Regional Interdependence in Climate Change Adaptation: Sea Level Rise in the San Francisco Bay Area

2018-2019 Heinz G. Stefan Fellowship award ceremony
Award Recipient:
Jackie Taylor, PhD Student in Civil, Environmental, and Geo- Engineering; advisors Miki Hondzo and Vaughan Voller

Keynote Speaker: Mark Stacey, Department Chair, Henry and Joyce Miedema Professor of Environmental Engineering, University of California- Berkeley

Abstract: Coastal communities around the world are facing a growing threat from sea level rise, which manifests itself as coastal flooding events of increasing frequency, magnitude and duration. Adapting to these changing conditions requires reconsideration of shorelines and other infrastructure systems, but  decisions by communities to take action in anticipation of future conditions both influence and are influenced by regional conditions and decisions. These interdependencies are a result of geographic interactions that emerge from either environmental processes or the function of infrastructure systems, and may be compounded by interactions between infrastructure systems, or through feedback with the environmental system.


In this talk, I will present a series of studies of how sea level rise will transform the San Francisco Bay Area, and the implications for regional adaptation planning. The interdependencies will be established through detailed analysis of tidal dynamics in combination with simulations of other infrastructure systems and the disruption of their function by coastal inundation events. Through these analyses, three distinct types of interdependence emerge, which will provide a foundation for consideration of the opportunities for and barriers to regional adaptation planning.


About the Speaker: Dr. Mark Stacey is the Henry & Joyce Miedema Professor and Chair in Civil & Environmental Engineering at the University of Califonia, Berkeley. He received his B.A.S. in Physics and Political Science and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Stanford University. Throughout his career, his research and teaching have emphasized environmental physics, particularly the fluid mechanics of coastal environments. In the last decade, through the lens of sea level rise, he has focused on the interaction of environmental processes and infrastructure systems, including consideration of adaptation and resilience.


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