U.S. CLIVAR has recently released a white paper addendum to their Science Plan, introducing their Research Challenge on Climate at the Coasts. U.S. CLIVAR is supported by NOAA, including CPO’s Modeling, Analysis, Predictions, and Projections (MAPP) and Climate Variability and Predictability (CVP) programs. The white paper identifies opportunities for the United States to increase its understanding of coasts as a complex system, one that is becoming increasingly vulnerable to both extreme weather and climate change. Many of the opportunities highlighted align with current CPO activities and competitions.
Home to thirteen of the twenty largest metropolitan areas in the United States, our nation’s coasts face hurricanes, sea level rise, coastal erosion, natural resource depletion and more. While coastal challenges are inherently interdisciplinary and broader than any single agency can address, NOAA is a key player included in U.S. CLIVAR’s discussion of program coordination. In fact, CPO’s Climate Risk Areas Initiative is highlighted within the paper itself as a means to address pressing areas of concern, including coastal inundation and marine ecosystems, in an integrative and interdisciplinary manner.
The white paper defines the scope of the research challenge and potential priorities into two main areas:
- improved understanding and forecasting of climate-related events and long-term changes that impact U.S. coasts, with an emphasis on coastal ecosystems, coupled circulation, and impacts; and
- conceptualizing coasts as natural-human systems, understanding the uses and needs for climate information for coastal resource management, economic endeavors, and resilience planning.
CPO programs have already made significant investments in tackling both of these challenges. In Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20), the CVP and MAPP programs both held competitions for research and modeling to support the needs of NOAA fisheries (see here and here, respectively) with 16 ongoing projects. That same year, CVP also funded three projects with a focus on coastal impacts and sea level extremes on the U.S. East Coast.
MAPP and the Climate Observations and Monitoring (COM) program are part of CPO’s Marine Ecosystem Risk Team, which recently released the National Marine Sanctuary Climate Change Science Priorities workshop report. Additionally, there are ongoing efforts across the programs relevant to coastal resource areas, including projects on sea level rise, regional modeling, extreme climate events, and coastal monitoring.
CPO has two FY22 competitions focused on coastal research as well: Improving Climate Understanding and Information for Marine Sanctuary Management Planning (CPO/COM, MAPP, and CSI) and Understanding Multi-stressor Impacts on Marine Ecosystems Under Climate Change (NCCOS, CPO/MAPP, and OAP).