The UF Department of Soil and Water Sciences and UF/IFAS Extension Service recently released a new report about climate change in Florida in a reader-friendly, science-based Q&A format. 

Some of the questions addressed in the publication include: 

  • How do we know the climate is changing?
  • What are greenhouse gasses and where do they come from?
  • Is climate changing in Florida, and what are the long-term projections?
  • Why are sea levels rising?

The document stemmed from a project the team worked on last year with Thriving Earth Exchange. Residents and employees of the city of Hallandale Beach attended a forum with the aim to increase climate literacy for the city staff. At the forum, staff members had the opportunity to ask questions about climate change directly to scientists.   

The announcement of the publication and the full pdf are both available online.

In Northeast Florida, a new resource is educating local stakeholders about coastal hazards and vulnerabilities. The "Regional Resilience Exposure Tool," licensed by the Northeast Florida Regional Council (NEFRC) and developed by Taylor Engineering, allows local residents, business owners, and government actors to determine if resources are exposed to specific coastal hazards. In addition to coastal flood layers, the tool features other data layers relating to demographic and social measures that can be visualized in a variety of ways.

The Regional Resilience Exposure Tool (R2ET) is intended to function as a base-line resource for citizens, businesses, and governmental actors to kickstart conversations about sea level rise and emergency preparedness. Utilizing this tool, as well as other community engagement resources offered by the Northeast Florida Regional Council, local communities can have better-informed conversations about building a resilient future. The tool has been utilized to support data and analysis sections of local government comprehensive plans, and is currently being used to better inform the work of the Jacksonville City Council, Special Committee on Resiliency.

To check the exposure of a local community asset in Northeast Florida, visit the official webpage for the Regional Resilience Exposure Tool.

Looking for a professional development opportunity this fall? The National Network for Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation (www.nnocci.org) is offering an online course on effective climate messaging. NNOCCI's Crash Course in strategic framing and effective climate change communication is a 6-week, 25-hour, fee-based online course open to any climate communicator or researcher interested in improving their communication skills. In the Crash Course, you'll learn basic framing elements including why framing matters, what is NNOCCI, values, metaphors, and solutions.

NNOCCI is a supportive community of practice that uses and teaches evidence-based tools to inspire hope and action on climate change. Through the course, you will connect with colleagues from across the country in this incredible Network. Together, we're working to change the national conversation around climate change to be more positive, productive and solutions-focused.

Registration for the fall crash course will remain open until September 18, 2020. The course takes place from October 11 to November 15, and the registration fee is $249 per person. Discounts are available for organizations with multiple participants.

Learn more and register for the course.

Seminole State College of Florida now offers a fully online post-baccalaureate certificate in Sustainability Management. The certificate is open to anyone with a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution. Sustainability has moved beyond a mere buzzword to become a growing industry with loads of career potential as more organizations are implementing sustainability programs as part of their business model. Through the Sustainability Management Certificate of Professional Preparation, bachelor's degree holders can enhance or build their skills with training that will allow them to help companies incorporate sustainability efforts into their business goals to benefit their bottom line, and the planet. Contact Dr. Chris Boehner at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

As the demand for more accurate regional weather and seasonal predictions as well as climate projections increases, the need to improve the weather and climate models that underpin those predictions and projections becomes more urgent. In recognition of the essential role model development plays to weather and climate science, the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) and the World Weather Research Programme (WWRP) are seeking nominations for the "WCRP/WWRP International Prize for Model Development". The prize is awarded annually to an early- to mid-career researcher for an outstanding contribution to model development for the Earth System, its components, and their coupling. It comprises a certificate signed by the Chairs of the WCRP Joint Scientific Committee and WWRP Scientific Steering Committee as well as funding for the recipient to present the results of their research at a major relevant conference or meeting of their choice.

The WCRP/WWRP International Prize for Model Development was established in 2014. Since 2016, it is awarded in conjunction with the “WCRP/GCOS International Data Prize”. Together, these two prizes for notable achievements in model and data development aim to honour, recognize, and foster research activities in their respective fields, as well as stress their mutual interdependence.

