U.S. Army awards LSU $10 million for climate change research

Updated: Jan. 12, 2021 at 6:58 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The United States Army will pay LSU $9.3 million over four years to study climate change and its impacts on military activity.

The university will build computer models that can predict how coastal erosion, frequent severe weather events, and rising seas affect terrain near military installations.

“Naval bases in Virginia, Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, Air Force bases in Pensacola – these are all coastal landscapes that are going through changes and the military knows it,” Dr. Robert Twilley, an LSU oceanography and coastal sciences professor helping to coordinate research, said. “Predicting how that terrain will allow you to operate certain types of vehicles and certain types of troop operations is critical to them.”

The research will help protect Army bases from flooding and erosion. The work could also inform the construction of new technology, tailored for eroding wetlands.

Twilley says the data could also help prepare troops for combat in coastal regions.

“They’re trying to use advanced technology to make sure the Army is prepared for new circumstances in the future,” he said. “They don’t have the models to predict that terrain now, to know how to build new technologies for military operations.”

The school will use the money to link data from its coastal engineering field teams, ecological researchers, and scientists studying the Mississippi River.

“Seldom do we get funding of the size we have here to put these three pieces together,” he said.

The university says this is the largest grant to fund a single-team coastal science and engineering project in school history.

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