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Adapting to Sea Level Rise Joseph F. Bouchard, Ph.D. Captain, U.S. Navy (Ret.) Presentation to the Virginia Ship Repair Association June 21, 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "Adapting to Sea Level Rise Joseph F. Bouchard, Ph.D. Captain, U.S. Navy (Ret.) Presentation to the Virginia Ship Repair Association June 21, 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 Adapting to Sea Level Rise Joseph F. Bouchard, Ph.D. Captain, U.S. Navy (Ret.) Presentation to the Virginia Ship Repair Association June 21, 2011

2 Overview Impact of Sea Level Rise Adaptation Strategies Adaptation Efforts in Hampton Roads

3 Source: Chesapeake Bay Program Science and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC), “Climate Change and the Chesapeake Bay: State-of-the-Science Review and Recommendations,” April 21, 2008, pp. 18, 81. Focus on Sea Level Rise Projected increase through 2100: About 0.7 to 1.6 m (2' 4" to 5' 3") The Historical Record: Sea Level Rise in Chesapeake Bay

4 Source: John Boon, Ph.d., “Sea Coast And Sea Level Trends,” 2008, pp. 4, 5. Dr. Boon is Professor Emeritus, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary, School of Marine Science Sea Level Rise in Chesapeake Bay Is It Accelerating?

5 The Coastal Vulnerability Index shows the relative vulnerability of the coast to future rise in sea-level. Most of the Virginia Coast is Very High Risk. Source: US Geologic Survey, “National Assessment of Coastal Vulnerability to Sea-Level Rise: Preliminary Results for the U.S. Atlantic Coast,” U.S. Geological Survey Open- File Report E. Robert Thieler and Erika S. Hammar-Klose, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, USGS Coastal Vulnerability Index

6 U.S. Climate Change Science Program, Coastal Sensitivity to Sea-level Rise: A Focus on the Mid-Atlantic Region, pp. 1-2 January 16, Rising sea level and the potential for stronger storms pose an increasing threat to coastal cities, residential communities, infrastructure, beaches, wetlands, and ecosystems. The potential impacts to the United States extend across the entire country: ports provide gateways for transport of goods domestically and abroad; coastal resorts and beaches are central to the U.S. economy; wetlands provide valuable ecosystem services such as water filtering and spawning grounds for commercially important fisheries. In the mid-Atlantic region from New York to North Carolina, tide-gauge observations indicate that relative sea-level rise (the combination of global sea- level rise and land subsidence) rates were higher than the global mean and generally ranged between 2.4 and 4.4 millimeters per year, or about 0.3 meters (1 foot) over the twentieth century. Mid-Atlantic Region is Especially Vulnerable

7 Risk to Hampton Roads from Sea Level Rise: #2 in the United States

8 Risk to Hampton Roads from Sea Level Rise: #10 in the World

9 Absolute vs. Relative Sea Level Change The Difference Matters a lot in Hampton Roads Absolute Observed change in sea level rise caused only by changes in sea level Relative Observed changes in sea level rise cause by two factors: Change in sea level Change in ground level Relative sea level is more important in Hampton Roads because of subsidence – the land is sinking as sea level rises Causes of subsidence: Tectonic plate tilting The Chesapeake Crater Ground water depletion

10 Impact of Sea Level Rise (I) Inundation

11 Impact of Sea Level Rise (II) Shoreline Erosion

12 Impact on the Insurance Industry The Insurance Industry is Factoring Sea Level Rise into Risk Assessments

13 Impact on Norfolk

14 Norfolk & Portsmouth Hurricane Storm Surge Sea level Rise Increases Storm Surge

15 Impact on the Virginia Beach Oceanfront Source: Skip Stiles, Wetlands Watch

16 Impact on the Northrop Grumman Shipyard

17 Governor’s Commission on Climate Change Adaptation and Sequestration Working Group Recommendations Acquire high resolution topographic data for all of coastal Virginia (LIDAR) Base all State and Local planning on: Temperature increase of approximately 3.6°F Sea level rise of 2.3 feet, but tailored to local relative sea level rise Greater instability in weather patterns and precipitation Closely monitor trends and adjust policies as necessary Adaption Recommendations

18 Adapting to Sea Level Rise: Protect

19 Adapting to Sea Level Rise Accommodate

20 Adapting to Sea Level Rise Retreat

21 Climate change will be one of the greatest challenges for Hampton Roads, the United States, and the world to deal with over the next century. Climate change is already occurring and will continue to have large impacts on populations around the world. Planning for climate change now may help mitigate its impacts while also reducing the costs of any necessary adaptation. Adaptation Efforts in Hampton Roads: Hampton Roads Planning District Commission

22 Norfolk has Launched Adaptation Planning

23 Transportation Risk Assessment

24 Hurricane Isabel Flooding at Langley AFB, September 2003 Langley Air Force Base: Protect Daily Press Langley AFB wants $5.5 million in flood protection By David Macaulay April 7, 2010 Langley Air Force Base is seeking more than $5 million in federal funds to protect it against storm surges that have caused massive damage at the base in past years. Projects: Shoreline stabilization: “Living shoreline” Replace existing seawall Reinforcement under takeoff and landing zones

25 Images Source: Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Atlantic Division https://portal.navfac.navy.mil/portal/page/portal/navfac/navfac_ww_pp/navfac_navfaclant_pp/tab36140/piers.pdf 21 feet above sea level Utilities suspended from upper deck. On old single deck piers utilities are suspended below the deck, close to the water. As sea level has risen over the last 60 years, utilities suspended beneath old single deck piers have become increasingly vulnerable to damage from sea water immersion and are less accessible for maintenance. Naval Station Norfolk Piers: Accommodate

26 We Have Been Warned! Rear Admiral David W. Titley, Ph.D. Oceanographer of the Navy Director, Task Force Climate Change “Climate Change and the U.S. Navy” December 2, 2010 Old Dominion University

27 Regardless of what you may think about the causes of climate change, remember this: Sea level rise and inundation increase can be seen and measured in Hampton Roads – they are happening now. DOD and the Navy take it seriously and are already spending hundreds of millions to adapt to sea level rise and inundation. Economic loss from failure to adapt is much greater than the cost of adaptation. Adaptation planning is long overdue. Effective adaptation plans will have an increasing impact on the competitiveness of shipyards. The Navy is already looking into the impact of inundation on shipyards and ship repair contracts. Conclusions Shipyards that adapt will win, shipyards that fail to adapt will fail.

28 Navy Task Force Assesses Changing Climate By Bob Freeman, Special to American Forces Press Service, July 31, 2009 Rapidly diminishing sea ice, melting glaciers, rising sea levels, increased storm severity -- all are possible consequences of a climate that mounting evidence suggests is changing significantly. As the scientific community works to understand the changing climate, the chief of naval operations has created a task force, headed by Rear Adm. David Titley, the Navy's senior oceanographer, to better understand and evaluate its implications for maritime security. “Task Force Climate Change was initiated … to assess the Navy’s preparedness to respond to emerging requirements, and to develop a science- based timeline for future Navy actions regarding climate change,” Titley explained in a July 28 interview. Two merchant ships transit Northeast Passage Summer 2009 Questions?

29 Climate Change in Coastal Virginia Air and Water Temperature Sea Level Rise Unstable Weather Patterns By 2080~2100 Air temperature increase of about 3.6° F, range of 2.5° F to 5.3° F Variability in precipitation patterns Frequency of extreme weather events Intensity of extreme weather events By 2100: About 1 m, range 0.7 to 1.6 m (About 3’4”, range 2' 4" to 5' 3”)

30 Major Storms in H.R.,


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