Scripps Institution of Oceanography’s efforts to understand climate change got a boost recently with the hiring of alumnus and longtime sea-level researcher Mark Merrifield. He will lead the UC San Diego school’s Center for Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation.
Merrifield, former director of the University of Hawaii Sea Level Center, has spent the last two decades studying global and regional sea-level change. He intends to build on that work at Scripps.
“Sea-level rise threatens our coasts with increased flooding, erosion, and damage to property, infrastructure, and the environment,” he says. “In California, many iconic landmarks and beaches may disappear within a few decades given the current and projected rise rates.”
The center’s researchers document how climate change affects the environment, ecosystems, and humans. They build on the work of experts like Merrifield to come up with solutions. Merrifield wants the center to also tackle issues related to drought, water supply, energy production, and marine ecosystems, and to work with officials to counter sea-level rise and climate change.
“If we take action now, the impacts of sea-level rise will be far less severe both in terms of limiting the amount of change and building resilience to it. If we take no action and continue with business as usual, future generations will face untold hardship and will question why we chose to ignore all the signs of impending disaster.”