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Leaders ask for reliable models to predict sea-level rise, flooding

By: Melissa Schneider / Published: Mar 25,  2009

Professionals know what they need to help them manage issues related to sea-level rise in Mississippi and Alabama. They told government agencies about those needs during two workshops held March 10 and March 11 in Biloxi, Miss.

Professionals who develop technologies also discussed what tools, data and models they are using to examine sea-level change.
 
Representatives from many fields, such as utilities, transportation, emergency management, science, city planning and floodplain and natural resource management identified the need for local sea-level rise models. The models should predict how flooding from tidal and storm events, as well as increased development north of the coast, would change over time, the representatives said.

Some participants also said they would like to see monitoring of Mississippi and Alabama natural resources to see if climate change will cause changes. They also said models to predict sea-level change should include a number of possible scenarios so that risk analyses can be completed.

Professionals need reliable tools to help them better predict sea-level change and its impacts, participants said. Once developed, those tools should be shared with residents and planners.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium sponsored the workshops to identify climate planning needs.

Participants’ input from the workshops will become part of a national effort to identify climate-related needs. The workshops were one of only three pilot programs in the country.

A federal group plans to begin customizing and delivering tools to Mississippi and Alabama within the next three to six months.

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