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Updated 11 October, 2003

US National Assessment of the
Potential Consequences of
Climate Variability and Change
Climate Change and its Consequences
on the Gulf Coast Region of the US
Gulf Coast Regional Workshop Report

 

Compiled by
Zhu Hua Ning and Kamran Abdollahi, Project Directors
Gulf Coast Regional Climate Change Assessment


Southern University and A&M College
&
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Contents


Introduction

This document summarizes the results of the first phase of a major assessment project conducted by the Gulf Coast Regional Climate Change Assessment Steering Committee, led by Southern University and A&M College, and sponsored by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. This project was conducted in collaboration with the United States Global Change Research Program, the National Wetland Research Center, The Science and Engineering Alliance, USDA Forest Service, Louisiana State University, Tulane University and Florida State University. The findings are the result of the Gulf Coast Regional Climate Change Workshop held February 25-27, 1998, which was attended by more than 140 scientists, policy makers, and industrial and non-industrial stakeholders. This document provides an overview of the Gulf Coast regional assessment including the following:

  • Identification of current stresses or issues concerning the region;
  • Examination of how greater climate variability and climate change interact with the current stresses;
  • Discussion of the kinds of information needed to understand and respond to these changes;
  • Finding coping mechanisms and strategies that will be most effective in reducing vulnerability and/or enhancing capabilities to adapt to or mitigate the consequences of those changes; and
  • Providing suggestions for national-scale research activities that will contribute to regional information needs;

The climate change impact assessment was done on six sectors or issues that are important to the region. These six sectors are:

  • Wetland, Wildlife Habitat, and Estuaries;
  • Farming and Forestry;
  • Commerce, Industry, and Energy;
  • Health, Water and Air Quality;
  • Fisheries and Aquaculture; and
  • Recreation, Tourism, and Coastal Community Life.

The results and recommendations for each of the sectors are presented in six chapters.


Background on the Gulf Coast Region

The Gulf Coast Region of the United States includes five Gulf Coast States (Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida) that abut the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf itself has a surface area of 630,000 square miles, and a watershed area in the United States of 1.81 million square miles. This region is one of the nation's largest ecological systems and is closely linked to a significant portion of the nation's economy. Energy, fisheries, agriculture and tourism rank among the most significant sectors of the Gulf Coast region's economy. The Gulf has five of the nation's top ten fishing ports. Gulf ports handle one half of the nation's import-export tonnage and the Gulf produces 72% of the nation's offshore petroleum production. The Gulf Coast Region relies on many natural resources to fuel important sectors of its economy. Global changes can have profound impacts on the economy and the quality of life for millions of people living in the Gulf Coast region. This report reviews the nature of global environmental change, and addresses the potential health and environmental impacts that may occur in the Gulf Coast region of the United States as consequences of various environmental alterations resulting from global change.

Over the past decades, scientific research has greatly advanced the knowledge and understanding of global environmental change. Research supported by the U. S. Global Research Program (USGRP) and international institutions such as the World Bank and the United Nations Environment Program have demonstrated that human activities exert powerful influences on environmental change on global, regional and local scales (Keeling et al. 1996; Santer et al. 1996). Recent findings by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 1997) indicate that human activities are increasing the atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (nitrous oxide, methane, chlorofluorocarbons, partially halogenated fluorocarbons, and ozone) which alter radiative balances, and tend to warm the surface of the atmosphere, and in some regions, of aerosols that tend to cool the atmosphere. It is important to note that aerosols do not remain in the atmosphere for long periods and global emissions of their precursors are not projected to increase substantially as compared to the effects of greenhouse gases that are long lived. These changes in greenhouse gases and aerosols constitute key factors in the global and regional changes in temperature, precipitation and other climate variables, resulting in global changes in soil moisture, an increase in global mean sea level, and prospects for more severe extreme high temperature events, floods and droughts in some places. In the United States and elsewhere in the industrialized world, energy use contributes to global warming more than any other human activity. This because most of our energy comes from carbon-based fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas). Fossil fuels provide energy for a variety of purposes, including transporting goods and people, manufacturing products, heating and cooling buildings, lighting spaces, and cooking foods. Each year U.S. energy use releases more than 5.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Present CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere are 130% of pre-industrial levels. The surface temperature this century is warmer than any other century since at least 1400 A.D. The temperature has increased by about 0.5 - 1.1 F over the last century and is projected to rise another 2 - 6.5F by the year 2100. The last two decades have been the warmest in this century. Sea level has risen about 4 to l0 inches and is projected to rise another 6 - 38 inches by the year 2100. Mountain glaciers have retreated worldwide this century.

As greenhouse gases continue to accumulate in the atmosphere, it is expected that an increase in rainfall amount and a consequent increase in river flooding will occur. Recent floods in the Gulf Coast areas (1993, 1997) are examples of such events, and indicate the high sensitivity of flood occurrence to changing climate. Because of its unique location adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico, the Gulf Coast region of the United States is particularly vulnerable to various environmental alterations resulting from climate change.


VICE PRESIDENT AL GORE
Remarks for the Gulf Coast Regional Climate Change Conference

Friday February 27th 1998
(Transcribed from the original video)

I want to welcome you to the Gulf Coast Regional Climate Change Workshop. I am delighted to see that Southern University and A&M College, one of our nation's Historically Black Colleges and Universities, is hosting this workshop. Climate change will have an impact on people all over this country and all over the world regardless of our backgrounds. I hope you will use this workshop to explore the way in which it affects the Gulf Coast region. I welcome all of you to this important forum on climate change.

Just over a year ago, in a meeting with senior federal officials to discuss government research into global warming and related issues, it became clear that we really needed a much better understanding of the regional effects of climate change, the way it affects our people in their communities, and the way it affects our natural resources in different parts of this country. That is the best way to devise solutions to meet this challenge and to protect the lives and the livelihood of Americans from coast to coast and from border to border.

I asked for a series of workshops that would bring together scientists, natural resource managers, business people, and concerned members of the general public, to discuss regional vulnerabilities to climate change and provide regional input into future research plans. It is now just one year later and we have already come a long way. We are midway through a series of twenty successful workshops. This has become an important part of a larger mission and that is the first national assessment of the consequences of climate change for the entire United States of America.

Any objective discussions of climate change must take account of the scientific findings in this area, and the science of climate change is clear and compelling. We know that human activity has been increasing the concentration of greenhouse gases since the industrial revolution. We know that the climate has changed during the same period and that future change is very likely. If we continue with business as usual, sometime in the next century the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will be over 700 parts per million. This is a level not seen on the planet Earth for more than fifty million years. The bottom line is that our environment is changing.

We all have a stake in addressing how we can best cope with climate change and its effects. This is one of the most important environmental issues that we face as we enter the 21st century. I believe we can meet this challenge in a way that also stimulates the economy and creates lots of good new jobs, but we need improved understanding, better planning, and new technology in order to do it. That is why we are continuing our strong support for climate change research and focusing it more on regional needs. We are also supporting significant increases in research, development, and deployment of clean energy technologies and more than three billion dollars in tax cuts to encourage new products and technology that will help us clean up the environment and create jobs in the process.

I know that our nation will benefit greatly from your work and I cannot wait to learn about your conclusions. We owe it to ourselves and to our children to protect the atmosphere and slow down the changes that we are presently imposing on the earth and on our children and grandchildren. A new environmental awareness is beginning to emerge. I am convinced that together we can seize that opportunity and build a cleaner and stronger 21st century for all of us.

Thank you for doing your part.


Keynote Presentation

I am pleased to be here with you today. I want to thank Southern University and A&M College, the program committee, and the U.S. Global Change Research Program for all their hard work in organizing this event, and to recognize EPA for their sponsorship. In particular, I want to acknowledge Vice Chancellor Ford, and Professors Ning and Abdollahi for their hard work in organizing this workshop.

Global climate change is perhaps the most pervasive and challenging long-term environmental issue that we face as we enter the 21st century. As we confront this threat to our entire planet's future, one of the things we increasingly realize is that many of its most significant consequences will be witnessed at regional and even local scales, and that the effects of greatest concern will differ from place to place.

Yet, we know less about regional and local consequences for ecosystems and human communities than we do about the workings of the global scale physical climate system. These workshops, and the ongoing dialogue and regional analysis we hope to stimulate, are critical to extend our understanding and to bring knowledge to bear on the management and adaptation strategies that will enable us to cope with a changing climate. That is why I am very pleased that so many different stakeholders are represented here - industry, scientists, environmental groups, and local, regional and national policymakers. Together, we must understand the ramifications of the potential climate disruption, and the options to manage wisely in the face of sobering but uncertain threat.

You will notice I am using the term climate "disruption" as opposed to "change," because I think it is more descriptive of the reality we face. It is the term 2400 scientists used when they wrote to the President about this issue, and it is the term that some of our Nobel Laureates used when they met with the President and the Vice President to discuss the vulnerability of US ecosystems and economic sectors, much as we are gathered here to do over the next several days. The "nature of nature" is that while physical laws do not change, systems and conditions do.

What have we learned about climate?

If we look at the long-term geological record, we can see that tremendous changes have occurred over long periods of time. The Earth has seen very warm periods as well as ice ages over the last 500,000 years. We have recognized big swings in global temperatures, sea level, flora and fauna. Global average temperature swings have often been thought of as slowly occurring phenomena, but there is evidence that significant climate changes have occurred very rapidly in the past. A new ice core from Greenland indicates that a major change in the circulation of North Atlantic currents occurred in about a decade, with dramatic effects on the climate of Western Europe. We simply cannot be comforted that our climate system is buffered against rapid change.

An event of such magnitude has not occurred during the last 10,000 years. The climate has been relatively stable during the period that has seen the development of modern civilization. People from 500 years ago, or even 5000 years ago, would probably notice some differences, but they would recognize today's climate. However, a series of changes has begun to take place over the last century that now drive rates of climate change not seen in thousands of years.

During the past century, the global mean surface temperature increased by almost 1 F. Sea-level has risen by 4 - 10 inches. Glaciers are retreating worldwide. The surface temperature this century is as warm or warmer than any century since at least 1400 AD. The last few decades have been the warmest this century. The year 1997 was the warmest yet recorded, and 9 of the last 11 years were among the warmest years this century. The world is expected to continue to warm, on average, at rates faster than any experienced during the last 10,000 years. So, the climate might not be so recognizable 100 years from now. In fact, if we continue on a "business-as-usual" path, by 2100, the concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will be 710 parts per million--levels not seen on the planet for 50 million years. We will have caused this change in a century-a geologic blink of an eye.

Science has done much to illuminate the cause of these changes. The burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and gas) for energy is the primary source of CO2 emissions, accounting for about 85% of US annual totals. Changing land-use patterns through agriculture and deforestation also contribute a significant share. Since pre-industrial times, human activities have added to the natural greenhouse effect by releasing additional greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. For example:

  • The atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) has increased by about 30%;
  • Methane concentration has more than doubled; and
  • Nitrous oxide concentration has risen by 15%.

Rising levels of greenhouse gases will lead to a variety of global, regional and local effects. Global average temperature will rise with a consequent rise in sea level, due primarily to the thermal expansion of the oceans and the melting and retreating of glaciers.

The Earth's water cycle will intensify, with an overall increase in evaporation so more water is available to fall as precipitation - both rain and snow. Some areas will be threatened by increased flooding, while others will suffer through an increased incidence of drought as continental interiors become warm and dry.

Data taken over the last century show that global precipitation has increased, and this trend also holds for the United States. In the May 1997 issue of Scientific American, Tom Karl reviewed the records of total rainfall and extreme rainfall for the United States over the last century. He reported that precipitation has increased by about 6 percent since the beginning of the century, as has the frequency of heavy downpours. Since the beginning of this century, intense precipitation events--where more than 2 inches of rainfall occurs in one day-have increased by about 20%.

We can clearly see the influence of shorter scale climate variability on the hydrological cycle when we look at the worldwide effects of the periodic changes in Pacific Ocean temperatures and circulation known as the El Niño.

The Gulf Coast region is among the most vulnerable regions in the U.S. to extreme climate events. Over 3,000 square miles of Louisiana, already threatened by subsidence, would be at risk from a 20 inch rise in sea level, as would about 700 square miles of south and west Florida (including a significant portion of the Everglades) and about 1,000 square miles along the rest of the Gulf Coast. Twenty inches is well within the predicted range of sea-level increase by 2100. We must also remember that even if the climate is stabilized by that time, sea level will keep rising for centuries because of the thermal inertia of the ocean.

Last week's tornadoes in central Florida had devastating impact. We know, thanks to the work of Jim O'Brien and his colleagues, that El Niño is associated with a greater incidence of tornadoes in the sea, but a lesser number of hurricanes. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has noted that the exceptionally strong jet stream caused by El Niño doubtless contributed to the disaster.

A number of other effects of El Niño have manifested themselves in this region and around the country.

Right here in Louisiana it was the wettest January since records began, and North Carolina had the second wettest year on record. In December, January, and February, Tampa, Florida, received 29.95 inches of rain, twice the previous record for these months, which was set in 1936-37. It has been even worse in the West. San Francisco received the equivalent of an entire year's rain in February alone.

Unfortunately, we do not yet fully understand the relationship of climate change and El Niño, but we can say that El Niño events provide compelling examples of the vulnerability of our society to climate extremes. Furthermore, some scientists are beginning to argue that El Niño events may become more frequent in a warmer world. This requires further investigation, but it is interesting to note that the historical cycle of El Niño events seems to have changed during the last several decades, which is a period in which we have also observed significant global warming.

I want to be explicitly clear that we can not attribute any particular weather or climate event to increases in greenhouse gases. We can say however, that global warming increases the likelihood for climate and weather extremes. Recent events all around our nation illustrate the type of consequences that we can expect to experience in a warmer world. So, we all have a stake in addressing climate change and its effects. This is one of the most important environmental issues that faces our planet, our nation, and our communities. There is increasing recognition of this fact.

Most importantly, we have the landmark statement in the Second Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, published in 1996: "The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate." Furthermore, over the last year we have seen the release of a number of statements about the risks from climate change.

  • A group of over 2,500 scientists warned us that we are "disrupting" the climate. They expressed their concern about the impact of further accumulation of greenhouse gasses on future global climate change and the consequent ecological, economic and social disruptions.
  • A group of more than 2,400 economists, including six Nobel Laureates, stressed the need for preventive action. They warn that global climate disruption carries with it significant environmental, economic, social and geopolitical risks, and emphasize that there are many potential policies to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions for which the total benefits outweigh the total costs.
  • It is not only the science community that is concerned. The Chief Executive of British Petroleum publicly acknowledged the importance of the issue.

While I think that society is beginning to take the climate change issue seriously, I know that the Administration takes it very seriously. So do you. Many of the most significant environmental decisions are made by state, county, and municipal governments, businesses, and individuals. That is where we use energy. Energy drives climate change. Energy efficiency can slow it. Thus, environmental quality depends on the actions of all of us, especially the way we use energy.

The Clinton Administration believes there are a series of prudent actions we must take:

  1. We need to deepen our scientific understanding of climate change and its relationships to other stresses.
    • An aggressive U.S. Global Change Research Program must continue to refine our understanding of the physical climate system, and add a new focus on the regional-scale ecological, social, and economic impacts of climate change.
    • As I mentioned earlier, the integrated examination of the multiple stresses affecting regional ecosystems, the analysis of the additional effects of climate change, and the identification of adaptation and management options can inform our decision-making processes.
  2. We must stay engaged in the international process of confronting climate change.
    • The U.S. and 160 other nations reached a historic agreement in Kyoto, but additional steps are necessary. We will be working bilaterally and at the next meeting in Buenos Aires will refine this agreement and define further steps.
    • As we look beyond Kyoto, achieving greater participation of the developing world has got to be our top priority. It is clear that the industrialized world is responsible for most of the CO2 in the atmosphere today, but it is equally clear that most emissions growth is occurring in the developing world. We must find ways for the developing world to grow without unlimited growth in emissions.

    This brings me to the last element of our strategy.

  3. We have the opportunity to lead the world in developing and deploying clean technologies for cost-effective reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

It is important to remember that even a business-as-usual emissions trajectory requires ongoing increases in energy efficiency. Maintaining innovation is not enough to confront the climate challenge; we need to increase it.

To meet this challenge, we are proposing significant increases in research, development, and deployment of clean energy technologies. The President's FY 1999 budget includes a $6.3 billion Climate Change Technology Initiative over five years to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions: $3.6 billion in tax credits for energy-efficient purchases and renewable energy, and $2.7 billion in new research and development spending.

This initiative will help lower emissions, position the U.S. for future economic benefits, and enhance our national security by reducing dependence on foreign energy supplies.

We can develop the clean industries of the future at home or let others reap the benefits. Let me give you a few examples:

  1. Although the fuel economy of cars has almost doubled in the last twenty five years, we now travel more than twice as many miles as in 1970. Our Partnership for a New Generation Vehicle (PNGV) has some of the brightest government engineers and scientists working with their private-sector counterparts in the auto industry to develop technologies that will triple the fuel efficiency of today's passenger cars with no decrease in comfort or safety.
  2. Productivity improvements in the building industry are lagging far behind all other industries and energy use in buildings accounts for more than one-third of total U.S. emissions. We are pursuing a Partnership for Advancing Technologies in Housing with industry that will make homes cheaper, safer, more efficient, more durable, and more environmentally friendly by developing and implementing new technologies and practices.

All of you here today have stepped up to the challenge of laying the framework for regional assessment of this issue. This is an important step in enabling the Gulf Coast region to understand and cope with the consequences of climate change. But you are also part of a larger process of US National Assessment of the impacts of climate disruption and its consequences. This is the tenth of a series of regional workshops being held around the country. Another ten will take place before the end of the year.

All of these events feed into the National Assessment of Climate Change Impacts which will be issued in 1999. I want to emphasize that I see this assessment as the first in an ongoing series. Climate change is a long-term problem that requires long-term solutions and ongoing assessment is one of the tools that will help us track the effectiveness of our responses. Just like the global challenge, understanding and addressing the regional implications of change requires a sustained effort.

The first element is to identify the complete range of current significant stresses on regional ecosystems, such as population growth, pollution, unsustainable resource use, and existing climate variability. We need to understand the combination of multiple stresses, each with their own effects on the environment, and on each other, if we are to take effective action to preserve and enhance environmental quality and make the transition to sustainable development.

Then we need to look to the future. How are the regional stresses evolving, and how does the addition, or overlay, of climate change on the mixture of stresses affect regional ecosystem, social, and economic sectors? These are complicated, fascinating, and pragmatic questions. How might the Gulf Coast fishing industry, and efforts to preserve freshwater and marine ecosystems, be affected by changes in the amount and pattern of precipitation?

Finally, we need to examine the ways in which we currently cope with such stresses, and to look ahead and identify approaches for coping with predicted future environmental stresses, including climate change. How do the adaptation options for the different sectors I just mentioned fit together? Are they complementary, or are they at cross purposes?

