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Federal Environmental Official in Norfolk Today for Forums at ODU and Nauticus

Kathryn Sullivan

Kathryn Sullivan, an assistant secretary of commerce and deputy administrator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), will participate in a forum on the topic "The Human Dimensions of Climate Change and Sea Level Rise in Hampton Roads" today at Old Dominion University.

The appearance is in conjunction with her public lecture this evening at a Blue Planet Forum at Nauticus in downtown Norfolk.

The ODU campus forum and a luncheon are designed to allow discussions amongst Sullivan and ODU faculty members and students who are conducting research pertaining to the university's two-year-old Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Initiative (CCSLRI).

Larry Atkinson, the ODU Slover Professor of Oceanography who leads the CCSLRI, said a limited number of seats are open for the 10:30 a.m. forum, which will be in the Board Room in Webb Center.

Sullivan's visit to Norfolk will also include an afternoon tour of sites prone to flooding, led by Skip Stiles, executive director of the environmental organization Wetlands Watch.

The Blue Planet Forum at Nauticus, which is free and open to the public, will begin with a reception and cash bar at 6:30 p.m. Sullivan's talk at 7 p.m. will be on "Environmental Intelligence for Coastal Communities." Those who want to attend are asked to RSVP at www.cbf.org/blueplanet or by calling 757-622-1964. The Blue Planet Forum series is a production of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, NOAA, Nauticus and ODU.

Sullivan, well known as an astronaut, was appointed a year ago by President Obama as assistant secretary of commerce for environmental observation and prediction and deputy administrator for NOAA. An oceanographer, she also serves as NOAA's acting chief scientist.

As assistant secretary, Sullivan plays a central role in directing work in the areas of weather and water services, climate science and services, integrated mapping services and Earth-observing capabilities. She provides agency-wide direction with regard to satellites, space weather, water and ocean observations, and forecasts to best serve American communities and businesses.

Sullivan will hear presentations by ODU researchers and one local city official during the forum on campus. Projects to be highlighted include:

-- "Human Dimensions in Public Engagement and Support for Environmental Resiliency Policies," conducted by Poornima Madhavan (psychology), Maura Hametz (history), Leona Tam (marketing) and Cynthia Tomovic (STEM education)

-- "Scientific Awareness Through Theatre: Inspiring Young People to Value Scientific Practice as We Adapt to Sea Level Rise and Climate Change," conducted by Jenifer Alonzo (communication and theatre arts), Victoria Hill and Fred Dobbs (ocean, earth and atmospheric sciences) and Amy Adcock (STEM education)

-- "The Disparate Impacts of Sea Level Rise on Hampton Roads' Underserved Populations," conducted by Rafael Diaz (ODU's Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center), Hua Liu (political science and geography), and Joshua Behr (VMASC)

-- "Virginia Legislators' Knowledge, Awareness and Perceived Risks Concerning Sea Level Rise," conducted by Burton St. John (communication and theatre arts)

-- "College of Engineering Outreach," led by David Pezza (civil and environmental engineering)

-- "Quantifying Risk and Resilience to Prioritize Flooding Mitigation Projects in Urban Coastal Environments," conducted by David Basco (coastal engineering)

-- City of Norfolk and Coastal Flood Mitigation, presented by John White of Norfolk's Department of Public Works.

This article was posted on: June 7, 2012

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