Earth’s coasts are home to much of the planet’s population and economy, as well as many valuable ecosystems. In the United States, about 23 million people live within 6 meters of sea level. In many parts of the country, sea-level rise between 1960 and 2010 (about 8 cm in the global mean) has already led to a 2-5-fold increase in the rate of ‘nuisance’ flooding. On top of rising seas, intensifying hurricanes and more frequent extremes of heat, humidity and precipitation pose additional risks to coastal societies, economies and ecosystems.
Many factors, ranging from topography and biodiversity to land-use patterns and social networks, affect the vulnerability and resilience of people, ecosystems, and the built environment along the coast. Thus, building coastal resilience requires integrating expertise from many fields, ranging from urban planning to climate science and oceanography, from engineering to sociology and economics. The Coastal Climate Risk & Resilience (C2R2) initiative prepares graduate students to meet this challenge through its trainee and certificate programs.
The trainee program offers research-based Masters’ and Ph.D. students in Rutgers’ Earth system sciences, social sciences, and engineering graduate programs the opportunity to conduct research that integrates natural, socio-economic, and engineered elements of coastal systems and to practice effective communication techniques with coastal stakeholders. C2R2’s graduate certificate program, open Rutgers graduate students pursuing professional as well as research-based degrees, provides an important skill set and knowledge of coastal challenges for future careers in Earth sciences, urban planning, civil engineering, and other fields.
C2R2 focuses on four grand challenges that link together physical, ecological, socio-economic and engineered coastal systems:
- Past & Present Dynamics of Coastal Hazards, Vulnerabilities and Risk: What are the dynamics that give rise to coastal hazards, vulnerabilities, and risks, and how have these evolved over time? How does climate change contribute to these dynamics?
- Future Changes to Coastal Hazards, Vulnerability, and Risks: How will hazards, vulnerabilities, and risks change under plausible future pathways, based on socio-economic and climate projections?
- Strategies for Resilient Coastal Systems: How can deliberate human choices serve to reduce vulnerabilities and risks and increase resilience in coastal systems?
- Knowledge to Increase Coastal Resilience: How can scientific knowledge about coastal climate risk and resilience be produced and communicated to maximize its utility?
C2R2 is housed at Rutgers’ Institute of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences (EOAS) and is a collaboration between EOAS and the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning & Public Policy, the School of Arts & Sciences, the School of Environmental & Biological Sciences, the School of Engineering, and the Graduate School–New Brunswick.
C2R2 is supported by the National Science Foundation Grant No. 1633557.