2017-2018 Academic Year

News in June 2018


A new study published in Nature found that the Antarctic ice sheet has lost 3.3 trillion tons of ice since 1992, as reported by the NY Times, the Washington Post, and WNYC. Since 2012 the ice sheet has been losing ice at at a rate that is three times faster than a decade ago. The most dramatic effect has been seen in West Antarctica, where the ice sheet is on the sea bed.

New research published in Science Magazine by RCI affiliate Malin Pinsky suggests that due to climate change, fish are migrating too fast for fishing rules to keep up. The rapid shifting of fish will exacerbate international fisheries conflicts, which can lead to overfishing and a degradation of international relations, as reported in Rutgers Today, the Washington Post, Forbes, National Geographic, and the Huffington Post.

The Regional Planning Association is calling for a regional commission to help create a proactive approach to rising sea levels along the shorelines of New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut. The scramble between local, state, and federal officials can be chaotic as a storm approaches, but with a coastal commission, communication and actions between the necessary actors can be streamlined. An additional recommendation made by the RPA was to close down Teterboro airport by phasing out flights over the next 40 years, as the airport will lose its battle with sea level rise.

Rutgers faculty Grace Saba, Travis Miles, and graduate student Elizabeth Wright-Fairbanks recently deployed the first integrated glider platform and sensor system for sampling pH in the water column of the coastal ocean as climate change contribute to ocean acidification. The data produced from this new technology will allow the researchers and the community to track the movement of low pH water (which is a measure of acidification), identify high-risk regions and populations of commercially important species that are more prone to periods of reduced pH, and ultimately will enable more informed management of essential habitats in the future, more acidic oceans.

Accelerating sea-level rise will have an enormous impact on the greater New York City metropolitan area, especially on coastal infrastructure built on cheap, low elevation land, as reported by Vox and Patch.com. According to RCI affiliate Robert Kopp, with higher sea level, significant flooding will be possible with weaker storms. This potential crisis threatens a shutdown of vital transportation infrastructure in this part of the country.

RCI affiliate Dina Fonseca is interviewed on WHYY.org to discuss how diseases like Zika and West Nile Virus spreads in the context of climate change and how to protect yourself from being bit by mosquitoes.


The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released Direct Air Capture and Mineral Carbonation Approaches for Carbon Dioxide Removal and Reliable Sequestration that summarizes a workshop addressing carbon dioxide capturing technologies, including benefits, costs, and barriers to implementing technology.