Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder

Christopher Little

Decadal climate variability influences the frequency and severity of natural hazards (e.g., drought) with considerable human and ecological impacts. Interpreting past variability and predicting future impacts relies upon an understanding of the underlying physical processes, as well as any changes in these processes over time. However, identifying such changes requires long observational records. In this respect, coastal sea level records from tide gauges are uniquely valuable. Such measurements provide a record of climate change over the last century (and, in a few places around the globe, since the 18th century). In recent papers, Chris has documented dramatic increases in coastal sea level variability in the second half of the 20th century, in widely-separated geographic locations. While in Boulder, he will work with Drs. Kris Karnauskas, Antonietta Capotondi, and Steve Nerem to identify the ocean and atmospheric dynamical mechanisms underlying decadal sea level variability and its changes through the 20th century.