SECC scientists are approaching coastal research through an interdisciplinary approach that incorporates impacts, vulnerability, and response.  The group is interested in questions concerning coastal community vulnerability to climate variability and change, progress in climate risk management, and adaptation options.

In the past, the SECC has supported the work of the Southeast and Caribbean Climate Community of Practice (CoP). This group brings together individuals from local, state, and federal governments, academia, non-profit organizations and the private sector to apply climate science and assess how coastal communities and ecosystems can adapt to the impacts of climate variability and change. The CoP provides a forum for sharing lessons learned and best practices related to climate communication and adaptation. The CoP also provides education and networking opportunities to its members and their stakeholders to increase knowledge and awareness of climate science and to coordinate and perform outreach, extension and communication related to climate change and its impacts in the Southeast and Caribbean region.

Coastal research has also been conducted on coastal property law in conjunction with the UF Levin College of Law, Florida Sea Grant, and the Florida Climate Institute.

The SECC Coastal research group is interested in expanding partnerships to achieve our goals. In the future, the SECC plans to move coastal research into three new areas:
1. South Florida: The Miami Beach Sea Level Rise Initiative
2. Georgia Coastline: The Tybee Island Sea Level Rise Adaptation Plan & The St. Marys and Hyde County Flood Resiliency Plans
3. Gulf of Mexico: Apalachicola Bay

Future coastal engagement will focus on the co-development of tools, models, and scenarios to build interaction and learning across research-practitioner communities. This will be similar to the approach taken to develop the SECC’s other successful tools in the agricultural and climate sectors.

Collaborative modeling will be the focus of creating a coastal community working group. Issues discussed will center on sustainable livelihoods and the role of decision support including early warning systems for nutrient loading and water retention and releases upstream and possible future scenarios under climate and policy change. Engagement processes within coastal groups will be comparatively examined in related to existing SECC climate learning communities.

132The SECC will be engaging directly with the Southeast & Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico Climate Outreach Community of Practice by finding ways to serve this CoP’s needs related to climate and adaptation, especially as it relates to sea level rise and community resiliency planning. The SECC will work to develop platforms for sharing lessons learned about adaptation tools and processes.

Screen Shot 2014-10-09 at 9.54.51 AMBuilding coastal community resilience in Tybee Island, GA, and Miami Beach, FL is already underway. This report by the Union of Concerned Scientists highlights sea level rise threats to the East and Gulf Coast Communities, and responses of some communities: “Organizations in Georgia that are collaborating on solutions, such as the Carl Vinson Institute, Georgia Sea Grant, and the state’s Coastal Management Program, can provide leadership and vision for other such efforts nationwide.”

 The SECC will be partnering with Georgia Sea Grant and UGA Marine Extension as they engage with coastal governments in Georgia. One of the SECC’s key contributions in this partnership will be providing much-needed linkages to state climatologists and experts as well as venues for exchanging methods and tools with existing SECC partners. Tool development for coastal communities will be a focus for the future work of the SECC.

Below is a summary of existing tools, reports and resources compiled by Georgia Sea Grant to aid climate-related research and adaptation efforts in coastal regions.

Tools to support decision-making:

Georgia Coastal Hazards Portal by Skidaway Institute of Oceanography

Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding Impacts Viewer by NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management

Youtube video about this tool:

C-CAP Land Cover Atlas by NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management (land-use change on a county by bounty basis from 1996-2010)

Surging Seas Risk Finder by Climate Central

Networks of climate scientists and practitioners:

Gulf of Mexico Climate Outreach Community of Practice

Southeast and Caribbean Climate Community of Practice 

Georgia Coastal Hazards Community of Practice

Georgia Initiative for Climate and Society at the University of Georgia

Tybee Island King Tide Project

Sea level rise reports:

National Climate Assessment – Coastal section and Southeast section (U.S. Global Change Research Program, 2014)

Sea Level Rise and Nuisance Flood Frequency Changes around the United States (NOAA, 2014)

Georgia and the Surging Sea: A vulnerability assessment with projections for sea level rise and coastal flood risk (Climate Central, 2014)

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Assessment Report (IPCC, 2013)

Global Sea Level Rise Scenarios for the United States National Climate Assessment (NOAA, 2012)

Tracking the Effects of Sea Level Rise in Georgia’s Coastal Communities (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2012)

Sea Level Changes in the Southeastern United States (University of South Florida, 2011)

A Unified Sea Level Rise Projection for Southeast Florida (SE FL Climate Change Compact, 2011)

Climate adaptation guides:

Planning for Sea Level Rise by Georgia Sea Grant

Adaptation Tool Kit: Sea-Level Rise and Coastal Land Use How Governments Can Use Land-Use Practices to Adapt to Sea-Level Rise (Georgetown Climate Center, 2011)

Being Prepared for Climate Change: A Workshop for Developing Risk-Based Adaptation Plans (EPA, 2014)

The Role of Extension in Climate Adaptation in the United States (NOAA Sea Grant and National Institute of Food and Agriculture, 2013)

Impacts and Adaptation Options in the Gulf Coast (Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, 2012) 

Technology Needs Assessment Handbook on Coastal Erosion Flooding (University of Southampton for the United Nations Environment Programme, 2010)

Flood insurance references:

FEMA’s Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 Website

Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 Fact Sheet

National Flood Insurance Program’s Community Rating System

Find Your Flood Risk by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division