201411secompactOctober 30, 2014 - In 2011, the interagency group known as the Compact Sea Level Rise (SLR) Working Group, organized by the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact, came to an agreement on the projections for sea level rise that the Compact would use for sea level change up to the year 2060. In light of this year’s IPCC Report from NOAA, revised SLR Considerations from the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the 2014 National Climate Assessment SLR projections, the Compact SLR Working Group is now meeting again to update the projections through 2100. Led by Dr. Samantha Danchuk, P.E., Assistant Director, Environmental Planning and Community Resilience Division, Broward County, group members include representatives from several South Florida universities and municipalities, and the South Florida Water Management District.
October 21, 2014 - The College of Agriculture and Food Sciences announces that Charles Magee, Ph.D., professor of Biological and Agricultural Systems Engineering (BASE), has received a four-year grant of $800,000 from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to provide scholarships for students majoring in BASE. Starting October 1, 2014 through September 30, 2018, the BASE program will receive $200,000 per year in scholarship funds. Each year, 14-16 high school and college students will receive scholarships ranging from $8,000 to $16,000 dollars. This $800,000 scholarship award is believed to be the largest scholarship award any federal agency has given to a single academic program at FAMU.

Students interested in a BASE scholarship should contact Dr. Charles Magee at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (850) 412-5594.

Download Flyer
solisOctober 2, 2014 - Daniel Solís, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at FAMU’s College of Agriculture and Food receives the 2014 - 2015 FAMU’s Faculty Research Award for his research project: "The Effect of IFQs on the Total Productivity of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper Industry". With grant support from The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, this Agribusiness Program professor, set a goal to analyze the impact of regulations and climate variability on the technical efficiency and composition of the Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper commercial fleet. For more details, please visit: http://dsolisw.weebly.com/ 
201410compactOctober 2, 2014 - A partnership between the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact (Compact) and the Florida Climate Institute (FCI) aims to increase the effectiveness of current collaborations among Florida’s institutions of higher learning and the local governments and regional agencies of Southeast Florida. The purpose of the Partnership Agreement, signed Wednesday, October 1 in Miami, is to seek better alignment between public sector information and management needs and ongoing research objectives, to improve coordination among the parties in pursuing competitive research funding opportunities, and to assure that the best and brightest ideas emerging from Florida’s world-class institutions are well positioned for implementation in supporting Southeast Florida’s efforts to adapt to climate change and sea level rise and transition to a more resilient economy and coastal infrastructure.

Created in 2009 by forward-thinking elected officials, the Compact has emerged as one of the preeminent regional metropolitan climate change governance models nationally and globally. The collaboration and coordination across cities and counties and among federal, state, and local agencies has advanced the region rather quickly toward increased shared aspirations for greater climate resilience and reductions in regional emissions. Likewise, the Florida Climate Institute, created in 2010, is a path-breaking collaboration among eight of Florida’s world-class universities that serves as a multidisciplinary network for research and education aimed at helping Florida meet the many challenges of global climate change. Together, the Compact and FCI recognize that responsible action on global climate change will require the talents and insights of nearly every academic discipline from primary climate science to architecture, agriculture, and engineering, and from the arts and humanities to ecology and finance.
201410stormwaterOctober 1, 2014 - Dr. Ni-Bin Chang, Professor and Director of the University of Central Florida’s Stormwater Management Academy, Rahim Harji, Pinellas County’s Watershed Management Unit Manager, and Thomas Ruppert, Florida Sea Grant Coastal Planning Specialist, were awarded a grant from Florida Sea Grant titled “Coupling Risk and Resilience Assessment for Networked Sustainable Drainage Systems in a Coastal City under Climate Change Impact.” The team will assist Pinellas County to implement an effective, efficient, and resilient stormwater system in the Cross Bayou Watershed of Pinellas County that increases infrastructure resilience and robustness by incorporating low impact development (LID) controls and flood proofing technologies to harmonize existing storm sewer systems under climate change and sea-level rise scenarios.

This project is motivated by the fact that there are no standard methods/criteria/matrices to measure the sustainability of coastal stormwater sewer systems in terms of resilience and robustness in association with varying risk levels of episodic disturbances including climate variability and sea-level rise scenarios. This project proposes a new concept, the networked sustainable drainage systems, which are featured by ‘system of systems’ or "network of networks" characteristics (i.e., with cascade effect) that should be less vulnerable to flood impact under climate variability and sea-level rise. The project will provide a suite of quantitative tools and methods to build an innovative platform via coupling the risk and resilience assessment to pave a pathway for producing adaptive stormwater management strategies for Pinellas County Government. This advancement will: 1) inform the County engineering solutions to flood hazards, 2) allow Pinellas County to implement its current policies seeking to promote LID, 3) serve as a model for innovative stormwater management technique in the County, 4) incorporate climate change and sea-level rise impacts into stormwater infrastructure in the County, 5) review policies or plan of the County for a better cost-benefit-risk trade-off for stormwater management in the County, 6) deliver the final products to local and regional partners by a series of outreach activities, and 7) disseminate new knowledge to help the County optimize future planning and design of networked sustainable drainage systems.
201409grunwaldSeptember 30, 2014 - Warm temperatures and a wet landscape increase soil’s ability to store carbon, which in turn helps mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new University of Florida study covering 45 years of data.

