2023-2024 Academic Year

News and Highlights in September 2023


James Shope

NJ Spotlight News has released an article discussing high-tide flooding along the Jersey shore. A NOAA report warned that rising seas due to climate change are causing increased high-tide flooding. Coastal communities like Atlantic City and Cape May are at risk, with sea-level forecasts indicating a 5-foot rise by 2100. RCI Affiliate, James Shope, emphasizes the need for preparing emergency response plans and considering retreat from vulnerable coastal areas. Shope stated, “At the end of the day, our coastal towns will need to deal with more high-tide flooding, so preparing emergency response plans and other planning practices that take into account more frequent flooding will help improve coastal community resiliency,”



A recent article published by the Hill reveals that heat waves have increasingly disrupted the academic calendar in many schools. Rising temperatures, intensified by climate dave robinsonchange, have caused hundreds of schools to close early in August. Experts warn that higher temperatures may lead to reduced test scores and learning impacts. RCI Affiliate, David Robinson explained that northern regions may even experience more snow days in the future due to increased moisture in the air. “The fact is it’s still below well below freezing, but as the air gets milder it can hold more moisture. … It is still cold enough to snow and with the warmer temperatures it can snow more,” said Robinson. “Until you are consistently above that freezing point, you can still get snow storms and you might get bigger ones because you’re working with more moisture at sub-freezing temperatures.” 



alan robock 2


A post on social media implying that Hurricane Hillary was caused by geoengineering has been debunked by climate scientists in an article posted by USA Today. RCI Affiliate, Alan Robock, is among the scientists explaining there is no existing technology capable of causing hurricanes. "Project Stormfury tried seeding hurricanes decades ago but gave up," Robock said, referencing a failed experimental project that attempted to modify hurricanes by adding silver iodide to the clouds.





XMorin IFNH PhotoSeidel Dena

Researchers at Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS) have been exploring innovative ways to engage undergraduates in research and science learning. Various projects have been initiated to engage high school and college students in STEM subjects. “As researchers and educators, we are interested in how students are motivated to create compelling environment stories for the public because of their sense of responsibility to the science and the featured scientists,” said RCI Affiliate, Xenia Morin, who is the undergraduate program director of the Agriculture and Food Systems major. RCI Affiliate, Dena Seidel is leading undergraduate teams to develop science-in-action video stories about New Jersey marine ecosystems and plant-based crops and products developed to improve nutrition and public health. “These students first establish trusting partnerships with researchers and then they document the scientific process over time. The students’ immersive learning includes the reiterative process of shaping many hours of science-in-action video data into story form that includes the scientists’ goals, research efforts and change over time,” Seidel said.




Pam McElweerachaelShwom

RCI Affiliates, Pamela McElwee and Rachael Shwom, have recently received a National Science Foundation grant to establish a Center on Sustainability and Governance in the Anthropocene (C-SAGA). This initiative, funded through the NSF's program on Centers for Research and Innovation in Science, the Environment, and Society (CRISES), aims to address environmental challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and unsustainable development. Other Rutgers faculty involved in planning will include RCI Associate Director Marjorie Kaplan, and RCI Affiliates Julie Lockwood, Robert Kopp, Victoria Ramenzoni, Cara Cuite, Karen O’Neill, Cymie Payne, Danielle Falzon, Kevon Rhiney, Kevin St. Martin, Andrea Restrepo-Mieth.The team will design a center focusing on innovative interdisciplinary social science research that develops and assesses new forms of environmental governance. Shwom states, “Tackling these new challenges requires more than just better scientific knowledge. We need to understand how social networks, actors and policymakers can build solutions together that are grounded in how humans interact, behave, and problem-solve in real life.”