Candidates should:

  1. Be within the first ten years of their career as measured by receipt of a PhD or equivalent highest qualification
  2. Have made a significant contribution to the development of a model with a demonstrable impact on the model results
  3. Have made a significant contribution to the wider community such as publications, editorships, organizing/convening activities, operational implementation or strong engagement in national and international modeling programs.

Selection process:
Nominate candidates by filling in the nomination form (.docx). This includes a statement from the proposer (preferably a person with a good knowledge of the candidates work) as well as from a seconder. These statements should specifically address the above criteria. This should be supported by up to 3 papers or technical notes documenting the model improvement and evidence of the candidate’s individual contribution, as well as the candidate’s CV.

Nominations should be sent by email to WCRP (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and WWRP (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) offices and must be received before 30 September 2020. The winner will be announced within 10 weeks of the nomination closing date.

By invitation of the Risk Management and Decision Processes Center at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, Thomas Ruppert, with Florida Sea Grant, contributed to the fifth Digital Dialogue on "Scaling up Coastal Ecosystem Protection." He joins thirteen other experts to discuss financial measures and policies that are most successful for scaling up coastal ecosystem protection. His segment is a drastically shortened version of the book chapter "Take Out the Trash When You Leave: Cleaning Up Properties Abandoned to Rising Seas," which will appear in the forthcoming book "A Blueprint for Coastal Adaptation" by Island Press. Digital Dialogues, hosted by the Risk Management and Decision Processes Center at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, are short and concise summaries of policy innovations addressing large, critical problems facing society.

If you are looking for climate-related educational materials for your classes, this list includes many freely available resources on a range of climate science topics, including short and long videos that feature leading climate scientists from the U.S. and world, as well as books and other reading materials.
  • PBS Digital Series "Global Weirding", with Dr. Katharine Hayhoe of Texas Tech University. The series includes over 30 short videos on a range of climate science topics, including a video on climate impacts in the Southeast U.S.
  • YouTube channel that includes over 200 lectures, talks, and interviews given by Dr. Katharine Hayhoe.
  • Denial 101x, which features conversations with dozens of top climate scientists from around the world who dive deeper into specific scientific topics.
  • The Thinking Person's Guide to Climate Change, by Bob Henson, a climate blogger at Weather Underground and a former science writer at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.
  • Fourth National Climate Assessment Volume I and Volume II, by the U.S. Global Change Research Program.
  • Amazon reading list assembled by Dr. Katharine Hayhoe of Texas Tech University.

The article "Roads to Nowhere in Four States: State and Local Governments in the Atlantic Southeast Facing Sea-Level Rise", an assessment of coastal communities facing sea level rise and flooding co-authored by FCI affiliate Thomas Ruppert with Florida Sea Grant, has received further recognition. In addition to being selected as one of the top 4 environmental law articles by Vanderbilt Law and the Environmental Law and Policy Annual Review (ELPAR), the article was recognized as one of the top 15 environmental law articles of the year by the Thomson Reuters/West Publishing 2020 Land Use & Environment Law Review. "Roads to Nowhere in Four States" is the only article appearing in both the top 7 finishers in the Vanderbilt Law and ELPAR award and the top 20 in the Thomson Reuters/West Publishing 2020 Land Use & Environment Law Review.

In addition, the "Coastal Conundrum" podcast, part of the American Shoreline Podcast Network, released the "Road to Nowhere-The Legal Issues Behind Climate Adaptation" podcast on August 12. The podcast features lead author Shana Jones, of Georgia Sea Grant & Vinson Institute for Government, and Thomas Ruppert discussing the legal issues addressed in the article. Listen to this insightful podcast as well as other podcasts on the American Shoreline Podcast Network.

 
The 5th Annual Climate Communications Summit, held Oct. 29th in Gainesville, included workshops on effective communication strategies and on podcasting. Below are links to videos from the event.

