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201611-mbuyaOctober 31, 2016 - Dr. O.S. Mbuya was recently invited to India as one of the keynote speakers at the International Conference on Food, Water, Energy Nexus in Arena of Climate Change representing Florida A&M University (FAMU) and the Florida Climate Institute (FCI). Prior to the meeting, he visited the State Government of Gujarat where he met with the high ranking State officials, including the Honorable Chief Secretary of Gujarat (Dr. J.N. Singh), the Honorable Minister of Agriculture of Gujarat (Shri Chimanbhai Saparia). Accompanying Dr. Mbuya to the State Government headquarters were the Vice Chancellor of Anand Agricultural University (Dr. N.C. Patel), the Vice Chancellor of Junagadh Agricultural University (Dr. A.R. Pathak) and the Executive Chairman of NCCSD (Dr. Kirit Shelat.  Topics discussed under the umbrella of FCI included Climate Change, ClimateSmart Agriculture and International collaborative research.

The Honorable Minister of Agriculture of the Government of India (Shri Parshottam Rupala) and the Principal Secretary of Ministry of Agriculture of the Government of India (Dr. Sanjay Prasad) attended the International Conference on Food, Water, Energy Nexus in Arena of Climate Change at Anand Agricultural University, and they both echoed the significance of partnership between FAMU/FCI and the Government of India.  Currently there are pending MoUs between FAMU and Anand Agricultural University, Junagadh Agricultural University, University of Mumbai and India Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). ICAR is a federal agency which oversees all 73 agricultural universities in India. The Government of the State of Gujarat and the Government of India are very receptive and supportive of the FAMU and FCI-India Initiative.

Next month, Dr. Mbuya will travel to Marakkesh, Morocco to represent FAMU and FCI at the United Nations Forum for Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC) and COP22. Last year, he presented an FCI poster at the UNFCCC/COP21 in Paris where he highlighted the scientific milestones of FCI. Institutions of the FCI consortium are hereby requested to suggest and/or submit any material they would like to be presented at the COP22 in Morocco.

201610fiu-sl.jpgOctober 31, 2016 - This past month, the Sea Level Solutions Center (SLSC), the Office of University Sustainability and the School of Communication & Journalism at Florida International University teamed up with Eyes on the Rise, the Miami-Dade County Office of Resilience, and the CLEO Institute, to collect data on King tides and flooding in the community. This year’s Sea Level Solutions Day saw a large group of students, teachers, citizens and community leaders coming out to get involved with local flood awareness efforts and citizen science reporting. After meeting at Vizcaya’s Village & Garage to collect their citizen science kits, teams were out measuring flooding at a range of locations around Southeast Florida – from Biscayne Bay to Hollywood – with the majority of reports showing flood levels between 5-12 inches. Their measurements have contributed valuable data to the Eyes On The Rise app, which is helping people to visualize future flooding scenarios under sea level rise. To find out how you can get involved with future flood reporting events and other sea level activities, just email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.!

201610brace.jpgOctober 28, 2016 - A team led by FSU assistant professor of geography Chris Uejio and state climatologist David Zierden has received a $1.07 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help county health departments across Florida adapt to problems created by changing environmental factors such as climate change. The team will work with individual Florida counties to assess potential environmental problems that would affect public health. They will also help health officials develop action plans to combat these issues. Other members of the FL BRACE team from Florida State include This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and Danny Brouillette from the Center for Ocean and Atmospheric Studies, and assistant professor of urban and regional planning Tisha Holmes.

201610uf-climate-concentration.jpgOctober 28, 2016 (By Hannah O. Brown, UF/SNRE) - In less than a year, Russell Anderson plans to be working hands-on, surveying coastal planning projects worldwide. Anderson is a second-year master’s student studying sustainable development, and he is one of a number of students who have decided to pursue UF’s Concentration in Climate Science, an interdisciplinary concentration through the School of Natural Resources and Environment and in collaboration with the Florida Climate Institute. “Internationally, everybody is really trying to plan for the population of what will happen by 2050, with 70 percent of people being in low-lying urban areas,” Anderson said. “That’s over 7 billion people, coast-to-coastline, all stuck in urban centers.” Through taking classes within the concentration, Anderson has gained professional skills and insight into climate change issues on a global scale. “It really made sense based on my professional interest long term, and it was also a chance to really get educated about [climate change effects] that we are already starting to see happening in certain areas,” Anderson said.

