Bailey: IPCC Summary
C. Beale: IPCC Summary
W. Boll: IPCC Summary
E. Cava: IPCC Summary
S. M. Cofield: IPCC Summary
A. Kajajian: IPCC Summary
R. Pleuthner:
I. Sammler: IPCC Summary
M. Schmidtke: IPCC Summary
823-Oct SLR, Storms and storm surges in Hampton Roads

Atkinson, L. P., T. Ezer and E. Smith, 2013. Sea level rise and flooding risk in Virginia. Sea Grant Law and Policy Journal, 5(2), 3-14. (pdf)

Boon, J. D., 2012. Evidence of sea level acceleration at U.S. and Canadian tide stations, Atlantic coast, North America, J. Coast. Res., 28(6), 1437—1445, doi:10.2112/JCOASTRES-D-12-00102.1. (pdf)

Ezer, T., L. P. Atkinson, W. B. Corlett and J. L. Blanco, 2013. Gulf Stream's induced sea level rise and variability along the U.S. mid-Atlantic coast, J. Geophys. Res., 118(2), 685-697, doi:10.1002/jgrc.20091. (pdf)

Ezer, T. and W. B. Corlett, 2012. Is sea level rise accelerating in the Chesapeake Bay? A demonstration of a novel new approach for analyzing sea level data. Geophysical Research Letters, 39(19), L19605, doi:10.1029/2012GL053435. (pdf)

Sallenger, A. H., Doran, K. S., Howd, P., 2012. Hotspot of accelerated sea-level rise on the Atlantic coast of North America, Nature Clim. Change, 2, 884-888, doi:10.1038/NCILMATE1597. (pdf)

K. Ames: Sallenger et al.
B. Bailey: Sallenger et al.
C. Beale:
W. Boll: Ezer et al.
E. Cava: Sallenger et al.
S. M. Cofield:
A. Kajajian: Sallenger et al.
R. Pleuthner: Atkinson et al.
I. Sammler: Ezer and Corlett
M. Schmidtke: Ezer et al.

HPP gone 20-24th October

Students are expected to participate in Day 1 and summarize one panel; see

K. Ames: Panel
B. Bailey:
C. Beale:
W. Boll:
E. Cava:
S. M. Cofield: Panel
A. Kajajian:
R. Pleuthner: Panel
I. Sammler: Panel
M. Schmidtke:
106-Nov What are the impacts and predictive capabilities?

CCSP, 2009: Coastal Sensitivity to Sea-Level Rise: A Focus on the Mid-Atlantic Region. A report by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research. [James G. Titus(Coordinating Lead Author), Eric K. Anderson, Donald R. Cahoon, Stephen Gill, Robert E.Thieler, Jeffress S.Williams (Lead Authors] U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington D.C., USA. Final Report.

Plag, H.-P., Jules-Plag, S., 2013. Sea-Level Rise and Coastal Ecosystems. In Pielke Sr., R. A., Seastedt, T., Suding, K. (eds.): Vulnerability of Ecosystems to Climate, Volume 4 of: Climate Vulnerability: Understanding and Addressing Threats to Essential Resources, 163-184, Elsevier. (pdf)

McNamara, D. E., Keeler, A., 2013. A coupled physical and economic model of the response of coastal real estate to climate risk. Nature Clim. Change, 3(6), 559-562, doi: 10.1038/nclimate1826. Get pdf; supplement information: pdf.

K. Ames: McNamara
B. Bailey: McNamara
C. Beale: McNamara
W. Boll: Plag and Jules-Plag
E. Cava: McNamara
S. M. Cofield:
A. Kajajian: McNamara
R. Pleuthner: McNamara
I. Sammler:
M. Schmidtke: McNamara
1113-NOV Impacts on Hampton Roads

Report of the Governor's Climate Change Commission (previous gov). The website with the report is at see right side. (local pdf)

More recently Virginia legislature had VIMS do this

Updating Maryland's Sea-level Rise Projections. Scientific and Technical Working Group, Maryland Climate Change Commission June 26, 2013 pdf.

For Infrastructure and Services in Hampton Roads, see pdf

K. Ames:
B. Bailey: HRTPO
C. Beale: VIMS
W. Boll: HRTPO
E. Cava: HRTPO
S. M. Cofield:
A. Kajajian:
R. Pleuthner:
I. Sammler: VIMS
M. Schmidtke: Maryland
1220-Nov Adaptation concepts: hazard mitigation, robustness, resilience, antifragile

Huggel, C., Stone, D., Auffhammer, M., Hansen, G., 2013. Loss and damage attribution. Nature Clim. Change, 3(8), 694-696, doi: 10.1038/nclimate1961 (get pdf.

Viguie, V., Hallegatte, S., 2012. Trade-offs and synergies in urban climate policies. Nature Clim. Change, 2(5), 334-337. DOI: 10.1038/nclimate1434. (pdf, supplement pdf).

Lenton, T. M., 2011. Early warning of climate tipping points. Nature Clim. Change, 1(4), 201-209. DOI: 10.1038/nclimate1143. (pdf).

Harrald, J., 2012. The case for resilience: a comparative analysis. Int. J. Critical Infrastructure, 8(1), 3-21. (pdf)

Arkema, K. K., Guannel, G., Verutes, G., Wood, S. A., Guerry, A., Ruckelshaus, M., Kareiva, P., Lacayo, M., Silver, J. M., 2013. Coastal habitats shield people and property from sea-level rise and storms. Nature Clim. Change, advance online publication 2013/07/14. Doi: 10.1038/nclimate1944. (article, supplementary information)

Hu, A., Xu, Y., Tebaldi, C., Washington, W. M., Ramanathan, V., 2013. Mitigation of short-lived climate pollutants slows sea-level rise. Nature Clim. Change, 3(8), 730-734, doi: 10.1038/nclimate1869. Get pdf; supplement information: pdf.

K. Ames: Viguie and Hallegatte
B. Bailey: Viguie and Hallegatte
C. Beale:
W. Boll:
E. Cava: Viguie and Hallegatte
S. M. Cofield:
A. Kajajian: Huggel et al.
R. Pleuthner: Viguie and Hallegatte
I. Sammler:
M. Schmidtke: Hu et al.
 27-Nov Thanksgiving Holiday    
1304-Dec Hazards and disasters: case study Compare Wikipedia entries on Hurricane Katrina (U.S.) and Yasi (Australia); Web-based research on Sandy (U.S.) Summaries:
K. Ames:
B. Bailey:
C. Beale:
W. Boll:
E. Cava:
S. M. Cofield:
A. Kajajian: ACCESS-EU
R. Pleuthner:
I. Sammler:
M. Schmidtke: Katrina and Yasi