The proposed Florida Climate Assessment will:

  • Produce a strategic tool with standards, data, analyses, and thresholds for use in planning, decision-making, setting research agendas, and use in public policy and legislation
  • Ensure resiliency decisions are informed by the best available science through an iterative, stakeholder driven process that is easily updated and user-focused
  • Use the best science in a manner that is responsive, supportive, and critical focusing on systems and not separate sectors
  • Improve relationships between knowledge producers and users and yield better decisions and outcomes to build capacity and overcome barriers

We want to know your thoughts on the proposed Florida Climate Assessment and its potential value to your work and to the state of Florida. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and please include your name, contact information, affiliation, and position.

The Coastal Planning Program newsletter contains valuable science, policy, planning, risk and insurance, and economics resources for anyone working on coastal resiliency and planning in Florida and beyond. To check out the Sea Grant Coastal Planning page go to http://www.flseagrant.org/climate-change/coastalplanning/. Or, Please send an email to Thomas Ruppert requesting to be added to the newsletter mailing list.

July 2, 2019 (By Kirsty Scandrett, University of Florida) - New research, published in Journal of Applied Ecology maps the peak temperatures for the establishment of citrus greening disease.

Credit: Taylor RA, Ryan SJ, Lippi CA, et al. Predicting the fundamental thermal niche of crop pests and diseases in a changing world: A case study on citrus greening, Journal of Applied Ecology, DOI: 10.1111/1365- 2664.13455

Orange juice is a staple on many breakfast tables, but the future availability of citrus products is threatened by the global spread of Huanglongbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening disease. The bacterium responsible for causing citrus greening prevents the formation of commercially viable fruit and is transmitted by an insect called the Asian citrus psyllid. Both the pathogen and the insect vector have been spreading in recent years, devastating regions famous for high citrus production and threatening the future of the citrus industry. As citrus greening becomes an increasing threat to growers worldwide, the future of the industry may depend on identifying locations that do not have a high risk of production collapse.

Read the full article.

DELAND, FLA, JUNE 26, 2019 -- Stetson University has named Jason Evans, Ph.D., as the interim executive director of the Institute for Water and Environmental Resilience (IWER). His role begins on Aug. 15. Evans will fill the position while Stetson searches for a permanent replacement for Clay Henderson, J.D., who is retiring. Evans is an associate professor of environmental science and studies at Stetson as well as faculty director of IWER. Henderson’s Stetson accomplishments include developing and organizing IWER and its staff, including the advisory and faculty steering committees, affiliate faculty and endowment; creating and administering the Sustainable Farming Fund to incentivize sustainable agriculture in the Suwannee River basin; and planning and conducting fundraising associated with the Sandra Stetson Aquatic Center. Read the article.

June 16, 2019 (Source: Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco) -- Climate change is already causing disruption to regional economic activity. Low-to-moderate income populations are highly vulnerable to these impacts, in part, because they often have fewer resources to adapt. The stability and prosperity of local economies in the face of climate change depends on how well the public, private, and civic sectors can come together to respond to the shocks and stresses of climate change. Collaborative efforts to fund climate adaptation not only reduce the burden on highly vulnerable populations, but they also offer the opportunity for co-benefits within a broader portfolio of community development ambitions.

This report introduces the field of climate adaptation finance and explains its connection to the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) within the context of the disaster provisions guiding pre- and post-disaster investments. In a demonstration of need, the report provides evidence of the spatial concentration of disaster declarations in areas with CRA-eligible populations. It highlights existing innovative and hypothetical investments within a broader context for stimulating greater pre-disaster planning and investment.

Community development practitioners, investors and policymakers will find this report useful for sparking new ideas about how to develop partnerships and funding streams for CRA-eligible activities—in both eligible communities and areas within a federal disaster declaration—that will reduce the vulnerability and increase the adaptive capacity of communities to the impacts of climate change.

