TX – Penrose/Chapman Coastal, Day 1

Leave a comment

April 15, 2013 by Dr. G

Let the conference begin!

Conference Convener John Anderson welcomes the group to kick off the conference

Conference Convener John Anderson welcomes the group to kick off the conference

John Anderson from Rice University, one of the conference conveners, started us bright and early at 8AM with a welcome and introduction to the week ahead.  It is clear that all of us are in for an intense yet intellectually challenging conference, with a fieldtrip on Wednesday afternoon to tour Galveston‘s coast.

Today (Monday) had fourteen talks discussing the record of sea-level rise. The talks were given by researchers from institutions such as the University of Florida, Tulane University, Vanderbilt University, University of Massachusetts, and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.  My students can even appreciate some of the talks, based on the titles (seeing as we just talked about “what makes a good title” in class last week!):

  • Holocene sea level derived from microbial mats
  • Subsidence and sea-level rise: a dual threat to the U.S. Gulf Coast
  • The sedimentary record of severe storm frequency along the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua for the last 7,000 years

Some of the information today was a “refresher” of what I already knew, some material was a new application of information I had learned in the past, and some data were completely new to me.  All of it was certainly exciting!  But let me take a step back for students that haven’t had me for an oceanography or natural disasters course yet….

Here’s what it boils down to – sea level is rising.  The challenge for scientists is to measure and report the data, to explain the cause(s) and to make predictions for the future.  It is not as easy as you may think!  Glacial ice is melting, coastal areas are undergoing subsidence, compaction of mud/sediments occurs in nature and during sampling… there are so many variables to account for.  And, of course, the measured rate of relative sea-level rise in one region cannot necessarily be directly applied to another geographic region.  There are so many variables, it makes your head spin!  But measuring techniques are getting better – everything from GPS to fossil foraminifera, scientists are making progress.

Students – definitely check out the multimedia interactive included in the New York Times article Rising Seas, Vanishing Coastlines.

My favorite talk of the day was by Dr. Hal Wanless of the University of Miami (full disclosure – I attended UM-RSMAS for graduate school and know Dr. Wanless from “back in the day”).  In addition to catching up with Dr. Wanless over breakfast, I really enjoyed hearing his talk about the south Florida platform and pulses of sea-level rise being measured from samples collected in the Florida Everglades.  In fact, Dr. Wanless even included data from Sarah Gelsanliter, one of my office mates in graduate school!  What everyone should remember from this talk – since 1930, there has been a 10-inch rise in south Florida sea level (Yikes! A little too quick for comfort for me).

At the end of the day, the group agreed there are components of sea-level rise we have consensus on, and some parts that we do not.  We still have alot of work to do, and we need to continue to communicate as clearly as possible what we do know.

Did I say “end of the day”?  OK, one last event was the poster session.  More on the posters in tomorrow’s recap!  Tomorrow’s talks will be a series of case studies focusing on the coastal response to accelerated sea-level rise and variations in sediment supply.

One more haunting fact to leave you with… there is a true acceleration of sea-level rise, a five- to six-fold increase on the past couple of centuries.  Double yikes.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Categories

Follow me on Instagram

Such a high point during this REU for my #DrawdownPennState Scholar Anna - she had the opportunity to interview @DrKWilkinson from @ProjectDrawdown! Stay tuned for Anna’s podcast series on Drawdown solutions in Pennsylvania. cc @pennstateengineering #UndergraduateResearch #DrawdownScholar #DrawdownBrandywine (thanks to @vairolibrarypsu and @psumediacommons for the recording space!)
Fabrics have been selected for my next #quilting project! Hope to have this one finished in two weeks - shouldn’t be a problem, as long as I stick to these #fabrics and stop swapping them out! Cutting starts tomorrow! I hope people will be surprised with the final outcome of this one... not a coastal optimism quilt this time, but still connects to Earth Science. Fabrics from @joann_stores and @spoonflower #quiltingproject
We have moved into the whiteboard stage of planning the first podcast that #DrawdownScholar Anna will produce! We were able to complete two interviews with coastal/marine scientists yesterday, so we re-listened to those recorded files to map out which audio pieces she'll highlight (the COMPASS Message Box has been very helpful with this stage). As The Ocean is the newest @ProjectDrawdown sector, there isn't much information online highlighting the solutions. But when you speak to marine scientists - wow, you'll hear more than you expected about the ocean and why it matters when addressing global warming! Anna starts recording her narration next week, and fingers-crossed, we'll have our first edited version of the first podcast ready to test with listeners (the amazing faculty/staff of @vairolibrarypsu)! #DrawdownPennState #DrawdownBrandywine #UndergraduateResearch @pennstateengineering
Summer undergraduate research provides mentor and mentee several opportunities to celebrate successes and milestones during the research process. Today, @PSUBrandywine #DrawdownScholar Anna recorded her first two scientist interviews for her podcast series (yay!). Yet I brought in the cupcakes today not only to celebrate the professional but also the personal accomplishments she has completed already with the #DrawdownPennState REU program - and we're just wrapping up Week 2! #DrawdownBrandywine #UndergraduateResearch @pennstateengineering #cupcakes #cupcakesofinstagram #instacupcakes
With the door closed, some students on campus think this is a telephone booth! Actually, it is one of the great gems in the @psubrandywine @vairolibrarypsu @psumediacommons - the Whisper Booth! Brandywine’s @ProjectDrawdown Scholar Anna is going to be recording her audio narratives for her podcasts in this space (fortunately, she is not claustrophobic!) #DrawdownScholar #DrawdownPennState #DrawdownBrandywine @psutlt #UndergraduateResearch @pennstateengineering
%d bloggers like this: