Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Climate Change and Ocean Dynamics - The Tide is Shifting: A Conversation with Oceanographer William C. Boicourt

William C. Boicourt

Episode 30

The Radical Centrist Podcast



Climate Change and Ocean Dynamics - The Tide is Shifting:  

A Conversation with Oceanographer William C. Boicourt

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Bill Boicourt has had a distinguished career, following his dream to be an Oceanographer. Today he is among the world's leading figures in a field that is at the center of the action in a world where Climate change has become the number one threat to the planet - or more accurately to the current residents of the planet.


Bill is Professor Emeritus at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Horn Point Laboratory.

His oceanographic interests are the circulation of continental shelves and estuaries, with particular interests in how these motions are driven by winds and by freshwater flowing off the land. Many of his physical investigations of these waters have been motivated by biological questions such as the role of water motion and water structure in the success of early life stages of fish, crabs, and oysters. He is part of a team that launches robotic underwater gliders to sense temperatures in the deeper waters of the continental shelf immediately before passage of a hurricane. With this information, weather forecasters can greatly improve the accuracy of their predictions.

Bill received his undergraduate degree in physics from Amherst College. After graduate study in physical oceanography at The Johns Hopkins University, he remained for a few years at Hopkins’ Chesapeake Bay Institute to investigate the circulation of the Chesapeake Bay and the adjacent continental shelf. In 1981, he was a Visiting Scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and joined the University of Maryland at Horn Point Laboratory soon thereafter. In 1989, he was the recipient of the B.H. Ketchum Award from Woods Hole for his work on shelf-estuary interactions.

Bill is a Principal Investigator and member of the Board of the Middle Atlantic Regional Association Coastal Ocean Observing System (MARACOOS) and a founding member of the Chesapeake Bay Observing System (CBOS).


Chapel at the Top of the Hill 


Bill Boicourt - University of Maryland Center for Environmental ... › bill-boicourt



Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum

Meet: William Boicourt, Board Member






Maryland Climate Change Program


Climate Change Program

The main cause of climate change is human activities, particularly the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere. The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) is leading Governor Hogan's efforts to reduce GHG emissions while creating jobs and benefiting the economy, as required by the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act (GGRA). Although many initiatives throughout the State contribute to these efforts, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and the Maryland Commission on Climate Change (chaired by MDE Secretary Ben Grumbles) are key efforts by MDE, each of which can be explored further by following the navigational links on the left-hand side of this page. 

In November 2018, a federal reportadvised that "climate change is affecting the natural environment, agriculture, energy production and use, land and water resources, transportation, and human health and welfare across the U.S. and its territories."  The good news is that in Maryland, we have an action plan to combat it.

With 3,100 miles of shoreline, Maryland is the fourth most vulnerable state to suffer the effects of sea-level rise associated with climate change. Rising sea levels and increased storm intensity could have devastating and far-reaching impacts on the Atlantic coast and the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem that affect the environmental, recreational and economic benefits enjoyed by Maryland and her visitors. Although Maryland's coastal areas may be considered particularly vulnerable, all areas of the State are at risk. In general, climate change alters the severity, frequency or distribution of existing issues that are impacted either directly or indirectly by temperature and precipitation. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Impacts on coastal, bay, and inland water quality parameters that may change the viable uses of surface water, such as for irrigation, recreation, or human consumption. MDE's Water and Science Administration's Climate Adaptation Goals and Strategies are available here

  • More frequent disruptions to urban and coastal infrastructure in Maryland caused by extreme weather events and sea-level rise that may indirectly impact the economy of the region by restricting the flow of goods and affecting days worked;

  • Common stressors experienced among ecosystems, agriculture, fisheries, and forestry such as those caused by general changes in temperature and precipitation regimes; increased extreme weather events; and increased pressures from weeds, diseases, and pests;

  • Human health issues, including those affected by impacts on food and water supply, air quality and extreme weather events; and

  • A higher probability of negative outcomes for disadvantaged communities and individuals inherently more sensitive or with a reduced adaptive capacity for responding to the impacts of climate change.

To learn more about climate change and what Maryland is doing to combat it, read the 2030 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan. MDE submitted the comprehensive plan for Maryland to Governor Hogan and the State Legislature on February 19, 2020, to coincide with the U.S.A's return to the Paris Climate Agreement. For the national perspective, visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Climate Change in the United States.  And, for the international perspective, read the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) latest report. 



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Maryland's Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act (GGRA)

In 2009, Maryland adopted the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act (GGRA) and it was amended in 2016. The law requires the State to reduce GHG emissions 25 percent from a 2006 baseline by 2020, in a way that ensures a positive impact on Maryland's economy, protects existing manufacturing jobs and creates new jobs in the State. MDE's 2015 GGRA Plan update showed that Maryland was on target to not only meet but also to exceed this level of emissions reduction in tandem with a healthy economic benefit.

Governor Hogan signed an updated version of the law, which includes the same balanced requirements and safeguards as the original, such as additional reporting and a mid-course reaffirmation of goals by the Maryland General Assembly, as well as incorporating protection for jobs and the economy. The most significant enhancement was a new benchmark requiring a 40 percent reduction of emissions from 2006 levels by 2030. This additional benchmark was included in order to ensure continued progress after 2020 toward the State's long-term GHG emission reduction goals. According to a World Resources Institute report published in August 2020, Maryland leads the nation in the amount of emissions reductions (38%) and simultaneous growth of GDP (18%) in a 12 year period. 

