Filtering by Category: Future Climate Change

Thank you

Hi everyone,

I want to start by thanking everyone who has reached out to me recently in regards to the piece in Reveal: https://www.revealnews.org/episodes/silencing-science/

It’s been a very difficult year as everything unfolded. I don’t really want to get into all of the details of it here, but I think the piece I linked to above did a good job of encapsulating everything. I did not approach Reveal and ask them to investigate this. The author, Elizabeth Shogren, is a former reporter for NPR who I had first met when she interviewed me 2014 for a piece on the project I was starting at NPS. Elizabeth was aware of the timeline of the project and emailed me while I was on maternity leave for an update. I referred her to NPS who sent her a very vague response which prompted her investigation. While I did not initiate any of this I do want to say thank you to her for unraveling this story. I had no idea what had been happening to my report while I was on leave and had always taken my colleague’s excuses for the delay in publishing at face value. I feel very naive.

I do want to say though that when I spoke to Reveal I believed that my experience was one that was limited to one particular vein of staff in the NPS and DOI. I had no idea how far reaching this has been. When I heard the report and how other colleagues have reacted to the same kinds of pressure I was put under it really made my heart sink. Not only was I disappointed that others didn’t have the courage to stand up to this bullying, but also because many of the people mentioned are permanent federal employees or tenured faculty who have significantly less to lose than I do if they had stood up to this. I’m sure everyone is very fearful at this time but we really do need to show that we intend to uphold the mission of the NPS and that we can not be pushed around. Now is the time for courage.

I have spent the last few weeks on shutdown. When my SLR funding ended in September 2017 I was offered a position through Geocorps to work with some NPS colleagues down the hall from those I had previously worked with. Needless to say, given the level of pressure I was put under I have no desire to work with the NPS Climate Change Response Program again unless significant action is taken to reprimand or remove the people in power who I believe have violated the NPS scientific integrity policy and failed to uphold the NPS mission. It became an incredibly hostile environment.

Unfortunately my Geocorps position has meant that I take a pay cut to approximately 1/3 of what I used to make. Despite this I was prepared to do that because I was working for an organization I loved. The piece in Reveal has, however, made me question whether NPS deserves my loyalty. So I would like to put out a call to anyone reading this that if they would like to contact me regarding other opportunities I am very open to that. I must stay in the Denver area due to family commitments, but I am otherwise open to any and all ideas. I have spent the last couple of days feeling incredibly sad about how things have turned out and mourning all the plans I had for projects to protect our nation’s “best idea,” but I must get back to reality and start looking out for myself.

Some people have emailed me asking whether they could setup a GoFundMe or donate in other ways. That is tremendously kind, but that was not why I spoke out. I spoke out because I am at the end of my tether. I have tried to report these problems to the Office of the Inspector General and the NPS Scientific Integrity Officer and I feel my concerns have been swept under the rug. Elizabeth Shogren’s reporting and evidence she obtained via the Freedom of Information Act shed new light on this and I hope that my complaints will be revisited.

So what can we do going forward? I suggest the following:

  • If you would like to make a donation, please consider making a donation to the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund or an environmental fund such as the Environmental Defense Fund, Nature Conservancy, or Natural Resource Defense Fund.

  • Please reach out to your representatives and let them know how concerned you are about this.

  • If you know of any positions (it does not need to be a research position) that might be suitable for me please tweet or email me.

  • If you are a researcher or NPS staff member who has experienced similar pressure to censor your work that you believe violates the NPS mission and/or scientific integrity policy please report it to the OIG and file a scientific integrity complaint. It might seem like a pointless thing to report your experience to these people, but we need to put each incident on the record so we can show this is a wider pattern of behavior. You are also welcome to contact me and I can put you in touch with people who can give you free legal advice.

  • If you are a climate scientist please remember to never back down on your research. This issue is too important. We need people with courage in this fight.

Finally, I’d like to end with a reminder of the NPS mission statement. This was something I always took to heart as I carried out my research. Even if you are just a visitor to the parks I hope this is something you will bear in mind. Our parks are truly special places and there are a lot of people working very hard to protect them for future generations. I hope the Reveal article didn’t change your opinion of them too much. One thing is clear though; once the shutdown is over we have a lot of cleaning up to do both in the parks and beyond.

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New NPS Sea Level Rise Website

I'm pleased to announce the creation of a new National Park Service website that addresses the impacts of sea level change. The website is a little bare bones at the moment as the final report for my project is still going through review, but watch this space in the coming months for links to the report and our online sea level and storm viewer.

