Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Rutgers on Sandy anniversary and other climate news

Today is the anniversary of the landfall of Hurricane Sandy, the Frankenstorm, on the Jersey shore.  To mark the event, here are the stories from Rutgers University about the event.

Rutgers University: Rutgers-Newark Report: Superstorm Sandy Recovery Short $28.3 Billion; Pain Spread Across NJ
By Stephanie Hoopes Halpin
Friday, October 25, 2013
On the one-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, New Jersey towns and residents across the state still face $28.3 billion in unmet recovery needs, according to a new report from Rutgers-Newark, School of Public Affairs and Administration.

The report finds that the storm cost New Jersey more than $37.1 billion statewide, including $13.6 billion in direct physical and economic damage, plus $23.5 billion in remediation costs. Recovery assistance has met only a fraction of these costs, according to the report’s author, Rutgers University Assistant Professor Stephanie Hoopes Halpin. Through this report, Halpin reveals that damage was far more widespread than has been understood to date, stretching beyond the coastal communities and disproportionately affecting low- and moderate-income families.

“We believe this is the most comprehensive cost analysis of the storm so far,” said Marc Holzer, founding dean of the School of Public Affairs and Administration at Rutgers-Newark. "It was our goal to give the state objective data that can be used to learn from Sandy and improve the state’s disaster response in the future."
Rutgers University: 'Jersey Shore Hurricane News' Promotes Virtues of Participatory Journalism in Tracking Disasters
Rutgers Graduate Justin Auciello might be New Jersey's biggest one-man volunteer operation
By Jen. A. Miller
Friday, October 25, 2013
If there is a natural disaster, storm, traffic accident, fire, lost pet or missing child in the Garden State, chances are the details are posted on Justin Auciello’s Facebook page, Jersey Shore Hurricane News.

Auciello, who earned his master’s degree from the university’s Edward J. Bloustein School of Public Policy in 2005, started the page just before Hurricane Irene slammed the state in August 2011.

After that storm, his page had 27,000 users. Instead of shutting it down once the hurricane blew over, Auciello kept Jersey Shore Hurricane News alive and expanded its coverage beyond natural disasters, using tips, photos and messages from the site's fans to report on the state’s other major happenings in real time.

"The Internet continues to democratize media," he said. "People are realizing they do have a stake in news reporting and are willing participants in the process."

After Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast on Oct. 29, 2013, the site was thrown into another stratosphere, and now has more than 200,000 users.
I'll have more news about the anniversary later.  For now, follow over the jump for more climate news from Overnight News Digest on Daily Kos.

University of Colorado via Science Daily: Unprecedented Arctic Warming: Average Summer Temperatures in Last 100 Years May Be Warmest in 120,000 Years
Oct. 24, 2013
The heat is on, at least in the Arctic. Average summer temperatures in the Eastern Canadian Arctic during the last 100 years are higher now than during any century in the past 44,000 years and perhaps as long ago as 120,000 years, says a new University of Colorado Boulder study.

The study is the first direct evidence the present warmth in the Eastern Canadian Arctic exceeds the peak warmth there in the Early Holocene, when the amount of the sun's energy reaching the Northern Hemisphere in summer was roughly 9 percent greater than today, said CU-Boulder geological sciences Professor Gifford Miller, study leader. The Holocene is a geological epoch that began after Earth's last glacial period ended roughly 11,700 years ago and which continues today.

Miller and his colleagues used dead moss clumps emerging from receding ice caps on Baffin Island as tiny clocks. At four different ice caps, radiocarbon dates show the mosses had not been exposed to the elements since at least 44,000 to 51,000 years ago.
In case one wonders where this could lead to, the N.Y. Times explains how this worked out for humans in the past.

Pollen Study Points to Drought as Culprit in Bronze Age Mystery
Published: October 22, 2013
TEL AVIV — More than 3,200 years ago, life was abuzz in and around what is now this modern-day Israeli metropolis on the shimmering Mediterranean shore.

To the north lay the mighty Hittite empire; to the south, Egypt was thriving under the reign of the great Pharaoh Ramses II. Cyprus was a copper emporium. Greece basked in the opulence of its elite Mycenaean culture, and Ugarit was a bustling port city on the Syrian coast. In the land of Canaan, city states like Hazor and Megiddo flourished under Egyptian hegemony. Vibrant trade along the coast of the eastern Mediterranean connected it all.

Yet within 150 years, according to experts, the old world lay in ruins.
Humans are not the only organisms affected by climate change, as the University of British Columbia points out via Science Daily.

Adaptability to Local Climate Helps Invasive Species Thrive
Oct. 17, 2013
The ability of invasive plants to rapidly adapt to local climates -- and potentially to climate change -- may be a key factor in how quickly they spread.

According to new research published in Science by University of British Columbia evolutionary ecologist Rob Colautti, rapid evolution has helped purple loosestrife to invade, and thrive in, northern Ontario.

"Factors such as escape from natural enemies including herbivores, predators, pathogens or parasites were thought to explain how species become invasive," says Colautti, an NSERC Banting Postdoctoral Fellow with the UBC Department of Botany, who started the research in 2007 as a PhD student at the University of Toronto. "The ability of invasive species to rapidly adapt to local climate has not generally been considered to be an important factor affecting spread.
Speaking of invasive plants, here's one that scares my students, complete with spooky music appropriate for Halloween.

Attack of the Giant Hogweed

Protect yourself from Giant Hogweed. Its toxic sap can cause severe burns.

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