In the fall of 2019, MDE released a comprehensive, economy-wide draft plan to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. After more than a year of analysis using the latest science, and listening to Marylanders and a variety of stakeholders, the final plan was published. Its 100+ bold and comprehensive programs and measures set Maryland on an ambitious path to serve as a model for how the nation can respond to climate change while also supporting economic growth and adding new jobs. The Plan pays particular attention to address the needs of underserved and disadvantaged areas throughout our state. As such, the effects of Climate Change disproportionately impact them.

 Read the 2030 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Plan.






Scientific & Technical Working Group Donald F. Boesch, Chair, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Frank W. Dawson, Co-Chair, Maryland Department of Natural Resources Robert M. Summers, Co-Chair, Maryland Department of the Environment William C. Boicourt, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Antonio J. Busalacchi, University of Maryland, College Park Donald R. Cahoon, U.S. Geological Survey Frank J. Coale, University of Maryland, College Park Victoria J. Coles, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Russell R. Dickerson, University of Maryland, College Park William M. Eichbaum, World Wildlife Fund Brian D. Fath, Towson University Raymond M. Hoff, University of Maryland, Baltimore County David G. Kimmel, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Curtis E. Larsen, Lusby, Maryland (U.S. Geological Survey, retired) Andrew J. Miller, University of Maryland, Baltimore County Margaret A. Palmer, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Louis F. Pitelka, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Steven D. Prince, University of Maryland, College Park Brian S. Schwartz, The Johns Hopkins University David H. Secor, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Timothy Warman, National Wildlife Federation Claire Welty, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

A Glow of Lilies


Updating Maryland's sea-level rise projections - USGS ... › publication

Updating Maryland's sea-level rise projections

Scientific and Technical Working Group Maryland Climate Change Commission

By: Donald F. Boesch, Larry P. Atkinson, William C. Boicourt, John D. Boon, Donald R. Cahoon, Robert A. Dalrymple, Tal Ezer, Benjamin P. Horton, Zoe P. Johnson, Robert E. Kopp, Ming Li, Richard H. Moss, Adam Parris, and Christopher K. Sommerfield




With its 3,100 miles of tidal shoreline and low-lying rural and urban lands, “The Free State” is one of the most vulnerable to sea-level rise. Historically, Marylanders have long had to contend with rising water levels along its Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean and coastal bay shores. Shorelines eroded and low-relief lands and islands, some previously inhabited, were inundated. Prior to the 20th century, this was largely due to the slow sinking of the land since Earth’s crust is still adjusting to the melting of large masses of ice following the last glacial period. Over the 20th century, however, the rate of rise of the average level of tidal waters with respect to land, or relative sea-level rise, has increased, at least partially as a result of global warming. Moreover, the scientific evidence is compelling that Earth’s climate will continue to warm and its oceans will rise even more rapidly.

Recognizing the scientific consensus around global climate change, the contribution of human activities to it, and the vulnerability of Maryland’s people, property, public investments, and natural resources, Governor Martin O’Malley established the Maryland Commission on Climate Change on April 20, 2007. The Commission produced a Plan of Action that included a comprehensive climate change impact assessment, a greenhouse gas reduction strategy, and strategies for reducing Maryland’s vulnerability to climate change. The Plan has led to landmark legislation to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions and a variety of state policies designed to reduce energy consumption and promote adaptation to climate change.



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Wind-Induced Destratification in Chesapeake Bay

David M. Goodrich1, William C. Boicourt2, Peter Hamilton3, and Donald W. Pritchard4

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01 Dec 1987




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Multiyear continuous observations of velocity and salinity in the Chesapeake Bay indicate that wind-induced destratification occurs frequently from early fall through midspring over large areas of the estuary. Storm-driven breakdown of summer stratification was observed to occur near the autumnal equinox in two separate years. Surface cooling plays an important, though secondary, role in the fall destratification by reducing the vertical temperature gradient in the days prior to the mixing event. Large internal velocity shear precedes mixing events, suggesting a mechanism involving the generation of dynamic instability across the pycnocline. Destratification is shown to fundamentally alter the response of the velocity field to subsequent wind forcing; in stratified conditions, response is depth-dependent, while after mixing a depth-independent response is observed.

Neap Tide for Planet Earth

Friday, October 22, 2021

Episode 29 : Surviving The Coming Rate Shock


Surviving The Coming Rate Shock Dust off the NegaWatt Detectors, Electric Rates are about to Hit Hyperdrive

Here's what you can do . . .

Listen to the Podcast Here:

Don Kreis is the Carl Sagan of public utility law, electric power generation, energy and rate-setting. With a wry smile, a finely tuned sense of humor, and keen intellect, he makes topics - that would normally cause our eyes to glaze over - understandable and interesting.

A combination of factors have caused the price of natural gas to go haywire and that is likely to cause a spike in electricity costs of as much as 60+ percent among those New Hampshire consumers who are customers of a shareholder-owned utility company. Don Kreis, the New Hampshire consumer's last line of defense as the ratepayer's advocate, has issued a warning about impending rate shock and shares some of his thoughts on arming ourselves against the coming storm in this interview.

While the focus of this interview is on New Hampshire energy law and issues, the problems, challenges and market realities cross state borders and are important to utility customers everywhere. Likewise, the ideas and innovations that Don shares may offer hope for ameliorating the effects of these rate spikes now and in the future.

Recent Articles from Don Kreis

Power to the People is a column by D. Maurice Kreis, New Hampshire’s Consumer Advocate. Kreis and his staff of four represent the interests of residential utility customers before the NH Public Utilities Commission and elsewhere.

Coming Soon: Drastic Rate Increases for Electricity and Natural Gas

Trouble at the PUC Order Factory

As Your Electric Bill Soars, Some Ideas for Fighting Back