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Related Research Areas
Carbon Cycle & Ecosystems, Climate Variability & Change, Water & Energy Cycles

NASA Ames Research Center is located at the southern end of the San Francisco Bay estuary. Future impacts of sea level rise and related phenomena are of great importance to Center adaptation plans over the next 40 to 100 years. Historical records show that sea level in San Francisco Bay has risen 7 inches (18 cm) over the past 150 years. The 2009 California Climate Action Team Report (2009) projects that local sea level will rise between 11 and 18 inches relative to 2000 levels by the year 2050, and 23 to 55 inches by 2100. Tidal action, storm surges and local erosion will exacerbate the impact of sea level rise on the Center’s infrastructure and human capital. Ames Research Center does not currently have a formal assessment of the effects of climate change on the Center. This proposal will provide the best available information to Center management on the future physical environment for consideration when planning the maintenance and development of the Center. The main impact issues addressed are: sea level rise; increased storm intensity and its effects on storm water drainage in and around the Center; changes in Center power and water availability and cost in a changed climate, and potential important effects on the human capital essential to all Center operations and activities. In the course of the research, the team will also consider:

• biodiversity and habitat issues, especially for the 30 endangered, threatened, or rare species supported by NASA Ames undeveloped wetlands (e.g. burrowing owl and American peregrine falcon) (NASA Ames Research Center, 2009);

• air quality, especially as modulated by increases in mean and/or maximum temperature;

• salt water intrusion related to the sea level rise issues detailed above;

• spreading of aquifer contamination as a result of salt water intrusion and increase in soil temperatures, affecting vapor intrusion rates for present pockets of contamination;

• potential heat stress on outdoor workers if ongoing trends in mean and/or maximum temperature will increase;

• human capital issues including impacts on staff access to the Center and on communities

where Center employees live.

Project PI: Cristina Milesi/ NASA Ames Research Center

NASA Ames Research Center MS 232-21

Phone:  (650)604-6431 Email:


Nicole Burrough's presentation
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Develop 2010 Paper
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Nicole Burrough's Full Report
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Started: Aug 18, 2010

Last Activity: Sep 05, 2014


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