How changes projected by climate models can Inform climate adaptation and marine sanctuary management: A collaborative prototype methodology

Kelly Dunning

Apr. 23, 2024

11:10 am – 12:00 pm MDT

Main content

Coral reefs are highly important ecosystems providing habitat for biodiverse marine life and numerous benefits for humans. However they face immense risks from climate change. To date, Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) climate models have aided global discussions on possible policy responses to adapt to change, but tailored climate projections at a useful scale for environmental managers are often prohibitively expensive to produce. Our research, conducted through the NCAR Innovator Program, addresses this problem by presenting a novel type of collaborative, participatory research that integrates 1) site specific climate metrics from the Community Earth System Model version 2 large ensemble (CESM2-LE), 2) ecosystem response models to determine Degree Heating Months and coral bleaching impacts, and 3) collaborative social science data from environmental manager engagement to see how managers in one of the most visited marine sanctuaries in the world are enacting adaptive governance, stewarding reefs through climate impacts of the future. We revise the framework for adaptive governance and describe innovative policy responses of managers focused on experimentation and dialogue. This research presented by Dr. Kelly Dunning was conducted by lead author, NCAR Innovator program-funded MS student Daniel Morris, in close collaboration with NCAR GCD lab members Drs Melissa Moulton, Kristen Krumhardt, Joanie Kleypas, and Frederic Castruccio.

Kelly Dunning

University of Wyoming