2020-2021 Academic Year

News and Highlights in May 2021

A new study found climate-changed related sea level rise added $8 Billion damages during Hurricane Sandy, reports the Associated Press. During Sandy, the sea level was raised 4 inches due to human-caused climate change, a quantity that resulted in 13% of Sandy’s damages and the flooding of 36,000 additional homes. Rutgers University’s Bob Kopp explains that despite this fact, the East Coast has experienced less sea level rise than the worldwide average because of its relative proximity to the melting glaciers and ice sheets of Alaska and Greenland. The article notes that some view this damage calculation as too high, but other studies have found that the damage from each new inch of flooding increases as the overall amount of flooding becomes higher.

Scientists predict an above normal 2021 Hurricane season, according to the New York Times. Federal scientists predict 13-20 named storms, which while above normal, still pales in comparison to the record-setting 30 named storms of 2020. While some view hurricane formation as too random for a year-wide prediction to be useful, predictions have become increasingly accurate. The article notes there is growing scientific consensus that climate change has led to a greater proportion of more severe hurricanes.

The Biden Administration approved plans to construct the nation’s largest offshore wind farm off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, reports the New York Times. The farm would produce 800 megawatts of electricity, or enough to power 400,000 homes. The construction of the farm has faced stiff opposition from fishermen, coastal landowners, local Native American groups, and environmental organizations for over twenty years, and although it has received approval, lawsuits from these groups are expected. The farm is the beginning of a push by the Biden Administration to greatly expand renewable energy and offshore wind production in order to create jobs and reduce emissions.