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October

News in October 2017

New Jersey saw its 28th driest September in 122 years this past month, and has been mostly rain-free since September 20th, according to RCI affiliate David Robinson on nj.com. According to Robinson, conditions are currently drier than they were all summer long, however no problems with water reserves exist as of yet.

New Jersey’s robust aquaculture industry is due to a robust oyster population, thanks in part to Rutgers University over the past 70 years. According to RCI affiliate David Bushek, population control through a fixed quota keeps the oyster population high, in addition to partnering with farmers to return shells back to the water. This provides crucial habitats where more oysters can grow.

Rutgers University was awarded a one-year planning grant from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, in collaboration with eight land grant universities in the northeast. The grant will be used to analyze the feasibility of the Climate Master Volunteer Program, which would educate volunteers about climate change, adaptation, and community resilience.

 New Handouts Summarize Tree Species Responses to Climate Change

NIACS created a series of 2-page handouts that summarize how individual tree species are expected to respond to climate change across the Northeast based on regional climate change vulnerability assessments. Each handout includes model projections based on future climate scenarios and models like the Climate Change Tree Atlas. We think they're a handy way to show a lot of information and get people thinking about managing climate change risk and opportunity. Handouts are available for subregions within each of the three project areas:

Featured Resource: New Forest Service Report Explores Carbon in Land Management     

NIACS and partners developed a Forest Service report, Considering Forest and Grassland Carbon in Land Management. Carbon sequestration is just one of many ecosystem services provided by forests and grasslands, and this report explores considerations for natural resource professionals who are interested in increasing carbon benefits on the lands that they manage. 

Information from the report was also used to expand the topic pages on the Climate Change Resource Center. Topic pages provide background on issues and climate change effects as well as highlighting management options. New and updated topic pages include: Global CarbonCarbon and Land ManagementForest Management for Carbon Benefits, and Forest Soil Carbon.  

 

RCI affiliate Asa Rennermalm was featured in Rutgers Today, discussing her work in Greenland over the past 10 years. Current modeling efforts have not been enough to adequately simulate streams on the surface of ice sheets, which is important for surface mass balance as well as ice sheet dynamics. Her team uses sensors that they place in streams on the ice sheet to build a record of river discharge data, which ultimately informs ice balance models.

RCI affiliate Alan Robock was a co-author in a major study published in Nature Communications which explored the link between El Nino events and large tropical volcanic eruptions. El Nino events have been observed in the year following four out of the last five large tropical volcanic eruptions, but why this occurred was previously unknown. This new study concludes that the cooling of Africa (due to the sulfur aerosols injected into the stratosphere by the volcano) leads to the development of Kelvin waves which induce westerly winds across the western Pacific, kickstarting an El Nino. Climate model simulations also show that large tropical volcanic eruptions shorten La Ninas and lengthen already ongoing El Ninos.

Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines erupting on June 12, 1991. A much larger eruption occurred three days later. U.S. Geological Survey

A partnership between Rutgers University and NBC 4 New York has led to the installation of a doppler radar on the Rutgers Cook Campus. According to RCI Co-director Anthony Broccoli, the radar will facilitate both research opportunities as well as plenty learning opportunities for students in the meteorology program, who will have access to the data.

RCI affiliate Alan Robock discusses the climate impacts of volcanoes, in the context of Mt Agung in Bali, which is poised for an eruption. Volcanic eruptions cause global cooling on the order of 0.1-0.2C, which would not be enough to counter global warming.

The 13th International Turfgrass Research Conference was held at Rutgers University from July 16-21st, drawing 480 registrants from 24 countries. The conference theme was “Meeting the Challenge of a Changing Environment”, put together by the Scientific Program Planning Committee. RCI affiliate Bingru Huang heads this committee. The theme was chosen as it reflects the impact of the environment on our personal and professional lives, particularly important in the context of turfgrass science. The conference included the video, “Understanding the mechanisms that drive global and regional climate change.” featuring RCI Co-director  Anthony Broccoli.

RCI affiliate Ying Fan Reinfelder published a new study describing how tree roots search hundreds of feet deep, forcing roots through cracks in rocks to search for water, as explained in Rutgers Today. The depth of the plant roots is a function of soil conditions, which are important when considering plants’ adaptation to climate change. Plants are very adaptable, but deeper-rooted plants  will have an advantage as their environments change around them.

 

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released Enhancing the Resilience of the Nation’s Electricity System which describes how investments must be prioritized based on potential benefits as opposed to perfection of the system. The report identifies strategies to increase the resilience of power systems in the face of large-area long-duration outages.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) released Wind Energy Finance in the United States: Current Practice and Opportunities. Investment in wind energy since 2006 has been greater than $140billion, yet costs for investors are driven up by a lack of familiarity with its asset class. This report provides a demonstration of how financing rates impact a project’s total energy cost, with the goal to provide a resource for financing the wind development process.

 RCI Co-Director Tony Broccoli featured at September 27, 2017 statewide conference Climate Change Policy in New Jersey: Advancing Opportunities to make New Jersey Safer, Greener, Healthier and More Prosperous , sponsored by the New Jersey Climate Adaptation Alliance. Professor Broccoli is featured in this NJTVNews piece about the conference  describing climate change impacts to New Jersey, along with RCI Associate Director Marjorie Kaplan and Rutgers Professor, Dr. George DiFerdinando .  The conference, including  Dr. Broccoli and Dr. DiFerdinando, are also featured in this NJ Spotlight piece. 

New Jersey is not on target to reach its greenhouse gas goal by 2050, according to a new report by researchers from Rutgers Climate Institute, Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Georgetown Climate Center and World Resources Institute. The report found the state lacks a detailed and comprehensive strategy to achieve its goals. Greenhouse gas emissions need to be cut by 80% below 2006 levels, which would be possible through a number of existing authorities and programs already in existence, according to RCI affiliate Jeanne Herb.  Two Former New Jersey Governors, James Florio and Thomas Kean, cite the report in a recent NJ Spotlight Op-Ed NJ’s Next Gov. Can Make A Real Difference On Climate Change.

 

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