Center for Coastal Physical Oceanography & Institute for Coastal Adaptation and Resilience

Spring 2024 Virtual Seminar Series


Old Dominion University

Monday, January 22, 2024
3:30 PM

Zoom link
Meeting ID: 999 4182 2603
Passcode: 329766


The Fifth U.S. National Climate Assessment (NCA5) was released on November 14, 2023. Mandated by the Global Change Research Act of 1990, each National Climate Assessment delivers a comprehensive synthesis of climate change science in the United States, its key impacts, and responses for regions and sectors. Over 400 authors and 220 technical contributors from federal, state, and local government, universities, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector volunteered over the last three years to complete NCA5, with high levels of technical rigor, strict requirements on quality of information cited in the report, and public input incorporated, including national public comment. In this talk, Dr. Whitehead will provide an overview of the origins and purpose of the NCA process. She will also discuss its key messages, including scientific findings, impacts on key sectors relevant to Virginia, and lessons learned from across the East Coast. In addition to the climate science and sector impacts chapters, two regional chapters are relevant for Virginia: the Southeast, where Virginia climate change impacts are addressed, and the Northeast, which includes impacts and responses for the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Finally, Dr. Whitehead will conclude with key tips on how to use NCA5, including the NCA5 Atlas, the Art x Climate companion content, and identifying future research directions to fill key gaps in advance of the Sixth National Climate Assessment.


Dr. Jessica Whitehead is the Joan P. Brock Endowed Executive Director of the Institute for Coastal Adaptation and Resilience (ICAR) at Old Dominion University. A nationally recognized expert in climate adaptation and using climate information for resilience policy, Dr. Whitehead served the U.S. Global Change Research Program as the chapter lead author for the Northeast Chapter of the Fifth U.S. National Climate Assessment, released in November 2023. Within the Commonwealth, she is a member of the Virginia Coastal Resilience Technical Advisory Committee. Previously, Dr. Whitehead was the first state Chief Resilience Officer for North Carolina, based in the NC Office of Recovery and Resiliency, and the first coastal climate extension specialist with NC Sea Grant, the South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium, and the Carolinas Integrated Sciences and Assessments (CISA) Program. She earned her Doctor of Philosophy in geography and Master of Science in meteorology from The Pennsylvania State University and a Bachelor of Science in physics with a concentration in meteorology from the College of Charleston. Her work helping coastal communities in the Carolinas adapt to climate change has been featured in podcasts, books, newspapers, television, and public radio, including the Washington Post, the New York Times, and The Weather Channel.

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