Brian Roberts, associate director of science at the consortium, said, “there are so many opportunities you lose if you just pack up and leave.” Longtime measurements from the site would be disrupted by a move, he noted.
The facility has already raised the height of docks for its two research ships and renovated the facility to move equipment to higher floors. In a recent article about the challenges to conducting marine research in an age of coastal inundation for theirs and similar facilities, Dr. Roberts and colleagues concluded: “Global sea-level rise is one of the greatest challenges facing society in the 21st century, and understanding how this phenomenon impacts coastal systems, infrastructure and the people who use them requires a regular coastal presence.”
Dr. Kolker, who is also an author of the report, said that future improvements for the facility included incorporating some of the infrastructure used on offshore oil terminals, like saltwater-resistant electrical cables, but noted that adaptation is expensive. The consortium is also building an additional facility on higher ground, about 30 miles to the north in the city of Houma, La., which could handle operations on days when the DeFelice center can’t be used.
Ms. McClure, the architect, said that the encroaching seas had helped set her on her current area of study: “how buildings get decommissioned as the oceans begin to take them.”
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