Grant helps URI, Penn State researchers study sea-level rise

October 3, 2021 GMT

SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (AP) — Researchers at the University of Rhode Island and their colleagues at Penn State have been awarded a four-year, $1.5 million grant to study the effects of sea level rise and how it may worsen the impact of extreme weather, URI said in a statement.

The goal is to help communities, the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service adapt and improve their resilience as the climate continues to change and hurricanes and nor’easters continue to increase in frequency and severity, the statement said.

The grant is from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which says the rate of sea level rise is accelerating. Sea level plays a role in flooding, shoreline erosion and other hazards, affecting nearly 40% of the U.S. population.

Yet there is a lack of research available when it comes to how the impacts of nor’easters and hurricanes may be amplified as a result.

“There are a number of studies that have been done looking at just sea level rise or just extreme weather, but what we’re really lacking in terms of clear understanding is the combined impact of these two phenomena,” said oceanography professor Isaac Ginis, who is leading the study.