The idea for the UF Climate Science Concentration was first conceived by faculty who were considering the notion of establishing a certificate program, geared toward professionals. With the basic structure of the concentration already in motion, SNRE Director Tom Frazer suggested FCI and SNRE switch their focus, in the short term, to enhancing the skills of graduate students instead. “I suggested that there was actually a more immediate need to offer those courses to our students rather than the place-based professionals,” Frazer said. “And a concentration, at the time, was a more effective way to start to put a focus on climate in the curriculum.”

The FCI faculty advisory committee, which is made up of professors from biology, geology, SNRE, forestry, Latin American studies and geography, approved the first list of courses for the concentration in the fall of 2014. The concentration is divided into four categories of study: principles of climate science, system-specific climate science, quantitative methods and human dimensions. Students pursuing the concentration are required to take at least one course from each category, for a total of 12 credit hours.

Carolyn Cox, UF coordinator for the Florida Climate Institute, said the human-dimensions component of the program is just as important as the scientific training. “There’s so many people who work in different disciplines who use climate science, and there is always this need for how to talk to people about it,” she said. While it has become increasingly important for researchers to effectively communicate about their findings, Cox believes there is still resistance from many scientists who prefer to focus simply on the science. However, Cox said that the problem with this reluctance is that some of these scientists lack the skillset to see through the tactics that others use to discredit their research. “Even scientists, people that are very pro-climate science and advocate climate science, they still fall into that trap of calling it a debate,” Cox said. “It’s not a debate. A debate is when there are actually two sides to a story. There’s not really two sides here. There’s a manufactured side and a real side.” Cox hopes that the Climate Science Concentration can help teach the skills needed to accurately represent climate-related research even when confronted with skepticism and denial. “People need to know how not to fall into those traps,” she said, “how to stay dignified, not fall into the he-said-she-said garbage and not embarrass themselves.”

For Frazer, it’s particularly important to provide the opportunity for SNRE students to focus on climate science through a concentration, because it gives those students a chance to specialize, making their skills more marketable in the professional world. “There is a real risk in getting an interdisciplinary degree where the emphasis is simply on breadth,” he said, “but one of the ways that you deal with depth and the ability to convince a potential employer, whether it’s in an academic setting, a government setting or some other work-related environment, is that you actually have a focus area.” Frazer said having concentrations is one way for SNRE students to showcase the particular skills they acquire while pursuing their degree. “It provides depth,” he said. “Recognizable, identifiable, demonstrable depth in a subject area that complements the broader interdisciplinary degree.” Future plans for the concentration include the possibility of offering a travel stipend to students who are interested in attending climate-science conferences, workshops and giving presentations. Cox said she is still hoping to expand the program to include a certificate, allowing professionals as well as students to become more aware of the science and better able to communicate it.

UF SNRE News Release

Climate Science Concentration Webpage

201611-king-tide.jpgOctober 24, 2016 (Source: FAU/CES) - King Tide brought sunny day flooding to homes and businesses in South Florida this year, and communities want solutions. US Congressman Ted Deutch partnered with Dr. Colin Polsky, director of Florida Center for Environmental Studies at Florida Atlantic University, to bring awareness to the issue. Along with City of Fort Lauderdale commissioners, the Congressman received a briefing on impacts and adaptation strategies from private sector partners First Green Bank, Olive & Judd, and Florida Luxurious Properties, as well as the US Geological Survey, Broward County,, Hollywood Lakes Civic Association, and Florida Atlantic University. The media were paying attention. Local CBS and ABC television stations covered the story, as did Sun Sentinel. “If standing in this water on a beautiful South Florida morning doesn’t tell us that it’s time we start investing in environmental infrastructure to protect our communities, then I don’t think anything will,” said Deutch. - NPR affiliate WLRN

Photo credit: Kimberly Vardeman

201609famu-envSeptember 26, 2016 (Source: FAMU- Today, Florida A&M University (FAMU) announced the receipt of a $15.4 million award over five years from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Educational Partnership Program (EPP) to establish the Center for Coastal and Marine Ecosystems (CCME).  The new award will allow the FAMU-led partnership to make profound national impacts on coastal and marine ecosystems education, science, and policy.