To protect the integrity of our environment and to assure our future national security, we need to make revolutionary--not evolutionary--changes in our energy supply over the coming several decades.

George Bernard Shaw said that "One mark of the educated person is that he/she can be emotionally moved by statistics." Let me share a few of these with you:

  • The average US citizen accounts for five tons of emissions per year.
  • The average citizen of a developing country accounts for 0.5 tons of emissions per year.
  • If the world's population doubles--a change we need to work to prevent--then to keep atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases less than twice pre-industrial levels, world citizens cannot emit more than 0.5 tons per person by the end of the next century.

These are daunting challenges!

There is an old Chinese Proverb, "If we do not change direction, we will end up where we are headed" And we are headed toward serious global security, economic, and environmental problems. I believe that all of you gathered here today can provide important input in helping us move to address these problems.

Note: The text is based on the keynote presentation by Dr. John Gibbons, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, and Director, White House Office of Science and Technology Policies, at the Gulf Coast Climate Change Workshop and Public Forum on February 26, 1998. The text was provided by Susan Bassow, AAA Fellow at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policies.


Gulf Coast Assessment Overview/Charge to the Workshop

Michael C. MacCracken,
National Assessment Coordination Office
U. S. Global Change Research Program
Washington DC

Introduction

There are several reasons that the U. S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) has initiated the U.S. National Assessment: The Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change. The reasons all revolve around answering questions posed in Washington by members of Congress on behalf of their constituents--basically, the questions are:

"So what? So what if the global average temperature warms a couple of degrees? What does that matter to citizens of my district? Of my state? Even of the United States? There are suggestions that we need to sharply reduce use of coal and oil and natural gas to protect the climate--what does this really mean? So what if the climate changes? Can't we just adapt to the changes? After all, people move all the time to warmer climates? So what will climate change really mean to all of us?"

These are really good questions--and they deserve understandable answers. This workshop is part of the process for getting better answers to these "So What" questions.

The Science of Climate Change

These "So What" questions, however, were not the first questions that Congress asked. To understand how they got to these questions, it is useful to review the history of our understanding of the potential for climate change.

About 150 years ago, an English scientist started wondering what happened to all of the carbon generated by burning the coal they were using to drive the Industrial Revolution. Pretty clearly, it went up into the air with the smoke. The smoke particles all came down, coating everything with soot, but where did the rest of the carbon go? While scientists knew at the time that plants could capture CO2, using the carbon to build their structure and releasing oxygen, that meant the carbon had to show up in trees--so the more they burned, the more trees there would need to be. But everyone was cutting down trees to make sailing ships and the charcoal was needed to make steel and sailing ships. Carbon dioxide could also be taken up by the oceans, but simple equilibrium chemistry indicated that all of the CO2 would not get sucked up. After all, if that were the case, then why was there any CO2 in the atmosphere at all? There had to be some fractionation, with some of the CO2 going into the oceans, and some remaining in the atmosphere. As more and more coal was burned, the CO2 concentration in the air would clearly have to go up.

There were scattered measurements over the next century, with early hints in the late 1930s that the atmospheric CO2 concentration was indeed rising. Regular measurements of the concentration in really clean air started in 1957 on a mountaintop in Hawaii. Since that time we have also realized that the bubbles of air trapped in glacial ice can be analyzed to provide a record of the CO2 concentration before regular monitoring began. From these analyses, a record of the CO2 concentration has been constructed back now several hundred thousand years (Figure 1).

By the end of the last century, it had also become clear that, like water vapor, the carbon dioxide in the air was an absorber and re-emitter of infrared radiation, creating a greenhouse effect that amplified the warming influence of solar radiation. Much of the physics and thermodynamics of the greenhouse effect can be verified in the laboratory, from satellites, and from observations of other planets. There is no question that the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere--water vapor, CO2, CH4, etc.--are keeping the earth significantly warmer than it would be in their absence. The real question is how much the climate will change in response to changes in atmospheric composition.

Based on geological evidence, American scientist T. C. Chamberlain suggested that climate changes in the past might have been caused, at least in part, by variations in the CO2 concentration. Looking at evidence of past climate changes and their causes has been a major scientific activity ever since. There is now strong evidence this is the case, as seen in the results from the Vostok ice core (Figure 2). Russian scientists have extended the records back in time by using geological and biological evidence to reconstruct the climate and the CO2 concentration for quite a number of past periods--from the time of the dinosaurs to the present. For all periods, they have found a close association. Quite clearly, nature views the relationship as quite close--providing some lessons we must recognize about what might happen as human activities change the CO2 concentration.

Just before Chamberlain's suggestion, Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius made the first estimate of how much the Earth would warm as a result of human activities. He calculated that there would be a warming of several degrees Celsius--roughly 4 to 6 C (about 7 to 11 F)--if the CO2 concentration were doubled. At the time, Arrhenius thought this would take a very long time to occur for he was simply not able to envisage the rapid increase in emissions that would occur as a result of the spread of the automobile, aircraft, electricity, industry, and population.

Observations have generally borne out these predictions--with a few new twists. As shown in Figure 3, the global temperature record from 1860 to the present shows a warming of about 0.5 C. This warming is occurring quite rapidly in geological terms, and we are now at record warmth for modern civilization.

Adding CO2 to the atmosphere is not all that human activities are doing to affect the earth system. Agriculture, industrial activities, and other societal activities are also increasing the concentrations of other greenhouse gases. Combustion of coal is leading to the addition of sulfate aerosols to the atmosphere. These small particles create the whitish haze covering and downwind of many industrial regions and they reflect some solar radiation back to space, which tends to cool the climate. Emissions of chlorofluorocarbons have also been contributing to stratospheric ozone depletion. These are not all of the effects, but we believe these are the largest effects at this time. At the same time, nature has not been simply quiet--there have been subtle changes in solar radiation, and there have been very large volcanic eruptions that introduce volcanic aerosols into the stratosphere. These aerosols, like sulfate aerosols, exert a cooling influence. While science has been able to gain some understanding of these effects, there remain uncertainties about precisely how much the changes will be, when they will occur, and what the potential is for surprises.

Identifying the Human Influence on Climate

In that human activities have been changing atmospheric composition for almost 200 years, we can consider the climate record in the context of how human activities are affecting the climate. Model simulations at present yield good agreement with observations if the mutual effects of the increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases and aerosols are considered along with the natural influence of small changes in solar radiation. Figure 4 shows the observed temperature record and a set of model-simulated variations assuming different sensitivities of the climate to a doubling of the CO2 concentration. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) considers the value of 2.5 C (4.5F) as its best estimate, which is slightly higher than the value of Arrhenius. However, uncertainties in understanding the climate have kept the IPCC from narrowing the preferred range of 1.5 to 4.5 C (about 2.5 to 8 F) for a doubling of the CO2 concentration. While most models tend to give results near the central value, it is interesting that most of the evidence from studies of how past climates have varied give a result a bit above the central value. While scientists have not been able to narrow this range for nearly 20 years now, the evidence that the value is within this range keeps mounting.

Examining these results, combining them with studies of the patterns of temperature change, with evidence of rising soil and ocean temperatures, and with evidence of melting glaciers and rising sea level, and rising soil temperatures, the IPCC concluded in 1995 that "the balance of evidence suggests that there is a discernible human influence on the global climate." Some would say, given the amount of evidence, that this is a very conservative conclusion. Others, citing a nearly 20-year satellite record of lower atmosphere temperatures, which some argue shows a slight cooling since 1979, suggest the IPCC conclusion was premature. However, after accounting for volcanic and El Niño influences, the scientists who have generated the satellite record see an underlying warming trend. The longer balloon record of atmospheric temperatures to which they calibrate also shows a warming trend. Because of these results, and recognizing that the satellite record is less than 20 years long, the IPCC authors concluded that the satellite record is not incompatible with their conclusion that the human influence on climate is now becoming larger than the natural variations society has become accustomed to over the past several centuries.

Future Climate Change

If the rise in CO2 concentration from 280 to about 370 ppmv has caused a warming of about 0.5 C (1 F), what will happen in the future? The IPCC has constructed a range of CO2 and greenhouse gas emission scenarios for the next century--considering how population, technology, and development will occur. Because it is so hard to predict, they have chosen a very wide range of possibilities, and this is an important cause of why estimates for the future are not, and cannot be, really precise.

Figure 5 shows the projections for the increase in the CO2 concentration and in temperature, using global climate models and various emissions scenarios. The best estimate for the CO2 concentration is that it will rise to about 700 ppmv, a level far above levels in recent history and not thought to have occurred on earth in the last 40 to 50 million years. At that time, the earth was much warmer than at present.

Not only will temperatures increase but, because this warming will cause glaciers to melt and water to expand, sea level will rise. In addition, hurricanes may intensify (a recent model result for Pacific typhoons), storm tracks will change, rainfall and runoff patterns will change, and more. While we currently experience a great deal of variability from year-to-year--this El Niño year being a very good example--what appears likely is that the range of variations will occur around new average conditions--creating new extremes, both wet and dry.

National and International Perspectives on Global Change

The first Presidential report on the potential for climate change and its consequences was issued in 1964. The nation had other things on its mind, and the Northern Hemisphere was actually cooling slightly, so there was not much political attention to the issue. During the late 1970s and then throughout the 1980s, there were more and more reports from scientific groups--both nationally from the National Academy of Sciences and from international groups. Politicians were starting to pay attention, and there were a number of hearings before Congress--especially in 1988 when there was a very severe drought in the central U.S. The questions that were being asked almost all focused on whether the climate would really change, whether the predictions could be believed, and how certain was the science.

For most members of Congress and the Administration, the questions have now changed, similarly for nations around the world. At the Rio summit on the Environment in 1992, the nations of the world enacted the Framework Convention on Climate Change. They committed themselves to a very important goal.

"Stabilization of the greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Such a level should be achieved within a time-frame to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened, and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner."

With 160 nations now endorsing this goal, the nature of the discussion has changed. For all of the nations, the potential for very significant climate change during the next century has been demonstrated to a sufficient level that policymakers must now seek to understand the risks involved. Questions are now of two distinct types. Questions are about what it would take to do something to prevent the climate from changing--that is to mitigate climate change, and about what climate change will mean if it does occur--that is how to adapt and cope with climate change.

The Potential for Mitigation of Climate Change

If CO2 was like any other pollutant, some sort of emissions control program would seem to be the cure. However, because coal, oil, and natural gas are mostly made up of carbon, instead of removing some trace amount of pollution, control would require capturing virtually all of the carbon--and that appears to be quite expensive. The only solution seems to be to use less of the coal, oil, and natural gas that are adding CO2 to the atmosphere.

The IPCC report summarizes a number of calculations of how much fossil fuel emissions must be cut to limit the continuing rise in CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere. As shown in Figure 6, the cutbacks required are significant.

Last December the developed nations met in Kyoto, Japan and agreed, subject to approval by their governments, that they would start the process of controlling emissions, reducing their emissions of greenhouse gases to several percentage points below their 1990 levels by about 2010. Critics of the agreement abound. On one hand, this agreement will not come close to meeting the stated goal of stopping the increase in concentrations of greenhouse gases as called for in the Climate Convention. On the other hand, critics of the agreement suggest that even this modest reduction in current emissions could be quite expensive. A third view is that technological improvements can make the cost of meeting this agreement quite low--or even beneficial--and so the proposed federal budget has new incentives for technology development.

Whatever view one takes, it is clear that over the coming decades, stabilizing the CO2 concentration will require significantly more cutbacks in emissions--both by developed and developing nations--than were committed to in the Kyoto agreement. This does not mean that there is no purpose in starting to introduce controls--only that present agreements, hard as they may be to ratify and implement, are only a beginning on the path to stopping climate change. Unless we want to leave very different climate conditions for our grandchildren, emissions cutbacks must start very soon to slow the growth in emissions and then cut them back significantly.

The Need to Cope With Climate Change

If society cannot stop the build-up in greenhouse gases now, society will not be able to stop climate change. Even if society were to cut back global emissions significantly right now, the climate would still continue to change for some decades as a result of past emissions--it takes time for the climate to come to a new equilibrium. Even if emissions were to go to zero so that there were no further changes in the atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, the warming over the next century would be as much as it has been over the past century (albeit only about 20% of what is projected to occur). With emissions continuing, climate change will increase. What is perhaps more worrisome is that sea level rise is projected to continue for centuries as the oceans keep warming and glaciers keep melting.

What is very clear is that we will experience climate change. Recognizing this--and facing objections to cutting back emissions--those in Congress are increasingly asking questions about what climate change will mean:

So what if climate changes? How will climate change affect us? How will it affect the citizens in my district? How will it affect the citizens of my state and region? How will climate change affect the nation and the world? Are the effects of climate change really going to be important given all the other changes that are occurring?

At the global and national levels, some studies of the potential consequences of climate change have given indications of the types of changes that could occur. In that fossil fuels provide tremendous benefit to society, the global focus has been on major categories of changes to aspects of the environment that provide important services to humans. Thus, the types of impacts of most concern focus on potential consequences to human health, food production, water resources, communities in coastal regions, and the many and diverse aspects of potential impacts to forests, wetlands, grasslands, and many other types of ecosystems that provide both products and services to society.

The US National Assessment

Information on the general types of impacts is interesting, but it is not really very helpful in understanding how climate change will affect each one of us or in understanding how we will need to adjust and try to cope with the changes. It is providing more specific answers that is the challenge of our national assessment.

The nation is so complex that no small group--whether of scientists or those in Washington--can just go off and write a simple explanation. Not only would such a select and distant group likely not address the questions that really matter, but no one would believe what was written. The only way to get a good understanding of the climate and the human and societal dimensions of the problem is to initiate an extended dialog on the issues with those who will really feel the changes. These regional workshops are to be the beginning of this dialogue. The US Global Change Research Program is sponsoring a number of regional workshops around the country where the dialogue is getting started.

We have learned several things from the nine workshops that have been held so far. First, we have learned that it helps to identify the key sectors in a region to provide a focus to the thinking about potentially large impacts. Second, it helps to start the discussion around four basic questions:

  1. What environmental stresses are now affecting the critical sectors in the region and how might these stresses play out in the future?
  2. How might climate amplify or moderate these stresses--or introduce new ones?
  3. What further information is needed to more fully answer questions about climate impacts on these and other sectors?
  4. What coping actions might help to alleviate the identified stresses, hopefully in a win-win way, so as to avoid the adverse impacts of climate change?

A story from the first workshop in the Central Great Plains might help to clarify how the process has worked at other workshops. Quite a number of ranchers came to that workshop--they were a bit reluctant to do so, in that they are often portrayed as part of the environmental problem. The cattle produce waste that pollutes river waters and methane that exerts a strong warming influence on the climate; their plowing of the soils causes carbon in the soils to oxidize and become CO2 that also induces warming; and their animal and fertilizer wastes come down the Mississippi and may be causing the lifeless hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico. How much worse can things get? Well, climate change is predicted to make it hotter in the summer, reducing soil moisture, and therefore reducing their crop yields. Furthermore, cutting back fossil fuel emissions would lead to higher fuel prices. It all sounded pretty hopeless.

However, by the end of the workshop, things had turned around. Fossil fuel cutbacks will likely make a market for biomass fuels--so the animal waste becomes a resource that would earn the ranchers money instead of costing them money. Similarly, the methane gas emissions can be a fuel resource. Shifting to no-till agriculture would require less fossil fuel while also helping to enhance carbon build-up in the soils. Not only might this earn ranchers payments for sequestering carbon, but increasing the amount of carbon in the soil helps to increase moisture-holding capacity, making ranchers more resilient not only to climate change, but to the natural variations that bring wet and dry years to the Plains. The ranchers started to see themselves as part of the solution--if they were prepared with the right information.

What happens in the Central Great Plains will affect conditions here on the Gulf Coast. What they do and what the climate does will affect river flow in the Mississippi, and will likely affect erosion rates and silt transport. Maybe the changing rainfall and runoff patterns and their timing will affect the hypoxic zone, or the supply of silt to barrier islands, or nutrients that affect marine life and coastal estuaries.

It is such questions and issues that need to be explored at this workshop. The workshop is being organized as part of the government's research program. We are not into regulations, but are into exploring connections and couplings--helping to provide the information needed to avoid decisions that might lead to adverse impacts from global change. Our assessment is starting with a regional focus--issues relating to where people live. It is also looking at some key sectors on a national level and will be working to try to provide a picture of what the nation's sensitivities and vulnerabilities are to climate change. Our hope is that with information and the involvement of people, organizations, and governments, everyone will be better able to cope with the changes that are coming, and will be able to identify actions that can aid in adaptation to the changes that will be occurring.

Thus, this workshop is really your workshop. We at the federal level are here to be resource people, to ask questions, and to report on lessons from other regions and studies. It is up to you to decide where the discussions go, what issues we explore. To advance the National Assessment process, we are asking that the workshop report on its discussions, and, over the next year, we are asking that the network that emerges from this workshop prepare a summary report for yourselves and for the nation that will at least start to answer the "So What" question that members of Congress are asking and that will tell the rest of the nation why what is happening in your region is important to the rest of the nation.

Closing Comments

Let me close with a brief story. Last summer, we asked Virginia Burkett to speak at a monthly seminar the USGCRP sponsored on Capitol Hill. The topic was coastal wetlands, mainly along the Gulf of Mexico. Virginia gave a wonderful talk, describing how this and that barrier island was disappearing or changing. It was fascinating--but it was not quite connecting to the mostly inside-the-Beltway audience. During the question and answer period, I tried asking a question to help make this connection. I asked: "Well, it is all very interesting that barrier islands are disappearing along the Gulf Coast, but I live in Maryland and why should I care?" There was a very brief pause before there was quite an eruption: "Where do you think your shrimp come from?" "Where do you think the Gulf fish come from?" "These islands help defuse hurricane winds--damage will be much greater without them, and your taxes pay for FEMA reimbursements." "Do you know how many people vacation there?" "The Mississippi is a major shipping channel that supports the nation's economy." And on and on--I just sat quietly taking notes--hearing just what I had hoped would be said. This region matters to the rest of the country, and the world, and impacts here will affect us all.

Since I have become involved with the Steering Committee for this workshop, other issues have started emerging: What will be the distributional effects of these consequences across different income groups--across rural and urban dwellers, and so on? What unique issues arise because New Orleans is below sea level, etc., etc., etc.?

Climate change will be important not only for you, but also for the country, and we want the discussions that begin here to seek to understand what these changes will be, how important they will be, and to start to explore how to plan for the future in ways that will accommodate climate change.

Captions

Figure 1: The atmospheric CO2 concentration has risen from about 275 ppmv prior to the Industrial Revolution to a level of about 370 ppmv today. This increase has occurred as a result of emissions from fossil fuel combustion, deforestation, and carbon release from soils caused by agriculture.

