[ skip to content ]

News @ ODU

German-born Researcher Hans-Peter Plag Hired for ODU Climate Change/Sea Level Rise Initiative

Photo of Hans-Peter PlagHans-Peter Plag

German-born researcher Hans-Peter Plag will join the Old Dominion University Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Initiative (CCSLRI) in June as a senior faculty member, Provost Carol Simpson announced Tuesday.

Plag is currently the Exxaro chair on Global Change and Sustainability and director of the Global Change and Sustainability Research Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. He also serves as a visiting professor at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J., and as a research professor, jointly at the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology and the Nevada Seismological Laboratory at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Old Dominion's CCSLRI facilitates research and education in all aspects of climate change and sea level rise. Due to Norfolk's location, there is special emphasis on adaptation to increased flooding because of sea level rise. The initiative also addresses many other aspects of climate change affecting coastal cities, such as public health and disaster preparedness.

"Dr. Plag has extensive academic and international experience in developing cross-disciplinary approaches to addressing climate change and sea level rise issues, and brings considerable energy and enthusiasm for research, education and public outreach regarding these important topics," said Simpson.

Larry Atkinson, ODU's Slover Professor of Oceanography, said Plag will be helpful in providing the strategic planning necessary to take the initiative to the next level.

"In the past two years, the ODU Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Initiative has come a long way, but we always needed a senior person with international connections and Professor Plag comes with those connections," Atkinson said.

Plag's areas of expertise include: sea level and climate change; disaster risk reduction; a wide range of aspects related to sustainability; and other topics involving Earth's system dynamics.

After some years working as a carpenter, Plag studied mathematics and geophysics, earning degrees, respectively, in 1976 from the Technische Fachhochschule Berlin technical college and in 1982 from the Free University of Berlin.

Since earning a doctorate (summa cum laude) in natural sciences from the Free University of Berlin in 1988, Plag has held positions at universities and research institutes in Germany, the United Kingdom, Norway and the United States.

His work has been published more than 70 times in peer-reviewed journals, books and proceedings. Additionally, Plag has made more than 80 other contributions to books, newsletters and other publications; served as lead author of several community white papers; edited three books and numerous special issues; authored numerous scientific reports; and made more than 250 presentations at scientific meetings.