There has been a clear awakening to the fact that climate change is underway. Lying at the interface of continental and oceanic realms, coastal systems can be expected to be especially impacted, experiencing the effects of climate change from both the land and the sea. With more than 50% of the U.S. population living in coastal counties, these changes will play out in coastal communities and economies. The LTER provides a network of coastal sites that differ in their biophysical vulnerability to various aspects of climate change, with some being more affected by sea level rise and storm surge ( e.g. VCR, FCE); others by acidification ( e.g. MCR, CCE); changes in temperature and loss of sea ice (e.g. PAL); or changes in freshwater inflow (e.g. PIE, GCE). These sites will also likely show gradients in human vulnerability, with differences attributable not only to their coastal population density and demographic composition ( e.g. FCE vs. VCR) but also in the location and resilience of their built infrastructure ( e.g. BES vs. SBC). This range of potential vulnerability positions the LTER network to be able to examine climate change and to better understand the factors controlling human and natural system vulnerability and response. The overarching question we seek to address is: How do human and natural templates interact to affect vulnerability to climate change in coastal systems?
Long Term Ecological Research Network. "Coastal Zone Climate Change: LTER Network Synthesis Prospectus." (2009). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/lter_reports/117