Communicating Climate Change: New Interviews

Communicating successfully about climate change involves both science and art, and our series of podcasts explores both, although the emphasis is on the insights of social scientists. Two new interviews reflect a continuing broadening of discussion to large-scale social and institutional frameworks that affect successful adaptation to climate change.

The interviewees are Elinor Ostrom, Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, Indiana University, and Jesse Ribot, Social Dimensions of Environmental Policy, University of Illinois.
Hear them and previous interviewees at our podcast: Communicating Climate Change

Researchers study risk of higher waves, rising sea level to Pacific coast

Coastal wavesWhile hurricanes Gustav and Ike were pummeling the Gulf Coast with rains and record flooding, researchers at Oregon State University (OSU) were studying why wave heights in the Pacific Ocean have been increasing in recent years and how this phenomenon – coupled with global warming – might affect coastal erosion, flooding and development along the Pacific Northwest coast.

Peter Ruggiero, an assistant professor of geosciences at OSU, is developing new computer models that factor in the increasing wave heights, as well as rising sea levels and the potential increase in frequency of El Niño weather conditions. El Nino is a cyclic water temperature weather pattern that results in warmer than normal ocean temperatures and triggers larger storms in the Pacific Ocean.

“We’re trying to see how a combination of these different processes – bigger waves, higher sea levels and potentially more frequent and intense El Niño conditions – could affect coastal areas along the Pacific Coast in a range of ways, from coastal erosion and lowland flooding to planned development,” said Ruggiero, whose research is funded in part by a $190,000 grant from Oregon Sea Grant.

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