ecoRI News – March 17, 2015

Leading climate scientists, engineers, designers and scholars recently collaborated to create comprehensive resiliency design proposals for vulnerable coasts along the North Atlantic, such as Rhode Island’s. Structures of Coastal Resilience (SCR), a Rockefeller Foundation-supported project dedicated to providing resilient design proposals for urban coastal environments, focuses on four vulnerable coasts: Narragansett Bay; Jamaica Bay in New York; Atlantic City in New Jersey; and Norfolk, Va. Each of the project locations feature ongoing projects by the Army Corps of Engineers, and each location is highly prone to flooding and socioeconomic vulnerability, according to project officials. The goal of SCR is provide actionable project recommendations for hurricane protection and climate adaptation. For full story, click here.

By Carol Rasmussen – NASA Global Climate Change – March 16, 2015

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin, NASA and other research organizations have discovered two seafloor troughs that could allow warm ocean water to reach the base of Totten Glacier, East Antarctica's largest and most rapidly thinning glacier. The discovery likely explains the glacier's extreme thinning and raises concern about its impact on sea level rise. For full story, click here.

By Coco Lui – E & E Publishing, LLC – March 20, 2015

While residents in Vanuatu are still battling flash floods caused by a devastating tropical cyclone last week, a study says coastal population growth may make storm threats from the sea a global crisis within a few decades. In a paper published recently in the journal PLOS ONE, a team of researchers from several Western institutes estimated the number of people living in low-elevation coastal zones, as well as the scale of the population at risk from one-in-100-year storm surge events, by using scenario-based projections. Their findings show that even under the lowest growth assumptions, the global population in low-elevation coastal zones could rise by more than 40 percent, from 625 million in 2000 to 879 million in 2030. For full story, click here.

By Tim Stephens – University of California Santa Cruz – March 16, 2015

Most of the discussion at the second annual UC Santa Cruz Climate & Policy Conference was not about how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but about how to plan for and adapt to the inevitable consequences of those emissions, which are already changing the climate.In his keynote speech Friday night, Penn State geologist Richard Alley provided a compelling overview of how our society's reliance on fossil fuels for energy is driving climate change, and he described how costly the impacts of global warming will be, in both economic and human terms. Alley also made the case that the technology is available now to make the transition to a sustainable energy system, and that it makes sense economically to do so. For full article, click here.

By Zahra Hirji– InsideClimate News – March 11, 2015 

Two months after the biggest fracking-related spill in recent North Dakota history, state lawmakers are pushing legislation that could help prevent similar disasters in the future. More than 2 million gallons of toxic wastewater gushed from a hole in the type of pipeline known as a "gathering line" near the town of Williston between the last week of December and first week of January. The spill contaminated at least two local waterways. The rupture went unnoticed for about 12 days before a pipeline worker discovered it. For full story, click here.

 

 

By Jesse Greenspan – Audubon – March 2, 2015

Hundreds of thousands of people have been slain so far in Syria’s ongoing civil war. Prevailing wisdom blames the multi-sided conflict—more an aggregation of atrocities than systematic ground war—on a brutal dictator and long-simmering sectarian differences that broke open during the Arab Spring of 2011. Now, an unusual collaboration of climate and political scientists wants to add to the list another factor that helped touch off the violence: Climate change. For full story, click here.

By Jesse Greenspan – Claims Journal – March 6, 2015

A heads-up to New York, Baltimore, Houston and Miami: a new study suggests that these metropolitan areas and others will increase their exposure to floods even in the absence of climate change, according to researchers from Texas A&M University. Published in Global Environmental Change, the study presents first-ever global forecasts of how the exposure of urban land to floods and droughts may change due to urban expansion in the near future. In 2000, about 30 percent of the global urban land (over 75,000 square miles) was located in the high-frequency flood zones; by 2030, this will reach nearly 40 percent (280,000 square miles) as the global urban land grows from 250,000 square miles to 720,000 square miles, the authors say. The researchers also predict that by 2030 the urban extent in drylands will nearly double, reaching over 190,000 square miles, and that even without climate change, extent of urban areas exposed to both floods and droughts would more than triple by 2030, according to the study. For full article, click here.

By David Hasemyer – Inside Climate News – February 23, 2015

The Smithsonian has opened an investigation into the ethical conduct of Willie Soon, one of its part time scientists and a climate-change skeptic who is facing scrutiny for failing to properly disclose his work was funded by fossil fuel interests. The Smithsonian probe follows disclosures this weekend—through the release of public documents—that Soon failed to divulge industry funding for 11 studies that were published in nine scientific journals. "The Smithsonian is greatly concerned about the allegations surrounding Dr. Willie Soon's failure to disclose funding sources for his climate change research," according to a statement released by Smithsonian. "The Smithsonian is taking immediate action to address the issue." For full story, click here.

 

 

CBS News – February 26, 2015

While the rest of Washington spent Thursday trying to avert a shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security, Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe brought a snowball to the Senate floor during a speech questioning the science behind climate change. "Do you know what this is? It's a snowball," Inhofe said, holding the snowball aloft. "It's just from outside here, so it's very, very cold out ... very unseasonable." "Mr. President, catch this," he said, tossing the snowball away. An Inhofe aide told National Journal the projectile was caught by a congressional page. Inhofe, the chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, has long argued that climate change is a "hoax," and he's opposed the Obama administration's efforts to reduce carbon emissions. He brandished his snowball prop on Wednesday during a broader speech questioning global warming. For full story, click here.