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Background

The Old Dominion University Resilience Collaborative (ODURC) stems from the university's leading expertise in the fields of flooding resilience and adaptation research. Despite its roots in water-related resilience, all faculty are welcome in ODURC and work is not strictly limited to flooding research.

Starting in 2010, ODU's Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Initiative (CCSLRI) facilitated research and education in all aspects of climate change and sea level rise. Because of our location there is special emphasis on adaptation to increased flooding because of sea level rise. There are many other aspects of climate change affecting coastal cities such as public health or disaster preparedness that the initiative also addressed. Starting in 2012, CCSLRI partnered with the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission and Virginia Sea Grant to host the Hampton Roads Sea Level Rise Adpatation Forum which connects research to adaptation practice. Dr. Diane Horn of Birkbeck College, London, spent a semester collaborating with ODU faculty as a visiting CCSLRI scholar. Find thier report here.

The Mitigation and Adaptation Research Institute (MARI) was established in 2014. MARI works with stakeholders within and outside the region to generate knowledge that can enable them not only to reduce the negative aspects of climate change but also to make positive use of the opportuities in the coming changes. To learn more about MARI, visit the MARI web workspace or if you have a question or comment contact Dr. Hans-Peter Plag, MARI Director (information in the right column)

The Center for Sea Level Rise was the home base for the Intergovernmental Pilot Project, based at ODU, active from June 2014 to June 2016. The Pilot was a two-year project to develop a regional "whole of government" and "whole of community" approach to sea level rise preparedness and resilience planning in Hampton Roads that also can be used as a template for other regions.

Most recently, the Commonwealth Center for Recurrent Flooding Resiliency, a collaboration of ODU, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and the College of William & Mary, was founded. CCRFR brings together the expertise of Old Dominion University and William & Mary's Virginia Institute of Marine Scienec and Virginia Coastal Policy Center to provide a one-stop shop for scientific, socio-economic, legal and policy analyses to build Virginia' flooding resiliency.

"The Old Dominion University Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Initiative will bring the university and the region's foremost experts together to find solutions to the challenges facing our region and other regions globally."

- President John Broderick, August 24, 2010

Hampton Roads is an urban area seeking solutions to the effects of climate change and sea level rise. Old Dominion University is a major research university in this urban coastal environment that can help provide leadership and solutions. Some facts:

  • local relative sea level is rising +4.43 mm/year (+1.45 ft/century, 1.7 inches per decade,
  • the opening of the Arctic Ocean to shipping will affect Hampton Roads economy,
  • new harmful species (e.g. ticks, mosquitoes, ballast water pathogens) are migrating to our region.

Researchers at ODU and regional policymakers seem to agree:

  • climate change and sea level rise (CC/SLR) is a challenge for this region and the university does have a distinct and important role in meeting that challenge, especially as it applies to an urban coastal environment.
  • this can be a productive area of research and education for faculty and students.
  • through this initiative, the university can play a positive role in the region, nation and world.

The Old Dominion University Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Initiative was led by Larry Atkinson, Slover Professor of Oceanography, Department of Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, and an affiliate of ODU's Center for Coastal Physical Oceanography. Atkinson's research has focused on various aspects of the coastal ocean including descriptive physical oceanography, nutrient fluxes, gas exchange and more recently wind energy and climate change including sea level rise.

References