Climate Change Research

Climate Research Overview

APNEP supports adaptation research as outlined in CCMP Action A2.3: Support research on adapting to impacts associated with climate change and sea level rise. Current research suggests that climate change and associated sea level rise will be a significant stressor in the region for the near future. Science that helps predict impacts at the regional level will help support informed decision-making by those in a position to use it.

  • Outputs: Research activities and reports
  • Results: Information to support better resource management decisions in the face of a changing climate

Current Initiatives: 

APNEP is currently working through the Science and Technical Advisory Committee members to synthesize the current science and identify "who is doing what" to assist the state as they move forward with implementing the directives in Excutive Order 80.  

Past Initiatives: 

In the past, the APNEP STAC has synthesized the science on regarding estuarine responses to climate change and provided recommendtions for an increase in baseline datasets, monitoring, focused research efforts, and modeling in order to increase our understanding of impacts to the estuarine system.  Many of these recommendatios were incorporated into the current CCMP.  

APNEP has supported the following research and restoration initiatives related to climate change and sea level rise: 

  • Defense Coastal and Estuarine Research Program (DCERP): APNEP staff served on DCERP’s Regional Coordinating Committee.  DCERP was funded by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to demonstrate the science behind ecosystem-based management at a DoD coastal installation. An ecosystem-based management approach is required by all DoD facilities, meaning that lands must be managed to sustain ecologically important ecosystems while continuing to support military training needs. Climate change was a featured research area, as it will put coastal military installations, operations, and their training missions at increased risk.  
  • Evaluating the Application of NASA Earth Observations to Rapidly Detect Change in Wetland Types at a Regional Scale: APNEP partnered with the NASA DEVELOP program on a project designed to evaluate the impacts of sea level rise on wetlands.  The project delinieated wetland and water extent in the Albemarle-Pamlico watershed from 2000 to 2015 using NASA satellite imagry.  
  • Albemarle-Pamlico Peatland Enhancement Project: APNEP funded a project led by The Nature Conservancy which used strategic restoration of forested wetlands in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, and Dismal Swamp State Park to increase the resiliency of these systems to climate change, improve water quality of adjacent receiving waters, and re-establish/augment valuable habitat for wildlife.  

Partner Initiatives: 

  • North Carolina Sentinel Site Cooperative: The North Carolina Sentinel Site Cooperative (NCSSC) is a network of partner organizations that work together to continue long-term research and monitoring efforts and to establish demonstration projects to evluate the potential impacts of sea-level rise on coastal habitats.