Mark Merrifield. Photo courtesy Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Mark Merrifield, a renowned specialist in sea-level change, will lead a new research center at Scripps Insititution of Oceanography focused on helping society adapt to climate change.

Merrifield, a Scripps alumnus, returns to the institution after 20 years as director of the University of Hawaii Sea Level Center. He will hold an endowed chair at UC San Diego and direct the Center for Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation.

The new center will coordinate Scripps’ efforts to provide practical strategies for helping society cope with increasing climate instability.

“Mark Merrifield is an ideal candidate for this position considering that one of UC San Diego’s fundamental objectives is to understand and protect our planet,” said Chancellor Pradeep Khosla. “He has an impressive track record of applying science to real-world societal problems and bringing people together to create partnerships across industries and governmental units to inspire smart, strategic decisions and actions that inform policymakers.”

The goal of the center is to draw on the expertise of climate scientists as well as experts ranging from economists, sociologists, and engineers to urban planners and political scientists to devise practical solutions to the effects of climate change. Besides sea-level rise, those effects range from coastal erosion and flooding to the spread of human health impacts and the increased incidence of drought and extreme weather events.

Scripps Director Margaret Leinen said the center will have a strong focus on San Diego region and California issues,.

The center was created with a $5 million gift from longtime Scripps supporters Richard and Carol Hertzberg.

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