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March

March 13, 2012

Rising Sea Levels Seen as Threat to Coastal U.S.” According to a new research project titled “Surging Seas”, created by the Princeton-based nonprofit organization Climate Central, coastal flooding due to rising sea levels over the coming century threatens numerous major population centers along the U.S. coastline. Currently about 3.7 million Americans live within a few feet of high tide and are considered at risk. Florida was found to be the most vulnerable state, but Louisiana, California, New York, and New Jersey are also particularly vulnerable. As average global temperatures rise due to global warming, the ocean will also rise due to melting ice packs around the world and heat absorption by the ocean’s water. As the sea level rises, storm surges are expected to get worse and previously rare flooding events may become common occurrences. Some areas along the U.S. coastline may become permanently inundated. Climate Central offers an interactive tool identifying the level of increased risk for individual U.S. coastal cities and communities.

March 19, 2012

"Global Sea Level Likely to Rise as Much as 70 Feet for Future Generations". Rutgers researchers, led by Rutgers Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences Kenneth Miller, published a study titled "High Tide of the Warm Pliocene: Implications of Global Sea Level for Antarctic Deglaciation", warning that global sea levels will rise by as much as 70 feet over the coming centuries even if humankind were able to limit global warming to only 2 degrees C. By the end of the 21st century it is predicted that current levels will have risen 2 to 3 feet due to a combination of a warming ocean, melting glaciers, and melting ice pack in Greenland and Antarctica. The research was based on an analysis of the earth's atmosphere during the Pilocene epoch, some 2.7 to 3.5 million years ago. By studying rock and soil samples from around the world, researchers were able to conclude that at current CO2 levels the natural state of the planet's oceans is about 20 meters higher than present sea levels. Other Rutgers faculty involved in the research were James Wright, Associate Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences; James Browning, Assistant Research Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences; and Yair Rosenthal, Professor of Marine Science.

March 28, 2012

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its report on “Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation”. The IPCC report concludes that evidence suggests that climate change has led to changes in climate extremes such as heat waves, record high temperatures, and heavy precipitation over the past 50 years. When climate extremes are combined with existing socioeconomic vulnerabilities, the potential for climate-related disasters is increased greatly. The report aims to help policymakers prepare for, respond to and recover from extreme weather events that may result in natural disasters through risk management and adaptation strategies.

March 29, 2012

NY Times published a recent article addressing "Weather Weirding," particularly as it relates to the present month of March and the future outlook. Rutgers University’s climate change researcher, Jennifer A. Francis commented on the issue of sea ice loss and its role in climate change. Dr. Francis presented research published this month suggesting that the dramatic loss of Arctic sea ice (40% since the 1980s or 1.3 million square miles) which has increased the area of ocean available to absorb heat and subsequently release it into the atmosphere in fall and early winter, affects jet stream patterns enabling certain weather patterns to persistent such as droughts, floods, heat waves and cold spells.

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