FAMU Distinguished Professor Larry Robinson, Ph.D., will serve as the CCME director and principal investigator. The interdisciplinary team at FAMU will include faculty and students from the College of Education, College of Science and Technology, College of Social Sciences, Arts, and Humanities, School of Business and Industry, and School of the Environment.

FAMU News Release

obrien-officeSeptember 22, 2016 - We are tremendously saddened to inform the Florida Climate Institute community that Dr. James O'Brien, Professor Emeritus of Meteorology and Physical Oceanography at Florida State University and the founder of FSU's Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies (COAPS), passed away on September 20. Dr. O'Brien was a founding member of the Board of Directors of the Florida Climate Institute and a founding leader of the Southeast Climate Consortium. He served as State Climatologist of Florida at the Florida Climate Center from 1999 to 2006. Our memory of him remains as someone who was exuberant, approachable, and deeply committed to the mentorship of young scholars.

FSU COAPS Memoriam


September 21, 2016 - Miami-Dade County has released a final status report in response to multiple resolutions pertaining to recommendations by the Miami-Dade Sea Level Rise Task Force.

Download Report

201609uf-wheatSeptember 12, 2016 (Source: UF/IFAS- Researchers with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences are closer to helping producers better meet global food demand, now that they’ve combined simulation and statistical methods to help them predict how temperature affects wheat crops worldwide. A global team of scientists, led by those at UF/IFAS, used two different simulation methods and one statistical method to predict the impact of rising temperatures on global wheat production, and all came to similar estimates. This finding, published in a study in the journal Nature Climate Change, is critical in predicting how much wheat and other crops we’ll need to feed the world, said Senthold Asseng, a UF/IFAS professor of agricultural and biological engineering and leader of this study.

UF/IFAS News Release

Washington Post Article

Nature Climate Change Journal Article

201608fau-adaptation-pathways.pngAugust 25, 2016 - The insights generated by FAU’s Arctic-Florida Sea-Level Rise Summit in May 2016 mark an important stage in the process of community engagement on sea-level rise and coastal erosion. “Adaptation Pathways 1.0” summarizes the 3rd Sea-Level Rise Summit organized by the Florida Center for Environmental Studies at Florida Atlantic University. The event, subtitled “Connected Futures from Alaska to Florida,” was held May 3-5, 2016, at the Ft. Lauderdale Hyatt Pier 66. In recent years, many conferences and meetings have identified the problems we face, and outlined some theoretical solutions. What we lacked was guidance for implementing specific adaptations. The goal of the Summit was to produce a first-generation roadmap for adaptation, by translating our knowledge and ideas into action. Our resulting Adaptation Pathways (see Section III of this report) have emerged as the product of intense and sustained interactions with Summit participants, representing a broad cross-section of society.

Executive Summary and Full Report

201608fsu-permafrost.jpgAugust 22, 2016 - A University of Alaska Fairbanks-led research project co-authored by Dr. Jeff Chanton (FSU) has provided the first modern evidence of a landscape-level permafrost carbon feedback, in which thawing permafrost releases ancient carbon as climate-warming greenhouse gases.

The project, led by UAF researcher Katey Walter Anthony, studied lakes in Alaska, Canada, Sweden and Siberia where permafrost thaw surrounding lakes led to lake shoreline expansion during the past 60 years. Using historical aerial photo analysis, soil and methane sampling, and radiocarbon dating, the project quantified for the first time the strength of the present-day permafrost carbon feedback to climate warming. Although a large permafrost carbon emission is expected to occur imminently, the results of this study show nearly no sign that it has begun.

