Dr. Andrea Dutton’s global sea level research was recently featured on the front page of the University of Florida News site. Her research focuses on investigating drivers for global sea level rise and fall using dating of fossil corals in the Seychelles.
In a recent article (Dutton et al., 2015, Quaternary Science Reviews), Dutton’s international team of researchers identified partical collapse of the Antarctic ice sheet as a significant source of melt water coincident with global sea level rise 125 000 years ago.
Present polar temperatures are only a few degrees warmer than the time of the last partial collapse of the ice sheet. Rising temperatures over the next few decades could trigger another collapse.

We could be poised to another partial collapse of the Antarctic ice sheet.” – Dr. Andrea Dutton

Read More: Link to University of Florida Web News Feature

Dr Andrea Dutton conducting field work in the Seychelles
Dr. Andrea Dutton conducting field work in the Seychelles


Climate change and sea level rise effects are showing up at Kennedy Space Center

Faculty in the Department of Geological Sciences have been working in partnership with the US Geological Survey and NASA Environmental to assess the progress of coastal erosion at Kennedy Space Center. As a result of this research, NASA has constructed artificial dunes to protect two launch pads from the threat of salt water intrusion. Their work was recently featured in a Reuters article and UF online news “Spotlights” article.
Over the past 5 years, Dr. John Jaeger and Dr. Peter Adams have been studying the progress of coastal erosion at the beach adjacent to Kennedy Space Center, east coast of central Florida.
This research was motivated by major dune erosion near two launch pads following several hurricanes in Fall 2004 (Charley, Frances, Jeanne) and Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Six foot high dunes previously provided protection from salt water intrusion, but the reduction in dune size left the launch pads, key components of the NASA space program, at risk.
There are two major effects of climate: sea level rise and an increase in major storm frequency. Sea level rise gradually moves high tide closer to land, and allows storm surge to over top the dune and erode it down. An increase in the frequency of major storms heightens the threat of salt water intrusion to the launch pads.
The major challenge for the UF Geoscientists was to quantify how much change is occurring at the beach. Monthly observations of beach topography were made using high precision GPS techniques, accurate to within 10 cm. This is a unique data set for understanding coastal processes.
Rapid coastal erosion measured by this research caused NASA to instigate an on-going beach nourishment program. The program started with the construction of a secondary artificial dune to protect the two launch pads closest to the shore from salt water intrusion during the next big storm.
Alumnus Dr. Richard McKenzie had a key role in coordinating and interpreting these GPS observations as part of his Ph.D. research project. This project reflects the Department’s collaborative philosophy as numerous graduate students served as field assistants to the team over the five years.
Recent Article in Reuters, “Rising tides threaten Kennedy Space Center”.

It is important to understand how beaches change for economics and policy making. – Dr. Peter Adams

Dr Jim Channell, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Geological Sciences, has been awarded the 2014 International Cappellini Medal of the Italian Geological Society for his extensive magneto-stratigraphic studies in Italy. Two recent articles published in Palaogeography, Paleoclimatology and Palaeoecology represent the culmination of over 40 years of research of Italian sedimentary successions contributing to a better definition of the scale of geomagnetic polarity at the global scale.
Dr James Channell receiving Capellini Medal

Dr Jon Martin was recently announced as a Water Institute Fellow by the Climate and Water Institute at the University of Florida for a 3-year term 2014-2017. Dr Martin is recognized for his speciality in research using natural chemical and isotopic compositions of water as tracers of ground water and surface water interactions.

Retrieving a water sensor from a cave in the Bahamas.
Retrieving a water sensor from a cave in the Bahamas.

The UF Water Institute (WI) initiated a Faculty Fellow award program in 2013 to recognize University of Florida faculty who are making outstanding research, extension, or education contributions in water programs that further UF’s interdisciplinary communities of science in water. UF WI Faculty Fellows are selected based on the strength of their interdisciplinary research, education or extension program (with emphasis on the last three years), conducting a research program aligned with the mission of the WI and their on-going commitment to contribute to WI initiatives. Faculty Fellow awards are for three academic years during which time UF WI Faculty Fellows are recognized at an Awards Ceremony, featured in a UF-WI Seminar, active in coordinating interdisciplinary proposals, and serve as ambassadors for the Water Institute, both within and outside UF.
Dr. Jon Martin Biographical Sketch
More information about the UF Water Institute can be found on their website.