Soil-stored carbon can slow the build-up of carbon-based gases in the atmosphere, a phenomenon believed to be a cause of global climate change. So it’s vital to preserve soil carbon, said Sabine Grunwald, a UF soil and water science professor who led the research.

201409tikeSeptember 16, 2014 - A new study by Florida State University researchers demonstrates a different way of projecting a hurricane’s strength and intensity that could give the public a better idea of a storm’s potential for destruction.

Vasu Misra, associate professor of meteorology and co-director of the Florida Climate Institute, and fourth-year doctoral student Michael Kozar introduce in the Monthly Weather Review of the American Meteorological Society a new statistical model that complements hurricane forecasting by showing the size of storms, not just the wind speed.

The model predicts the amount of integrated kinetic energy within Atlantic tropical cyclones. This kinetic energy metric is related to the overall size and strength of a storm, not just the maximum wind speed. Predictions of this metric complement existing forecasting tools, potentially allowing forecasters to better assess the risk of hurricanes that make landfall.

logo-famu-roundSeptember 4, 2014 - The FCI is pleased to welcome Florida A&M University in Tallahassee as its 8th member university! Dr. Odemari Mbuya is the branch director and Dr. Daniel Solis is the branch co-director. Both are from FAMU's College of Agriculture and Food Sciences.
201409nossSeptember 2, 2014 - This report was led by the FCI's Dr. Reed Noss and funded by the Kresge Foundation and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The study focuses on vulnerability of species and natural communities to interacting threats from sea level rise and projected land-use change (primarily urbanization), with some attention also to temperature and precipitation change. A range of adaptation options was analyzed for ca. 300 species and 30 natural communities of conservation concern.

logo-agmipAugust 29, 2014 - Thanks to co-authors Alicia Betancourt and Maia McGuire, along with contributors Libby Carnahan, JP Gellermann and Mary Campbell, the Sustainable FloridiansSM program has a new module. The module, Climate Change and Sea Level Rise, was reviewed by Libby Carnahan and Gary Mitchum (USF) and consists of a PowerPoint presentation, a pdf of the PowerPoint presentation including the notes, lesson plan/facilitator outline, evaluation and post-test, action plan, and resources list.

201408lbrAugust 29, 2014 - The Florida Climate Institute has developed the Florida CARES center request that will bring together prominent universities across the State in partnership with state and regional agencies and the business community to create an economy more resilient to risks from hurricane damage, periodic droughts and floods, higher sea levels, and future climate trends. It will develop research and deliver education programs in support of Florida’s major economic engines (e.g., tourism, agriculture, trade, transportation and coastal marine resources). Working with partners from industries and agencies, it will help develop the workforce to manage Florida’s resources while growing its economy. Florida CARES will make Florida more competitive through its collaborative research and training programs, and create marketable expertise and technologies to meet the increasing demands of the state’s future.

logo-agmipAugust 14, 2014 - To continue momentum under the Climate Data Initiative, the Obama Administration is renewing the President’s call to America’s private-sector innovators to leverage open government data and other resources to build tools that will make the U.S. and global food systems more resilient against the impacts of climate change. In response to this call, today’s launch includes a number of commitments by Federal agencies and private-sector collaborators to combat climate change and support food resilience through data-driven innovation.

The Agricultural Model Intercomparison & Improvement Program and the Center for Integrated Modeling of Sustainable Agriculture and Nutrition Security. The Agricultural Model Intercomparison & Improvement Program (AgMIP) and the Center for Integrated Modeling of Sustainable Agriculture and Nutrition Security (CIMSANS), in partnership with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), are announcing a new public-private partnership on open data and open-source code modeling to enhance the climate-resilience of food systems. The new partnership will secure the resources and expertise necessary to evaluate seven novel nutrition and sustainability metrics of global food systems, including all of the world’s important staple and non-staple foods, through the year 2050.

