The American public may be divided over whether climate is changing, but coastal managers and elected officials in nine states say they see the change happening—and believe their communities will need to adapt.
That’s one finding from a NOAA Sea Grant research project, led by Oregon Sea Grant and involving multiple other Sea Grant programs, which surveyed coastal leaders in selected parts of the nation’s Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf and Great Lakes coasts, as well as Hawaii.
Three quarters of coastal professionals surveyed – and 70% of all participants – said they believe that the climate in their area is changing—a marked contrast to results of some national surveys of the broader American public which have found diverse and even polarized views about climate change and global warming.
The Sea Grant survey was developed to understand what coastal/resource professionals and elected officials think about climate change, where their communities stand in planning for climate adaptation and what kinds of information they need, said project leader Joe Cone, assistant director of Oregon Sea Grant. Sea Grant programs in Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois-Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Oregon, and Washington—states that represent most of NOAA’s coastal regions—took part, administering the survey at various times between January 2012 and November 2013.