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WCRP-IOC Regional Sea Level Changes and Coastal Impacts Conference

Columbia University
New York City, New York

The WCRP, jointly with the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, organized an international conference on sea level research that addressed the existing challenges in describing and predicting regional sea level changes and in quantifying the intrinsic uncertainties. It follows 11 years after the first WCRP sea level conference.  The goal of the conference was to provide a comprehensive summary of the state of climate related sea level research and the impacts on society. US CLIVAR was a sponsor of the conference and member of the organizing committee. Below is a summary of the meeting. 

By the numbers


WCRP/IOC Sea Level Conference Statement 2017

The WCRP/IOC Sea Level Conference hosts and chairs prepared a statement based on input from the broad community during the meeting. The statement is open for adoption by conference participants and the wider community.


Sea level conference day 5 highlights

On the fifth day, conference participants — filled with four days of fascinating, relevant, and timely discussions — were able to hear about the latest modeling efforts and different scenarios for the future. A panel of stakeholders also held a lively discussion on what they learned during the week and what their recommendations are for collaborative opportunities and research to support coastal management.


Sea level conference day 4 highlights

The conference rolled into the fourth day wrapping up the contemporary sea level presentations and beginning to address future projections. The two plenary sessions had corresponding posters for each topic. Participants also heard about the evolving requirements of integrated sea level observations for regional and local decision making during the town hall. 


Sea level conference day 3 highlights

Halfway through the conference, day three brought a series of presentations on the coastal zone. Presenters in the two plenary sessions discussed impacts of rising seas from small island countries to large metropolitan cities like Shanghai, planning and adaptation strategies, and information needs of stakeholders and decision makers. Almost 70 posters were also presented on this theme. A panel closed out the day with discussions about New York’s adaptation strategies and response to Hurricane Sandy. 


Sea level conference day 2 highlights

The second day of the conference was dedicated to presentations on contemporary sea level change, ranging from the role of ocean heat content to satellite missions to drivers in the variability of extreme sea levels. The two plenary sessions were accompanied by a morning and afternoon poster session and a town hall on the operational monitoring of sea level using satellites. 


Sea level conference day 1 highlights

The significance of rising waters in New York City was evident during Hurricane Sandy and on 10 July 2017 when hundreds of scientists gathered at Columbia University to kick-off a week-long Regional Sea Level Changes and Coastal Impacts Conference. The international conference — organized by the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), CLIVAR, and the UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission — has a stated vision to be: A collective voice and expertise of the international sea level community to address existing challenges in describing and projecting regional and coastal sea level changes, and in quantifying intrinsic uncertainties.