Topic: Climate Change

PLOS ONE
September, 2013

Joshua E. Cinner, Cindy Huchery, Emily S. Darling, Austin T. Humphries, Nicholas A.J. Graham, Christina C. Hicks, Nadine Marshall, and Tim R. McClanahan. 

There is an increasing need to evaluate the links between the social and ecological dimensions of human vulnerability to climate change. We use an empirical case study of 12 coastal communities and associated coral reefs in Kenya to assess and compare five key ecological and social components of the vulnerability of coastal social-ecological systems to temperature induced coral mortality. We examined whether ecological components of vulnerability varied between government operated no-take marine reserves, community-based reserves, and openly fished areas. Overall, fished sites were marginally more vulnerable than community-based and government marine reserves. Social sensitivity was indicated by the occupational composition of each community, including the importance of fishing relative to other occupations, as well as the susceptibility of different fishing gears to the effects of coral bleaching on target fish species. Together, these results show that different communities have relative strengths and weaknesses in terms of social-ecological vulnerability to climate change.

Human Ecology
August, 2013

Louisa S. Evans, Christina C. Hicks, Pedro Fidelman, Renae C. Tobin, and Allison L. Perry.

Climate change is a significant future driver of change in coastal social-ecological systems. Our knowledge of impacts, adaptation options, and possible outcomes for marine environments and coastal industries is expanding, but remains limited and uncertain. Alternative scenarios are a way to explore potential futures under a range of conditions. We developed four alternative future scenarios for the Great Barrier Reef and its fishing and tourism industries positing moderate and more extreme (2–3°C above pre-industrial temperatures) warming for 2050 and contrasting ‘limited’ and ‘ideal’ ecological and social adaptation. We presented these scenarios to representatives of key stakeholder groups to assess the perceived viability of different social adaptation options to deliver desirable outcomes under varied contexts.

National Climate Assessment Regional Technical Input Series
May, 2013

Kristen Averyt, Levi D. Brekke, David E. Busch, Laurna Kaatz, Leigh Welling, and Eric H. Hartge (Edited by Gregg Garfin, Angela Jardine, Robert Merideth, Mary Black, and Sarah LeRoy). 

Developed to inform the 2013 National Climate Assessment, this is a landmark study in terms of its breadth and depth of coverage. This book provides the most comprehensive, and understandable, analysis to date about climate and its effects on the people and landscapes of Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah—including the U.S.-Mexico border region and the lands of Native Nations. This book should appeal to local, state, and federal policy- and decision-makers; resource and land managers land-use planners; government officials; academics and professionals in environmental science; and any environmental advocates. Moving Forward with Imperfect Information connects the discussions from other chapters about scientific uncertainties, monitoring deficiencies, and data challenges; summarizes the scope of what is known and not known about the region’s climate; outlines uncertainties that can impede adaptation to the impacts of climate change; and discusses climate models and scenarios of the future.

National Climate Assessment Regional Technical Input Series
May, 2013

Meg R. Caldwell, Eric H. Hartge, Lesley C. Ewing, Gary Griggs, Ryan P. Kelly, Susanne C. Moser, Sarah G. Newkirk, Rebecca A. Smyth, and C. Brock Woodson (Edited by Gregg Garfin, Angela Jardine, Robert Merideth, Mary Black, and Sarah LeRoy).

Developed to inform the 2013 National Climate Assessment, this is a landmark study in terms of its breadth and depth of coverage. This book provides the most comprehensive, and understandable, analysis to date about climate and its effects on the people and landscapes of Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah—including the U.S.-Mexico border region and the lands of Native Nations. This book should appeal to local, state, and federal policy- and decision-makers; resource and land managers land-use planners; government officials; academics and professionals in environmental science; and any environmental advocates. Coastal Issues looks at how climate change might affect coastal areas — via sea-level rise, erosion, storm surges, and oceanographic changes (nutrient upwelling, acidification, or oxygen depletion) — and discusses potential management options, such as infrastructure changes, insurance incentives, land-use restrictions, and other means to reduce climate-related vulnerabilities and impacts.

