In May 2006, Governor Ted Kulongoski established the Governor's Climate Change Integration Group (CCIG) to continue and expand on the earlier work of the Governor's Advisory Group on Global Warming, which prepared the Oregon Strategy for Greenhouse Gas Reductions in 2004. The Governor's charge to the Climate Change Integration Group includes:
- Continue and expand on the work of the earlier Global Warming Advisory Group; and,
- Develop a climate change strategy for Oregon that examines the future economic and societal implications of climate change.
The most immediate responsibility assigned to the group is to make a preliminary assessment of the how the state should prepare for adaptation to the impacts of climate change, and deliver a report to the Governor with initial recommendations by the end of 2006, followed by a more detailed report by the end of 2007.
Recent winter storms have resulted in damage to several of jetties located on the Oregon coast. Jetty maintenance is challenging and very expensive. This example reflects efforts by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to repair a breach that occurred at the Coos Bay north jetty in 2002. Such damage may become more significant in the near future due to rising sea levels and extreme storm waves.
(Photo courtesy of the USACE, Portland District).
According to the Oregon Strategy for Greenhouse Gas Reductions report the likely impacts of climate change over the next 10 to 50 years may include:
- The Pacific Northwest will continue to warm, perhaps by as much as three to six degrees over the next 40 years.
- The region will suffer more summer drought and a declining snow pack.
- Oregon forests will be more vulnerable to insects, disease and fire.
- Water resource issues will likely increase.
- Sea level will continue to rise.
Of major concern to those living along the coast are the likely impacts of sea level rise, coupled with more extreme storm waves that will bring increased risk of coastal erosion in the future.
DOGAMI's role in the Governor's Climate Change Integration Group is to provide factual data and related expert advice on issues relating to coastal geological hazards. Through the agency's Coastal Field Office, DOGAMI has been working in a variety of ways to understand the impacts of storms and sea level changes along the Oregon Coast, and to provide appropriate information to the public-at-large so that they can make informed decisions. This has included the publication of several reports that examine coastal hazards and the potential for future erosion, including:
Allan, J.C. and Priest, G.R., 2001. Coastal erosion hazard zones along the Clatsop Plains, Oregon: Gearhart to Fort Stevens. Open-file report O-01-04, Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, Portland, Oregon.
Allan, J.C. and Priest, G.R., 2001. Evaluation of coastal erosion hazard zones along dune and bluff backed shorelines in Tillamook County, Oregon: Cascade Head to Cape Falcon. Open-file report O-01-03, Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, Portland, Oregon.
Allan, J.C., Komar, P.D. and Priest, G.R., 2004. Coast hazards and management issues on the Oregon coast: Coastal Workshop, Lincoln City, Oregon, Field Trip to the Oregon Coast, 29 April 2004. Open-file report O-04-18, Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, Portland, Oregon.
Priest, G.R., Allan, J.C. and Sonnevil, R., 2004. Evaluation of coastal erosion hazard zones from Sisters Rocks to North Gold Beach, Curry County, Oregon: Technical report to Curry County. Open-file report O-04-20, Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, Portland, Oregon.
Priest, G.R. and Allan, J.C., 2004. Evaluation of coastal erosion hazard zones along dune and bluff backed shorelines in Lincoln County, Oregon: Cascade Head to Seal Rock. Technical report to Lincoln County. Open-file report O-04-09, Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, Portland, Oregon.
More recent investigations include the establishment of monitoring stations along selected beaches to begin to understand the effects of major storms on Oregon's beaches, while also establishing a baseline that can be used to begin documenting the long-term response of the coast to sea level rise, coupled with storm activity. Recently, Dr. Jonathan Allan provided a brief summary to the Climate Change Integration Group on the current state of knowledge on the effects of coastal storms, El Niño's, and sea level rise on Oregon's coast and beaches under a changing climate.