2019-2020 Academic Year

News and Highlights in October 2019

A NY Times article on ‘ghost forests’ features RCI affiliate Ken Able, who has witnessed the encroachment of saltwater into cedar forests near the Rutgers University Marine Field Station in Tuckerton, NJ. These remnants of once thriving trees, are forming more and more quickly, a sign of saline conditions further inland as a result of sea level rise. 

A new Stockton University poll of New Jersey residents finds that 67% believe climate change is a major problem, reports NJ Biz. 

United States Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is proposing a $450 billion climate change initiative to incentivize electric vehicle usage and help cities and states install electric vehicle charging stations, reports the NY Times. By offering consumers vouchers for exchanging gasoline-powered vehicles for zero-carbon emissions vehicles, Schumer hopes to replace at least 63 million internal combustion engine vehicles, reducing emissions from the  U.S.’s largest source of greenhouse gases.

RCI affiliate Josh Kohut was named a Fellow of the Marine Technology Society (MTS), recognizing him for contributions to developing technology allowing for the sampling of marine systems. 

RCI affiliate Malin Pinsky is being recognized as a top 10 rising star to watch in 2019 by Science News. Pinsky’s research examines the intersection of warming ocean waters, overfishing, and habitat destruction. 

The Press of Atlantic City reports on a brief history of the Jersey tomato, sustainability in agriculture, and the effect of climate change on growing tomatoes in New Jersey now and into the future.

According to the National Audubon Society, the Eastern Goldfinch (the New Jersey state bird) may soon head north to Canada to avoid rapid warming, reports CBS, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and NorthJersey.com. It would only take 3 degrees Fahrenheit of warming for the bird to move on from New Jersey.

A News12 New Jersey article examines some of the ways Rutgers University is combatting climate change through sustainability efforts such as using compost and single-stream recycling along with installing water bottle filling stations across campus.

Climate change will have devastating impacts on the oceans through warming and acidification, according to a recent UN report. RCI affiliate Malin Pinsky speaks to CNN on the implications of this for fisheries, which he described as a ‘canary in the coal mine’ for other climate impacts.

Rutgers scientists, including RCI affiliate David Bushekare serving as the principal investigators for projects which received $16 million in NOAA Sea Grant funding. Bushek is leading the project for the Atlantic and Gulf Shellfish Seed Biosecurity Collaborative.

Rutgers gliders will be used to collect ocean temperature data ahead of hurricanes along the Mid-Atlantic this year, reports NJ 101.5. RCI affiliate Travis Miles discusses the utility of using robots to take measurements where humans can not go.

Permeable concrete can reduce the urban heat island effect, according to a Rutgers-led study in the Journal of Cleaner Production, reports Rutgers Today and the Daily Targum. Permeable concrete can be designed to be highly effective in handling heat, especially on rainy days, and allow water to drain through more easily. The concrete can transfer heat more quickly through to the ground, reducing air temperatures.

Rutgers University President Robert Barchi announced that the University has started sharing information with the University Climate Change Coalition (UC3), reports the Daily Targum. The coalition is tasked with developing a comprehensive climate action plan for the University to achieve environmental and fiscal sustainability.

Phys.org reports on a recent Rutgers report authored by RCI associate director Marjorie Kaplan and affiliate Jeanne Herb, which recognizes the need to target disadvantaged populations with climate legislation in order to best achieve the best outcomes for all.

A new study published in Nature Geoscience and co-authored by RCI affiliate Yair Rosenthal questions the Himalayan rock weathering hypothesis’s role in climate change over the past 15 million years, reports Rutgers Today. The study found that calcium carbonate in deep-sea sediments have decreased over the past 15 million years, contradicting the hypothesis of enhanced rock weathering.

Rutgers University President Robert Barchi announced the creation of the President’s Task Force on Carbon Neutrality and Carbon Resilience, charged with the mission of developing a comprehensive climate action plan, reports the Daily Targum. RCI affiliate Robert Kopp will co-chair the task force, which will analyze greenhouse gas emissions at the University and develop solutions to make the University environmentally sustainable and fiscally responsible.

RCI affiliate Martin Bunzl has been appointed to the advisory board of the Salk Institute Harnessing Plants Initiative. The initiative aims to fight climate change by optimizing a plant’s natural ability to capture and store carbon.