Federal Government Funds FSU Study of Rising Sea Levels

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Oct. 7 (UPI) — The federal government has given Florida State University geologists $1 million to study what will happen if global climate changes cause sea levels to rise.

The anticipated sea-level rise along with increased storminess during the next 100 years and the impact on the nation’s low-lying coastal infrastructure is the focus of the new, interdisciplinary study.

“Our hypothesis is that the historic storm record, which extends back only about 150 years, isn’t a reliable indicator of true storm frequency, but the long-term geologic record is,” said Associate Professor Joseph Donoghue, who will lead the research. “This project is crucial because the rates of change in environmental parameters predicted for the near future are much greater than those of the past several millennia. For example, some of the worst-case sea-level rise scenarios predicted for the near future have not been experienced by the coastal system for more than 8,000 years.”

By 2012, the study is expected to produce methodologies and models that will help coastal planners and managers in all low-lying coastal regions better understand, address and mitigate the near-future effects of sea-level rise. The research team will perform its field work along the Gulf of Mexico coast in northwest Florida.

Funding comes from a three-year grant from the Department of Defense, administered in partnership with the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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