Catastrophic Sea-Level Rise from Antarctic Melting is Possible with Severe Global Warming

The Antarctic ice sheet is much less likely to become unstable and cause dramatic sea-level rise in upcoming centuries if the world follows policies that keep global warming below a key 2015 Paris climate agreement target, according to a Rutgers coauthored study. But if global warming exceeds the target – 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) – the risk of ice shelves around the ice sheet’s perimeter melting would increase significantly, and their collapse would trigger rapid Antarctic melting. That would result in at least 0.07 inches of global average sea-level rise a year in 2060 and beyond, according to the study in the journal Nature.

“Ghost Forests” Expanding Along Northeast U.S. Coast

Why are “ghost forests” filled with dead trees expanding along the mid-Atlantic and southern New England coast? Higher groundwater levels linked to sea-level rise and increased flooding from storm surges and very high tides are likely the most important factors, according to a Rutgers study on the impacts of climate change that suggests how to enhance land-use planning.

Greenland Melting Likely Increased by Bacteria in Sediment

Bacteria are likely triggering greater melting on the Greenland ice sheet, possibly increasing the island’s contribution to sea-level rise, according to Rutgers scientists. That’s because the microbes cause sunlight-absorbing sediment to clump together and accumulate in the meltwater streams, according to a Rutgers-led study – the first of its kind – in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. The findings can be incorporated in climate models, leading to more accurate predictions of melting, scientists say.

How to Identify Heat-Stressed Corals

Researchers have found a novel way to identify heat-stressed corals, which could help scientists pinpoint the coral species that need protection from warming ocean waters linked to climate change, according to a Rutgers-led study.

Atmospheric Rivers Help Create Massive Holes in Antarctic Sea Ice

Warm, moist rivers of air in Antarctica play a key role in creating massive holes in sea ice in the Weddell Sea and may influence ocean conditions around the vast continent as well as climate change, according to Rutgers co-authored research. Scientists studied the role of long, intense plumes of warm, moist air – known as atmospheric rivers – in creating enormous openings in sea ice. They focused on the Weddell Sea region of the Southern Ocean near Antarctica, where these sea ice holes (called polynyas) infrequently develop during the winter.

Rutgers Expert Can Discuss 10 Ways to Adapt to Coastal Flooding

New Brunswick, N.J. (Oct. 14, 2020) – Rutgers coastal expert Vanessa Dornisch is available for interviews on 10 steps residents can take to prepare for sea-level rise and adapt to increased coastal flooding. Dornisch, coastal training program coordinator at the…

Land Development in New Jersey Continues to Slow

Land development in New Jersey has slowed dramatically since the 2008 Great Recession, but it’s unclear how the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to fight societal and housing inequality will affect future trends, according to a Rutgers co-authored report. Between 2012 and 2015, 10,392 acres in the Garden State became urban land. That’s 3,464 acres a year – far lower than the 16,852 acres per year in the late 1990s and continuing the trend of decreasing urban development that began in the 2008 Great Recession.

Coastal development, changing climate threaten sea turtle nesting habitat

A research team led by Florida State University found that sea turtles in the U.S. will have less suitable nesting habitat in the future because of climate change and coastal development. Researchers found areas that will remain or become suitable for sea turtle nesting in the future because of climatic changes and sea-level rise will be exposed to increased coastal development, hindering the ability of turtles to adapt to these disturbances.

Rutgers Expert Can Discuss New Home and Property Flood Risk Data

New Brunswick, N.J. (June 29, 2020) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick professor Robert E. Kopp is available for interviews on new flood risk data for more than 142 million homes and properties in the United States. The data were released by the First Street Foundation, a…

Mangrove Trees Won’t Survive Sea-Level Rise by 2050 if Emissions Aren’t Cut

Mangrove trees – valuable coastal ecosystems found in Florida and other warm climates – won’t survive sea-level rise by 2050 if greenhouse gas emissions aren’t reduced, according to a Rutgers co-authored study in the journal Science. Mangrove forests store large amounts of carbon, help protect coastlines and provide habitat for fish and other species. Using sediment data from the last 10,000 years, an international team led by Macquarie University in Australia estimated the chances of mangrove survival based on rates of sea-level rise.

Rutgers Experts Can Discuss Earth Day Legacy on 50th Anniversary

New Brunswick, N.J. (April 20, 2020) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick professors Robert E. Kopp and Karen M. O’Neill are available for interviews on the legacy of Earth Day and what the future may hold for humanity and the environment on our fragile planet. Kopp…

Scientists Find Far Higher than Expected Rate of Underwater Glacial Melting

Tidewater glaciers, the massive rivers of ice that end in the ocean, may be melting underwater much faster than previously thought, according to a Rutgers co-authored study that used robotic kayaks. The findings, which challenge current frameworks for analyzing ocean-glacier interactions, have implications for the rest of the world’s tidewater glaciers, whose rapid retreat is contributing to sea-level rise.

Robotic Submarine Snaps First Images at Foundation of Notorious Antarctic Glacier

These are the first-ever images taken at the foundations of the glacier that inspires more fear of sea-level rise than any other – Thwaites Glacier. The grounding line is integral to Thwaites’ fate and that of the world’s coastlines.

Rutgers Expert Available to Discuss Greenland Ice Sheet Study

New Brunswick, N.J. (Dec. 23, 2019) – The southern Greenland Ice Sheet may experience precipitous melting this century due to a much smaller temperature increase than scientists thought would be required, according to a Rutgers co-authored study. The global sea level…

Rutgers Experts Available to Discuss Report on Rising Seas and Changing Coastal Storms in N.J.

New Brunswick, N.J. (Dec. 12, 2019) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick experts are available to comment on “New Jersey’s Rising Seas and Changing Coastal Storms: A Report of the 2019 Science and Technical Advisory Panel.” The N.J. Department of Environmental Protection commissioned…

Sea-Level Research Must Change So Communities Can Better Plan for the Future

New Brunswick, N.J. (Dec. 4, 2019) – With sea-level rise threatening hundreds of millions of people, researchers must do a better job engaging communities and other stakeholders so they can make the best-informed decisions on how to adapt in the…

Rutgers Expert Available to Discuss ‘New Jersey’s Rising Coastal Risk’ Report

New Brunswick, N.J. (Oct. 29, 2019) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick Professor  Robert E. Kopp is available to discuss “New Jersey’s Rising Coastal Risk,” a report released today on the seventh anniversary of Superstorm Sandy’s devastating arrival in the Garden State. The research…

Rutgers Coastal Expert Can Discuss ‘King Tide’ in N.J.

New Brunswick, N.J. (Aug. 28, 2019) – Rutgers coastal expert Lisa Auermuller is available for interviews on the “king tide” in New Jersey, which will lead to abnormally high water levels through Labor Day, causing localized tidal flooding and illustrating…