In the News
- July 25, 2016 - Events Planned To Discuss Connecticut Climate Change Plan, News 8 Connecticut
- July 29, 2016 - Lake Tahoe Warming 15 Times Faster Than Long-Term Average, Associated Press
July 27, 2016
Climate Change Risk Threatens 18 U.S. Military Sites: Study
July 26, 2016
For The First Time, Forecast Predicts Hotter-Than-Normal In Every Square Inch Of The USA
, USA Today
July 21, 2016
St. Paul Mayor Says Climate Change, Extreme Weather Costing Mississippi River Cities
, Pioneer Press
July 19, 2016
Why This Summer Is So Hot - And Why The Future Will Be So Much Hotter
- July 18, 2016 - Miles Of Algae And A Multitude Of Hazards, New York Times
FEMA releases resources to support climate resilient mitigation activities and green infrastructure
FEMA has developed a Climate Resilient Mitigation Activities (CRMA)
This includes information on published guidance, Benefit Cost-Analysis tools, webinar slide decks and other resources. The CRMA include green infrastructure methods, expanded ecosystem service benefits, and three flood reduction and drought mitigation activities: Aquifer Storage and Recovery, Floodplain and Stream Restoration, and Flood Diversion and Storage.
- WHAT: Informational Webinar about Fortified Home™ voluntary building standards
- WHEN: Monday, Agust 15, 2016, 2:30 - 4:00PM EDT
- WHO: Any CBDG-DR grantee engaged in repairing, retrofitting or re-building homes
- WHY: FORTIFIED Home™, developed by the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), is the national standard for resilient construction. It was created as a set of voluntary standards to build stronger, safer and more durable homes, and is mentioned in the Federal Register Notice announcing the SC and TX CDBG-DR Grants. Eligible dwellings include new and existing single-family detached homes, duplexes, manufactured homes, and townhouses. Participants in the webinar will gain a solid understanding of FORTIFIED building principles, construction practices, and verification requirements. Additionally, insights into how other communities and stakeholders are using FORTIFIED Home™ to retrofit existing homes in communities vulnerable to high winds will be provided. Overall, the webinar should provide a clear understanding of how FORTIFIED Home can be incorporated into a community's rebuilding efforts under CBDG-DR grants. There will be ample time for participants to ask questions.
- HOW: Register here. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with instructions about joining the webinar.
August 17-18, 2016 NOAA Coastal Inundation Mapping Workshop
- The University of Connecticut's Center for Land Use Education and Research (CLEAR) is hosting a 2-day Coastal Inundation Mapping training, facilitated by trainers from the NOAA Office for Coastal Management Digital Coast Academy. This two-day training is scheduled for August 17-18 and will be held at the UConn Avery Point campus in Groton, CT.
This course offers a combination of lectures and hands-on exercises designed to give participants a better understanding of coastal inundation issues and mapping methods using GIS. Topics include the different types of coastal inundation, elevation datasets and datums, mapping fundamentals, spatial methodologies used to map flood areas in a coastal environment, and the applications and limitations of various types of inundation products.
This two-day instructor-led course, targeted at certified floodplain managers, National Weather Service personnel, and county, state, and municipal officials (including planners, emergency managers, and coastal resource managers), teaches participants about coastal inundation issues and spatial techniques for mapping inundation.
This workshop will be held the Marine Sciences building, Room 104 (GIS Lab) at the UConn Avery Point campus. Participants do not need to bring their own laptop.
After completing this course, participants will be able to:
- Understand the different types of coastal inundation
- Learn about mapping products and terminology
- Access topographic and bathymetric data
- Perform datum conversions
- Understand interpolation methods and create digital elevation models
- Understand coastal and ocean observation data and their applications
- Map coastal inundation using a GIS
- Map sea level rise using a modeled tidal surface
Note: The course includes 16 hrs of credit for GISP, CFM , AICP Certifications.
