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Interdisciplinary program to examine potential coastal impacts of climate change, natural hazards

Nine early-career faculty members to conduct research at NCAR

May 16, 2019 - by David Hosansky

The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is launching a significant new program this summer, naming nine early career faculty members from U.S. universities to conduct interdisciplinary research into the impacts of climate change and natural hazards on U.S. coasts.

The Early Career Faculty Innovator Program will partner NCAR scientists with faculty who have expertise in a broad range of disciplines, from anthropology and human geography to environmental design and civil engineering. Each faculty member will bring a graduate student to assist with research.

The program leverages NCAR's interdisciplinary expertise on potential weather and climate threats with the goal of helping to build greater societal resilience. With storms, flooding, and other weather and climate disasters taking a more expensive toll on the world's growing population, atmospheric scientists are increasingly focused on understanding the far-reaching impacts of natural hazards on society.

"This further amplifies the benefit of NCAR research to society," said NCAR Director Everette Joseph. "When we can connect our science on weather and climate with experts in social sciences, we're leveraging knowledge in ways that can provide actionable information for decision-makers."

The nine faculty members coming to NCAR in the summer will address such issues as the potential impacts of changing coastlines on minority populations and the elderly, improving forecasts of coastal flooding, better management of marine resources, and more effective communication of hurricane forecasts. They will build on the social science and interdisciplinary research currently taking place across much of NCAR.

The National Science Foundation will fund the faculty members and graduate students for a two-year period. Faculty members will have summer sabbaticals at NCAR, while graduate students will get year-round funding.

"This program helps create a space for convergence research, bringing together scientists across multiple disciplines to better understand the impacts of environmental change on society," said Rebecca Haacker, director of NCAR Education and Outreach. "The participating faculty are researching important topics such as human security, health, and marine resource management.”

Haacker and NCAR scientist Cassandra O'Lenick are overseeing the program.

2019 faculty researchers

Introducing the university faculty in the Early Career Faculty Innovator Program's 2019 cohort and their areas of research:

Monica Barra, Assistant Professor of Race and Environment
School of the Earth, Ocean & Environment and Department of Anthropology, University of South Carolina
Understanding the physical and cultural impacts of climate change and adaptation science and policy on nontraditional forms of housing and land tenure among African American coastal communities in the U.S South

Anamaria Bukvic, Assistant Professor
Department of Geography, Virginia Tech
Changing coastlines, changing mobility: When staying in place is no longer an option

Donovan Finn, Assistant Professor of Environmental Design, Policy & Planning
Sustainability Studies Program, Stony Brook University
A user-driven framework for harnessing atmospheric research to inform planning and policy for coastal resilience

Carolyn Fish, Assistant Professor
Department of Geography, University of Oregon
Map storytelling to build empathy for coastal Alaskan indigenous communities

Kyle Mandli, Assistant Professor
Applied Physics & Applied Mathematics Department, Columbia University
Creating better forecasting and predictive capabilities for coastal flooding due to storms

Talea Mayo, Assistant Professor
Department of Civil, Environmental, and Construction Engineering, University of Central Florida
Do you see what I see: Improving the communication of hurricane storm surge risk with GIS mapping

Alexis Merdjanoff, Clinical Assistant Professor
Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences, New York University
Aging in high-risk coastal regions: Examining the social and physical infrastructure needs of older adults in the Gulf Coast

Sam Siedlecki, Assistant Professor
Department of Marine Sciences, University of Connecticut
Predictive frameworks to understand processes driving change in the coastal ocean: Coastal biogeochemistry and ocean health metrics relevant to marine resource management on the Northeast shelf.

Gabrielle Wong-Parodi, Assistant Professor
Department of Earth System Science, Stanford University
A prospective longitudinal study of environmental coastal threats on health and resilience, Gulf of Mexico.

More about the program

Early Career Faculty Innovator Program

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