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February

February 13, 2013

Understanding Greenland ice sheet hydrology using an integrated multi-scale approach. Asa Rennermalm, Assistant Professor of Geography and CECI Affiliate, recently published a paper in Environmental Research Letters. The paper aims to improve understanding of Greenland ice sheet hydrology and its impact on current and future ice sheet dynamics, as well as its impact on global sea level rise. The paper looks at critically important processes such as albedo feedbacks leading to enhanced surface melting and meltwater retention.

February 14, 2013

GAO: Climate Change Poses Big Financial Risk to U.S. Government. The U.S. Government Accountability Office has formally recognized the financial risk associated with climate change in its biennial assessment of government operations it deems as vulnerable to fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement or “effectiveness challenges.” The report noted that the federal government has substantial fiscal exposure to the consequences of climate change because it maintains extensive infrastructure and defense installations, insures property through the National Flood Insurance Program, and provides emergency aid to states and municipalities in response to natural disasters. The report also points out potential gaps in environmental satellite data beginning as early as 2014 if new satellites are not ready to launch in time or do not work as intended which could greatly hinder forecasts and warnings for hurricanes, storm surges, and floods, as well as impact general accuracy and timeliness.

February 18, 2013

Climate Change And Blizzards May Be Connected, Global Warming Studies Demonstrate. Although seemingly contradictory, scientist are beginning to better understand how global warming can lead to less annual snowfall on average, yet also lead to more giant blizzards. The Rutgers Global Snow Lab says that spring snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere has shrunk on average by 1 million square miles in the last 45 years. Additionally, the snow season is becoming much shortened, especially in spring and in the northernmost areas according to New Jersey State Climatologist and CECI Affiliate Dave Robinson. He also added that larger and more frequent big snow storms are a result of warmer air that can hold more moisture and warming oceans that give energy to such storms.

February 5, 2013

Activist Rallies Community on Climate Change. Acclaimed environmental journalist and activist, Bill McKibben, visited Rutgers on Monday to give a public lecture as part of his nation-wide tour “Do the Math: Why Climate Change Matters and What You Can Do About It.” The event was co-sponsored by the Rutgers Initiative on Climate and Society, the School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, as well as other University organizations. The lecture stressed the scale and pace of climate change and that its effects are already being felt all around the globe. McKibben argued that science, logic and reason are not strong enough galvanizing forces to fight against rapidly accelerating global warming, largely due to the power and influence of the fossil fuel industry. As a result, McKibben created 350.org, a global grassroots movement intended to draw awareness to the issue and help solve the problem. McKibben also, along with other activists, played a significant role in interrupting federal approval of the Keystone XL pipeline to transport oil from the Canadian tar sands to the United States. The environmentalist is now looking to take the fight directly to the fossil fuel industry by creating a movement among universities to divest their holdings in fossil fuel companies. Currently there are 234 college campuses in the United States that have active divestment campaigns. Watch Bill McKibben's lecture here.

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