$15 (to cover cost of light refreshments and lunch)
September 15, 2016 - Live Shorelines III: A Design Charrette
- Teams made up of workshop participants will design a living shoreline for the on-site beach/dune, bluff or tidal wetland system at Harkness Memorial State Park. The designs will be presented and critiqued from a regulatory perspective by a panel of municipal, state and federal officials. The goal of this charrette is for participants to gain a better understanding of living shoreline designs and what will and will not be permitted in Connecticut. The event is sponsored by the Climate Adaptation Academy (UConn CLEAR and Connecticut Sea Grant).
The Charrette will take place rain or shine. Please bring umbrellas/rain gear depending on the weather forecast.
Packets of on-site information will be provided to each team, with each team collecting a minimal amount of field data for their ecological system.
The cost is $25 and includes coffee/tea and lunch.
WHEN: 8:00 - 4:00PM
WHERE: Harkness Memorial State Park, 275 Great Neck Road, Waterford, CT
As part of its national effort to build resilient coastal ecosystems, communities and economies, NOAA is announcing today the availability of up to $8.5 million in funding for coastal and marine habitat restoration in 2016.
NOAA is seeking proposals for habitat restoration projects under the Coastal Ecosystem Resiliency grant program. The proposed projects should reduce the risks to coastal communities from extreme weather events, changing environmental conditions and known or potential climate change effects.
The deadline for applications for the Coastal Ecosystem Resiliency funding opportunity is August 16. NOAA will accept proposals requesting between $100,000 and $2 million. More information can be found online at grants.gov or from NOAA's Office of Habitat Conservation
Local & State News Clips
July 27, 2016 - Town Prepared For Next Sandy, Fairfield Citizen
Back to News Clips
FAIRFIELD - Four years ago, the town faced a devastating storm when Superstorm Sandy washed ashore, flooding homes and streets, and leaving residents without power. They had gotten a small taste of what tropical storms could bring just the year before, when Hurricane Irene came to town, but Sandy was no glancing blow.
The roof of a home could be seen floating in Pine Creek. Water from the surge came close to the Old Post Road, and streets in the beach area were navigable by small boats. Entire streets still had empty houses when the holidays rolled around, and some high schools students went around putting up Christmas wreaths on those doors, to give a more lived-in look to the neighborhood.
Now, in the middle of yet another hurricane season, many of those homes have been elevated, or torn down and completely rebuilt.
"I think we're on our way to being ready for a storm the strength of a Superstorm Sandy, but we're not there yet today,"
First Selectman Mike Tetreau
Tetreau said the town took stock of what worked, and what didn't, during Sandy and her aftermath and has been taking concrete steps to immediately improve the things they can - like the flood gates, and revetments at beaches - and plan and design larger improvements, like drainage in the beach area.
Many private homes are now elevated and meet FEMA guidelines, Tetreau said, and the town has been working with other communities on a regional plan to help secure the necessary rating that will make residents eligible for flood insurance discounts.
"One of the problems in the beach area is that it's built on a marsh, and there are a lot of ways for the water to get into the marsh," Tetreau said. "We can't just build a wall."
This year, the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
has predicted a "near-normal" Atlantic hurricane season, though it notes a near-normal season could mean more hurricane activity than seen in the last three years since Sandy because those three years were below normal.
The prediction for the hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, calls for 10 to 16 named storms with winds of 39 mph or more. Of those, four to eight could become hurricanes with winds of 74 mph or more, and includes one to four "major" hurricanes of category 3, 4 or 5 strength, brings winds in excess of 111 mph.
"This is a more challenging hurricane season outlook than most because it's difficult to determine whether there will be reinforcing or competing climate influences in tropical storm development,"
, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster with NOAA's
Climate Prediction Center
, said. "However, a near-normal prediction for this season suggests we could see more hurricane activity than we've seen in the last three years, which were below normal."
Predictions for hurricanes is not an exact science, pointed out
, chief meteorologist and president of CT Weather. "There can be a very active season of storms, but none affect land," Jacquemin said. "On the contrary, there can be a slow season and one becomes a major hurricane, and hits a populated area causing much death and destruction. So, the number of storms does not ever relate to the threat to human life."
