Warming temperatures, an acidifying ocean,
droughts and melting ice and glaciers are happening at
a faster pace than in the past, said Hering, citing data
and trends. The evidence is clear, he said.
On a recent vacation cruise to Alaska, Hering said,
he “was shocked” by what he saw: Little to no snow in
the Alaska Range fronting a 74-degree Anchorage,
melting permafrost and land decompression. He called
it an “ecosystem in crisis.”
“The climate is changing 10 times faster than it
has been in the last 65 million years,” he said. “This is
not a linear problem. This is happening in an expo-
The San Diego port is in the midst of an integrated
planning process with the Navy, Coast Guard and oth-
ers to see how rising seas and climate change will affect
San Diego Bay over the next 50 years. The popular
waterfront is dotted with four major naval installa-
tions, including San Diego Naval Base and submarine
base at Point Loma, as well as a commercial and fishing
port, major convention center and airport.
“They talk about defense and retreat a lot,” Bonelli
said. “We know dang well anything close to the ocean
or the bay … we have to plan carefully. We have to figure out, as we invest hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars, how to do this.
“We are at the very beginning, the ‘walk’ stage,” he
said. “We want to make sure the way we could with-
stand it and we want to make sure how best to protect
that public investment.”
The effort in San Diego parallels similar efforts nation-
wide as experts in the military, local, state and federal
government, and science and academic communities
collaborate in a “whole of government” approach.
The Hampton Roads area of Virginia, home to the
Navy’s largest seaport and a major East Coast commercial
seaport, is the first of three pilot programs to do just that.
Old Dominion University (ODU) in Norfolk is home
to The Center for Sea Level Rise, which is halfway
through a two-phase, two-year project. The first phase is
reviewing and pulling together “best practices” and les-
sons learned from other sea level-rise efforts in the U.S.
and internationally, according to the center. The next
phase, due for completion in June 2016, will begin “coor-
dination of sea level rise preparedness and resilience plan-
ning by Federal, state and local government agencies and
the private sector, with inputs from the public.”
The effort involves 18 agencies and 17 local govern-
ments as well as the Navy, said retired Navy CAPT Ray
Toll, director of coastal resilience research at ODU.
“We have a true, whole-of-government model,” he