CCPO and ICAR Fall 2022 Seminar Series
Center for Coastal Physical Oceanography & Institute for Coastal Adaptation and Resilience

Fall 2022 Virtual Seminar Series


Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Monday, October 24, 2022
3:30 PM

Zoom link
Meeting ID: 957 6638 3949
Passcode: 429952


Sea levels are rising globally due to anthropogenic climate change. However, local sea levels that impact the coast are often different from the global trend, sometimes by twice as much. An improved understanding of this regional variability has implications for coastal communities planning for the future and provides insight into geophysical and oceanographic processes. In this talk, we will take a look at coastal sea level with new observations and cutting-edge techniques and learn what it can teach us about ocean dynamics. After a brief introduction to sea level, we will take a look at recent trends and variance in the coastal ocean as seen by ICESat-2. While primarily focused on the poles, ICESat-2 also provides measurements of sea level, which compare well with conventional methods but at a much higher spatial resolution. They reveal a remarkable spatial structure that's ripe for further research. Next, we will dry out for a moment to better understand the role of vertical land motion (VLM) in sea-level rise. Large parts of the East Coast are sinking, but as with sea level, rates are variable and challenging to observe at high spatial resolution. However, continuous advancements in InSAR (Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar) techniques are enabling us to observe coastal cities with increasingly fine resolution. We will walk through some of the details of InSAR processing and then I will present rates of VLM at 30 m resolution in several coastal cities and highlight some interesting features. I will then talk about the new OPERA project underway at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and its implications for VLM. Finally, we will head back to the ocean and zoom out to look at the East Coast as a whole. I will describe how our Bayesian framework combines observations and uncertainties to constrain drivers of sea-level change along the coast. I will detail the role of the dynamic component of sea-level change and discuss potential implications for its role in Atlantic Ocean circulation and the climate system as a whole.


Dr. Buzzanga is an Earth Scientist focused on the coast and is currently a postdoctoral fellow at NASA JPL with a dual position in the Sea Level and Ice and Radar Science groups. With the sea level group, he uses satellite observations of the ocean to understand how climate and geophysical processes vary in space and time. With the Radar science group, he works with the remote sensing technique of InSAR to measure vertical land motion, which impacts sea-level rise and flooding in coastal communities worldwide. More generally, Dr. Buzzanga is interested in the interface between science and society, and how a systemic understanding of Earth can enable a healthy relationship between people and the planet. He received Ph.D. (2021) and M.S. degrees from Old Dominion University in Virginia after earning a B.A. at Rutgers University. He enjoys being around water and music.

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