Center for Coastal Physical Oceanography & ODU Resilience Collaborative

Spring 2019 Seminar Series


Dylan McNamara
University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW)

Monday, April 1, 2019
3:30 PM
Conference Center, Innovation Resarch Building II
4211 Monarch Way, Norfolk, VA 23508


In many coastal regions, human interactions and natural processes are strongly coupled. The nonlinear nature of this coupling, along with dissipation in both the natural and economic systems, dynamically constrains the system to evolve toward a state that is a subset of its possible configurations, termed an attractor. The current U.S. east coast attractor can be qualitatively characterized by human manipulated erosion rates, dense populations, immobile infrastructure, high property values, and the occurrence of large, infrequent catastrophes. With increasing rates of sea level rise and the eventual inundation of the existing built environment, the human-occupied coastal attractor is destined to become unstable. Said simply, it is an unfortunate truth that many existing coastal communities will become abandoned. While the end point for many locations is abandonment, there is virtually nothing known about how these dynamics will unfold in space or time as the system becomes unstable. I will present results from a numerical model of coastal property value that was designed to explore various scenarios of the dynamical evolution toward abandonment. I will initially discuss the technique of attractor reconstruction and how this was used to empirically validate the model with qualified sales data from 1989-2015 for single family homes in census tracks along the U.S. east coast. The model will then be described and investigated for dynamical insight into coastal abandonment. This type of quantitative dynamical analysis of the nonlinear human-coastal system is critical to inform society of the possibility of looming catastrophic change in the human-occupied coastal system.


Dr. McNamara is the Chair and a Professor in the Department of Physics and Physical Oceanography at UNCW. Dr. McNamara received his Ph.D. in Oceanography from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego and he holds a M.S. degree in Physics from San Diego State University. Dr. McNamara's current research interests are in coastal sustainability, coastal fluid dynamics, and using tools in nonlinear dynamical systems to explore sustainability in coupled human-natural systems. He has published over 30 journal articles in a wide range of fields including coastal sustainability, economics, physical oceanography, ecological modeling, and physics. Funding for his research has come from the National Science Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, where Dr. McNamara has acted as Principal Investigator on grants totaling more than $2.5 million.

Reception before seminar at 3:00 PM

Old Dominion University Homepage CCPO
Innovation Research Park Building I
4111 Monarch Way, 3rd Floor
Old Dominion University
Norfolk, VA 23508
CCPO Homepage

Updated on 03/21/2019.
This page is maintained by Julie R. Morgan
Copyright Info: Old Dominion University 2019