November 15, 2012

Why was Sandy so Nasty? Look to the North Pole, Rutgers Expert Tells Morris Plains Audience. Anthony Broccoli, Director of CECI and the Rutgers Center for Environmental Prediction, told a Morris Plains audience that an important factor that contributed to the severity of Hurricane Sandy was that it was unable to spin out to sea because of a high pressure system to the North that originated in the Arctic, where record ice melt was seen earlier this year. He said there could be a connection and pointed to a theory proposed by Rutgers climate scientist and CECI affiliate Jennifer Francis that hypothesizes melting ice in the Arctic Ocean is causing the jet stream to become “wavier”, producing conditions like those seen during Sandy. Broccoli noted that more research was needed to prove the connection, but made clear that hurricanes are expected to become more powerful in the future as a result of global warming.

November 17, 2012

How Global Warming May Affect Your Allergies. According to a new study led by Rutgers Professor and CECI affiliate Dr. Leonard Bielory, global warming is likely to have a profound impact on allergies. Pollen counts are expected to double over the next few decades and by 2040 the peak of pollen season is expected to occur about a month before the pollen season even began in 2000. The study’s findings suggest that higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are associated with higher levels of pollen production. Additionally, some scientists believe that the pollen itself will become “stronger” than it is today, compounding issues for those with allergies.

November 24, 2012.

Rising Seas, Vanishing Coastlines. Rutgers professor of Earth & Planetary Sciences and CECI affiliate Robert Kopp, co-authored an editorial in the New York Times detailing the hazards of sea level rise in the face of global warming. Hurricane Sandy is expected to be only a modest preview of the dangers to come. Multiple studies were released this summer indicating that sea level is expected to rise dramatically over the coming centuries, even if extreme cuts are made to greenhouse gas emissions. Those living near sea level are increasingly in danger of being flooded by storm surges from storms such as Sandy. In order to protect coastal communities we must pursue a strategy of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, building resiliency and defenses, and retreating from certain high risk areas.

November 9, 2012

Global Warming May Double Pollen by 2040. By 2040 pollen levels are predicted to increase by about “1.5 to two times the amount of pollen that we have now,” according to Rutgers professor of environmental prediction and CECI affiliate Dr. Leonard Bielory. Pollen production is also expected to start earlier and peak earlier. Bielory explains how climate change will have a major impact on the pollen production of trees and grass due to changing temperature and precipitation patterns.