The Jersey Shore and rising environmental threats

The effects of Superstorm Sandy still reverberate to this day. The storm highlighted the need to better prepare for major weather events, as well as the need to implement more effective rebuilding strategies so that residents and vacationers alike won’t relive the treacherousness of four years ago. Today on Radio Times, we discuss how the governments and the residents of the Shore are preparing for another potential disaster, and the likelihood of that taking place. We discuss all of this with College of New Jersey professor of sociology DIANE C. BATES. We’ll also be joined by Rutgers University’s DAVID ROBINSON who is the state climatologist for New Jersey, and by reporter MARYANN SPOTO who covers Monmouth and Ocean Counties for The Star-Ledger.

Read the entire article at WHYY »

Perth Amboy partners with Rutgers in hopes to enhance park

Richard Alomar has a vision for Rudyk Park: Flee markets, barbecues, exercise stations… The 54-year-old Rutgers assistant professor in landscape architecture has been working on-and-off for three months with two others in the hopes of not only making the municipality’s northeast side park bigger, but also making it more accessible. “This would be a great way to expand the park,” Alomar said, pointing to diagrams of the proposed expansion of the area, which currently consists of a playground, a baseball and soccer field and basketball courts.

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Plant invaders threaten North Jersey landscape

As peak gardening season lures North Jersey homeowners to landscape supply centers, they buy and cart home many shrubs and trees that – just over the state line in New York – are prohibited in suburban yards… Steven Handel, an ecology professor at Rutgers University, is a member of the state’s Invasive Species Council, which was created in 2004 and issued a report listing steps the state should take to reduce invasives. "To stop selling these invasives would be a big step forward," Handel said. "And there are some beautiful native plants that are low maintenance and protect our preserved natural areas. "Our job as educators is to let the public know there are better plants to use in their yards than the ones that have traditionally been used," he said. "A yard can look green and lush – but still be dangerous."

Read the entire article at The Record »

Barnegat Bay still troubled: 9 things to know

From tourism dollars to property values, Barnegat Bay has a huge economic influence on the Jersey Shore. As the population around the bay continues to grow, concerns remain about its health… Oxygen in the water is essential for fish – the report rated the amount of oxygen in Barnegat Bay as "good." Rutgers Professor Michael Kennish questioned the accuracy of the report on this point, saying more data was necessary.

Read the entire article at Asbury Park Press »

Weird jet stream behavior could be making Greenland’s melting even worse, scientists say

The vast northern ice sheet of Greenland melts every summer, pooling lakes of meltwater on its surface, and losing fleets of icebergs from its finger-like glaciers.. "I think we can start to connect these dots and say that increasing loss of Arctic sea ice is leading to more blocking patterns, which are contributing to the increasing surface melt on Greenland," said Jennifer Francis, the Rutgers University Arctic expert whose ideas about Arctic melting distorting the jet stream have ignited one of the biggest ongoing debates in climate science, and who is familiar with the new study by Tedesco and his colleagues.

Read the entire article at Keene Sentinel »

Melting Greenland ice linked to faster Arctic warming, new research

Scientists from the University of Georgia have linked the 2015 record ice melt in Greenland with a phenomenon known as Arctic amplification, a recent study in the journal Nature Communications reports… The authors stop short of confirming Arctic amplification as the cause of the warming, but they say the results fit the anticipated effects of Arctic amplification described by Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University and Stephan Vavrus of the University of Wisconsin in a 2012 paper.

Read the entire article at Canada Journal »

Study: Increase in arsenic in well water in Hunterdon County

An analysis of well water tests by the nonprofit environmental watchdog group Raritan Headwaters Association (RHA) has detected a "disturbing increase" in concentrations of arsenic, a known carcinogen, according to a study released on Thursday, June 9… "No law requires that homeowners test their wells except when selling their property to someone else, a requirement to protect the buyer only," noted Daniel Van Abs, associate research professor for Water, Society and Environment at the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. The analysis was peer reviewed by Richard Lathrop, professor of environmental monitoring and restoration ecology at Rutgers University’s School of Environmental and Biological Sciences.

Read the entire article at New Jersey Hills »

Electric car conversion charges forward in Marion

Marion Selectmen approved at the board’s June 7 meeting a request by the Marion Energy Management Committee to increase the number of electric vehicles (EVs) to be requested through grant applications… "At least two additional charging stations would also be purchased using grant funds, which we hope will encourage more residents in our region to choose EVs," Marion resident Dr. Jennifer Francis, a member of the Marion Energy Management Committee, and a research professor at Coastal Sciences at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, said. "By replacing gas-guzzling vehicles with clean EVs, Marion is saving tax dollars, reducing greenhouse gas emissions (about for tons of carbon/car/year), and raising awareness of human-caused climate change."

Read the entire article at Wicked Local Rochester »

Medical Labs May Be Killing Horseshoe Crabs

Drawing the crabs’ blue blood for vital medical testing can condemn the animals to die, even after they are returned to the sea… "There’s not very good science-based information on the mortality of the crabs. I’ve seen figures range from 15 percent to 40 percent but nobody has a really good handle on that," says Michael De Luca, senior associate director at the Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences at Rutgers University.

Read the entire article at Scientific American »

Is wacky weather helping melt Greenland?

The two main forces that conspire to destroy Earth’s massive polar ice sheets are heat, which melts their surfaces via sunlight and warm air, and gravity, which drives glaciers to slide to the sea. But a new analysis of the Greenland Ice Sheet points to an underappreciated culprit that could accelerate its demise: wind… Some researchers see the new study as offering support to a controversial hypothesis regarding amplification developed by meteorologist Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University, New Brunswick, in New Jersey. Francis argues that the melting of sea ice is causing the Arctic to reflect less sunlight, warming it up. That, in turn, is causing the jet stream to meander more – and making it more likely to spin off blocking events like cut-off highs.

Read the entire article at Science Magazine »