Figure 2: Record of CO2 concentration and temperature from the Vostok ice core in Antarctica and extended to the present. There is a close association between the CO2 and temperature changes, with the variations in CO2 apparently amplifying temperature changes initiated by cyclic changes in the Earth's orbit around the Sun.

Figure 3: Global temperature record from 1860 to the present, showing a warming of about 0.5 C (1 F) over the last century.

Figure 4: The observed temperature record and climate model simulations incorporating observed and reconstructed changes in greenhouse gases, aerosols, and solar radiation (from Wigley).

Figure 5: IPCC projections out to the year 2100 of the increase in concentration of CO2 and the consequent increase in global average temperature for various emission scenarios and climate sensitivities.

Figure 6: Stabilizing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere will require significant cutbacks in emissions from projections of the emissions rate assuming Business-as-Usual.

On assignment from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory with support from the US Department of Energy.


Chapter 1: Wetlands, Wildlife Habitat and Estuaries

Current Stresses

The following six major categories of stresses were identified.

  1. Sea-level rise and coastal subsidence

     

    The Gulf Coast is a region prone to rapid subsidence of an order of magnitude greater than the Atlantic and Pacific coastal zones. The Governor of Louisiana's representative at the workshop referred to this region as the "Poster Child of Vulnerability". Accelerated sea-level rise of any predicted rate, high or low, will only exacerbate the impacts of the existing rate of sea-level rise on this highly vulnerable coastal region.

  2. Altered freshwater and sediment flux

     

    Gulf Coast ecosystems continue to be impacted by stresses of altered watershed dynamics and flood control measures. Changing climate conditions which impact flow regimes in other regions (such as the Upper Mississippi River watershed) are also felt along the Gulf coast. Gulf coast states have experienced an increase in total annual rainfall during this century. This increase is associated with more intense rainfall events, which alter both the timing and delivery of freshwater to coastal wetlands and estuaries. The State Climatologist for Louisiana stated that intense spring rainfall events have doubled in frequency since 1971, while the number of summer events during that period were half as frequent. In addition to these climatic changes, flood control measures and impoundments alter surface water flows and impede the sediment flux that is necessary to sustain the development of river deltas. The extraction of freshwater for municipal purposes, irrigation, and landscape fragmentation in the coastal zone have altered the balance of freshwater and tidal flows. Several Gulf Coast estuaries and wetlands are slated for engineered restoration (e.g. fresh water diversions along the lower Mississippi River and the Everglade's surface water restoration).

  3. Saltwater intrusion, agricultural, industrial, and urban runoff

     

    Rising sea-level and deteriorating landforms allow saltwater to intrude further inland and to mix with surface and groundwater supplies. Changing the salinity patterns of Gulf Coast wetlands threatens stability of freshwater ecosystems and survival of two important shellfish resources - oysters and shrimp. Fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides applied on agricultural crops in watersheds that feed coastal marshes and estuaries also pose a real concern. The cumulative impact of water removal and replacement, whether for municipal or industrial purposes, involves a reduction in water quality and perhaps pollution to downstream wetlands. Urban flood waters that are pumped across levees also introduce significant contaminants of unknown fate into adjoining wetlands.

  4. Resource extraction

    Man's activities associated with natural resource utilization and extraction often present a stress on wetlands, wildlife, and estuaries. The following list of renewable and non-renewable natural resources that are important in the Gulf Coast region suggests the multitude of combined stresses that exist. These are not necessarily listed in order of their importance:

    Resources
    Renewable Non-Renewable
    Fisheries Oil
    Furbearers Natural Gas
    Alligators Peat Mining
    Turtles Sand
    Waterfowl Shell
    Forestry Gravel
    Spanish Moss Sulfur
    Palmetto Salt
    Agriculture Geothermal
    Cattle grazing
    Citrus

     

  5. Storms associated with frontal passages and tropical lows

     

    Frontal passages and hurricanes account for most of the acute effects that lead to coastal changes of barrier islands and wetlands. Even relatively mild winter storms create fetch dynamics in coastal bays and estuaries that can cause significant impacts.

  6. Exotic Species

    The invasion of non-indigenous species of flora and fauna alter the structure and balance of coastal systems to the exclusion, in some cases, of native species. The loss of habitat for resident wildlife is also of concern. The Gulf Coast spans the transition zone between temperate and sub-tropical climates and species distribution which adds to its biological diversity as a region. The rate of spread of exotic species may be fostered by climate changes and conditions. Some notable exotic species include Melaleuca, Salvinia, water hyacinth, Eurasian millfoil, Brazilian pepper, Chinese tallow tree, gecko, and zebra mussel.

    Many other stressors may be important, but they are not necessarily unique to the Gulf Coast region or apart from the general categories outlined above. Examples include: ultraviolet radiation effects on corals and amphibians, brown and red tide episodes, hypoxia, wetland loss and fragmentation, eutrophication, municipal wastewater disposal, bulkheads, jetties, and riprap structures, levees and impoundments, solid waste storage and contamination, non-point source pollution, recreational activities, atmospheric deposition, brine disposal, and oil spills.

    Multiple stressors are an issue in the Gulf Coast region, the importance of which may differ somewhat between watersheds and estuaries and with the time of year or episode. The cumulative impacts of all stressors and the realization that interactions between these stressors may also be important.

Critical Information Needs

Critical information needs are associated with an effective assessment of the consequences of climate change and variability for the Gulf Coast region.

  1. Information on meteorological changes
    • More information describing past changes, variability and trends in climate is needed. This includes improved geographic resolution using both direct and inferred data such as pollen in sediments and tree-ring analysis.
    • The monitoring network of hydrologic and climatic stations in the coastal zone should be enlarged.
    • Detailed regional and subregional climate models for the Gulf Coast with finer time scales are needed. These models should give us a better understanding of direction and magnitude of climatic variation and intra- and inter-annual extremes, and a better understanding of seasonal shifts, cold front passages, tropical storms, and tidal variation.
  2. Information on environmental changes

    First, we need a better understanding of what we have (i.e. the baseline). Second, we need to understand what the Gulf region stands to gain and lose given the predicted change scenarios. This information includes:

    • Documentation and integration of existing data for assessment and monitoring of:
      • Baseline information on species distributions, life history, trends in abundance and distribution, land use, landscape patterns and alterations, natural processes governing wetlands, fluvial systems and geomorphology;
      • Archival preservation of natural history museum collections historic photos and maps;
      • Precise elevation surveys tied to existing benchmarks for the entire Gulf Coast with improved accuracy, to produce contours within centimeters, possibly using remote sensing. Re-benchmarking may be required in those areas where subsidence has occurred;
      • Regional water quality monitoring and reporting;
      • Examination of changes in sediment budgets; and
      • GIS support to integrate information for resource managers.

       

    • Development of climate change scenarios for wetlands, wildlife, and estuaries including:
      • Models of plant and animal community response to estimate or predict:
        • Change scenarios for 50 and 100 year time scales for the region;
        • Impacts on productivity;
        • How will climate change magnify (or moderate) existing stressors;
        • The occurrence and effects of catastrophic events;
        • Changes in the hydrologic characteristics (saline/fresh water interface) and sediment budgets; and
        • Wetlands, estuaries, and/or barrier islands may be created or lost.
      • Models of species response to changes in physical processes including:
        • Native specie's response to climatic shifts and extreme events; and
        • Interactions of stresses, such as exotics, on indigenous species with climatic shifts and changes in perturbation regime/extreme events.
  3. Information on socioeconomic and human dimensions changes including an understanding of how climate change and variability are likely to affect human quality of life. Then we need to know how sociological forces will impact wetlands, wildlife and estuaries, with and without changes in climate. These will be based on the following:
    • Changes affecting the landscape's capacity to support human activity:
      • Loss of wetland functions such as water quality, storm buffering capacity, sediment and flood water restoration;
      • Availability and acquisition of potable water as wetlands and other barriers to saltwater intrusion are lost;
      • Risk assessments relative to coastal hazards; and
      • Waste disposal implications.
    • Understanding the sociological driving functions:
      • Demographic projections for the coastal zone;
      • Improved models of how people interact with landscape and environment;
      • Research is needed to obtain information describing public attitudes; and
      • Evaluations and information regarding future jobs for people who are dependent upon coastal resources (non-renewable, renewable, and non-consumptive).

Potential Coping Strategies

Coping strategies should be associated with supporting human well-being in the region and should be associated with the preservation or maintenance of our natural heritage. The strategies include:

  1. Human dimensions needs:
    • Innovation and change in public mindset, mainly through education;
    • Incentives to participate in programs that will help coastal residents cope with change will involve:
      • Innovative use of programs such as FEMA buyouts, fishermen's disaster relief, and insurance;
      • Job training programs with an emphasis on jobs that are sustainable within the landscape; and
      • A "GI Bill" for civilian education so individuals can better adapt to changes.
    • Removal of institutional impediments to dealing with change, with emphasis placed on gradual nature of change, rather than radical departure from the traditional basis for coastal living.
  2. Natural heritage needs:
    • Increased funding allocations for wetland preservation and restoration; and
    • A strategy for identifying new public land acquisitions to replace reduced and degraded public lands along the coast

Chapter 2: Forestry and Farming

Current Stresses

The Gulf Coast Region and the Southeastern U.S. are perhaps the most productive agricultural and forest related areas in the nation. However, current stresses on agriculture and forestry in the Gulf Coast Region are numerous.

  • Climate variability is already a prime stress and is related to the many summer storms of both sub-tropical and convection driven origin.
    • Forestry and farming are affected by numerous thunderstorms of high intensity as well as tropical storms and the associated high winds.
    • The high rainfall during short periods associated with these storms leads to flooding and waterlogged soils. Plant growth and animal care are impacted. Reduced root growth and increased incidence of windthrow or crop lodging are not uncommon problems.
  • Along the coast and for some distance inland, sea-level rise is a major problem in states like Louisiana.
    • Natural sea-level rise is a product of warming temperatures and thermal expansion.
    • Apparent sea-level rise is aggravated by subsidence caused from the organic soils and the losses of sediment influx as drainage patterns have been altered for human use in coastal areas. Sea-level rise exacerbates drainage of rivers and streams resulting in flooding and saltwater intrusion that severely alter the coastal ecosystems.
    • Freshwater swamps are being killed by saltwater intrusion and bottomland hardwoods are being killed by alteration of flood timing and duration.
    • Farmland use in the coastal areas is also altered by these factors.
  • Changes in species composition, changes in wetland boundaries, and complete loss of terrestrial ecosystems to open water areas have occurred. Such changes have also been associated with increased numbers of pests and success of new pests in the region.
  • Although high rainfall is common, the Gulf Coast Region also experiences its share of droughts. Droughts in recent years have caused much damage and loss of productivity.
    • Plants growing in waterlogged soils have restricted root systems and once the soils begin to dry out, plants are unable to extract sufficient water from the soil.
    • Wildland ecosystems under water stress often lead to insect and disease infestations, with a concomitant increase in the frequency and severity of wildfires. The release of sequestered carbon through uncontrolled wildfire can lead to major air pollution and to the buildup of radiatively important gases and particles in the atmosphere.
    • The extreme variability in rainfall duration, intensity and location can lead to flooding and waterlogged soils in one area and drought conditions short distances away.
    • In the summer, high temperatures provide additional stress through increased plant respiration, reduced photosynthesis, and direct-heat-caused injury.
    • In the winter, temperature fluctuation and the sudden onset of freezing temperatures result in biological miscues and loss of productivity. The negative impacts on flower and fruit production are most noticeable.
    • Ozone and other air pollutants are a problem in many areas of the Gulf Coast Region. Foliar damage, reductions in photosynthesis, and associated reductions in growth have been shown to occur. This problem is becoming more serious in the Gulf Coastal Region.
    • Increased temperature could cause increases in release of precursors to ozone (e.g., phenolics and terpene reactive compounds).
    • Increases in CO2 could lead to reduced stomatal conductance and lessen the effects of ozone.

  • Perhaps the most anticipated beneficial effect of climate change on farming and forestry is the increased CO2 levels.
    • The initial impacts of carbon dioxide increases will be enhanced crop and forest productivity. More efficient production on nitrogen limited soils may be an added benefit;
    • Much of the anticipated beneficial effect may be offset by other factors related to climate change. Several unknown and unstudied effects of climate change may alter our perception of the benefits and losses as a result of climate change in the Gulf Coast Region;
    • Normally seen as a positive effect on photosynthesis and plant biomass, the increasing carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere may alter carbon allocation patterns;
    • Shifts in allocation from stemwood to branches or root systems may alter the way a tree handles sudden changes in the environment and could lead to a severe blow to the timber industry; and
    • Carbon allocation related to fruit and grain production versus vegetative and root growth may appear positive until sudden onset of drought conditions finds the crops with inadequate root systems.

We do not know the relative biological costs of these changes given the projected increased variability in climate. Higher C:N ratios in litter may reduce decay and nutrient turnover rates offsetting the increased temperature effects. Shortages of some nutrients are likely to be increased if more rapid growth results from increasing CO2 levels. Carbon and nutrients could also be sequestered at different rates in woody plant biomass. Crop residues may breakdown more quickly affecting succession and again altering nutrient cycling. These changes may be prominent because of the timing of nutrient turnover. Effects on flowering and fruiting could result from changes in the way nutrients are mobilized both in the plant and in the soil. Again, the potential effects are largely unknown, especially for natural forest ecosystems.

Differential effects for C4 versus C3 plants will exist. In farming this may change the relative productivity and economic situation for crop plant selection. In the natural environment relative productivity differences could affect competition and succession. There is some evidence to suggest that species diversity may be reduced in some areas. Long periods of hot weather, day and night, at times may lead to increases in evapotranspiration. Without increases in precipitation, drought effects could reduce plant growth. Higher respiration rates resulting from even higher temperatures could reduce net photosynthesis during the summers. Short winters with highly variable winter temperatures could lead to physiological miscues. Frost damage could occur in some areas and poor pollination and fruiting may result. If miscues are not severe, warmer winter temperatures can mean extended growing seasons and more carbon sequestration. However, changes in wood quality in trees seem probable since season timing differs. The importance of dormant season length in perennials is relatively unknown. Higher rainfall in the Gulf Coast Region will aggravate the high soil water conditions already prevalent. Reduced root growth or increased incidence of root pathogens will subject far greater numbers of plants to increased windthrow and death. Reduced overall growth and increased susceptibility to disease will likely follow on newly affected areas.

Additional interacting factors include:

  • The impact of stress on micro-organisms from an ecological point of view;
  • Continued expansion of the urban environments causing the demise of agricultural lands;
  • Encroachment of urbanization on watersheds and coastal water systems;
  • Expansion of agricultural lands in new areas due to changes in climate;
  • Erosion and decreased water quality from increased pollution including fertilizers and herbicides;
  • Increased demands for agricultural and forest products;
  • Increased pressure on recreational lands; and
  • Homes are long-term sequestration sites for carbon (increase with population) but may replace forested sites.

Critical Information Needs

  • Information needs about meteorological changes

    We need to:

    • Understand the potential arctic outbreak frequency (extremes are of critical importance) e.g., ice storms;
    • Know the how potential productivity of soils will change with climate changes;
    • Understand how the magnitude of change in weather is important in determining effects on agricultural plants and animals;
    • Predict the magnitude of extremes in weather and climate conditions;
    • Provide tools for evaluating the probability of drought occurrence and the duration of droughts in local areas and improve the accuracy of the predictions, especially during the growing season;
    • Develop improved methods for predicting when the minimum conditions for planting will occur (last date of frost, etc.) and the length of growing season;
    • Assess the likelihood of climatic conditions requiring planting of alternative crops;
    • Improve projections of fire severity based on long-range forecasts;
    • Know how far in advance we will have to react to climate change in order to avert catastrophic die-offs or significant losses; and
    • Know whether we are prepared to mitigate the effects of disastrous meteorological events.
  • Information needs concerning environmental change

    Many environmental factors associated with climate will also change. We need to understand:

    • Which cultural practices will ameliorate the effect of environmental factors on seed production and agricultural and forest production in general;
    • The environmental impacts on insect and other pathogens;
    • Biotic factors above and below ground (insects, disease, micro- and macro-organisms) and how they will be affected by changes in climate associated environmental factors such as soil moisture, shorter periods of frozen soils, degree of cloudiness, and flood periodicity.
    • The effects of altered hydroperiods and/or drought periods on agricultural and forestlands with different local site conditions;
    • The effects of climate change on migration patterns and general wildlife habitat use;
    • How environmental factors affect soil conservation efforts and water quality considerations;
    • The potential impacts of environmental factors on production of ozone and other pollutants;
    • How key changes in environmental factors interact with genetic adaptation;
    • What how know about changes in the environment that will help to develop new pesticides; and
    • Effects of environment on rates of maturation and metabolism which in turn would affect productivity.

     

  • Information Needs About Socioeconomic and Human Dimensions

     

    Changes in population size, demographics, and human life styles will all interact with and influence the effects of climate change. Information needs related to these factors include determination of:

    • Effects of land-use changes on environmental factors at various scales from the local to the global scale;
    • How shifts in population and demographics will be related to climate change (e.g., South to North movement);
    • How alternative life styles as a result of climate change are likely to affect the demands on forest and agricultural resources;
    • The costs associated with the use of alternative energy sources;
    • How petroleum cost increases will affect the agriculture and forestry communities;
    • How incentives would change the rate of carbon fuel use;
    • Types of education needed to influence the consumption of petroleum and improve efficiency of agricultural and forestry production;
    • How climate change might cause geographical shifts of agricultural or forestry operations;
    • Willingness of people to relocate based on changes in climate and production trends in agriculture and forestry;
    • The effects of climate and economic factors on stability in production;
    • How climate change will affect public health and safety;
    • Effects of tighter controls on industrial emissions production and improved transportation systems ; and
    • The implications for agro-forestry

     

Potential Coping Strategies

Many coping strategies are available to modify the effects of climate change and to alter the degree of climate change based on today's knowledge of these relationships. Potential coping strategies for forestry and farming include:

  • Reforestation;
  • Afforestation and urban planting to increase carbon sequestration;
  • Use of specific cultural practices;
  • Proper species selection;
  • Use of Best Management Practices for sustainability and environmental protection;
  • Reducing erosion;
  • Maintaining water quality;
  • Promoting efficient urban forestry;
  • Correct placement of urban trees for energy conservation and low maintenance;
  • Sustainability of forestry and agricultural vegetative cover for carbon sequestration and energy conservation;
  • Appropriate and energy efficient recycling;
  • Agro-Forestry;
  • Education and technology transfer;
  • Encourage energy efficient practices;
  • Use of no till/minimum till agriculture;
  • Targeted application of chemicals and pesticides;
  • Diversification of crops;
  • Development of decision making tools to aid in choosing the correct cultural practices and energy efficient methods for implementation;
  • Development of risk assessment tools to predict the impact of global change on ecosystems;
  • Research on taxonomy and systematics should be stressed to add to the data base for biological species; and
  • Development of Geographic Information System databases to provide key climatic information relative to farming and forestry practices.

