News in July 2018
RCI affiliate Alan Robock joins the Academic Minute on Inside Higher Ed podcast to discuss geoengineering as a way to prevent further global warming. Robock urges caution to use such dramatic measures, as the unintended consequences of artificially reflecting sunlight can be just as harmful as those of global warming
Rutgers University researchers have published results of their study that found a more efficient way to extract hydrogen from water, using gold nanoparticles and titanium dioxide. The research opens the door to better solar energy storage, boosting efforts to combat climate change. Hydrogen can be used to store solar energy and then when the sun is not available for energy capture, it can be combusted for energy.
RCI affiliate Jennifer Francis is featured on the Climate Cast podcast at MPR News. Francis discusses her research on the links between changes in the Arctic and changes in the jet stream in the mid-latitudes, a series of changes that starts with global climate change.
Jennifer Francisprovided insight into new research published recently in Nature Climate Change, which found that the Arctic Ocean was quickly becoming more like the climate of the Atlantic Ocean due to extreme warming in the Barents Sea. Francis connects this rapid warming, which has already been observed, to changes in atmospheric circulation that her research has shown is very likely to occur. This result in a more variable jet stream, influencing the frequency of extreme weather.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has published the report, Understanding the Long-Term Evolution of the Coupled Natural-Human Coastal System, which focuses on enabling a better understanding of the factors that influence long-term environmental changes along the Gulf Coast. The report promotes increased resilience and maintenance of the habitability of the Gulf Coast into the future.
Recent above average rainfall in NJ is causing very high pollen concentrations, as tree and grass pollen are surging at the same time, according to RCI affiliate Leonard Bielory. While tree pollen is expected to fade within a week, grass pollen will linger for up to another month.
Four new moons over the next few months will bring an above average risk of coastal flooding to the Jersey shore this summer, as reported by the Press of Atlantic City. New moons on June 12th, July 12th, August 11th, and September 9th are of interest, as the moon will be at its closest to earth, according to RCI co-director Anthony Broccoli. The angle of the sun also plays into just how high the tides get, according to RCI affiliate Steven Decker.
New Jersey’s average temperature has increased by 2.19 degrees Fahrenheit, outpacing much of the rest of the nation over the last 30 years. RCI affiliate David Robinson cautions against reading too much into the statistics of changes across very small areas, but agrees that it is indisputable that the NJ coast is already seeing increased flooding as temperatures rise.
Corals are vital habitats for many marine wildlife, and recent research by RCI affiliate Debashish Bhattacharya on how coral deals with environmental stress gives hope that steps can be taken to improve the protection of coral populations. Bleaching events are stressful and often deadly to coral, but understanding which corals are resistant can help inspire ways to protect coral in the future.