Track 1: Effects of Climate Change in Warm Weather Coastal Regions
Many coastlines throughout the world are densely populated. In North America over 25 million people live in areas vulnerable to coastal flooding. Coastal areas are home to species and habitats that provide many benefits to society and natural ecosystems. Coastal and ocean activities, such as marine transportation of goods, offshore energy drilling, resource extraction, fish cultivation, recreation, and tourism, are integral to the nation’s economy, generating approximately 25 percent of the national gross domestic product (GDP)—but in many cases threaten natural and cultural resources. However, there are many threats to heritage places in coastal settings. This conference theme will examine how climate change affects coastal areas, including built heritage, in a variety of ways. Coasts are sensitive to effects of climate change including sea level rise, changes in the frequency and intensity of storms, increases in precipitation, and warmer ocean temperatures. In addition, rising atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide are causing the oceans to absorb more of the gas and become more acidic. This rising acidity can have significant impacts on the delicate coastal and marine ecosystems and seaside historic structures.