Climate Change and the Future of the Boston Coastline

Climate Change and the Future of the Boston Coastline

Doors open @ 6pm — Come early and meet other Long Now thinkers — Presentations start @ 7pm

November 27, 02018: A Long Now Boston Community Conversation with
Kirk Bosma, P.E. Woods Hole Group and Paul Kirshen, Ph.D., UMass Boston

See the after-event writeup for a discussion of this event.

“Well I love that dirty water…Oh, Boston, you’re my home”

Boston’s always had a special connection with its harbor, extending from its beginnings as a colonial port in 01630, through centuries of industrial activity, to its fairly recent cultural and economic reawakening. Land reclamation and waterfront construction projects have dramatically changed the region’s coastal landscape. Yet, still, the harbor protects. In the geologic scheme of things, not much has changed in 400 years.

The looming impact of global climate change paints a different picture. In a world of increasingly intense storms and melting ice packs, the tides and the storm surges are rising. This year Florence (13’ storm surge) and Mangkut (25’ storm surge) put the world on notice, while Boston had its own awakening with two record-breaking high water events, including the 15’ high water crest from the “bomb cyclone” of January 4. The need for long term thinking along our harbor and coastline has never been more urgent.

Join the Long Now Boston conversation with Paul Kirshen and Kirk Bosma, two of the region’s leading experts on climate change and coastal mitigation as they discuss the looming risks to coastal communities. Poster Child projects like hurricane walls get lots of visibility, but the major study released in May concluded shore-based climate adaptation solutions are more effective than harbor-wide strategies for Boston. Radically decreasing greenhouse gas emissions could reduce the risks, but it seems the political willpower for that to happen soon is not forthcoming.

Among the topics we’ll explore through a Long Now lens:

  • Climate change forecasts and the implications for coastal communities.
  • Key ways to assist coastal communities’ planning for the future.
  • Forecasts of what Boston and the New England coastline might look like in a century
  • Anticipated civic + political affects: demographics, economics and social conditions

Join the conversation and be part of the solution.

$15 in advance // $20 at the door. Students w/ID admitted free.
Audience participation is encouraged.

If Eventbrite tickets sell out, seating for walk-ups will unlikely be available due to room size.

The Long Now Boston Conversation Series hosts UMass Boston’s Paul Kirshen and The Wood Hole’s Group Kirk F. Bosma to share their research on the effects of climate change on the region’s coastline, and proposed risk mitigation measures.

Paul Kirshen, Ph.D., is a Professor in the School for the Environment at the University of Massachusetts Boston and serves as the Academic Director of its Sustainable Solutions Lab. Paul has 30 years of experience in complex, interdisciplinary research related to water resources management, and climate variability and change. He holds Sc.B., MS, and PhD degrees in civil engineering with an emphasis on systems applications. His interest in climate change is focused on the integrated vulnerabilities of built, natural, social, and economic systems to climate change and sea level rise (SLR) and the development of adaptation strategies to these stresses. He uses a variety of qualitative and quantitative methods. He currently has research efforts in metro Boston, NH, coastal MA, and other areas. A major project is on environmental justice and climate change adaptation in East Boston.

Kirk F. Bosma, PE, is a Senior Coastal Engineer and Team Leader of the Coastal Sciences, Engineering & Planning team at Woods Hole Group. He manages projects and develops engineering solutions related to coastal structure design, beach nourishment, beach management, inlet stabilization, water quality, environmental permitting, impacts of offshore dredging, marsh restoration, climate change planning, and wave, tide, and current data collection. His expertise includes habitat restoration, shoreline protection, and climate change planning projects and specializes in applying numerical models to optimize engineering designs and reduce overall project life cycle costs. He has developed and applied the latest data and numerical methods for climate change vulnerability assessments and developed comprehensive coastal flood risk assessments that incorporate storm surge risk coupled with increased precipitation and sea level rise. He also developed gray, green, and hybrid coastal engineering adaptations for fostering urban and rural resiliency in a cost-effective approach.

We’re proud and excited to welcome both Paul and Kirk to the Long Now Boston community.

Cambridge Innovation Center is an in-kind sponsor of this Long Now Boston conversation. We are very grateful for their support.