Article Citation

Keenan, Jesse M, and Elizabeth Mattiuzzi. 2019. “Climate Adaptation Investment and the Community Reinvestment Act,” Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Community Development Research Brief 2019-5. Available at https://doi.org/10.24148/cdrb2019-05

June 2019 - The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has launched a new interactive algal bloom dashboard. This dashboard is a visual enhancement to the state's existing sampling slate. This data has been publicly available on DEP's website, but previously did not allow the public to easily see where algal blooms were occurring in Florida, in real time. The algal bloom dashboard features real-time updates of sample locations for up to 90 days and all available details related to those samples, such as photos and toxin information. Users can search by specific address, zip code, city or place. The tool includes quick links to other resources such as public health information.

June 2019 - Coral reef managers are faced with a crisis: deteriorating environmental conditions are reducing the health and functioning of coral reef ecosystems worldwide. These threats compound the persistent local stresses coral reefs have experienced for decades from pollution, overfishing, and habitat destruction. Established approaches for managing coral reefs are neither sufficient, nor designed, to preserve corals in a changing climate. A growing body of research on “coral interventions” aims to increase the ability of coral reefs to persist in rapidly degrading environmental conditions. Those interventions include activities that affect the genetics, reproduction, physiology, ecology, or local environment of corals or coral populations. A first report, released by the National Academy of Sciences in November 2018, reviewed the current state of the science for 23 novel interventions. This report provides a decision framework to help managers assess and implement interventions that are suitable for their region and goals. Get the report.

May 2019 -  Michael Volk, Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture, and Dr. Gail Hansen, Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Horticulture at the University of Florida, have been awarded a California Landscape Architectural Student Scholarship (CLASS) Fund Research Award from the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA).

This one-year project, entitled Future Landscape Professionals of the Anthropocene, will collect data on college curricula, teaching methods, and attitudes of students and teachers to identify and evaluate best practices for integrating climate change and climate-wise design strategies into landscape architecture and horticulture programs.The research team includes Dr. Belinda B. Nettles, Research Affiliate with the University of Florida's Center for Landscape Conservation Planning, and Isabella Guttuso, a Master of Landscape Architecture student. Project results will be posted on the Center for Landscape Conservation Planning's website Landscape Change. This website is part of the Center's broad initiative to advance climate-wise design and information sharing among landscape professionals.

May 2019 (Source: UF/IFAS News) Governor Ron DeSantis announced in April that University of Florida scientist Tom Frazer will be the state's first Chief Science Officer. Frazer will lead efforts to address some of Florida's most critical environmental challenges, including red tide and harmful algal blooms, which have impacted millions of Floridians, said Jack Payne, Working with the governor's staff, state agencies and a state-wide task force, Frazer will work to find science-based solutions to environmental issues important to Florida residents, according to a statement from the governor's office. "It's a great honor to be asked to serve in this role, and I'm ready to start working with state leaders and our best researchers to protect our water and our environment," Frazer said. This won't be the first time Frazer has headed a diverse team to tackle complex problems. As director of the UF/IFAS School of Natural Resources and Environment, Frazer led faculty members from 56 departments across 12 colleges, who worked on issues ranging from transitioning to renewable energy systems, preventing pollution, protecting biodiversity and climate change. Frazer will retain his faculty appointment at UF while serving as Chief Science Officer.  Read the article.

April 2019 - A recently published book by Diana Mitsova and Ann-Margaret Esnard, Geospatial Applications for Climate Adaptation Planning, presents an overview of the range of strategies, tools, and techniques that must be used to assess myriad overlapping vulnerabilities and to formulate appropriate climate-relevant solutions at multiple scales and in varying contexts. Each chapter is grounded in the literature and presents case studies designed by the authors, as well as many examples from a diverse international group of scholars and entities in the public and private sectors. Areas covered include: Climate Change and Climate Adaptation Planning: Context and Concepts Geospatial Technologies: Fundamentals and Terminology GIS and Climate Vulnerability Assessments Technical Approaches to Formulating Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies Geospatial Applications for Climate Adaptation Planning is aimed at advanced students, researchers, and entities in the public and private sectors. It also provides supplementary reading for courses in planning, public administration, policy studies, and disaster management.