University of Alaska Fairbanks News Release

Nature Geoscience Article

201608uf-marshes.jpgAugust 19, 2016 - Coastal ecosystems worldwide are feeling the heat of climate change. In the Southeastern U.S., salt marshes have endured massive grass die-offs as a result of intense drought, which can affect everything from fisheries to water quality. Now, new research shows that a mutualistic relationship -- where two organisms benefit from each other's activities -- between ribbed mussels and salt marsh grasses may play a critical role in helping salt marshes bounce back from extreme climate events such as drought.

The results, reported this week in the journal Nature Communications, found that mussels piled up in mounds around salt grass stems helped to protect the grasses by improving water storage around their roots and reducing soil salinity. With the mussels' help, marshes can recover from drought in less than a decade. Without their help, it can take more than a century.

"This is a very good example of how the diversity of life in a salt marsh promotes resilience to climate and environmental change," said David Garrison, program director in the National Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Ocean Sciences, which co-funded the research with NSF's Division of Environmental Biology.

"It's a story of mutual benefit between marsh grass and mussels," said Christine Angelini, a scientist at the University of Florida and lead author of the paper. The mussels, she said, "protect then accelerate the healing of drought-stricken marshes."

NSF News Release

Nature Communications Article

August 3, 2016 - A new podcast is now available focusing on climate change adaptation. Learn how America is adapting to this challenge through informative and lively discussions with a mix of adaptation experts. Listen in as Doug Parsons talks to the scientists, planners, NGOs, and elected officials who have something to say about adapting to climate change. The podcast can be downloaded at America Adapts web site via iTunesGoogle Play and more.

In Episode #4, Doug Parsons talks with Bob Glazer, research scientist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, about how Florida is adapting to climate change.

August 1, 2016 Dr. Lydia Stefanova (FSU) will be collaborating with biologists from the USGS Wetland and Aquatic Research Center on a project entitled "Developing Weather and Climate-Based Environmental Indices for a Common Framework to Model Survival, Reproductive and Movement Rates of Sea Turtles, Gulf Sturgeon and Manatees in the Northern Gulf of Mexico (GoM)."

The research was funded by USGS to identify specific measures (indices) of climate stressors (extreme cold/heat/drought/flood during key periods of the year) that are pertinent to sea turtles,Gulf sturgeon, and manatees in the northern GoM. These measures in combination with historical data for the species' populations will be used to develop models for their survival, reproduction and movement. Eventually, these models, in combination with climate projections for the climate stressor indices, will be used to make projections for the future species populations under projected climate change.

mapAugust 1, 2016 - A study conducted by a research team including members from University of Florida, Texas A&M University, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University shows that business vulnerability to flooding will be escalated substantially by sea level rise. The findings show that considerable amount of areas, businesses, and road networks would be exposed to highest flood-risk zones due to sea level rise. To quantify the vulnerability of businesses to environmental hazards, the team established a conceptual framework of business vulnerability index incorporating business characteristics, infrastructure factors, and other indicators. A mapped index was displayed in Bay County, Florida.

A research paper about this topic has been accepted for publication in the journal Natural Hazards. The paper is titled “Developing a theoretical framework for integrated vulnerability of businesses to sea level rise” and co-authored by Jie Song, Zhong-Ren Peng, Liyuan Zhao, and Chih-Hung Hsu. 

Image caption: Composite Business Vulnerability Index in Bay County, Florida.

icoadsAugust 1, 2016 - With its latest update, NOAA's International Comprehensive Ocean–Atmosphere Data Set Release 3.0 (ICOADS R3.0) now incorporates a wide range of new and improved data and metadata sources. This new release also fosters closer integration with the oceanographic community by extending ICOADS observations to include near-surface variables—like salinity, nutrients, and dissolved carbonate chemistry—for the first time.