Research Needs

The answers and even some of the questions related to the effects of global climate change on the Gulf Coast Region will require research in many areas. In farming and forestry, important research questions include:

  • How does carbon sequestration vary for different species (tradeoffs)?
  • What are the genetic effects and how much adaptation will be required of specific species under different climate change scenarios?
  • What are the relative competitive advantages of various species under different climate adaptation scenarios?
  • What are the direct and indirect impacts of environmental factors (e.g., drought, flooding, nutrient deficiency, etc.) on above and below ground plant eco-physiological responses and how do cultural practices affect these relationships?
  • What are the important linkages between cultural practices, climate variation, and the water cycle at different scales of measurement ( tree and stand water flux; water budgets)?
  • How can we achieve the appropriate balance between natural regeneration/artificial regeneration and silvicultural practices to efficiently use fossil fuels?
  • What are the potential impacts of fire, insects and disease on long-term carbon sequestration?
  • How are insects and disease organisms and their hosts altered by climatic change? What are the potential ramifications of these changes on the forest and agricultural productivity and on the health of natural forest ecosystems (including forest biodiversity)?
  • How will fire, weather, and the resulting fires impact ecosystem health and succession?
  • Can we develop alternative energy sources and more efficient ways of using energy for farming and forestry operations?
  • What improvements in modeling methods can be made for connecting agricultural and forestry practices to changing climatic conditions?
  • What new technologies can be developed to preserve soil quality and sustain agricultural productivity?

Chapter 3: Commerce, Industry and Energy

Current Stresses

Industries of the region can be divided into two broad categories: primary industries and support industries. Primary industries with the most impact on the economies of the Gulf Coast region (in no particular order) are oil and gas, agriculture and forestry, tourism and entertainment, fisheries and aquaculture, chemical, manufacturing, port transfer and shipping. A number of support industries with important roles in the region (in no particular order) are insurance, finance, real estate, construction, medical and health, public sectors, military, government, and retail.

Current climatic and non-climatic stresses can be related to the relevant industries. Some of these influences originate within the region, while others have global dynamics. Some general "stresses" are coastal land loss, saltwater intrusion, population growth, and education/training of the general population and available workforce. Specific effects on the primary industries include the following:

  • Oil and gas:

     

    Clearly, global energy markets, international emissions agreements, and national policy are major forces in shaping the demand for oil and gas products, and the ultimate mix of fuels used to meet the nation's energy needs. Also, the current age and inefficiency of capital equipment is one important stress in this industry as well as in the chemical and manufacturing industries. Weather plays a substantial role in determining demand for, hence the price of, various fuels. Another major stress on the oil and gas industries is the frequency and magnitude of major storms. In such cases, drilling activities in the Gulf are curtailed. While this stress is currently thought to play only a minor role, future increases in storm intensity and frequency associated with climatic change could be important.

  • Agriculture and forestry:

     

    Agriculture is particularly sensitive to climate variability and extremes. The dates of the first and last frosts dictate planting and harvesting schedules. Shifts in the length of growing season can benefit or harm agriculture. Some crops will likely benefit from the enhanced CO2 and increased air temperatures. There may even be opportunities for double cropping (i.e., two growing seasons each year). The expected drying of the soil and increased magnitude of heavy precipitation events, on the other hand, may be damaging to the agricultural industry.

  • Tourism and entertainment:

     

    Weather in the gulf coast region has an important influence on tourism. For instance, it is generally known that the month of August can be quite hot and humid, discouraging tourism and encouraging residents to travel out of the region. The role of weather in tourism, however, is a two-way street. Many of the tourists visiting the region in winter months are from the northeast. If winters in the northeast are less severe, there will be less incentive for these individuals to flee to the south. Another important influence on tourism is the perception of health threats. One example is the recent outbreak of encephalitis in central Florida, that resulted in the evening closings of the Disneyworld parks. Even very small outbreaks of infectious disease can have major impacts on tourism.

  • Fisheries and aquaculture:

     

    Wetland loss is a current issue of great importance to the fisheries and aquaculture industries. If natural subsidence is enhanced by sea-level rise, these industries may be severely impacted. There are also salinity issues associated with the interface between the coastal salt water and the brackish and fresh water marshes.

  • Chemical:

     

    While the chemical industry is generally not significantly impacted by climate, it relies on the oil and gas industries for much of its raw materials, and is also subject to the policy actions of local governments which often act to limit emissions. Environmental activism is also playing a more pronounced role, as the activist groups grow and become more vocal about their environmental concerns. Vocal public opposition to the proposed Shintech PVC plastics plant in Louisiana was cited as one example.

  • Port transfer and shipping:

     

    This industry depends upon port access which in some cases may be affected by river flow rates, sedimentation, and the need for dredging. Ship traffic can also be significantly impacted by severe storms.

Critical Information Needs

  • Information needs about meteorological changes

     

    We need information on relevant climate variables as well as several secondary variables derived from the primary climate variables. These include statistics on temperature, precipitation, wind, humidity, sea level, cloud cover, atmospheric turbidity, and river flow. An additional parameter of importance is the frequency and magnitude of extreme events such as severe storms, hurricanes, and droughts. The need for information on these parameters was derived directly from the earlier discussion of current climatic stresses on the Gulf Coast industries.

  • Information needs about environmental changes

     

    Important environmental changes which may be related to and impacted by climate change include the ongoing subsidence in coastal Louisiana, penetration of high salinity water to inland marshes and estuaries, and changes in coastal habitats. The flow rates of major rivers (such as the Mississippi) and the pollutant levels in these rivers are also an important input into the economies of the Gulf Coast region. We need to know how large scale changes in these environmental variables might affect the local industries directly and indirectly through impacts on ecosystems and biodiversity.

  • Information needs about the socioeconomic and human dimension

     

    Aside from environmental and climate changes, there are likely to be many changes in the social, economic, and political parameters that may be just as significant to these industries. Certainly, projections of population demographics for the region will be important. The relative wealth, age, skill, social, and political views of the population will also be important. How will government react? Will it act to protect coastal areas? Will it restrict new development, or the rebuilding process after a major hurricane? Of equal importance is the question of how people will react. How receptive will the public be to information about likely future climate and/or environmental change? This question may be partially addressed by cultural theory which seeks to divide the population into distinct groupings with somewhat predictable behavior. One approach is to use a carefully crafted questionnaire and interview process to partition people into one of four categories: egalitarian, individualist, hierarch, and fatalist. When a particular region is faced with a new issue, understanding the cultural group populations in that region may aid in assessing how the population will respond to the various options.

Potential Coping Strategies

Education and communication are perhaps the greatest barriers to coping with climate change. Without education at all levels, there will not be sufficient support in the near future for changes in the status quo that may help the Gulf Coast prepare for and cope with climate change.

One key issue is that future residential, industrial, and infrastructure development should be limited in regions which are most subject to being inundated as the sea level rises. We should also work to make the region less dependent upon industries which are highly sensitive to climatic change.

There are many existing technologies that can help the gulf coast region become more energy efficient. Louisiana and Texas are among the most energy intensive states in the country due to their large industrial base. There are significant subsidies in Louisiana for industrial energy use. That infrastructure is out of date and inefficient. By reducing energy subsidies it is believed that these industries could be encouraged to modernize their technologies, resulting in much more energy efficient and less environmentally disruptive processes.


Chapter 4: Health, Water and Air Quality

Current Stresses

The Gulf Coast shares a number of stresses that are currently creating problems for coastal areas around the country due to a high rate of population influx and development. Many of the health stresses in the region relate to contamination of the marine environment as a result of development, agriculture (nitrogen flow), and industrial pollution, such as benzene and other organic chemicals from oil refining. This is of particular concern because the Gulf Coast has the highest concentration of petrochemical companies in the nation. The addition of nitrogen to aquatic and coastal waters can encourage the growth of harmful algae, while various forms of pollutants can intrude into the water supply or can impact on local air quality.

  • Human health

    Table 1 shows some of the current diseases of concern in this region. This table illustrates how vector-borne diseases (carried by a host animal or insect) are linked to ecological conditions as well as socio-economic issues. Although not listed on this chart, there has also been an upsurge in tuberculosis in the Gulf Coast region, a disease transmitted person-to-person.

Table 1. Diseases of concern in the Gulf Coast region.
Disease Background
Cholera
  • Can come from imported food.
  • Cholera is also endemic to the Mississippi Delta. It may be difficult to detect in water, as it appears to have a viable, but non-culturable form found in association with plankton. The U.S. is not very susceptible to having cholera become endemic; however, it is often under-diagnosed in the U.S.
Equine encephelitides (EEE)
  • A vector-borne disease (carried by mosquitoes) which kills horses and can affect humans.
  • Always 11 1/2 months of exposure to mosquitoes in the Gulf Coast. Everyone needs to get their horses vaccinated for EEE. Mosquitoes need a cool place with water in the shade to breed. They may move away from wetlands and into urban areas and landfills as wetlands are destroyed. In Baton Rouge, there are wetlands within the urban area which are protected from the spraying of pesticides to kill mosquitoes. Increased rain and cloudiness could enhance mosquito populations.
Bayou Virus
  • This disease is carried by rodents and a form of the hantavirus.
  • There were five cases in Texas; two of the five cases were fatal.
  • Flooding can increase rodent populations by providing boosts in their food and driving them from their burrows.
Leprosy
  • Armadillos burrow in grave yards to eat corpses. In this manner, they become carriers of leprosy. They are most affected in wet weather and may potentially pass the disease to humans.
Leptospirosis
  • This rodent-borne bacterial disease occurs throughout the world.
  • The disease causes abortions in horses.
  • It is not being well diagnosed in humans. If diagnosed, it is treatable with antibiotics. If it is not diagnosed, it can be fatal.
Hantavirus
  • There is a link between the hantavirus and El Niño phenomena; with droughts interrupted by heavy rains
  • The outbreak is linked to the explosion of the deer mouse population which is linked to food supply; more food for rodents can make conditions favorable for an explosion in the population.
  • A drought preceding the population explosion may kill the predators of the deer mice; thus, with less predators and more food, the population increases.
  • The hantavirus may become more common with an increase in the rodent population.
Dengue Fever
  • In 1995, there was a large outbreak of dengue fever in Mexico along the Rio Grande River. There were 4,000 cases on the Mexican side and seven cases on the U.S. side. There is more risk of the hemorrhagic form of dengue with time even without climate change due to the introduction of new dengue virus strains. The death rate from dengue hemorrhagic fever is 5-15%. Dengue fever is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito.
Zoonotic Diseases Zoonoses are diseases which involve non-human vertebrates as vectors and/or reservoirs, and can be transmitted to people. Many emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) are zoonoses.
Yellow Fever
  • Yellow fever is under control in the Gulf Coast region. However, the Aedes aegypti, the mosquito which carries yellow fever is returning to more parts of the U.S. Nigeria had a large outbreak of urban yellow fever. Could this happen in the U.S.? Will climate change affect the spread of dengue fever, yellow fever, and other diseases? Aedes aegypti may continue to move northward, as killing frosts do not limit its range. Warmer winters may permit the mosquitoes to live through the winter.

 

In addition, there were a number of disease events in Florida in 1997 which affected both humans and plants. These included St. Louis encephalitis around Orlando and three crop pests: the Mediterranean fruit fly in Dade county, citrus canker, and tomato leaf virus carried by whiteflies.

  • Water quality

    Diversion of water to serve the growth of the human population in large cities is a potential threat to the availability of clean water in the Gulf Coast region. The large population growth in Atlanta is currently threatening Gulf Coast water quality. Similarly, population growth and the diversion of water is also threatening the water quality of the Rio Grande River. To assess this problem, it is important to monitor key water systems and to determine the purpose for which water is being used.

    Pollutants in water is a major problem in the region. The highest concentration of petrochemical companies in the nation is in the Gulf Coast. With the potential for a rise in sea level, health is threatened by the petro-chemical plants which are located along waterways. In addition to the chemicals released by the petrochemical companies, the Mississippi River carries the chemical pollutants of the central U.S. to the Gulf Coast region. Extraction, refining, and transport of oil and petro-chemicals all carry risks for the health of humans, wildlife and ecosystems. Extreme rains and flooding can enhance run-off of nutrients, pollutants and micro-organics. Heavy rains and high nutrient levels can increase algal blooms and add to the "hypoxic zone" in the Gulf of Mexico, currently the size of New Jersey.

    Salinity of water is a major problem in the Gulf Coast region because it contributes to the loss of oysters. Oysters have a positive effect on water quality by filtering water and removing pollutants. Salinity also increases the difficulty of the water treatment process. Salinity may make the treatment of water more costly and add to the problems of communities which face water treatment problems.

    E. coli in water is a sign of human and animal pollution, and it is often linked to poor municipal processing of sewage. This can be exacerbated by a poor tax base. That often determines how well the water is treated.

    Pond aquaculture is a potential danger to human health because the water used in aquaculture goes directly back into the U.S. water system. There is no ingress or egress in these ponds. Many antibiotics maybe put into the pond and bacteria which are resistant to different antibiotics can multiply. These resistant bacteria are then often released into the environment. It is important to keep the pond water away from estuaries so that new diseases, bacteria, or other health risks for animals and humans are not released into the environment. In addition, shrimp and fish in such confined ponds often become susceptible to disease. As a result, such systems may not be sustainable over long periods of time.

  • Air quality

    The growth of major cities and the effects of this growth on air quality is a major health concern in the Gulf Coast region. Large cities such as Houston, Atlanta, and New Orleans have major problems with air pollution, particularly tropospheric ozone (O3). Pollution stagnation, such as occurred in Baton Rouge in 1990 and 1995, is dangerous and may be exacerbated by increased temperatures. Poor air quality contributes to health problems such as heat shock, asthma, respiratory disease, and allergies.

    When air quality is bad, people often stay inside houses. The air quality there is usually worse than outside. In addition, when temperatures increase, more people use air conditioners, adding to the pollution problems.

Possible Consequences of Climate Variability and Change

  • Human health
    • There are potential positive and negative effects on health which could result from climate change (Tables 2 and 3). One example of a positive effect is that higher temperatures may cause some parasites to decrease (e.g., Schistosoma). Each issue in health must be considered on a case-by-case basis. Health issues must then be considered using a cascade approach which focuses on the compound effects on health of many different factors.
    • Climate change through warming may intensify the cascade effect by disruption of species-developed synchronies that underlie natural biological controls of pests and pathogens.

 

Table 2. Climate Variables Affecting Disease Patterns.
Temperature
  • Temperature increases cause microbial organisms to increase, within their viable range.
Extreme Weather Events
  • Increase in incidence of severe tropical storms could leave conditions in which diseases thrive, by increasing breeding sites and driving rodents from their burrows.
  • Climate models indicate that storm intensities could increase.
Precipitation Patterns
  • Fungal growth may increase with higher temperatures and greater humidity. If climate change produces very wet period followed by very dry periods, then this can increase the distribution of fungal spores.
Wind
  • Changing wind patterns could cause movement of insects (e.g., herbivores) to different parts of world.

 

 

Table 3. Climate Sensitivity of Various Human Diseases (+ indicates increased risk to human health; - indicates decreased risk to human health).
Risks to Human Health Sea Level Rise Temp. Precipi
-tation /
Humidity
Wind Extreme Weather Events
Respiratory:
* Allergies     + +  
* Asthma          
* Infection   -   ?  
Waterborne:
* Viral         +
* Bacterial   + +   +
* Protozoa   + +   +
Algal Blooms + + +   +
Meningitis (drought related)     +    
Cryptosporidim         +
Vector Borne Diseases:
* Aedes aegypti          
* Anopheles   + + -? +
* Rodents   + + -? +
* Agric. Pests     +   +
* Pathogens   + + + +
  • Water supply and quality
    • Sea level rise could affect sewage treatment plants and further pollute water as well as spreading diseases.
    • With increased run-off, more chemicals enter the water supply and stimulate algal growth. Chemical reactions could occur and affect the quality of water supplies. More chemicals in the water would compound risks to human health.
    • Climate change may intensify demands on clean water supplies by shifting the patterns of precipitation and evapotranspiration.
  • Air quality
    • Visibility may decrease with the combined effects of climate change and more air pollution. Increase in tropospheric ozone is temperature dependent; warmer days may enhance the reactions that generate ground-level ozone.
    • Decreased visibility may have an effect on mental health. There will also be less penetration of light in the aquatic environment with decreased visibility. This could affect coral reefs.
    • Allergies and air quality are linked. Allergies increase with temperature. Wet periods followed by dry periods may increase the production of fungal spores, and aggravate existing allergies.
  • Other environmental and socioeconomic factors

    • More people may be forced to move from region to region due to the effects of climate on the environment. Climate change may produce more environmental refugees.
    • People living in poverty will be more severely affected by climate change. For example, poor people are less likely to be able to buy air conditioners to cope with the effects of increased temperature. They also may face more danger from extreme storm events.
    • With higher temperatures, populations of nuisance organisms may increase and decrease the quality of life of humans. Flies and mosquitoes may increase as well as numbers of termites and cockroaches. For example, from 1990 to 1995, there was no killing frost in New Orleans. This was a prolonged El Niño period. Termites, mosquitoes, and cockroaches increased. Termites stayed inside live oak trees avoiding the frost in 1995 and 1996, causing an overpopulation of termites. Termites can be seen flying under street lights in New Orleans in Spring, and they have invaded many of the wooden houses in the city. Occasionally, there are reports in newspapers about termites swarming.

Research and Information Needs

  • Research and information needs related to climate variability and precipitation

    • Seasonality is important to health. Inter-annual variability, long term variability and the effects of short term variability on health need to be studied. Research is needed on how variability of weather affects illness. Does variability contribute to sickness? Does it make conditions for illness more favorable?
    • Research on wind patterns and the relation between wind patterns and health must be conducted.
    • The effects of daytime and nighttime temperatures (average nighttime temperatures are rising twice as fast as average daytime temperature) on health, and on nuisance and disease carrying organisms should be studied.
    • Research on how increased rainfall affects pollen counts and allergies should be conducted. Wind may have a positive effect in decreasing some diseases.
    • More specific predictions of how climate will change regionally are needed. Comparisons between different places in the U.S. with similar climates and how environmentally similar locations are coping may be helpful.
    • Regions need better climate forecasting. People need more accurate prediction of when heat waves are going to occur so that they may be better prepared.
    • The effects of temperature and precipitation on tick populations should be studied to determine if ticks may become more of a nuisance, and to determine if ticks may be disease carriers in the Gulf Coast region. In general, tick populations increase under warm, humid conditions.

     

  • Research and information needs on human health

    The medical community should attempt to anticipate what the health concerns of the future may be. To do this, the following areas of study may be important.

    • Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome was unknown before 1993. Surveillance of emerging diseases needs to be improved.
    • Disease monitoring in general needs to be improved. Indicator species (insects, rodents and algae) should be monitored for early detection of trends.
    • Those in the medical field need to know if climate change will cause diseases to move up in altitude or if they are going to spread latitudinally with higher temperatures.
    • The effects of UV rays on the immune system must be studied.
    • There is a need to study how the salinity ratio may change the balance between hosts and parasites.
    • Studies on multiple exposures to environmental risks and how they interact and can compound should be conducted. What are the effects of interactions between precipitation, salinity, and temperature?
    • Better models of vector-borne diseases need to be developed.
    • The impacts of the use of fossil fuels on human health must be further defined. There is a need to look at the extraction, refining, and transport of fossil fuel as well as the effects of combustion.
    • The effects of CO2 and warming on crop yields should be studied.
    • Policy makers need help prioritizing research problems and health risks.
    • More funding should be designated for research south of the U.S. border, especially in Mexico. Studying warmer climates south of the Gulf Coast region may help the Gulf Coast region to identify problems that it may face in the future. The U.S. should study the insects, flora and fauna of Mexico, Central and South America.
    • Educational policies should include the younger generation in scientific research.
    • Policymakers need to know at what point changes in climate may overwhelm the current measures put into place to control the spread of disease.

     

  • Research and information needs on water supply and quality

    • An assessment on how chemicals used in agriculture may be affected by climate change is essential in order to protect water quality, and hence reduce human health risks related to pesticides. The interactions between chemicals released directly into the environment needs to be studied.
    • Key water systems must be monitored to determine the purposes for which water is being used.
    • A study which focuses on how government infrastructure can be strengthened to reduce health risks and protect water quality caused by sea level rise is needed. For example, municipal waste facilities may be overtaken by rising sea levels. What can be done to reduce health risks caused by the water mixing with human wastes and to the water quality of the region? How might these systems be improved to be less vulnerable to heavy precipitation events?

     

  • Inter-disciplinary research needs

    There is a need for an interdisciplinary approach to study the potential human health risks associated with climate change.

    • Ecologists need to interact with human health specialists.
    • Often, human health specialists focus only on humans. The medical field needs to become more interdisciplinary in general and focus on a variety of environmental and social factors which can affect human health.
    • The medical field must study animal diseases which have potential for being transmitted to humans. Specialists should consider diseases which could potentially be transmitted through the food chain.
    • In order to assess health risks to humans, animals, and plants, more interdisciplinary models need to be developed. Models need to be more specific and provide useful regional information.

     

Potential Coping Strategies

As with all risk management, advanced planning of coping strategies to deal with potential health risks can save both lives and money. The U.S. should plan for the potential acute and chronic health effects of climate change. Health risks linked to climate change need to be communicated more effectively to the public. Early warning systems to inform people of health risks should be improved to allow timely, environmentally-friendly, and less costly public health intervention.

  • As part of risk management, U.S. production techniques need to be re-evaluated. Greater understanding is needed of how economic production techniques will ultimately effect the health of the U.S. population. Climate change may intensify environmental problems caused by production techniques.
  • Medical workers need to be educated about the potential effects of climate change, and how chronic diseases may increase due to degraded environmental conditions and chemical contamination.
  • The U.S. needs to develop more "bottom-up" disease prevention programs. If communities are educated on these issues, then they will ask governments to respond. Also, the U.S. needs to concentrate on developing programs to protect the elderly. The elderly need programs to help them cope with heat waves which are anticipated to increase with climate change.
  • The public should understand that climate change may not be gradual as many assume. What will happen if there is a punctuated change in climate? There is no assurance that change will be gradual, and the public must be made aware of this.

 


Chapter 5: Fisheries and Aquaculture

This chapter focuses primarily on impact of global climate change on fisheries. Since the practices of aquaculture and marineculture are largely based on precepts of fisheries management, many of the discussion points would apply to these practices, the main differences being the artificial and isolated nature of the environments in which aquaculture and marineculture are practiced.

This chapter also emphasizes climate, or perhaps more precisely, weather variability, as opposed to climate change in a particular direction (i.e., warming). After all, most of the climate change scenarios predict increased variability in temperature at the regional level. Warming projections are based on annualized temperature changes. The actual day-to-day temperature changes (which organisms experience and adapt to) will most likely vary between slightly warmer and sometimes slightly colder temperature extremes. Moreover, limiting the discussion to temperature changes ignores the more interesting and potentially more extreme variation in precipitation that is likely to occur. Increased variability in precipitation has the potential to greatly impact coastal fisheries by affecting freshwater inflow to estuaries which, in turn, would affect flushing rates, the location of the freshwater-saltwater interface, and the quality of coastal estuarine nursery areas for fish and shellfish. Further inland, increased variability in precipitation has the potential to negatively impact riverine fish resources.

Current Stresses

Projections of annual rates of sea-level rise along the Gulf Coast associated with global climate change were judged to be relatively minor, but even small rates of sea-level rise take on a special significance in coastal Louisiana. Fishermen of the Terrebonne Fishermen's Organization expressed concern about coastal erosion and the loss of coastal marsh habitat. In Louisiana this is mainly attributable to subsidence of delta deposits of the Mississippi River, and human alteration of coastal marsh. Louisiana fishermen, who depend on the marsh for their livelihood, are concerned that sea level changes associated with global climate change will exacerbate the current problems of coastal erosion.

There is currently little public understanding of the importance of coastal water and habitat quality to coastal fisheries. Coastal habitat quality is affected by factors such as industrial and metropolitan development along the coastal zone, tourism and recreation, inland land use (natural vegetation cover versus agriculture or silviculture, fertilizer and pesticide use, animal husbandry, etc.), and atmospheric and hydrologic deposition of pollutants (e.g., inorganic nitrogen) from industry located far inland. The extent to which climate change will exacerbate or ameliorate stresses on fisheries associated with changes in coastal water and habitat quality depends on future trends of coastal zone development. Some sense of the minimum amount of undisturbed coastal habitat and minimally disturbed coastal habitat buffer needed to sustain current fisheries must be gained in order to project habitat needs under climate change scenarios.

In 1997 Louisiana fisheries contributed roughly $20 billion to the gross national product, employing about a million people. Thus, the socioeconomic impact is substantial. Marsh and other coastal habitats on which coastal fisheries depend play an important role as nursery grounds for many commercially important fish and shellfish species. Other commercially important fishes, whose life histories are not directly tied to coastal habitats, are dependent on fish and shellfish produced in coastal habitats.

Over the past 20 years, research has shown that many of the estuary dependent species, including the important coastal fishery species, tend to use only the edges of marsh surrounding the estuary (only the first 50-150 ft). Computer simulations suggest that changes in fishery production in Louisiana can be correlated with changes in the amount of marsh edge. These findings suggest that any change in fishery-dependent habitat, resulting from regional climate or sea level change, that affects the quantity or quality of marsh edge has the potential to greatly impact fishery production. Coastal marsh is disappearing at an alarming rate in Louisiana (25-35 square miles per year). That represents about 80% of the coastal wetland loss in Louisiana. The losses are not as great in other parts of the Gulf Coast as in Louisiana, but they are still disturbing. Coastal development typically results in hardening of the immediate shoreline area, with development of land behind the shoreline. There is increasing concern that, with sea level rise, there will be no place to which fishery-dependent coastal habitats can migrate.

It is generally believed that global climate changes will have little impact on offshore fisheries (e.g., epipelagic species such as tuna and mackerel, and bottom-oriented species such as snapper) because of their mobility and the less seasonal nature of offshore habitats. However, the larval stages of many of these species develop in nearshore areas and are dependent on Gulf currents for dispersal.

All aquatic organisms have particular ranges of physiological tolerance to factors such as temperature, salinity, pH, and dissolved oxygen. In general, species are found only in habitats that meet all of their requirements for survival, growth, and reproduction. These requirements often differ with different life history stages (eggs, larvae, and adults), particularly in marine and estuarine species. A change to warmer water temperature in the Gulf of Mexico, for example, has the potential to shift the zone of inhabitance of tropically adapted species northward. At the same time, the zone of inhabitance of more temperately adapted species will be restricted because northward movement in the Northern Gulf of Mexico is limited by the coastline. The same may be said for fishes in inland freshwater stream and lake habitats along the Gulf Coast. The species are generally temperately adapted, so any warming, or tendency toward warmer extremes than at present, has the potential to restrict their natural range. The ability of any of these species to migrate north or south is dependent on the range of stream sizes the species normally inhabits, and the presence of barriers to dispersal such as dams or natural physiographic features.

Other stresses include:

  • Habitat loss due to factors such as subsidence, saltwater intrusion, and coastal development;
  • Habitat fragmentation that results in barriers to dispersal and genetic migration;
  • Modification of freshwater inputs due to effects of dams and/or levees on timing of release of water, sediment, and nutrients to coastal habitats;
  • Pollution; and
  • Overexploitation of fishery resources.

 

Climate change or variability may exacerbate or ameliorate these stresses in the following ways:

  • Any climate change or variability that results in redistribution of coastal marsh will likely exacerbate habitat loss and fragmentation because of the increasingly disturbed nature of the coastal zone;
  • Any increase in severe weather has the potential to increase freshwater input (with positive or negative impacts depending on timing and location), and damage barrier islands with negative impacts on marsh and therefore coastal fisheries; and
  • Temperature variability has the potential to either negatively or positively impact remaining fish stocks, depending on the timing (season, habitat, and life history stage affected).

Information Needs

A critical problem in trying to predict how global climate change might impact populations of both coastal and inland fisheries is that very little is known about the specific tolerances and life history requirements of many of the species involved. Life history information is being gathered for many of the commercially important species by agencies such as the National Marine Fisheries Service and state fisheries departments. However, the information is not being gathered in a coordinated way, with a view toward future climate change. In cases where key life history information is being gathered (e.g., in the course of routine shrimp, ichthyoplankton and groundfish surveys), important information on conditions of capture is not being recorded, and the collections are not being precisely referenced as to geographic position, and the collections are not being archived. What is needed is comprehensive interagency review of information needs related to impacts of global climate change on coastal fisheries, better coordination of ongoing fishery surveys with proper attention to the quality of the information being gathered, and improved databasing and archiving of information collected.

An important and as yet underutilized source of information on the life requirements of fishes inhabiting the Gulf Coastal Zone is research collections in natural history museums. The collections are typically well documented as to provenance and date of collection, and cover periods of 100 years or more. Preserved with the specimens is information on feeding habits, parasitology, age structure, and reproductive development. The museums can serve as repositories for collections made by state and federal fishery resource management agencies.

Efforts to maintain well functioning coastal aquatic ecosystems - now and in the future - should pay special attention to the natural taxonomic composition of the biotic communities involved. If too much emphasis is placed on environmental factors, without proper attention to the natural interdependencies of coastal aquatic species or understanding of what constitutes pristine or adequately restored coastal habitat, we are likely to end up with fishery resources that are as plentiful in terms of biomass, but very different taxonomically and much less desirable than what we enjoy today (e.g., sea catfish as opposed to red drum).

Other information needs include the following:

  • Information on meteorological/oceanographic changes
    • Temperature and salinity changes;
    • Accurate projections of precipitation changes;
    • Information gained through retrospective analysis of the relationships between fishery catch data (species composition, biomass, and life history) and meteorological/ oceanographic measurements (actual and inferred).
    • Information about the extent of coastal habitat alteration and loss;
    • Knowledge of the ability of disturbed habitats to sustain fisheries; and
    • Information on precipitation patterns and salinity changes.
  • Information on changes in human and socioeconomic dimensions
    • The potential of changes in fisher population and the fishing industry to increase or reduce the pressure on important fishery resources;
    • Effects of the continuing trend of shifts in human population to coastal zones increasing pressure on sensitive coastal habitats; and
    • The potential of pollution resulting from climate change (oxygen depletion, thermal pollution, nutrients and eutrophication, toxicity, etc.) to exacerbate problems with fisheries.

Research Needs

The following are pressing research questions related to fisheries and aquaculture:

  • Research on the tolerance and life history requirements of coastal aquatic biota;
  • Retrospective analysis of relevant biotic and environmental data (fishery, ocean, atmosphere, coastal hydrology);
  • Spatial analysis of coastal habitat quality to identify areas for preservation and/or restoration;
  • Analysis of how land use across the Gulf Basin impacts coastal water quality;
  • Establishment of long-term environmental monitoring in critical coastal habitats (coastal rivers, swamps, mangroves, freshwater marsh, etc.);
  • Research on effects of atmospheric pollution and UV-B's on the sea-surface microlayer;
  • Information about the consequences of doing nothing;
  • Current and future projections of human demographics;
  • Current and future projections of coastal economic development and infrastructure needs (highways, ports, power, water, etc.); and
  • Mechanisms for informing fisher communities about changes and other outreach activities aimed at consumers.

Potential Coping Strategies

  • Adopt Best Management Strategies for coastal land use (limit new coastal development;
  • Reservation and/or restoration of critical coastal aquatic habitats; and
  • Education/outreach to all sectors.

Chapter 6: Coastal Recreation, Tourism and Community Life

Current Stresses

  • Current and proposed coastal and wetlands vulnerability

    Although the coastal region displays a significant resiliency to both natural variability (climatic and non-climatic) and human impact, the potential for additional and accelerated environmental and human stresses and demands along the coastal zone could exceed the ability of that ecosystem to adapt.

  • Anticipated population dynamics in the coastal region

    There are two generally distinct population groups to be considered: the permanent, resident populations of the coastal region and the temporary, fluxing population associated with non-resident tourism and recreation. The coastal zones, and the 'Sunbelt' as a whole, can be expected to continue to experience marked resident population growth, as well as human development and settlement driven by a recreation and tourism industry.

  • Potential changes in cost of living, services and maintenance along the Gulf Coast

    As tourism and vacation-oriented industries continue to grow along the Gulf Coast, the burden for local services can add to an anticipated increase in the cost of living, and possibly an overall lifestyle change, for local residents. In some instances, the demand for coastal "space" could result in the displacement of permanent settlements or significant changes in local lifestyles, employment and businesses. Local community cultures may indeed be threatened as a result of the influx of non-resident investment and development.

Information Needs

  • Information about meteorological (and climatological) changes

     

    Weather plays a major role in the coastal zone, not only in shaping the environment and impacting the local communities, but also in defining the attributes that make the Gulf Coast attractive to a growing tourist industry.

    • An extended record of historical climatic data should be developed wherever possible to represent past trends and ranges of variability for the coastal region. These data should include both temperature and precipitation data, as well as other meteorological factors including winds, atmospheric moisture and solar radiation. Special attention should be devoted to information indexing tropical and mid-latitude storm intensities and frequencies, investigating past and present patterns of extreme weather-event variability.
    • Global-change modeling should be adapted to smaller-scale regional evaluations, providing guidance regarding potential and/or expected changes in climatic indicators. This is particularly true given current considerations regarding the vulnerability of the coastal zone and the potential for increased storm activity (both tropical and extra-tropical), which is handled well by most current global models. In addition and in support of this effort, a coastal meteorological/climatological monitoring program should be developed, implemented and permanently maintained to expand on current data and fill the void of missing information.
    • Development of a complete meteorological/climatological monitoring effort should be done in conjunction with scientists from allied areas (i.e. biotic, chemical, etc.) to assure that all weather variables of interest to coastal zone studies are available for the research community. This obviously requires coordination between various research areas.
    • The business and resident community of the coastal zone should be educated about the relationship between weather and the ecosystem so they are aware of the potential vulnerability of the coastal zone to climatic variability and change.

     

  • Information about environmental changes

     

    • Local industry and the very survival of the resident communities are directly tied to the stability and productivity of the coastal zone. From the perspective of recreational use, the importance of the visual aesthetics of the Gulf Coast cannot be overstated.
    • Sea-level and tidal variability were identified as the two primary environmental factors influencing the potential impact of global/regional change on the coastal region, particularly in instances where these changes develop over relatively short periods (eg. decades or less).
    • Changes in the hydrology and salinity of the coastal zone can have significant impacts on the area and should be routinely monitored, preferably through a coordinated effort with the meteorological and climatological monitoring.
    • The sensitivity and vulnerability of coastal vegetation and the characteristics of the soils need to be fully understood to assess potential regional climate change impacts. Detailed GIS databases cataloging soil types, topography and land use (past, present and projected) are of critical value.
    • Concerns regarding aspects of air, soil and water pollution in the coastal zone need to be addressed. Monitoring efforts should address these areas.
    • The potential for increases in vector-borne diseases as noted by representatives from the biometeorological and medical arenas becomes a particularly important issue in the coastal zone, especially with regard to mosquito-transmitted diseases. The potential for increased incidence of diseases not only affects the resident population, but could also make some coastal areas less attractive to tourists and recreational users.

     

  • Information about socio-economic and human dimension changes

     

    Coastal industries, particularly oil and gas production along portions of the Gulf Coast, have become significant sources of employment for many coastal communities yet these industries also appear to be significant contributors to the loss of wetland habitat. Continued growth of the coastal tourist industry also places increased demand for the development of space on the fragile ecosystem. These factors coupled with sea-level rise and climate change are likely to exacerbate current rates of wetland loss.

    • Projections of human population dynamics must be developed to determine the potential for uncontrolled growth of resident and tourist populations in the coastal environment. Recognizing that the overall value and productivity of the coastal resource exceeds the value of the development potential, regulations may be required to minimize over-development.
    • Every effort should be made to maintain those coastal communities that have been in place, but growth in these areas may need to be limited. This is particularly true in those communities that already experience occasional environmental impacts (i.e., hurricanes or tidal flooding). In some cases the human-environment system may have already become too unstable to maintain. In other cases, proposed impacts of regional climate change and sea-level rise may make engineered efforts of community protection unrealistic. In those instances where the environmental threat to the community may exceed feasible solutions, relocation or limited growth must be considered.
    • Comprehensive regional plans for coastal management should be developed with a primary goal of maintaining, or even re-creating, wetland areas. These plans should be prepared by intergovernmental representatives and wetland scientists and coordinated through coastal communities to allow interactive feedback. Programs and plans should be developed with "environmental and social justice" in mind, so that no particular group is unfairly or improperly burdened in the process.
    • Continued development of public/private partnerships should be encouraged during and after the regional planning process, where the resident communities and local/regional governments cooperate with local industries in their efforts to protect and maintain the coastal environment.

     

Potential Coping Strategies

Coping strategies in the sectors of recreation, tourism and community life involve efforts to demonstrate the vulnerability of the coastal zone to unchecked development and misuse. Success in mitigating impacts of potential regional climate change in the coastal zone for these sectors requires that users better understand the interactions between environmental functions and human activities.

