Anchorage Event a Great Warm-Up for Fort Lauderdale

Dr. Colin Polsky, Director
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UCS | August 31, 2015, 2:39 pm EDT
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While the Arctic Council normally meets at a table with only eight chairs, the US has invited world leaders, researchers, and media to a party that promises to be standing room only.

What happens in the Arctic doesn't stay in the Arctic--shrinking ice, wavy jet streams, and melting permafrost affect us in the lower 48 as well. Photo credit: NOAA/Flickr

What happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic–shrinking ice, wavy jet streams, and melting permafrost affect us in the lower 48 as well. Photo credit: NOAA/Flickr

Ever since the United States assumed Chairmanship of the eight-nation Arctic Council for 2015-2017, the White House has highlighted global environmental issues, in particular how ice melting in the Arctic affects people, infrastructure, and ecosystems worldwide. The resulting rise in sea level presents a mounting challenge to coastal locations from Alaska to South Florida. These challenges are featured in the recent video, President Obama is going to Alaska. Here’s Why.

On August 31, the President will address The Conference on Global Leadership in the Arctic: Cooperation, Innovation, Engagement and Resilience, nicknamed GLACIER, which is expected to draw foreign ministers from both Arctic and non-Arctic nations with interests in the region, plus U.S. Cabinet members, indigenous representatives and other leaders from around the north. Hosted by the US Department of State, the event is meant to define the region’s most crucial challenges; highlight innovative ways in which these challenges can be addressed at the local, national and international levels; and broaden global awareness of the impacts of Arctic climate change.

Against this backdrop, the Florida Center for Environmental Studies at Florida Atlantic University has seized the opportunity to host its own party–our third Sea-Level Rise Summit in the spring of 2016 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Sea level rise isn't a future threat--it's here. Places in Florida already experience flooding at high tides. Photo credit: Broward County.

Sea level rise isn’t a future threat–it’s here. Places in Florida already experience flooding at high tides. Photo credit: Broward County.

Our theme–Connected Futures from Alaska to Florida–will compare and contrast impacts and responses in both regions and present opportunities for building coastal resilience locally and globally. The meeting will convene leading researchers, decision makers, and other interested stakeholders to discuss the state of sea-level rise science, and how public policy and private adaptation efforts can lessen impacts in the following areas:

  • Human Health
  • Infrastructure
  • Ecosystems
  • Society & Water
  • Governance
  • National Security & International Responses

Our event will therefore shape not only nascent efforts to improve coastal resilience by all levels of government and the private sector, but also invite a big-picture perspective through internationally-oriented discussion. As in previous years, up to 400 local and international participants are expected to contribute to a lively exchange and enjoy the warm weather and welcome in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

We are running out of time to act. Photo credit: Ferdi Rizkiyanto

We are running out of time to act. Photo credit: Ferdi Rizkiyanto

For the latest information on the Summit and the Center for Environmental Studies at Florida Atlantic University, please visit www.ces.fau.edu/arctic-florida or contact Mary Beth Hartman at arctic-florida@fau.edu or tel. #1-954-236-1203.

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