Monsanto. Monsanto is announcing that it will donate a multi-site/multi-year maize breeding trial dataset to open data portals maintained by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the Agricultural Model Intercomparison & Improvement Project (AgMIP). Opening these data will it make it possible for public- and private-sector scientists to improve models being used to understand how climate and water-availability changes will impact crop productivity and therefore food security. Monsanto is also partnering with a number of external scientists in the AgMIP community to improve one of the leading publicly available crop-growth simulation models (AgMaize).

Fact Sheet: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/07/29/fact-sheet-empowering-america-s-agricultural-sector-and-strengthening-fo
201408tornadoAugust 6, 2014 - New research by a Florida State University geography professor shows that climate change may be playing a key role in the strength and frequency of tornadoes hitting the United States.

Published Wednesday in the journal Climate Dynamics, Professor James Elsner writes that though tornadoes are forming fewer days per year, they are forming at a greater density and strength than ever before. So, for example, instead of one or two forming on a given day in an area, there might be three or four occurring.

201407turbinesJuly 8, 2014 - Drs. Mark Powell (NOAA/FSU) and Steve Cocke (FSU) are part of a new collaboration between NOAA and the Dept. of Energy to collect data that could lead to improved offshore wind turbine designs. Powell's efforts will involve boundary layer research, and Cocke will work on hurricane risk modelling.

FAU CES LogoJune 26, 2014 - At the latest in a series of workshops known as InTeGrate: Teaching about Risk and Resilience, educators and managers learned about transferring actionable knowledge on climate change and disaster preparedness to relevant sectors, including policy-makers and the general public.

InTeGrate, a project funded by the National Science Foundation, brought sixty professionals, including scientists and researchers, to the Florida Atlantic University (FAU) campus in Boca Raton, Florida on May 14-16, 2014. A central question in the series is, “How do we prepare students for careers where they can make useful and valuable contributions that mitigate risks and increase resilience in the face of a growing population and changing environment?” The interdisciplinary project was developed by Cathy Manduca, Director of the Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College and David Blockstein, National Council for Science and the Environment. For the May workshop Leonard Berry, Director of the Florida Center for Environmental Studies (CES) at FAU, Mantha Mehallis at FAU’s College of Business and John Taberof IRIS (Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology) joined the team to develop the workshop topic of Risk and Resilience.

In his opening keynote address, Berry set the stage by summarizing the key concepts of risk and resilience. He spoke about the work required of the community in sharing risk and the effective collaboration demonstrated by the Four County Climate Change Compact in South Florida. He advocated using an interdisciplinary approach and the realities of climate change politics. He also posed a question, “Does resilience need to increase as risk increases?”

In response, Ricardo A. Alvarez, former Deputy Director, International Hurricane Center, Research Affiliate at CES, spoke about the challenges of interpreting science to vulnerable communities. After extolling the use of real life case studies in teaching about risk and resilience, he and Nancy Gassman, Assistant Director of Public Works Sustainability, City of Fort Lauderdale, presented a sea level rise scenario from South Florida, while Mark Benthien of University of Southern California (USC) and Keith Porter of SPA Risk LLC presented an earthquake scenario from California.

Panel discussions led to breakout discussions related to flooding, coastal erosion, water-management, and seasonal, extreme high tides. For example, participants most interested in the Fort Lauderdale case study noted the indirect impact of Hurricane Sandy exacerbated by sea level rise. The session, moderated by Eileen Johnson of Bowdoin College, examined the scientific and engineering aspect of the study, and addressed teaching the subject matter to undergraduates.

Rounding out the team of workshop presenters and conveners, Monica Bruckner of SERC at Carleton College and Mary Beth Hartman of CES at FAU coordinated and hosted the event.

For more information on climate change research and education at FAU’s Center for Environmental studies, please visit http://www.ces.fau.edu
2013 hurricane tracksMay 30, 2014 - Scientists at Florida State University’s Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies (COAPS) believe this year’s hurricane season, starting June 1, will be a quiet one. In the center’s sixth annual Atlantic hurricane forecast, FSU scientists predict that there is a 70 percent chance of five to nine named storms this year and two to six hurricanes. The average is seven named storms, four of them hurricanes, and an average accumulated cyclone energy (a measure of the strength and duration of storms accumulated during the season) of 60. The primary reason for the below normal numbers, said lead scientist Timothy LaRow, is that an El Niño — or warmer than normal water temperatures — is forecast to develop in the tropical Pacific. “El Niño develops when sea surface temperatures in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean are warmer than normal for several consecutive months, leading to increased vertical wind shear in the Atlantic, which can disrupt developing tropical systems,” LaRow said. “How quickly and how intense the El Niño becomes will determine its impact on the North Atlantic hurricane season.” The 2014 North Atlantic hurricane forecast numbers are based on 60 individual seasonal atmospheric forecasts conducted at FSU on its High Performance Computing Cluster using sea surface temperatures predicted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) climate model. LaRow’s forecast is developed using a unique atmospheric model created at FSU that has had remarkable success in predicting seasonal tropical activity. Since 1995, when the North Atlantic entered the period of heightened activity, the model has predicted 14.1 named storms and 7.9 hurricanes per year compared to the observed 14.7 named storms and 7.7 hurricanes. The model is one of only a handful of climate models being used to study seasonal hurricane activity. Hurricane season begins June 1 and runs through Nov. 30.