  • Education is the key. Success in minimizing regional change impacts along the Gulf Coast is largely dependent upon an understanding by coastal-zone users of the fragile and vulnerable nature of this unique ecosystem. There is a need for establishing a common language for communication between researchers from the various sciences, policymakers, governmental agents and public and private sectors when discussing coastal zone issues. Coastal residents, developers, and industry leaders need to be better informed about the implications of global and regional change and the overall value of conservation efforts. There needs to be better coordination among the various agencies investigating coastal issues to enhance information exchange between researchers. Data and research conclusions need to be provided to community and industry representatives in as concise a framework as possible.
  • Predictions of impacts along the coastal zone need further refinement at the regional scale. Improved field-monitoring networks will provide calibration information for improving the skill of such regional modeling efforts.
  • Specific biological and physical mitigation programs as determined by the scientific community should be identified and implemented immediately. In addition to mitigation efforts, proactive conservation programs should also be developed to re-establish areas of wetland loss where feasible.
  • Objective economic and social impact assessment studies should be performed to evaluate the consequences of regional climate change in the coastal ecosystem. It must be recognized that these evaluations should be performed independently as the specific impacts of climate change may differ between individual coastal communities.
  • Collectively, these four aspects should be integrated with input from the coastal communities in the development of regional policy to establish realistic agendas for both short- and long-term response to regional climate change.

 

Unchecked access and uncontrolled development along and near Gulf Coast wetlands, coupled with the potential impacts of global and regional climate change, will increase rates of loss of this vulnerable coastal ecosystem. Ultimately this will lead not only to a deterioration of this unique environment, but also a degradation of coastal community lifestyles and a reduction in the appeal of the coastal zone for recreation and tourism. Success for these three sectors therefore is directly tied to, and greatly dependent upon, the survival of the coastal ecosystem. A comprehensive program of field research and environmental monitoring, regional modeling and climate-change impact assessment, and community and industry education is necessary so that integrated planning and management strategies can be developed to insure that the fragile ecosystems remain productive now and in the future.


Literature Cited

Anderson DM, Galloway SB, Joseph JD. 1993. Marine Biotoxins and Harmful Algae - A National Plan. Woods Oceanographic Institution Tech Report, WHOI 93-02. Woods Hole, MA.

Colwell RR. 1996. Global climate change and infectious diseases: The cholera paradigm. Science 274:2025-2031.

Curry RB, Pearl RM, Jones JW, Boote KJ, Allen LH. 1990. Simulation as a tool for analyzing crop response to climate change. Trans. ASAE 33(3):981-990.

Glantz MH. 1994. Drought follows the Plow. Cambridge, Eng: Cambridge University Press.

Hales S. 1996. Dengue fever in the South Pacific: Driven by El-Niño southern oscillation. The Lancet 348:1664-1665.

Hansen JW, Hodges A., Jones JW.. 1997. "ENSO Influences on agriculture in the Southeastern U.S. J.Climate (in Press)

IPCC. 1997. The Regional Impacts of Climate Change: An Assessment of Vulnerability - Summary for Policy Makers. Watson Rt, Sinyowera MC and Moss RH eds. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. United Nations Environment Program.

Jones J., Legler DM, Arkin GF, Hansen JW. 1997. Climate Impacts - Major findings and recommendations: a-agriculture. In "Summary Report of the Workshop on Climate Variability and Water Resource Management in the South Eastern United States."Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee. pp. 29-33.

Keeling RF, Piper SC, Heimann M. 1996. Global and hemispheric CO2 skins deduced from changes in atmospheric O2 concentrations. Nature 381:218-221.

Myneni RB, Keeling CD, Tucker CJ, Asrar G, Nemani RR. 1997. Increased plant Growth in the Northern High Latitudes from 1981 to 1991. Nature 386:698-702.

Nicholls N. 1997. Increased Australian wheat yield due to recent climate trends. Nature 387:484-485.

Santer BD, Taylor KE, Wighley TLM, Johns TC, Jones PD, Haroly DJ, Mitchell JFB,

Ort AH, Penner JE, Ramaswamy V, Schwarzkopf MD, Stouffer RJ, Tett S. 1996. A search for human influences on the thermal structure of the atmosphere - Nature 382:39-46.

WHO. 1996. Cimate Change and Human Health. WHO/WMO/UNEP: World Health Organization, World Meteorological Organization, United Nations Environment Programme.

Acknowledgment

This project was made possible by a grant from the United States Environmental Protection Agency and technical support from the United States Global Change Research Program. The project directors would like to acknowledge significant technical contributions by the steering committee members of the Gulf Coast Regional Assessment Workshop, Southern University Office of Research and Strategic Initiatives, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the National Wetland Research Center, the Science and Engineering Alliance, the Southern Regional Climate Center, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Louisiana State University, Florida State University, Tulane University, and the workshop breakout session leaders.


Contributors

Compiling and Technical Editing: Zhu Hua Ning and Kamran Abdollahi

Editorial Editing: James McNitt

Background Information on the Gulf Coast Region: Paul B. Tchounwou

Remarks: Vice President Al Gore

Keynote Presentation: Dr. John Gibbons

Gulf Coast Assessment Overview/Charge to the Workshop: Dr. Michael C. MacCraken

 

Wetland, Wildlife Habitat, and Estuaries: Virginia Burkett, Jacoby Carter, and Thomas W. Doyle

 

Farming and Forestry: James L Chambers and Robert Richard

 

Commerce, Industry, and Energy: David Sailor

 

Health, Water and Air Quality: Paul R. Epstein and LaShaunda Malone

 

Fisheries and Aquaculture: Hank Bart and James J. Obrein

 

Recreation, Tourism, and Coastal Community Life: Lynn Morris and Jay Grymes

 

 


Appendix A: Workshop Program

GULF COAST REGIONAL CLIMATE CHANGE WORKSHOP AND PUBLIC FORUM AGENDA

February 25-27, 1998
Baton Rouge Hilton, Baton Rouge, LA

Workshop Coordinators/Project Directors: Drs. Zhu Hua Ning and Kamran Abdollahi

Wednesday, February 25, 1998

3:00pm Organization Meeting for Steering Committee Members, Session Chairs, Speakers, Panelists, Rapporteurs, and Archivists (Evangeline Room)

 

4:00pm Poster Setup (Salon IV)

 

5:30pm Registration and Poster Session (Foyer IV and Salon IV)

 

7:00pm Welcome Reception (Salon IV)

 

7:45pm Opening Presentation (Salon IV)

 

Mr. C. C. Lockwood, Author and Photographer of "The Gulf Coast"

Gulf Coast Region: History, Culture, and People

8:30pm Adjourn

 

Thursday, February 26, 1998

7:30am Registration and Continental Breakfast (Foyer IV)

 

8:30am Welcome and Opening Remarks (Salon IV)

 

Dr. Edward Jackson, Chancellor, Southern University-Baton Rouge Campus
Dr. Leon Tarver, President, Southern University System
Mr. Len Bahr, Special Assistant to Honorable Mike Foster, Governor, State of Louisiana

9:00am Plenary Session Presentation (Salon IV)

 

Session Chair: Dr. Kirkland Mellad, Dean and Research Director, College of Agricultural, Family, and Consumer Sciences, SUBR

Dr. Robert Muller, Professor and Director Emeritus, and Mr. Jay Grymes, Southern Regional Climate Center, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA

Climate Variability and Climate Change: 100 Years' Climate Records

Dr. Virginia Burkett: Branch Chief, Forest Ecology, National Wetland Research Center, USGS, Lafayette, LA

Climate Change Impacts on Gulf Coast Wetlands

Dr. Michael MacCracken, Director, US Global Change Research Program, National Assessment Coordination Office, Washington, DC

Overview of National Climate Change Assessment and Charge to the Gulf Coast Regional Climate Change Workshop

10:15am Breakout Session Assignment and Charge to Breakout Session

 

Dr. Michael Slimak, Associate Director for Ecology, National Center for Environmental Assessment, U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC

10:20am Break (Foyer IV)

 

10:40am Concurrent Breakout Session (Your breakout session assignment is indicated by a letter on your name badge. Please attend assigned session.)

 

Session

  1. Wetland, Wildlife Habitat, and Estuaries (Orleans Room)
  2. Farming and Forestry (Vermillion Room)
  3. Commerce, Industry, and Energy (Benville Room)
  4. Fisheries and Aquaculture (Evaneline Room)
  5. Health, Water and Air Quality (Acadia)
  6. Coastal Community Life (Feliciana)

 

12:00pm Working Lunch (served in breakout rooms)

 

1:00pm Concurrent Breakout Session Continued

 

2:30pm Break (Foyer IV)

 

2:50pm Plenary Session Presentations (Salon IV)

 

Session Chair: Dr. Robert Stewart, Director, National Wetland Research Center, USGS, USDI, Lafayette, LA

Dr. Jim O'Brien, Professor, Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies, The Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL

El Niño and Extreme Weather Events in the Gulf Coast Region

Dr. Michael Crowe, Chief, Climate Perspective Branch, Global Climate Laboratory, National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, NC

Observed Climate Trends for the Globe and the Southeastern U.S.

3:40pm Breakout Session Reports (Salon IV)

 

4:10pm Remarks by:

 

Ms. Pat Arnould, Representative of LA State Office of the Indian Affairs and Indian Tribe in LA

Madam Karen Kraft Sloan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment, Canadian Delegates, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

4:20pm Poster Session

 

6:30pm Public Forum Reception

 

7:00pm Public Forum (Salon IV. See Public Forum Agenda for Detail.)

 

Host: Dr. Robert Ford, Vice Chancellor for Research and Strategic Initiatives, SUBR

Keynote Speaker: Dr. John Gibbons, Science Advisor to the President of the United States, Director, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Washington, DC

8:30pm Adjourn

Friday, February 27, 1998

7:30am Continental Breakfast (Foyer IV)
8:30am Plenary Session (Salon IV)

Chair: Dr. Virginia Burkett, Forest Ecology Branch Chief, National Wetland Research Center, USGS, USDI, Lafayette, LA

Dr. David Schimel, Program Director, Senior Scientist, Ecosystem Dynamic and Atmosphere Section, Climate Dynamic Division, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO

Vegetation/Ecosystems Modeling and Analysis Project (VEMAP)

Dr. Paul Epstein, Associate Director, Center for Health and the Global Environment, Harvard University Medical School, Boston, MA

Gulf Coast Regional Climate Change and Human Health

9:30am Charge to Breakout Sessions
Dr. Michael MacCracken, USGCRP
 
9:40am Break (Foyer IV)
10:00am Concurrent Breakout Sessions Continue
12:00pm Workshop Luncheon (Salon I, Host: Dr. Robert Ford)

Keynote Speaker: Dr. David Doniger, Counsel to the Assistant Administrator in Office of Air and Radiation, U. S. Environmental Protection Agency

Kyoto Climate Protocol and the President's Domestic Climate Change Program

1:30pm Plenary Session (Salon IV)

Chair: Dr. Robert Shepard, Executive Director, SEA

Reports from Breakout Sessions

Lessons Learned from the Workshop

 
3:00pm Closing Remarks

GULF COAST REGIONAL CLIMATE CHANGE PUBLIC FORUM AGENDA

February 26, 1998
Baton Rouge Hilton, Baton Rouge, LA

Workshop Coordinators/Project Directors: Drs. Zhu Hua Ning and Kamran Abdollahi

6:30pm Public Forum Reception (Salon II)
7:00pm Public Forum (Salon IV)
  1. Introduction:  Host: Dr. Robert Ford, Vice Chancellor for Research and Strategic Initiatives, Southern University
  2. Keynote Speaker:  Dr. John Gibbons, Science Advisor to the President of the United States, Director, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Washington, DC
  3. Questions and Answer Session

    Panelists

    Dr. Michael MacCracken, Director, US Global Change Research Program, National Assessment Coordination Office, Washington, DC

    Dr. Michael Slimak, Associate Director for Ecology, National Center for Environmental Assessment, U. S. Environment Protection Agency, Washington, DC

    Dr. Robert Shepard, Executive Director, Science and Engineering Alliances, Washington, DC

    Dr. Robert Muller, Professor and Director Emeritus, Southern Regional Climate Center, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA

    Dr. Virginia Burkett, Branch Chief, Forest Ecology, National Wetland Research Center, USGS, Lafayette, LA

    Dr. Jim O'Brien, Professor and Director Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL

    Dr. Paul Epstein, Associate Director, Center for Health and the Global Environment, Harvard University Medical School, Boston, MA

    Dr. Hank Bart, Curator of Fishes and Director, Tulane University Museum of Natural History, Belle Chasse, LA

    Dr. James Chambers, Professor, School of Forestry and Fisheries, LSU, Baton Rouge, LA

    Dr. David Sailor, Associate Director, SouthCentral NIGEC, School of Engineering, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA

    Dr. Doug Daigle, Program Director, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, Baton Rouge, LA

8:30pm Adjourn

SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY AND A&M COLLEGE

In collaboration with
THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (EPA),
THE U.S. GLOBAL CHANGE RESEARCH PROGRAM (USGCRP),
THE SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING ALLIANCE (SEA)

PRESENTS

GULF COAST REGIONAL CLIMATE CHANGE WORKSHOP

February 25-27, 1998
AND
PUBLIC FORUM
Evening of February 26th, 1998
AT
HILTON HOTEL, BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA

 

STEERING COMMITTEE

Dr. Zhu Hua Ning, Committee Chair and Workshop Coordinator
Southern University and A&M College
Baton Rouge, LA
Dr. Robert Watts, Director
The National Institute for Global Environmental Change
Tulane University
New Orleans, LA
Dr. Kamran Abdollahi, Committee Co-Chair and Workshop Coordinator
Southern University and A&M College
Baton Rouge, LA
Dr. James Newman, Principal Scientist
Golder Associate, Inc.
Gainesville, FL
Dr. Robert L. Ford, Vice Chancellor
ORSI, Southern University and A&M College
Baton Rouge, LA
Dr. Richard Shaw, Director
Coastal Fisheries Institute
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA
Dr. Kirkland E. Mellad, Dean and Research Director
College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences
Southern University and A&M College
Baton Rouge, LA
Dr. Virginia Burkett, Forest Ecology Branch Chief
National Wetland Research Center
USDI
Lafayette, LA
Dr. Robert Shepard, Executive Director
Science and Engineering Alliance
Washington, DC
Dr. Ronald Ritschard, Manager
Regional Application, Global Hydrology and Climate Center
NASA/UAH/USRA
Huntsville, AL
Dr. Michael Slimak, Associate Director for Ecology
National Center for Environmental Assessment
EPA, Washington, DC
Dr. Gerald North, Department Head
Meteorology, Texas A&M University
College Station, TX
Dr. Michael MacCracken, Director
National Assessment Coordination Office of USGCRP
Washington, DC
Dr. Robert Corell, Chair
Subcommittee on Global Change Research
Washington, DC
Dr. Paul Tchounwou, Director
Environmental Science Ph.D. Program
Jackson State University, Jackson, MS
Dr. David J. Nowak, Deputy Project Leader
USDA, FS, NEFES, SUNY
Syracuse, NY
Dr. Safwat H. Shakir, Director
Texas Gulf Coast Environmental Data Center
Prairie View A&M University
Prairie View, TX
Dr. Rita Schoneman, Director
National Urban and Community Forestry
USDA-FS
Washington, DC
Dr. Tommy Coleman, Director
Center for Hydrology, Soil Climatology, and Remote Sensing
AAMU, AL
Dr. James O'Brien, Director
Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction
FSU, FL