Forthcoming Webinar

Hi everyone, I just wanted to leave a quick note with a link to my forthcoming webinar presentation on sea level rise and storm surge in the National Park System. The webinar is on Thursday October 13 at 2 pm EST/11 am PST. You will need to register in advance to watch it: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6617408905987954179

I'll be using this opportunity to preview the sea level and storm surge report that is going through review right now, so check it out if you would like a sneak peek of what will be released in 2017.

New NPS Publication

The National Park Service has decided to release a publication co-authored by me (along with Courtney Schupp and Rebecca Beavers) outlining the present as well as potential impact of climate change in the coastal zone. This is especially timely given the current COP21 meeting. The report can be found here: http://www.nps.gov/subjects/climatechange/coastaladaptationstrategies.htm 

New Publications and Blog Mention

Hi folks, it's been a while since I've updated my blog. I have a few pieces of news. While teaching is currently keeping me very busy at the moment, I'm also proud to announce that I have two research articles out this month. The first article I've already mentioned in my blog before, but now Association of American Geographers members are all probably getting copies of my charcoal article in the mail.

I also have an article regarding my Caribbean research coming out today in the journal Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. Both of my articles are about past changes in climate in the Caribbean region. This is an area that I am hoping to do more work on in the near future. I'm also always happy to hear from other researchers working in the region (so feel free to send me an email or tweet using the contact information in the top right corner of this site).

Finally, my future climate change research was mentioned recently in a guest article/blog post by my good colleague Dr. Rebecca Beavers for the Preservation Leadership Forum Blog. I encourage everyone to check it out, particularly those of you who are interested in how the National Park Service is preparing for climate change in the coastal zone. It's my hope that by studying how the coastal zone has changed in the past we can bridge the gaps in our knowledge to determine how the coastline will respond to climate change in the future.

Association of American Geographers Meeting 2015

I know it's only November, but I'm looking ahead to the Association of American Geographers 2015 Meeting which will be held in Chicago, IL. As secretary of the paleoenvironmental change (PEC) specialty group, I've been in contact with a number of people regarding group events that will be held during the meeting. Most of my emails have been sent out via the AAG messaging system. However, it has come to my attention that some people might not be getting the emails if they have let their membership lapse or are not subscribed to the PEC group listing. If you are looking for more information about paleo- related events and sessions please check out the PEC website for copies of my announcements: www.aagpec.com. The website also has a section containing the past issues of the PEC newsletter, so you can catch up on the latest goings on in the group.

The deadline for sessions has been extended to November 20th, 2014. I will post information about the student competitions once the abstract submissions deadline has passed. I will be around in most of the paleo sessions as well as presenting on my latest future sea level rise calculations. I hope to see you there. See you in Chicago!

Trip to Channel 7

When I first created this website I decided that I would use it to focus on my research, so I don't usually post much about my teaching. But I just wanted to share what a great experience my meteorology class and I had at channel 7 yesterday. I always try to incorporate field trips into my classes so that the students can put what I teach into a real-world context. Channel 7 was nice enough to give my students a tour of their studio so they could see what goes into a weather broadcast. Mike Nelson and Kirsten Horne were nice enough to talk to the class about their work and how climate change is changing Colorado weather. The students were really blown away by their visit. THANKS CHANNEL 7!

New Storm Surge Maps

Well it has been a super busy couple of months. I have been traveling across the country to various academic meetings and a couple different university colloquia to discuss my NPS sea level and storm surge project. So far I've got a lot of very positive feedback about this project and I know that a lot of people can't wait to see our results.

Eventually we will release a report on our findings. In the meantime I'm pleased to announce that we are today making available a large number of storm surge maps. My team have been working on mapping the impacts of storms surge on 117 coastal park units (see my March 6, 2014 post for further details). You can find the maps here: www.mariacaffrey.com/storms

We will be continually updating the storm mapping site with more maps as they become available. I'd like to emphasize that these maps are still very much in the "draft" phase and that use of these images must be done with my direct permission.

NPS Releases Project Briefing Statement

Hi folks, here is the latest information about my new research project with the National Park Service. This is a project that will run for the next three years and will look at how sea level rise and storm surge will impact approximately 105 coastal park units. The aim of this is to provide the National Park Service with various SLR and storm surge scenarios so that they can incorporate it into their planning and management documents. For further information check out the briefing statement I have included here.