Harvard Environmental Law Review
May, 2013

Ryan P. Kelly and Meg R. Caldwell

The ocean is becoming more acidic worldwide as a result of increasing atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (“CO2”) and other pollutants. This fundamental change is likely to have substantial ecological and economic consequences globally. In this Article, we provide a toolbox for understanding and addressing the drivers of ocean acidification. We begin with an overview of the relevant science, highlighting known causes of chemical change in the coastal ocean. Because of the difficulties associated with controlling diffuse atmospheric pollutants such as CO2, we then focus on controlling smaller-scale agents of acidification, discussing ten legal and policy tools that state government agencies can use to mitigate the problem. This bottom-up approach does not solve the global CO2 problem, but instead offers a more immediate means of addressing the challenges of a rapidly changing ocean. States have ample legal authority to address many of the causes of ocean acidification; what remains is to implement that authority to safeguard our iconic coastal resources. 

State of the World 2013: Is Sustainability Still Possible?
April, 2013

Antonia Sohn and Larry B. Crowder

In State of the World 2013: Is Sustainability Still Possible?, experts define clear sustainability metrics and examine various policies and perspectives, including geoengineering, corporate transformation, and changes in agricultural policy, that could put us on the path to prosperity without diminishing the well-being of future generations. State of the World 2013 cuts through the rhetoric surrounding sustainability, offering a broad and realistic look at how close we are to fulfilling it today and which practices and policies will steer us in the right direction.

FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Circular No. 1082
January, 2013

Joshua Cinner, Tim McClanahan, Andrew Wamukota, Emily Darling, Austin Humphries, Christina Hicks, Cindy Huchery, Nadine Marshall, Tessa Hempson, Nick Graham, Örjan Bodin, Tim Daw, and Eddie Allison.

This circular examines the vulnerability of coral reef social-ecological communities to one effect of climate change, coral bleaching. The objective was to develop and test in Kenya a community-level vulnerability assessment approach that incorporated both ecological and socio-economic dimensions of vulnerability in order to target and guide interventions to reduce vulnerability. The analysis presented in this circular combined ecological vulnerability (social exposure), social sensitivity and social adaptive capacity into an index of social-ecological vulnerability to coral bleaching. Comparison over time showed that adaptive capacity and sensitivity indices increased from 2008 until 2012 owing to increases in community infrastructure and availability of credit. Disaggregated analysis of how adaptive capacity and sensitivity varied between different segments of society identified the young, migrants and those who do not participate in decision-making as having both higher sensitivity and lower adaptive capacity and, hence, as being the most vulnerable to changes in the productivity of reef fisheries.

The Environmental Forum
November, 2012

Ryan Kelly and Meg Caldwell

A rising tide of acidity is overwhelming the global ocean. Estuaries and near-shore waters fall under the jurisdiction of states and the federal government, mandating treatment under the Clean Water Act (CWA), but criteria for action are uncertain and unclear. The acidity of the marine environment has increased by roughly a third since 1750, changing chemical processes vital to life, including shell and coral formation and the growth of bony structures in fish. This massive change in ocean chemistry is a growing water quality problem that focuses attention on the surprisingly difficult business of determining whether and how a particular water quality standard has been violated. Such attention brings with it a larger question of whether water quality criteria are legally sufficient under the CWA if they are difficult or impossible to test as a practical matter, and highlights the changing role of the act as it is used to combat a new class of water pollution.

November, 2012

Ryan Kelly and Jenny Grote Stoutenburg with Meg Caldwell.

In response to the organizer's of the Washington State's Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification, the Center for Ocean Solutions (COS) contributed a legal and policy analysis to support the Panel's deliberations. The charge was to provide a toolbox of existing and potential options for combating acidification in Washington's State waters that the Panel could consider in its final policy recommendations. On Nov. 27, 2012, the Blue Ribbon Panel announced its recommendations which included a copy of this report.

Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
October, 2012

Jamie F. Dunckley, Jeffrey R. Koseff, Jonah V. Steinbuck, Stephen G. Monismith, and Amatzia Genin.

Due to the many difficulties associated with measuring buoyancy flux directly in the field, parameterizations for the flux involving eddy diffusivities are commonly used. These parameterizations are often cast in terms of a mixing efficiency (Γ), which itself is often assumed to be a constant throughout the water column (0.17–0.2). Alternatively, Γ can be calculated in terms of turbulence parameters which attempt to capture the varying mixing dynamics throughout the water column. In this paper three separate parameterizations are used to calculate the eddy diffusivities in a dynamically evolving stratified water column in the Gulf of Aqaba. Furthermore, we use two different approaches for calculating Γ by Ivey and Imberger (1991) and Shih et al. (2005) for these diffusivity parameterizations and compare the results obtained using each approach.