Appendix D: Workshop Participant Directory

Abdollahi, Kamran K.
Kamran K. Abdollahi is Coordinator and Co-Director of the Gulf Coast Regional Climate Change Workshop . Dr. Abdollahi holds a Ph.D. in Ecopysiology. He is an Assistant Professor in Urban Forestry and has been instrumental in establishing the first B.S. degree granting program in the nation. Currently is project director to 5 ongoing global change related research projects. His research focus is on quantification of pollution removal by urban vegetation. He is serving as a regional council member for climate change assessment.
Adames, James
Chairman of Biology Department at Florida A&M University
Allen, L. H. Jr.
L.H. Allen is a Soil Scientist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), and a Courtesy Professor in both the Agronomy Department and the Horticultural Sciences Department of the University of Florida. Since 1981, Dr. Allen has conducted research on the response of plants to rising carbon dioxide levels and expected climatic changes using primarily a suite of outdoor, sunlit, computer-managed, controlled-environment plant growth chambers and a set of temperature-gradient greenhouses. Dr. Allen has also recently initiated research on alternatives to methyl bromide as a pre-plant soil fumigant.
Andrews, Donald, R.
Donald Andrews is a Professor of Economics with the College of Business at Southern University. He has over twenty years of experience in teaching, research and service in economics. He is currently involved with strengthening the economics education program at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which is geared to improving economic literacy within the African American community. He teaches a course in Environmental Management in the College of Business.
Appeaning, Vladimir Alexander
Alexander Appeaning is currently working on his Ph.D. in Public Policy Analysis with an emphasis on Environmental Policy and Management at Southern University. He interned for a year with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality where he assisted in the development of Environmental Indicators for the State of Louisiana. He graduated Summa Cum Laude in the fall of 1994 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Urban Forestry, and in the summer of 1996 with a Masters Degree in Public Administration at Southern University.
Arnould, Pat
Pat Arnould is a member of the United Houma Nation (Indian Tribe).
Ashiru, Mutar J.
Mutar is an Urban Forestry major attending Southern University.
Awotona, Adenrele
Adenrele Awotona is a Professor of Architecture in urban design and community development at Southern University.
Babin, Irene
Irene Babin is the Director in the Division of Administration and the State Fleet Manager for the State of Louisiana.
Bachireddy, V.R.
Professor and Unit Head of Plant and Soil Sciences at College of Agricultural, Family and consumer Sciences, Southern University.
Baer, Paul
Paul Baer is currently a graduate student in Environmental Studies at Louisiana State University, studying with Dr. Paul Templet. His interest is in the field of ecological economics, and he would like to pursue a Ph.D. in that field. His specific foci are the economics of global warming; alternatives in the valuation of natural capital and ecosystem services; and the use of modeling, GIS and other information technologies in the interface between science and policy.
Bahr, Len
Len Bahr is Executive Assistant to Governor Foster on Coastal Science.
Barnett, James
James Barnett is a Project Leader at the USDA Forest Service Research Station in Louisiana. His expertise is in forest biology and productivity.
Bart, Henry L., Jr.
Hank Bart is the Director and Curator of Fishes at the Tulane University Museum of Natural History and Associate Professor of Ecology, Evolution, and Organism Biology at Tulane. Dr. Bart holds a Ph.D. in Zoology with specialization in Ichthyology and Fish Ecology. His research interests include ecology, taxonomy, life history, and environmental toxicology of freshwater fish. He is actively involved in using the specimens and data in natural history collection top access fish community change in relations to environment change.
Bart, Philip
Student in Geology at LSU.
Bassow, Susan
Susan Bassow is an AAA fellow at the Office of Science Technology Policy in Washington, D.C. She holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University.
Benedict, Linda
Linda Benedict works as an Editor for LA Agriculture Magazine published by Louisiana State University Agricultural Center in Baton Rouge and has expertise in communications and media relations.
Bernard, Dudley
Student at Southern University
Blakewood, Griff
Griff Blakewood is the Acting Head of the Department of Renewable Resources at the University of Southwestern Louisiana. He is currently working to develop experimental learning opportunities which demonstrate the dependence of human enterprise on functional natural systems.
Blazer, Cherelle
Cherelle Blazer is an Urban Forestry student at Southern University.
Borne, Pam
Pam Borne is a Marine Education Coordinator affiliated with the Louisiana Sea Grant. Her expertise is geology/paleontology and education.
Breaux, Joseph C. Jr.
Joseph Breaux, Jr. is an Agricultural Environmental Specialist at Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry/Office of Soil and Water Conservation.
Brondum, Bernie
Student at University of Southern Louisiana.
Briggs, Betty J.
Betty Briggs is an Associate Professor at Southern University's Department of Social Work.
Brown, Georgia
Georgia Brown is the Director of Women's Studies at Southern University. Her areas of expertise are information and library science, women's studies and religion.
Brown, William H.
William Brown is the Associate Director of the Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station at the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center. He specializes in agricultural research and technology.
Burkett, Virginia
Virginia Burkett is the Chief of the Forest Ecology Branch at the National Wetlands Research Center, Biological Resources Division of the U.S. Geological Survey in Lafayette, Louisiana. Her current research involves bottomland hardwood regeneration in frequently flooded sites of the Mississippi River Alluvial Floodplain. She was an Assistant Director of the Louisiana Geological Survey, Director of the Louisiana Coastal Zone Management Program, and Deputy Director and Director/Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Appointments include the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council, the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission, the Louisiana Forestry Commission, and the National Science Foundation's National Assessment Synthesis Team for U.S. climate change research. She received a D.F. in 1996 at Stephen F. Austin State University.
Cahoon, Donald R.
Donald Cahoon is a Wetland Ecologist at the National Wetlands Research Center-OSGS.
Carriere, Patrick
Dr. Patrick Carriere is Interim Chairman and a professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at Southern University.
Carter, Jacoby
Ecologist at the USGS National Wetland Research Center.
Chambers, Jim L.
Jim Chambers is an Associate Professor in the School of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries for the Louisiana State University Agricultural Experiment Station in Baton Rouge. He holds a Ph.D. in Forestry from the University of Missouri. His research has focused on coastal forests including baldcypress impacted by saltwater intrusion, bottomland hardwoods influenced by flooding and cultural practice, and the effects of global climate change on pine forest.
Chin, Kit L.
Professor in plant and soil science, Southern University.
Connolly, Clair
Student at University of Southern Louisiana.
Cook, Jeff
Jeff Cook is a Research Assistant for an environmental attorney at the Texas General Land Office where he works on a number of environmental energy issues. He is also a graduate student at Southwest Texas State University.
Cross, Anthony D.
Anthony Cross is an Energy Analyst with the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources. He received his BS degree in environmental sciences; minor concentrations in geography and chemistry. Currently, he is completing his last term of graduate school for his MS degree in Environmental Policy and Management at Louisiana State University's Institute for Environmental Studies. He has experience in energy consumption, environmental issues, legislation, and policy.
Crowe, Michael
Michael Crowe is presently the Chief of the Climate Perspectives Branch within the Global Climate Laboratory at the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, North Carolina. Mr. Crowe directs the work of a group of fifteen scientists and computer programmers in the building and use of long-term climatological data sets for the study of past and present climates, climate variability and climate change.
Cruise, James
James Cruise is a professor in hydrology at the Global Hydrology and Climate Center, Huntsville, AL.
Daigle, Doug
Doug Daigle is the Programs Director for the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana. He has interests in wetlands and estuaries.
Dardard, Joe
Joe Dardard is a member of United Houma Nation (Indian Tribe).
Davis, Donald W.
Donald Davis is the Administrator of the Louisiana Oil Spill R&D Program. He has spent nearly thirty years investigating various human/land issues in Louisiana's wetlands. In that period, he has written or co-authored more than one-hundred items related to various coastal-related issues with an emphasis on the human as well as the physical and economic aspects of Louisiana's coastal environments. He is currently working on a number of problems related to the oil and gas industry in southern Louisiana, along with projects that will help restore Louisiana's wetlands.
Davis, Rhonda
Rhonda Davis is the Emergency Coordinator and an Assistant to the Director of EBRP Office of Emergency Preparedness.
Dawkins, Norma
Norma Dawkins is an Assistant Professor of Family and Consumer Sciences at Southern University in Baton Rouge, LA.
Doniger, David
He is a Counsel to the EPA Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation. He is focusing on the development and implementation of the Clinton Administration's policy to combat global climate change. He was a member of the U.S. delegation to the climate change treaty negotiations in Kyoto, Japan. He also helps manage implementation of the U. S. Clean Air Act. Before coming to EPA, Doniger served for a year in the White House Office on Environmental Policy, where he worked on international environmental issues with the National Security Council.
Doyle, Thomas W.
Thomas Doyle received his MS and Ph.D. degrees in ecology from the University of Tennessee. His primary research interest focuses on ecosystem analysis and modeling with a special emphasis on the development of forest and landscape simulation models of coastal systems and investigating future impacts of global climate changes on gulf coast wetlands.
Dunne, Mike
Mike Dunne is a Reporter with the Baton Rouge Advocate.
Egbe, Justin
Justin Egbe is a Research Associate at Southern University in the Plant and Soil Science Unit.
Epstein, Paul R.
Paul Epstein is the Associate Director for Center for Health and the Global Environment and a faculty member of Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health. He has worked in medical, teaching and research capacities in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. In 1993, Dr. Epstein coordinated and edited an eight-part series on Health and Climate Change. He currently serves on the Human Dimensions Panel of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council and holds an MS degree in Tropical Public Health.
Feldman, David L.
David Feldman has a Ph.D. from Missouri and is a Senior Research Scientist in the Energy, Environment and Resources Center at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. In addition to the position of Senior Research Scientist, he teaches in the graduate program in Environmental Policy and is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science. His research interests include water resources management; international activities to address global environmental problems including climate change; and comparative risk assessment.
Felds, Cleo
Congressman, state of Louisiana.
Fertitta Allyson
Allyson Fertitta is a student attending Louisiana State University.
Finney, Billy
Student at University of Southern Louisiana.
Fisher, William
From USEPA.
Fomby, Betty W.
Betty Fomby is the Director for the Center for Wellness at Southern University. She is a Researcher in the USDA Lower Mississippi Delta Nutrition and Health Initiative, and Project Director for the Southern University Horizons Flu Project. Additionally, Dr. Fomby is President of the National HBCU Health Service Research Network. An avid scholar, Dr. Fomby has earned a Graduate Nursing degree from Harlem Hospital School of Nursing in New York, a Baccalaureate degree from the University of Maryland, a Master of Public Health degree from John Hopkins University, a Master of Science degree from Northwestern State University and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Texas Woman's University. During her many years of providing health services as a nurse, an administrator, a researcher, a consultant, and an educator she has had experiences in both the domestic and international arenas.
Ford, Robert
Vice-Chancellor for the Office of Research and Strategic initiatives at Southern University.
Fowler, Claudia R.
Claudia Fowler is the Science Coordinator for the Louisiana Public Broadcasting's Educational Services Division. Currently, she is the Chair of the Governor's Louisiana Environmental Education Commission. She is also President of Louisiana Environmental Educators Association. Additionally, she has served on the Environmental Education Advisory Council of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and PI for the U.S. Department of Agriculture sponsored Global Climate Change Workshop for Louisiana teachers.
Fraizer, Adrian
Adrian Fraizer is an Urban Forestry student attending Southern University.
Gardner, Cassel S.
Cassel Gardner is an agronomist and Associate Professor in the College of Engineering, Sciences, Technology and Agriculture, at Florida A&M University. He Conduct research alternative/sustainable agriculture and water quality.
Gebrelul, Sebhatu
Sebhatu Gebrelul is an Associate Professor at Southern University.
Ghebreiyessus, Yemane
Yemane Ghebreiyessus is an Agronomist and Associate Professor at Southern University. His expertise is in soil science and agricultural engineering.
Gibbons, John
John Gibbons is Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, and Director, Office of Science and Technology Policy. He co-chairs the President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology and is a member of the Domestic Policy Council, the National Economic Council, the National Security Council, and the National Science and Technology Council, which coordinates science and technology policy and budgets across the federal government. As the highest-ranking science and technology official in the Administration, Dr. Jack Gibbons also represents the U.S. Government in major multilateral and bilateral international commissions. His awards and publications are numerous in the areas of energy and environmental policy, energy supply and demand, conservation, technology and policy, resource management and environmental problems, nuclear physics, and origins of solar system elements.Following his formal training in physics, Dr. Gibbons spent 15 years at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where he studied the structure of atomic nuclei. In 1973, at the start of the nations first major energy crisis, Gibbons was appointed the first Director of the Federal Office of Energy Conservation. Two years later he returned to Tennessee to direct the University of Tennessee Energy, Environmental and Resource Center. In 1979, he returned to Washington DC to direct the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment which provided Congress with nonpartisan, comprehensive analyses on a broad spectrum of issues involving technology and public policy, and where his tenure lasted until his Presidential appointment of February 2, 1993.
Gibson, Tamue L.
Tamue Gibson is a graduate student in Biology at Southern University.
Goyer, Richard A.
Richard Goyer has been a Professor of Forest Entomology at Louisiana State University since 1973. His areas of research interest are forested wetlands with a special interest in insect defoliators and interactions with flooding and salinity intrusion.
Graw, Gerald A.
Gerald Grau has been the Assistant Director of the National Wetlands Research Center, Biological Resources Division of U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior since 1988. He previously worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center and at the Ohio Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit. He completed doctorate work on ungulate behavior in the Middle East and East Africa.
Gray, Chris
Chris Gray is a reporter for New Orleans' Times-Picoyune.
Arnold, Ray
Director, Global Hydrology Center, Huntsville, AL.
Groesch, Gary
Gary Groesch is the Executive Director and co-founder of the Louisiana-based Alliance for Affordable Energy. He presently serves as Vice-Chairman of the Task Force on Global Warming established by the Louisiana legislature and on Governor Foster's Task Force monitoring the implementation of Louisiana's state-of-the-art Model Commercial Energy Efficiency Building Code.
Grossman, Allen S.
Alan Grossman is a Computational Atmospheric Scientist and group leader of the Atmospheric Physics Group within the Atmospheric Science Division at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. His research specialties include atmospheric radioactive transfer models and application of these models to global greenhouse warming effects. His recent efforts include studies of regional effects of global climate change related to state water resources, and models of the relation of increased atmospheric aerosols and agricultural crop yields.
Grymes, John M.
Jay Grymes is the Louisiana State Climatologist at the Louisiana State University Southern Regional Climate Center. His expertise is in Gulf Coast weather and climatic patterns.
Guidry, Malcolm
Malcolm Guidry is a student in the Urban Forestry M. S. Program at Southern University.
Guo, Dong-Sheng
Dong-Sheng Guo is an Assistant Professor in physics at Southern University.
Hampton, Jack W.
Jack Hampton is an Agribusiness and Economics student attending Southern University.
Harris, Randy
Randy Harris is the Assistant Director of Landscape Forestry for the City of Baton Rouge.
Henderson, Paula
Paula Henderson is a Field Organizer with the National Environmental Trust. Her area of expertise is legislative policy.
Herke, Bill
Bill Herke worked from 1958 to 1963 on the effects of water projects on fish and wildlife in peninsular Florida. From 1963 to 1994, he was an U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employee serving on the Louisiana State University graduate faculty. His research centered on the life history facets of juvenile fishes and crustaceans while they used the coastal marsh, and especially on the effects of water-control measures on these juveniles. He retired in 1994.
Hershberg, Paul R.
Paul Hershberg is a graduate student in meteorology at Florida State University. Paul received his BS degree in environmental science from Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA in May 1994.
Hinkle, Ross C.
Ross Hinkle is the Chief Scientist with Dynamac Corporation. His expertise is in plant ecology.
Hitcherson, Daniel J.
Daniel Hitcherson is a fisherman with Terrebonne Fisherman Organization.
Hogg, Richard A
Richard Hogg is an environmental microbiology professor at Florida A&M University.
Houston, James R.
James R. Houston is the Director of the Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory, U.S. Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station in Vicksburg, MS. This Corps of Engineers' R&D laboratory is the world's largest water resource R&D laboratory performing research on a wide array of water resource problems including issues relating to navigation; flood control; shore protection and restoration; physical processes in the ocean, lakes, and groundwater affecting the environment; and military operations in the ocean.
Huang, Chun Ling
Chun Ling Huang earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in mechanical Engineering from Chung Yuan Christian University (CYCU) in Taiwan, and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Eengineering from the University of Alabama (UA) at Tuscaloosa. He had worked as a full time instructor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering Technology (5-Year Program) at Leeming Junior College of Engineering Technology during 1982-84 academic years. Then he became a graduate teaching and research student at UA before joining the faculty of Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1990. Currently he is Associate Professor of the Mechanical Engineering Department. His area of interest include Numerical simulation in heat transfer and fluids, computer interactive graphics, and computer aided instruction. He is a member of ASME, and ASEE.
Hugh-Jones, Martin
Martin Hugh-Jones is a Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Veterinary Medicine at Louisiana State University. Professor Jones is also the Coordinator of the World Health Organization Anthrax Research and Control Working Group. He is affiliated with World Health Organization Collaborating Center for RS and GIS for Public Health.
Hughes, Kent
Kent Hughes is a manager of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration coastal water program and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Oregon in Biology and an MS Degree from the University of Washington in Biological Oceanography. His research interests focus on the zooplankton ecology of the Arctic Ocean. After serving with the Naval Oceanographic Office of San Diego, he joined NOAA in 1972 to work on the development of operational ocean monitoring systems.
Hunt, Dianne
Dianne Hunt obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in zoology with a marine emphasis from University of Southern Mississippi in 1972. She worked for 10 years in wetlands permitting in Bureau of Marine Resources of the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks. Hunt served as Marine Debris Coordinator for three years, and she was the President of Shellfish Culture, Inc. for four years. She was also the endangered species liaison for the State of Mississippi. Among her many accomplishments, Hunt organized and served as chief biologist of the Redfish Hatchery, Inc., the first commercial fish hatchery in the United States. She also organized the first wildlife rehabilitation center in the state of Mississippi.
Hutzell, Bill
Bill Hutzell is a Meteorologist with the Minerals Management Service of the U.S. Department of Interior. His responsibilities include planning and administrating studies in air pollution and boundary layer meteorology. He has a Master's Degree in Physics from the University of Wyoming and a Ph.D. in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences from the Georgia Institute of Technology. His interests focus on understanding what processes determine the physical and chemical properties of planetary atmospheres.
Inoue, Masamichi
Masamichi Inoue had worked at Florida State University and at Australian Institute of Marine Science. He has been at Louisiana State University for the past 10 years and is Associate Professor at the Coastal Studies Institute, Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences. His research interests include modeling ocean circulation and transport processes and climate variation due to large-scale ocean-atmosphere interaction. He received his Bachelor of Engineering in naval architecture from Tokyo University in Japan, an M.S. in ocean engineering from the University of Rhode Island, his Master of engineering in civil engineering and a Ph.D. in oceanography from Texas A&M University.
Jones, Dewitt
Dr. Jones has a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics and is the Interim Associate Dean and Professor at College of Agriculture, Southern University.
Jones, Shawnery T.
Shawnery Jones is an Urban Forestry student at Southern University.
Justic, Dubravko
Dubravko Justic is an Associate Professor of Research at the Coastal Ecology Institute of Louisiana State University where he specializes in ecosystem modeling, coastal eutrophication, hypoxia and climate change. He received his MS in Ecology in 1984 and his Ph.D. in Oceanography in 1989 from the University of Zagreb (Croatia). Before joining Louisiana State University (LSU) in 1991, he worked as an Assistant Professor and Associate Professor at the Universities of Zagreb (Croatia) and Trieste (Italy), and Florida State University.
Kemp, Paul
Paul Kemp is Special Assistant to the Governor's Office of Coastal Activities in the state of Louisiana. He received his BS degree from Cornell University in 1975, an MS degree in Marine Sciences in 1978, and a Ph.D. in Marine Sciences with a minor in Geology in 1986. His areas of expertise are in wave/sediment interactions, coastal wetlands, coastal erosion processes, ecosystem modeling, estuarine geochemistry, and natural resources/science policy.  He has been affiliated with the American Geophysical/Union, Society of Economic Petrologists and Mineralogists, American Water Resources Association (Louisiana Chapter President, 1990), National Research Council Marine Board Committee on Marine Pipeline Safety (1992-94), Environmental Defense Fund, Louisiana Oil Site Restoration Commission, Governor's Environmental Task Force, Governor's Wetland Advisor Task Force and Louisiana Land Acquisition Task Force (1989-90). Since 1994, Dr Kemp has been an Associate Research Professor at the Center for Coastal, Energy and Environmental Resources at Louisiana State University.
Kermond, John L.
John Kermond is a visiting scientist in the Office of Global Programs (OGP) at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Prior to this position, he was Senior Consultant to NOAA. In both capacities, he has been responsible for legislative policy and advice, education, media and public relations from both domestic and international perspectives; while, at the same time, maintaining a life-time interest in multimedia communication. He has been involved in the production of several multimedia works on global change. Kermond is also the proprietor of JLK & Associates, a professional representation business with clients in the United States, Canada, and Australia.
Laliberte, Rick
Rick Laliberte is a Member of Parliament for Churchill River in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. He serves as the New Democratic Critic for the Environment and for National Parks. Before being elected to Parliament in June of 1997, he served for 12 years as a School Trustee and Chairman of the Northern Lights School Division.
Lam, Nina
Nina Lam is a Professor at Louisiana State University, Department of Geography and Anthropology. Her expertise is in Remote Sensing, GIS, Medical Geography, and Environmental Modeling.
Lane, Mary
Mary Lane is staff assistant for Congressman Richard Baker.
Laverne, Robert J.
Robert Laverne is an Urban Forester with Davey Resource Group. He is currently studying the effects of vegetation on residential energy use, and is interested in managing natural resources in urban ecosystems to partially offset global change. He currently serves as the Secretary of the Urban Forestry Working Group with the Society of American Foresters, and the ISA Research Trust liaison for the Ohio Chapter of ISA.
Lawson, Heuy K.
Heuy Lawson is the Director Center for Energy and Environment Studies at Southern University in Baton Rouge.
Lawson, RaHarold
RaHarold Lawson is an Urban Forestry student at Southern University.
Ledet, Charles
Charles Ledet is a fisherman affiliated with Terrebnne Fisherman Organization.
Ledingham, Candace
Student from University of Southern Louisaina.
Legates, David R.
David Legates is Associate Professor at Louisiana State University, with specialization in hydroclimatology.
Lindsey, Joel
Joel Lindsey is an Assistant Manager for CEES at Southern University.
Lindsey, Kenyatta
Kenyatta Lindsey is an Urban Forestry student at Southern University.
Lirette, Donald
Donald Lirette is a former Pipeline and Mechanical Engineer. Currently, he is President of the Terrebonne Fishermen Association and Chairman of the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana. He testified during the Reauthorization of the Clean Water Act in the U.S. Congress. He was introduced in Washington, D.C. as a person who lives in a real wetland for the workshop presented by the Restore American's Estuaries Group. Commissioned a minister of the Catholic Church, he helped last summer to put on a workshop on environmental justice for that committee of the U.S. Catholic Conference. This workshop focused on the coastal land loss issues facing coastal Louisiana and other related justice issues. Presently he is writing a book about South Louisiana's vanishing wetlands and the culture that grew around it. The book is titled "Terre Mystique" which is French for "Magical Land." Donald is a Charter Member of EPA's Gulf of Mexico Program, as well as Charter Member and Vice-President of the Citizen Committee Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program.
Liu, Kam-Biu
Liu, Kam-Biu is James Parsons Distinguished Professor in the Department of Geography and Anthropology, Louisiana State University. His research interests are in climate change (hurricanes, Asian monsoons), paleoclimatic reconstruction, quaternary paleoecology, vegetation dynamics, and lake sediments.
MacCracken, Michael
Michael MacCracken is the Director of the National Assessment Coordination Office that was recently established by the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP). For the four years prior to that he served as director of the interagency coordination office of the USGCRP. His background is in climate modeling of both natural and human-induced perturbations. Before going to Washington DC, he was a principal investigator and division leader of research activities in atmospheric sciences at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) for nearly twenty-five years.
Malone, LaShaunda
LaShaunda Malone graduated from Grinnell College in May 1997 with a bachelor's degree in Political Science. She is an intern in the National Assessment Coordination Office of the U.S. Global Change Research Program. Prior to coming to the U.S. Global Change Research Program, she was an intern at the U.S. Department of the Interior for the Assistant Secretary for Water and Science.
Mbuya, Odemari S.
Odemari Mbuya is a Research Associate at Florida A&M University, with expertise in nutrient recycling, cropping systems, and water quality.
McDaniel, Mike A.
Mike McDaniel is an environmental scientist with over twenty-five years of experience with environmental issues. He holds a Ph.D. degree in Biology and has specialized in environmental impact assessment and regulatory compliance. He currently works as a consultant out of Woodward-Clyde's Office and has recently been appointed to the Governor's Task Force on Environmental Protection and Preservation. Prior to joining Woodward-Clyde, Dr. McDaniel served four years as Assistant Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality. In this appointment, he was responsible for the State's air quality and radiation protection programs. During his tenure with the Louisiana DEQ, he was instrumental in the formation and technical direction of Ozone Task Forces for the Baton Rouge and Lake Charles non-attainment areas, the development and implementation of a regulatory program for naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM) associated with oil and gas production.
McNeely, Brenda R.
Executive Assistant, Office of Research and Strategic Initiatives, Southern University.
Mellad, Kirkland E.
Dean and Research Director, College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences, Southern University.
Milliner, Thomas W.
Thomas W. Milliner has held the position of Energy Law Fellow at the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic at Tulane Law School since May 1995. He has handled energy-related litigation and regulatory matters (which regulates utilities in Orleans Parish). Such regulator matters have included efforts to preserve least cost planning and deregulation of gas and electric utilities.
Mitchell, James E.
James Mitchell is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Planning and Management at the Louisiana State University Institute for Environmental Studies. His education includes a BS degree in Biological Science from U.C. Irvine, MS degree in Biology from the University of Michigan, and a Ph.D. in Forestry and Environmental Studies from Duke University. His research involves spatial modeling and GIS applied to hydrology and urban forestry, environmental information management and policy.
Mohanty, Rama C.
Rama Mohanty is a Professor of Physics and Director of SRIPAS at Southern University. His areas of expertise are lasers, nuclear physics, material science, and environmental science.
Moreau, JoAnne H.
JoAnne Moreau is the Director of the Office of Emergency Preparedness in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Morris, Lynn F.
Lynn Morris has been the Executive Director of Baton Rouge Green since 1990. In 1992, she was honored with the Brown Pelican Award for Exemplary Commitment to Protecting Louisiana's Environment, and she received the Distinguished Service Award from Southern University and A&M College in 1994. She has been a member of the Junior League of Baton Rouge for more than twenty years and holds a Bachelor's of Arts degree in English.
Muller, Robert A.
Robert Muller has been a Professor of geography and climatology at Louisiana State University (LSU) since 1969. He is a specialist in the applications of energy and water-budget models to human occupation of the earth's surface and applied climatology. He developed the LSU program in applied climatology as well as the State Climatology office and the Southern Regional Climate Center. He is the author of more than one-hundred professional papers and reports, and the lead author of one of the most successful text books in physical geography.
Newman, James R.
James Newman is a principle scientist at Golder Associate, Inc. in Gainseville, FL. He has a Ph.D. in zoology from the University of California at Davis. He has spent more than twenty-seven years conducting ecological studies with twenty years of experience studying Florida's ecosystems. He has conducted ecological inventories of coastal and freshwater wetlands and upland ecosystems for government and industry. Dr. Newman has particular expertise in studying the effects of human disturbance on wildlife. He is also a wildlife toxicologist who has investigated the effects of pesticides and heavy metal on birds and mammals. He has conducted regional ecological risks associated with development activities, heavy metals and air pollution. He is presently a facilitator for a project to develop probabilistic tools to conduct ecological risk assessment of pesticides. Dr. Newman has extensive international experience in evaluating the effects of coastal zone development in Jamaica, Pakistan, India, and Thailand.
Ning, Zhu Hua
Zhu Hua Ning is the Director/Coordinator of the Gulf Coast Climate Change Workshop. Dr. Ning holds a Ph.D. in Forestry. She is an Associate Professor in Urban Forestry at Southern University and the Project Director for "Assessing CO2 Sequestration Capacity of Urban Trees in Response to Elevated Atmospheric CO2." Other research projects include quantifying the O3, NOx, SO2, and particle pollution removal capacity of urban trees; the effect of floods on urban trees; and tree fungal relations.
Novak, David
David Novak is a Project Leader at the USDA Forest Service. His expertise is in determining the effects of urban forests on air pollution and CO2 levels.
O'Brien, James J.
Dr. O'Brien is the Director for the Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies at Florida State University.
Oloko, Ademola
Ademola Okolo is a Resource Manager at CEES at Southern University in Baton Rouge.
Opal, Jefferson
Jefferson Opal is a researcher and author and has a B.S. & M.S. in Computer Science from LSU. He is now researching a novel and it's screenplay for a futuristic portrait of how humanity can stabilize our population, end war, and minimize our bad effects on the enviroment.
Page, Anthony
Anthony Page is an Urban Forestry student at Southern University.
Page, April
April Page is a student at Episcopal High School.
Person, Carolyn
Carolyn Person is Chair and Director of Special Education at Southern University. Her areas of expertise are in communication disorders, speech and hearing sciences, special education and mediation.
Raisanen, Satu
Satu Raisanen is a student at Louisiana State University.
Rajbhandari, Narayan B.
Rajbhandari is a Research Assistant Professor in hydrology at Alabama A&M University in the Plant & Soil Sciences Department.
Reed, Joseph
Joseph Reed is an Urban Forestry major at Southern University.
Reese, Bryant
Student at LSU.
Reese, Terrence
Assistant Professor in Physics at Southern University.
Ricard, Robert M.
Robert Ricard is an Extension Educator for Urban and Community Forestry at University of Connecticut Cooperative Extension System. His duties include volunteer and nonprofit development, GIS and Tree Warden training. He currently serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Forestry. Mr. Ricard is also the Chair-elect for the Society of American Foresters (SAF) Urban Forestry Working Group and is the recipient of the 1993 Urban Forestry Professional Medal.
Robbins, Kevin
Kevin Robbins is the Director of the Southern Regional Climate Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Rochon, Gilbert. L.
Gilbert Rochon is an Associate Professor and Director of the Urban Studies and Public Policy Institute at Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana. His graduate training was in Public Health at Yale University and in Urban Planning in Developing Countries at the Massachussetts Institute of Technology. He concentrates in Remote Sensing and GIS applications. He studied urban ecosystems and global change jointly with the Russian Academy of Sciences. He was a faculty research fellow at JPL, NASA Goddard, NASA Stennis, the Naval Oceanographic Office, the USDA Forest Service's International Institute for Tropical Forestry in Puerto Rico and in the UK, at the Environmental Change Unit at the University of Oxford.
Rogers, Greg
Greg Rogers is the Compliance Manager and Alternative Fuel Vehicle Coordinator for the State of Louisiana, Division of Administration.
Ruebsamen, Rickey
Rickey Ruebsamen is Chief of the National Marine Fisheries Service, Baton Rouge Office.
Sailor, David
David Sailor is an Assistant Professor at Tulane University and has expertise in energy and regional climate modeling.
Schneider, Douglas
Douglas Schneider is an Assistant Professor in building construction technology at Southern University.
Schoeffler, Harold
Harold Schoeffler is the Conservation Chair for the Delta Chapter of the Sierra Club.
Schoeneman, Rita S.
Rita Schoeneman is the National Program Manager of Urban and Community Forestry, USDA Forest Service.
Schroeder, William W.
William Schroeder is a Professor of the Marine Science Program at the University of Alabama. He earned a Ph.D. from Texas A&M in Oceanography in 1971 and has been involved in oceanographic investigations for over 32 years. He is presently a principal investigator on research projects dealing with geological and biological aspects of shelf-slope hardbottom environments, late quaternary sea level paleoceanography of the Gulf of Mexico, and modeling of the coupled katabatic wind ocean and ice systems in Antarctica. He is also researching biochemical and physical regulation of nutrient/production dynamics in shallow marine environments. Dr. Schroeder serves as a technical expert on studies concerned with the offshore transport of the offshore transport of both drilling muds/fluids and dredge soil material, and estuarine, coastal and open ocean waste disposal and incineration.
Scott, Roderick C.
Mr. Scott is a Field Representative for U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu.
Selders, LaWanda L.
LaWanda Selders is an Urban Forestry student at Southern University.
Shakir, Safwat H.
Director of Texas Gulf Coast Environmental Data Center with expertise in global climate change, ecology and modeling.
Shaperd, Robert
Executive Director, Science and Engineering Alliances.
Shope, Robert
Robert Shope is a Professor of Pathology at the World Health Organization Center for Tropical Diseases at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. He is a virologist who has done research on dengue and viral encephalitis, mosquito-borne diseases affected in distribution and severity by weather and climate changes.
Skinner, Mark
Mark Skinner is a Plant Systematist with the USDA-NRCS.
Slimak, Michael
Michael Slimak is the Associate Director for Ecology in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's National Center for Environmental Assessment where he is responsible for developing and implementing a risk assessment program to understand ecological risks associated with multiple stressors such as chemicals, habitat loss, loss of biodiversity, and global climate change. Prior to this assignment, he was the Deputy Director of the Office of Environmental Processes and Effects Research responsible for directing a research program into the fate and effects of pollutants upon aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. As Chief of the Ecological Effects Branch in EPA's Pesticide Office, he was responsible for assessing the ecological risks associated with the use of pesticides. He began his EPA career in 1974 with the Office of Water, developing risk assessments for the priority toxic water pollutants. Mike Slimak is a recognized authority on ecological risk assessments, has authored numerous government-sponsored reports, and has published in peer-reviewed journals and books.
Sloan, Karen K.
Karen Kraft Sloan is the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment in the House of Commons, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Spears, DeRowan
Delowen Spears is an Urban Forestry major attending Southern University.
Spicer, Brad
Brad Spicer is the Assistant Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry at Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry.
Stamps, Delmer C.
Delmer Stamps is the Wetlands Coordinator for the Mississippi Delta Regional Wetlands Team of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in Vcksburg, MS. She is a twenty-two year veteran with the agency. In 1977, she graduated from Alcorn State University with a BS degree in Agronomy/Soil Science. Her career started with the agency as a soil scientist. Since 1995, she coordinates the agency's wetland technology transfer for Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee.
Stewart, Robert E.
Robert Stewart has been the Director of the USGS National Wetlands Research Center since 1986. His doctorate work was on waterfowl, wetlands and forests. He has worked on energy policies in Washington, DC and has received the U.S. Department of Interior's highest honor awards for his work. Under his direction, the Wetland Center scientists have produced over 1,000 publications and hundreds of maps.
Stich, Emily
Emily Stich is the Vice-President in Research and Programs at with LABI.
Stine, Bonnie
Bonnie Stine is the Urban Forestry Program Director for the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry.
Stone, Rodney
Rodney Stone is an Urban Forestry Specialist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.
Strahan, Rick
Rick Strahan is the Chief of the Resource Management Division of the National Park Service/ Big Thicket National Reserve. He spent 14 years in land and recreation management with the Bureau of Reclamation in Wyoming, Nevada, California.
Sun, Jian
Post-Doctoral Scientist at Southern University.
Tammami, Zia
Zia Tammami is the Vice President of Turner Environmental, Inc. He has managed the evaluation of a wide range of groundwater projects in the Gulf Coast region and worked on groundwater contamination studies for twenty major chemical plants in Southeast Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, and Alabama. His expertise includes Soil and Ground Water Assessment and Remediation, Solid and Hazardous Waste Management, and Environmental Permitting. He holds a BS in Geology and a BS in International Economics from Louisiana State University.
Tchounwou, Paul B.
Paul Tchounwou is the Director of Environmental Science Ph.D. Program at Jackson State University, Jackson, MS.
Thibodeaux, Louis J.
Louis Thibodeaux is a Chemical Engineering Professor at LSU, with expertise in environmental chemodynamics.
Thompson, Ojo
Ojo Thompson is a Ph.D. student in the Public Policy Program at Southern University. His area of expertise includes environmental management and policy.
Thorton, Alma
Alma Thorton is the Director of the Center for Society Research at Southern University.
Tupaz, Jesus B.
Jesus Tupaz is the Director of the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium. He is the Sector Leader for the Coastal Area for the Southeast Region assessing regional climate variability and change under NASA.
Udoh, Oscar
Oscar Udoh is a Research Associate in agricultural economics at Southern University.
Upshaw, Shelly
Shelly Upshaw is an Administrative Assistant with the Women's Studies Program at Southern University. Her areas of expertise are information science and religion.
Vandersteen, C.A. Buck
C.A. Vandersteen is the Executive Director of the Louisiana Forestry Association, with expertise in forestry.
Vawter, Nancy
Nancy Vawter is the Associate Director of Alabama Science in Motion at Alabama State University. She specializes in training high school teachers on highly technological chemistry equipment. Her focus is on the environment and the Web.
Vincent, Charles
Professor in History at Southern University.
Ward, Darold E.
Darold Ward has been Project Leader for the U.S. Forest Service Fire Chemistry Research work Unit since 1988. He has considerable experience in characterizing the release of greenhouse gases and particulate matter from fires in North and South America.
Warmsley, Lin
Lin Warmsley is the Executive Director and Coordinator for the Greater Baton Rouge Area Clean Cities Campaign. She has interests in commerce, industry and energy, and how they affect the environment.
Wasike, Grace N.
Grace N. Wasike is Assistant Professor in textile at Family and Consumer Sciences at Southern University in Baton Rouge, LA.
Watts, Robert G.
Robert Watts is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering and the Director of the National Institute for Global Environmental Change. He has expertise in energy systems and climatology.
Wei, Jing-Fong
Jing-Fong Wei is a Professor of Chemistry at Southern University. Her areas of expertise are electrochemical analysis and analytical chemistry.
Wells, Alvin
Alvin Wells is a student at Southern University majoring in Urban Forestry.
Whitaker, Tim
Tim Whitaker is President of Mercury Systems Computer Consultants, Inc. His areas of expertise are database development and web site production. He developed audit software for the major New York Transportation Authority tracking revenue collection, developed a multimedia corporate training CD for Engineers and Management of Xerox Corporation. Currently, he is developing web site products for training and the display of video content presentation.
Young, P. Joy
P. Joy Young is a graduate student in the School of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries, Louisiana State University.
Yu, Shufang
Shufang Yu is a graduate student in the School of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries, Louisiana State University.

