NASA Talk Examines Adaption to Rising Coastal Sea Levels

Press Release From: Langley Research Center
Posted: Friday, April 3, 2015

On Tuesday, April 7, at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, VirginiaHans-Peter Plag will present "Adaptation to Sea Level Rise: Protecting Against, or Preparing for, Inundation of the Coastal Zone?" at 2 p.m. in the Pearl Young Theater.

The director of the Mitigation and Adaptation Research Institute (MARI) at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, Plag will propose the onset of major changes in how we think about the future of coastal zones due to the projected rise in sea levels.

Plag will be available to answer questions from the media during a news briefing at 1:15 p.m. that day. Media who wish to do so should contact Chris Rink at 757-864-6786, or by e-mail at, by noon on the day of the talk for credentials and entry to the center.

That same evening at 7:30, Plag will present a similar program for the general public at the Virginia Air & Space Center in downtown Hampton. This Sigma Series event is free and no reservations are required.

The sea level has been stable during the last 6,000 years, so humans have developed large settlements in coastal zones throughout the world. The current coastal infrastructure relies on this stable sea level and coastline, but there have been rapid climate changes observed in recent decades.

The projected changes point to a sea level rise during the next few centuries that will far exceed those experienced by past civilizations. This rise will lead to major changes in the coastline with few options to protect large areas of the coastal zone.

As director of MARI, Plag's areas of expertise include sea level and climate change, disaster risk reduction, sustainability, and Earth system dynamics.

He studied mathematics and geophysics, earning degrees in 1976 from the Technische Fachhochschule Berlin technical college and in 1982 from the Free University of Berlin. Plag holds a doctorate in natural sciences from the Free University of Berlin, and worked at universities and research institutes in Germany, theUnited KingdomNorway and the United States.

For more information about NASA Langley's Colloquium and Sigma Series Lectures, visit:



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