Jacquemin said pre-season predictions are revamped halfway through the season, "and seldom are the early season predictions correct." NOAA updates its outlook in early August.
"In general, we should always be prepared for a hurricane," Jacquemin said, "as well as tornadoes, blizzards, floods and the like, because the reality is that in any given year, the severe weather can hit."
Jacquemin's words echo those of Joseph Nimmich,
Federal Emergency Management Agency
deputy administrator. "While seasonal forecasts may vary from year to year - some high, some low - it only takes one storm to significantly disrupt your life," Nimmich said. "Preparing for the worst can keep you, your family, and first responders out of harm's way."
has revised its deployment plan for hurricanes, according to Chief
. "We have staffing plans for the various categories of storms," he said. "Our plans also include access for the Statewide Fire Disaster Mutual Aid Plan to bring in resources for inland/upstate communities."
From an emergency management perspective, McCarthy said the town has updated its preparedness plans. "We will roll out our 96-hour, storm-anticipation plan, that will be activated when there is a probability of a land-falling storm in southwestern Connecticut."
Town departments took part in a weather/forecasting seminar in April conducted by the
National Weather Service
, and McCarthy said his department continues to work with the volunteer fire departments, as well as the Citizen Emergency Response Team "to fully integrate their personnel in response and recovery."
A key ingredient to resident preparedness, response and recovery, McCarthy said, is communications to and from the town. "This year, we have created a
Joint Information Center
team with representation from police, fire, health, the first selectman's office and the
Board of Ed
," the fire chief said.
"This insures that preparedness and recovery messages include input from all departments," McCarthy said. "We will use Code Red messages targeted for impacted neighborhoods, as well as general community messages, in addition to door to door canvassing when appropriate."
If Sandy taught the town anything, Police Chief
said, it's that it can happen here. "We often see these devastating storms elsewhere," MacNamara said. "This will hopefully encourage people to follow our warnings early, whether it is to stay tuned and monitor, shelter in place, or evacuate."
He said the town learned the power of early preparation, and getting the key decision-makers together.
"I think we also learned the effects of these events last much longer than the storm itself," MacNamara said. "From power outages, vacant, unsecure homes, to relocation, rebuilding and restoring their lives back to normal can take a long time. We have looked at how we manage our police resources during the event, as well as some of our long-term responsibilities, as we all manage the effects of the storm."
One of the effects - a lack of power in many areas of town - was a bone of contention in the weeks following Sandy, with residents and officials focusing their ire on United Illuminating.
Since then, UI has made strides to improve response and service during times of severe weather, including an ongoing $56.4 million initiative by the utility to introduce automated vehicle location systems that provide up to the moment information on the status of every UI vehicle in the field. Crews now have mobile data terminals allowing them to update their job statuses on their cellphones and go to their next assignment more quickly.
"Primarily, we have been looking to fortify many of our substations along the coast. We've done a lot of work since Sandy in 2012,"
, spokesman for UI, said.
"We've upgraded some of those substations from lower voltages to higher voltage substations that improve system resiliency and the quality of the power. We've noticed a customer on average has an outage of 5 minutes every two years. That's down 20 percent from 2006. To have just five minutes every two years is a dream for customers," West said.
In Fairfield, the town has made use of grants to install a microgrid to serve police and fire headquarters and the Operation Hope shelter, while Old Town has been outfitted with a natural gas generator. The high schools, which serve as shelters, have been rewired to maximize the amount of functions served by a generator.
While beach neighborhoods are in various stages of rebuilding - to date, 84 permits have been issued for home elevations and 156 for new homes in the coastal flood plain - the town has also looked to "harden" its infrastructure.