The Marine Data Center at FSU's Center for Ocean-Atmopsheric Prediction Studies has contributed to ICOADS R3.0. A manuscript (ICOADS Release 3.0: a major update to the historical marine climate record) detailing the new release and the contributions by the MDC (particularly providing a subset of high-quality research vessel observations from the SAMOS initiative) was just published in early view by the International Journal of Climatology. Mr. Shawn Smith, the Marine Data Center director, is a co-author on this manuscript and is the lead author of the full ICOADS release 3.0 documentation. Jocelyn Elya, MDC lead programmer, developed the software to support submitting SAMOS data into this release of ICOADS.

ICOADS is the world’s most extensive surface marine meteorological and oceanographic data collection. Building on extensive national and international partnerships, ICOADS provides users with easy access to many different data sources in a consistent format. Data sources range from early non-instrumental ship observations to more recent measurements from automatic systems, such as moored buoys and surface drifters.

ICOADS supports a variety of climate products including the global surface temperature record, winds, pressure, humidity, clouds, and estimates of air–sea exchange. We also use it to develop many other well-used sources of marine climate information, including reanalyses and gridded analyses of sea surface temperature.

NOAA News Release

obeyJuly 27, 2016 - The International Commission on Statistical Hydrology of the International Association of Hydrological Sciences (ICSH-IAHS) is awarding the 2016 Statistics in Hydrology (STAHY) Best Paper Award to Jose D. Salas of Colorado State University and Jayantha Obeysekera of the South Florida Water Management District for the following research paper:

Salas, J. D., & Obeysekera, J. (2014). Revisiting the Concepts of Return Period and Risk for Nonstationary Hydrologic Extreme EventsJ. Hydrol. Eng., 19(3), 554–568.

This is a new IAHS prize, recently introduced by the ICSH-IAHS Commission, that awards the most promising work in Statistical Hydrology among a large number of papers published in hydrological journals. The STAHY Best Paper Award 2016 will be assigned during the STAHY'16 Conference in Quebec City, September 2016.

Award Announcement

201607um-monsoonJuly 28, 2016 (Source: UM RSMAS) - A new study by an international team of scientists reveals the exact timing of the onset of the modern monsoon pattern in the Maldives 12.9 million years ago, and its connection to past climate changes and coral reefs in the region. The analysis of sediment cores provides direct physical evidence of the environmental conditions that sparked the monsoon conditions that exist today around the low-lying island nation and the Indian subcontinent.

In Nov. 2015, University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science geoscientist Gregor Eberli, along with his co-chief scientist Christian Betzler and an international team of 31 scientists from 15 countries, embarked on an eight-week expedition to the Maldives aboard the research vesselJOIDES Resolution. The scientific team on International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) Expedition 359, which included UM geochemist Peter Swart and sedimentologist Anna Ling, extracted 3,097 meters of sediment cores that contain the history of the monsoon that is the most intense annually recurring climatic element on Earth. The monsoon system supplies moisture to the Indian subcontinent, which is important for the human population and vegetation in the region, as well as marine ecosystem in the surrounding seas.

Read Full UM RSMAS News Release

July 27, 2016 - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has awarded $380,476 for a project led by researchers at FSU and NOAA/AOML titled, "Development of New Drifter Technology for Observing Currents at the Ocean Surface." Drs. Steve Morey, Nico Wienders, Mark Bourassa, and Dmitry Dukhovskoy (all of FSU), as well as Dr. Rick Lumpkin (NOAA/AOML), will develop and test a new satellite tracked drifter design for measuring currents at the very surface of the ocean.  Typically, observations of "surface" currents really measure the current over the upper several meters, but these currents may be substantially different than the currents right at the surface. Through field experiments with these drifters together with more traditional upper ocean current observation methods, the researchers will gain a better understanding of the vertical structure of currents near the ocean surface. This work will benefit pollutant and debris tracking, air-sea flux measurements and modeling, and provide a tool for validating surface current measurements from future remote sensing instruments. The new drifter technology is anticipated to become available for widespread use and commercialization.

The 1-year project is funded through a cooperative agreement with the Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies (CIMAS) at the University of Miami.