The Master of Advanced Studies program in Climate Science and Policy responds to an international need for people working in topics affected by the world's changing oceans and climate to combine the scientific knowledge of the Earth's climate system with an understanding of the political, legal, and economic challenges associated with applying scientific knowledge in particular governmental and social contexts. The program's interdisciplinary curriculum is designed to prepare practitioners to make wise and realistic decisions about the management of climate impacts and their associated risks. Crossing a variety of fields in climate sciences, policy and communication, the program invites students with professional backgrounds in the private and public sectors as well as non-government organizations (NGOs).
Binational Climate Vulnerability Assessmentfor Cross-Border Adaptation Planning in theSan Diego-Tijuana Region
Climate change is a global concern that requires international strategies for both mitigation andadaptation. Despite sharing a regional ecosystem and economy, the San Diego-Tijuana borderregion will face the same challenges without a common framework that addresses the collectivesocial and ecological risk posed by climate change. Environmental issues, such as flooding,erosion, and pollution resulting from a long history of rapid urbanization in the region alreadyimpact both sides of the border, particularly disadvantaged communities. This project involved abinational climate vulnerability assessment that evaluated ecological and socioeconomic impactsbeyond geopolitical boundaries to address the need for binational collaboration and cooperationin climate action planning. Results from the binational climate assessment were used to create aBinational Climate Vulnerability Atlas containing maps and narratives as a visual representationof social-ecological vulnerability and risk in the region.The binational climate vulnerability assessment is an evolving deliverable and the first iterationof binational maps and data packaged in the context of climate change and in similar terms forSan Diego-Tijuana. Information synthesized in the Atlas provides a novel composition ofresources available along with recommendations for cross-border climate adaptation planningthat can be used to inform policy from a binational perspective in the future. Therecommendations focused on several themes, including natural climate solutions, partnershipsand collaboration, governance, and science data and sharing. Collectively, this work provides afoundation for a more robust, detailed assessment that would involve cross-border collaborationbetween planners, resources managers, scientists, and other binational stakeholders.
As local coastal management in San Diego begins to develop climate change adaptation plans to address growing coastal vulnerability, beach width, the distance between the shoreline and the landward limit of the backshore, is growingly being cited as a metric for evaluating coastal vulnerability and triggering a more aggressive adaptive response. This is because narrowing beach width could serve as an early warning indicator of long-term beach erosion or permanent beach loss. The beaches may also serve as a buffer against coastal hazards such as king tides, wave energy and sea-level rise for coastal homes, businesses, or infrastructure. This study assessed spatio-temporal trends associated with the natural variability of beach width and identifying deviations from the norm. The analysis was conducted using 8 years(2008-2016) of monthly beach width data collected by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, from two locations in San Diego – Imperial Beach and North Torrey Pines and compared with quarterly beach surveys at the same locations for the SANDAG Regional Shoreline Monitoring Program. Additionally, this study will highlight the importance of El Niño seasons and beach nourishments on beach width variability, and how these factors might be considered when establishing a beach monitoring approach and setting triggers for implementing an adaptive response.