Center for Coastal Physical Oceanography

Fall 2016 Seminar Series


The International Research Institute for Climate and Society
Columbia University

Monday, November 21, 2016
3:30 PM
Conference Center, Innovation Resarch Building II
4211 Monarch Way, Norfolk, VA 23508

jointly sponsored by the ODU Resilience Collaborative


Many regions, especially those that are arid and therefore water stressed to begin with, are highly vulnerable for a number of reasons. Poor governance and resource management are key factors. Population is growing, thereby increasing the demand for resources, primarily water. Groundwater, vital for consumption and for irrigation purposes, is declining globally at an unsustainable rate due to overuse. High vulnerability and low resilience can be thought of as two sides of the same coin. Therefore, when nations with high vulnerability experience climate change, or extreme weather or climate events, they can be pushed to or even beyond their respective thresholds of resilience. This has happened recently with disastrous consequences in Syria, leading to a refugee crisis. Here I will compare and contrast some modern cases linking climate and migration, as well as some historical examples.


Dr. Colin Kelley is an Associate Research Scientist with Columbia University's International Research Institute for Climate and Society and a Senior Research Fellow with the Center for Climate and Security. He received his PhD from Columbia University and was a PACE postdoctoral fellow at the University of California Santa Barbara. Colin is a climate scientist focused on climate variability and change, particularly in arid and semiarid regions, and on the climate-water-food security nexus. He was the first author of the recent study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, "Climate change in the Fertile Crescent and implications of the recent Syrian drought," which provided evidence that climate change has already begun to exert a measurable influence with respect to water and food insecurity and state stability. Colin uses historical observations, both land-based and remotely sensed, along with atmospheric, hydrologic and climate models to better understand the dynamics associated with natural variability and change, and their relationship to existing vulnerability and resilience in vulnerable regions.

Reception before seminar at 3:00 PM

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