Prepared for the Advisory Committee on Climate Change and Natural Resource Science
Over one quarter of the units of the National Park System occur along ocean coastlines. Ongoing changes in relative sea levels and the potential for increasing storm surges due to anthropogenic climate change and other factors present challenges to national park managers.
Global mean sea levels have been rising since the last ice age approximately 20,000 years ago (Archer and Rahmstorf 2010; IPCC 2007). Relative to the past two to three thousand years, the rate of rise has increased signifi - cantly and is projected to increase at an accelerating pace throughout the 21st century because of climate change (IPCC 2007).
Sea level rise is a major climate change impact that is already being experienced in parts of the United States, including many marine protected areas (MPAs) along the coast. MPAs can play an important role in addressing the impacts of climate change and building community resilience. As special places with long term protection, many MPAs provide the infrastructure to focus research and monitoring efforts of climate trends, provide protection against non-climate stressors, and effectively engage the community through public education programs, advisory groups, and onsite staff.
The Cultural Resources Climate Change Strategy sets out a vision and broad approach for managing impacts to and learning from cultural resources under modern climate change.
Climate change has been called the greatest 21st century threat to public health. Health departments from around the country, concerned about the negative health impacts of climate change, are engaging communities and professionals from other disciplines to implement adaptation strategies and increase community resiliency. Speakers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Climate-Ready States & Cities Initiative will highlight how state health departments are building climate resiliency by leading with health in adaptation strategies.
Rising levels of greenhouse gas pollution, primarily from burning fossil fuels, are trapping heat in the atmosphere, causing climate changes such as: more frequent heat waves, heavier downpours, rising sea levels, and stronger coastal storms. Low-income communities are often severely impacted because they have fewer resources than most in the area to adapt to such changes. The U.S.
State and regional transportation agencies across the country are facing an increase in extreme weather events that damage roads, bridges and other transportation facilities. Heat waves, drought, storm surges and heavy downpours are becoming more frequent and severe. Sea level rise that is already affecting coastal assets and communities today will accelerate in the future. These climate change and extreme weather events pose significant risks to the safety, reliability, effectiveness, and sustainability of the Nation's transportation system.