Appendix E: Newspaper Clips

  • Southern Picked to Host Regional Forum on Global Warming, The Advocate, Baton Rouge, LA, pp 4A, Tuesday, December 2, 1997.
  • Southern Picked to Host Regional Forum on Global Warming, National Public Radio (NPR), Tuesday, December 2, 1997.
  • Southern University Will Host a Global Climate Change Conference, WBRZ (ABC Affiliation), 10 pm News Top Story, December 9, 1997.
  • Global Climate Change Conference in BR to Look at Gulf Coast's Future, The Advocate, Baton Rouge, LA, pp. 17A, Tuesday, February 24, 1998.
  • Southern University will Host a Climate Change Public Forum, WBRZ Channel 2, February 26, 1998.
  • Community Calendar: Climate Change Public Forum Hosted by Southern University, The Advocate, February 26, 1998.
  • Gulf Coast Regional Climate Change Workshop, WBRZ, Channel 2 (ABC affiliate) 10:00 p.m. News Top Story. Thursday, February 26, 1998.
  • Advisor Says Halt Warming, not Economy, The Advocate, Baton Rouge, LA, pp. 2B, Friday, February 27, 1998.
  • Storms Dumping on State, Experts Claim, LA Getting Wetter, not Warmer, The Times Picayune, New Orleans, Friday, February 27, 1998.
  • La May Face Increase In Diseases, Saturday Advocate, Baton Rouge, LA, pp 11A, Saturday, February 28, 1998.
  • What a Fantastic Conference, Channel 9 (CBS affiliate), Evening News, Saturday, February 28, 1998.
  • El Niño Brings Wet Weather; La Nina Worse, Sunday Advocate, Baton Rouge, LA, pp 1-2B, Sunday, March 1, 1998.
  • Scientists Gather in Baton Rouge to Share Knowledge about Gulf Coast Climate Changes, LSU Agricultural Center News, March 5, 1998.
  • 1998 El Niño, One of Many That Occur Every Few Years, LSU Agricultural Center News Radio, March 5, 1998.
  • LA Affected by El Niño in Different Ways, LSU Agricultural Center News Radio, March 5, 1998.
  • Southeast U. S. Agriculture Producers Can Prepare for Take Advantage of El Niño, LSU Agricultural Center News Radio, March 5, 1998.
  • Global Warming-Question of the Day, Q106.5 radio talk show, March 22, 1998.

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