FSU COAPS Hurricane Forecast Webpage: http://coaps.fsu.edu/hurricanes

FSU Press Release: http://news.fsu.edu/More-FSU-News/2014-hurricane-forecast-predicts-below-average-season-ahead
ruppert-kathleenMay 30, 2014 - Dr. Kathleen Ruppert received the University of Florida’s Champion of Change award in the academics category through the Office of Sustainability and Healthy Gators for her work in developing an Action Plan for promoting sustainability in extension offices.  Many Extension offices are being asked to save money for their county in any way possible. The University of Florida (UF) Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Program for Resource Efficient Communities, working with UF's Office of Sustainability and undergraduate students in UF's College of Design, Construction and Planning, produced the document, Action Plan for Promoting Sustainability in Extension Offices. The intent is to help Extension offices become models for resource-efficient, sustainable, behavior for the clients and community they serve as well as saving money for the county. Note that the Excel spreadsheet, found at http://buildgreen.ufl.edu/Extension_and_Sustainability.htm, is referenced in the Word document also found on the same website. The students who worked on this document hope that a few faculty, staff members, and volunteers working within each county Extension office will take on this challenge to create and promote a greener and more sustainable world. Both the Word document and the Excel spreadsheet are intended to be copied to your hard drive and edited to fit the needs of individual county Extension offices. Note that, with some minor changes, these materials could be utilized by any group or organization. Please consider the students’ request and show that all organizations are interested in initiating practices that contribute to a more sustainable, high quality of life in and for all communities. If you have questions or suggestions for improving the document or spreadsheet, contact Kathleen Ruppert (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) with the Sustainable FloridiansSM program.

Kathleen Ruppert has devoted her professional career to educating, inspiring, and empowering students to become change­makers in the world. She has portrayed tremendous dedication within the area of sustainable education by encouraging real-world sustainability projects through teaching a capstone course and by helping to extend both the UF Prairie Project and the Sustainable Floridians program.
ces-logoMay 30, 2014 - Florida Atlantic University (FAU) continues studying the effects of sea level rise in South Florida with a new focus on climate change related health risks. The Florida Public Health Institute (FPHI) serves as the lead on the project, made possible by a $250,000 grant from the Kresge Foundation over a two year period. Project Lead Dr. Leonard Berry, Director of the Center for Environmental Studies at FAU (CES), said the project provides CES the opportunity to expand its area of study. “Of all the potential impacts of sea-level rise, health may be one of the least studied and yet is one of the most important. This grant will enable us to begin to redress this imbalance.”

According to FHIP, potential health risks include water quality changes such as saltwater intrusion, landfill/brownfield seepage, higher levels of sewage and toxic pollutants, increasing rates of waterborne diseases, and higher rates of respiratory-related illness due to increasing levels of airborne allergens such as mold exposure.

The project resulted from four years of collaboration between Debora Kerr (FPHI Chief Operating Officer) and Nicole Hernandez Hammer, Co-Principal Investigator (FAU). Researchers will map storm-related health data across time and geography in Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe C ounties. Hammer and Co-Principal Investigators from FAU, Drs. Frederick Bloetscher and Diana Mitsova, will be overlaying health data onto FAU-developed groundwater maps. The funding represents one of the many outcomes of the October 2013 Sea Level Rise Summit hosted by FAU.

Contributing to the health data collection are Kristina Kitzinger and Meredith Jagger, leads on the Florida BRACE Project, one of fourteen national initiatives of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Building Resilience Against Climate Effects initiatives.

For more information on climate change research and education at FAU’s Center for Environmental studies, please visit http://www.ces.fau.edu.
Report CoverMay 29, 2014 - Yesterday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the third edition of a report, Climate Change Indicators in the United States. The report pulls together observed data on key measures of our environment, including U.S. and global temperature and precipitation, ocean heat and ocean acidity, sea level, length of growing season, and many others. With 30 indicators that include over 80 maps and graphs showing long-term trends, the report demonstrates that climate change is already affecting our environment and our society.

EPA Press Release: http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/0/461768B5CE68DC8B85257CE600558D63

Report: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/science/indicators/index.html