Prince Albert and Walter Munk
Prince Albert of Monaco (left) and Walter Munk. Photo by Chris Jennewein

Prince Albert visited La Jolla Thursday to honor Walter Munk and, like the world-renowned Scripps oceanographer, expressed worries about the impact of sea rise due to global warming.

His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco said the Mediterranean Sea faces “huge challenges” that put the country he rules at long-term risk.

“We are worried how things might evolve,” he said at a press conference with Munk at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. “We all need to pool our knowledge and energy together to find the best solution.”

Munk said he believed that with a worldwide effort, global warming could be stopped in 10 to 15 years with a maximum increase of 1 degree centigrade. Otherwise, nearby La Jolla Shores and other coastal areas will be inundated.

“We can stop the problem — by stopping global warming,” Munk said.

The prince’s family has long supported oceanographic research, founding centers and Paris and Monaco. The prince himself has worked to promote environmental preservation and global sustainability, and in 2009 received the Roger Revelle Prize from Scripps.

His visit to La Jolla is one of a series of events honoring Munk, who turned 100 last week but continues active research at Scripps. Munk’s legacy includes the science of wave prediction, tide prediction and ocean acoustics, and his work has proven critical to the the U.S. Navy.

“I knew from a very early age that you were someone special,” the prince told Munk.

He thanked Munk for his contribution to ocean science and for raising awareness of the “tremendous issue of climate change.”

“You keep pushing everybody here — and around the world — to join in the effort,” the prince said. “Not enough people realize what we could be facing.”

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.