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ODU Authors Have Article in Sea Grant Law Journal

An article by Old Dominion University oceanographers about flooding risk in Virginia is featured in the latest issue of Sea Grant Law and Policy Journal, published by the National Sea Grant Law Center headquartered at the University of Mississippi.

Larry Atkinson, ODU's Slover Professor of Oceanography and director of the school's Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Initiative (CCSLRI), is the first author of the article, "Sea Level Rise and Flooding Risk in Virginia." Other authors are Tal Ezer, professor of ocean, earth and atmospheric sciences, and Elizabeth Smith, an oceanography researcher who coordinates CCSLRI activities.

The article by the ODU authors presents research that they first reported last October at a Virginia Sea Grant-sponsored symposium held at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., in conjunction with W&L's Center for Law and History. This latest Sea Grant Law and Policy Journal (winter 2013 issue) is a special issue derived from presentations at the W&L symposium, which was titled "Property, History and Climate Change in the Former Colonies."

Other articles in the special issue include "Colonial Property, Private Dams and Climate Change in Virginia" and "English Common Law Grants under Virginia Law: Rivers, Tides and the Taking Clause." The issue is at http://nsglc.olemiss.edu/SGLPJ/SGLPJ.htm.

The article by the ODU authors reviews the history of sea level in southeastern Virginia and gives predictions of sea level changes during this century. The article also examines recent increases in minor flooding in the region and reports on how communities are planning to adapt to higher waters.

"Coastal communities, both urban and rural, have dealt with coastal flooding for centuries and will continue adapting for the coming centuries," the authors write. "Now sea level is rising more rapidly and the threat will only increase. The legal property issues will be significant and will affect the way communities adapt. In addition to the scientific studies of climate change and sea level rise, an important issue is communicating the scientific results and nature of increased coastal flooding threat to the public and to decision makers."