Header Catrina

Baruch Fischhoff


Philip Mote
The Oregon State University

This talk, drawing on the recent National Research Council (NRC) report on sea level rise, reviews the state of science in projections of global sea level rise, including the uncertainties associated with understanding and predicting the contributions of the major factors. Sea level rose about 20cm during the 20th century, and observations and projections suggest that it will rise at a higher rate during the 21st century, primarily because global temperatures are rising, causing ocean water to expand and land ice to melt. Rising seas increase the risk of coastal flooding, storm surge inundation, coastal erosion and shoreline retreat, saltwater intrusion to aquifers, and wetland loss. The cities and infrastructure that line many coasts are already vulnerable to damage from storms, which is likely to increase as sea level continues to rise and inundate areas further inland. The NRC projects that global sea level will rise 8-23 cm (3-9 in) by 2030, relative to 2000 levels, 18-48 cm (7-19 in) by 2050, and 50–140 cm (20-55 in) by 2100.

Philip W. Mote is a professor in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University; director of the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute (OCCRI) for the Oregon University System; and director of Oregon Climate Services, the official state climate office for Oregon. Dr. Mote’s current research interests include scenario development, regional climate change, regional climate modeling with a superensemble generated by volunteers’ personal computers, and adaptation to climate change. He is the co-leader of the NOAA-funded Climate Impacts Research Consortium (CIRC) for the Northwest, and also of the Northwest Climate Science Center for the US Department of the Interior. Since 2005 he has been involved in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. He is also a coordinating lead author and advisory council member for the US National Climate Assessment, and has served on numerous author teams for the National Research Council (NRC). He earned a BA in Physics from Harvard University and a PhD in Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Washington, and arrived at OSU to establish OCCRI in 2009.