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Tuesday, January 31 • 9:00am - 10:00am
DRBC Climate Forum Keynote - Dr. Phillippe Hensel, NOAA

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The other part of relative sea level rise: vertical land motion and its intersection with environmental change

Philippe Hensel is the chief of the Project Analysis Branch within the Operations and Analysis Division at NOAA's National Geodetic Survey (NGS). Philippe oversees activities related to maintaining the integrity of the nation's database of survey control. Since 2019, he is also part of a multi-agency team investigating vertical land motion in the wider Chesapeake Bay region. Since coming to NGS in 2006, Philippe has worked to bring high precision surveying applications to coastal scientists and resource managers (advancing the "sea level rise sentinel site" concept). Prior to coming to NGS, Philippe was a post-doc wetland ecologist with the USGS, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. Philippe has also been an adjunct faculty at Johns Hopkins University, teaching a course in wetland ecology and management. Philippe holds a PhD in coastal ecology and a Master's degree in applied statistics from Louisiana State University, and a master's degree in marine, estuarine, and environmental sciences from the University of Maryland.

Presentation abstract
Climate change is already leading to measurable increases in global sea levels, with experiencing more pronounced changes than others. Whereas most of the emphasis on climate-related sea level rise has justifiably focused on the response of the hydrology itself, relatively little attention has been paid on the contribution of vertical land motion (VLM) to the relative sea-level rise equation. Along the mid-Atlantic, we have an excellent network of long-term tide stations, but the long-term trends confound the hydrologic with the geologic signals. Within the Chesapeake Bay, local subsidence hotspots result in higher rates of sea-level rise. Whereas we talk of carbon sequestration and reducing our carbon footprint as a way to confront a warming climate and the resulting sea-level rise, what can we do about sinking land masses? The first step in answering this question is to better understand where land is moving vertically, and at what rates over time. This talk will focus on the intersection of sea level rise with vertical land motion along our coastlines, and will explore some recent efforts to better understand and respond to this phenomenon, so as to enhance coastal resilience in the face of a changing climate.

avatar for Howard Neukrug

Howard Neukrug

Professor, University of Pennsylvania, University of Pennsylvania
Mr. Neukrug is The Professor of Practice in Global Water at the University of Pennsylvania and the founder and director of the University’s Water Center at Penn.  He has 40 years of experience in the water industry, most recently as Commissioner and CEO of Philadelphia Water.  He... Read More →

avatar for Philippe Hensel

Philippe Hensel

Supervisory Geodesist, NOAA's National Geodetic Survey

Tuesday January 31, 2023 9:00am - 10:00am EST
Main Ballroom (Avalon 23)