Earth’s average surface temperature has risen approximately 2.12 degrees Fahrenheit since the late 1800s — most of that rise in the past 40 years, according to NASA. That’s due in large part to the increase of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere, caused by human activity. This has led oceans to warm, ice sheets to melt, and sea levels to rise faster — and it has accelerated the frequency of extreme weather events, such as hurricanes.
When it comes to facing these challenges, “It’s all hands — and all solutions — on deck,” says Susan Lozier, dean and Betsy Middleton and John Clark Sutherland Chair in the College of Sciences at Georgia Tech and president of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). "While we as scientists continue to embrace discovery science, we need to more fully embrace solution space."
Georgia Tech faculty across a number of disciplines are working on projects in ocean science and engineering aimed at identifying, projecting, mitigating, and even reversing the effects of climate change. Many of these researchers are doing so in conjunction with Georgia Tech’s Ocean Science and Engineering (OSE) program and its founding director, Emanuele “Manu” Di Lorenzo, professor of ocean and climate dynamics.
Though the OSE program is relatively new — accepting its first students in 2017 — it has attracted attention for its ability to coordinate and integrate the ocean systems work being done at Georgia Tech and beyond to solve significant problems. “There is a new cohort of people who are needed — problem-solvers of Earth climate, and this involves the ocean,” Di Lorenzo says. “Our hope is that through the OSE program, we will provide students with the tools and the knowledge and resources to be active players as new ocean leaders. This goes beyond them being researchers.”