"We are only beginning to change the equation to reduce flooding with the construction of new projects," Public Works Director
said. "The construction of the new quad culverts at the Pine Creek hump tidegates was recently awarded, and construction will begin shortly. This will allow flood waters to leave the beach area much faster than the previous single culvert. The design of the flood control berm around the Wastewater Treatment Plant/ Fire Training/ Animal Control/ Conservation Garage has begun, with preliminary design due this summer and construction scheduled to start sometime in 2017."
A microgrid for the One Rod Highway facilities is also being designed, Michelangelo said, and several other flood control projects are being studied.
"Once Penfield Pavilion is completed, all of our planned Sandy rebuilding projects will be complete," Michelangelo said. Rebuilt beach facilities at Southport and Sasco beaches, and Ye Yacht Yard, are constructed to be more resilient to storms, he said. "Similarly, the rebuilt structures, such as the revetment at Southport Beach, the seawall and bulkhead on both sides of the Fairfield Beach Road turn around, and Jennings Beach Fishing Pier are stronger than their processors."
Finally, Michelangelo said, the town's commitment to upgrading the Public Works fleet not only enables them to conduct daily functions, but is essential during emergency operations.
"Like our counterparts in the police and fire departments, and others, we feel our past experiences and training make as prepared as we can be," Michelangelo said. "Even during last year's false alarm Hurricane Joaquim, going through the preparation was a good exercise. Fairfield Public Works takes pride in is adapting to whatever conditions arise. One thing that we can be sure of is that the next event won't be exactly like Sandy. There will be variables that will require us to be resourceful and decisive."
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut residents will have an opportunity to help shape the state's strategy for addressing climate change for the next three decades.
The Governor's Council on Climate Change is holding its second round of stakeholder events Tuesday evening at 10 locations across the state. The council is seeking public input as it develops strategies to achieve the state's mandated goal of lowering greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent below 2001 levels by 2050.
The main location for discussions will be the Hartford Public Library. Participants at satellite locations can view the Hartford presentation via a video link and hold discussions. The satellite locations will be in Bridgeport, Goshen, Groton, Killingly, Middletown, New Haven, Norwalk, Waterbury and Willimantic.
Nearly 200 people participated in the first round of events in May.
National News Clips
RENO, Nev. (AP) -- A new study says the average surface temperature of Lake Tahoe has risen faster over the last four years than any time on record - 15 times faster than the long-term warming rate over the past half century.
The annual report issued by the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center says continued warm and dry conditions contributed to several record-breaking measurements at Tahoe in 2015.
Experts say the numbers raising concerns about the ecological impacts of climate change on the nation's second deepest lake.
The report says the temperature warmed nearly one-half of a degree from the previous year to a record 53.3 degrees Fahrenheit.
While last year's precipitation was near average, only 6.5 percent of it fell as snow, the lowest amount on record. Only 24 days had below-freezing air temperatures, also a record.
Rising sea levels due to hurricanes and tidal flooding intensified by climate change will put military bases along the U.S. East Coast and Gulf Coast at risk, according to a report released on Wednesday.
Nonprofit group the Union of Concerned Scientists analyzed 18 military installations that represent more than 120 coastal bases nationwide to weigh the impact of climate change on their operations.
Faster rates of sea level rises in the second half of this century could mean that tidal flooding will become a daily occurrence for some installations, pushing useable land needed for military training and testing into tidal zones, said the report titled "The U.S. Military on the Front Lines of Rising Seas."
By 2050, most of these sites will be hit by more than 10 times the number of floods than at present, the report said, and at least half of them will experience daily floods.
Four of those - including the Naval Air Station in Key West, Florida, and the Marine Corps recruit depot in South Carolina - could lose between 75 and 95 percent of their land in this century.
The report said the Pentagon already recognizes the threat of climate change on its military installations but warned that more resources and monitoring systems are needed to boost preparedness.
But last month, the U.S. House appropriations committee passed an amendment that blocked funding for the Pentagon's climate adaptation strategy.
"Our defense leadership has a special responsibility to protect the sites that hundreds of thousands of Americans depend on for their livelihoods and millions depend on for national security," the report said.
For the first time on record, every square inch of all 50 states is forecast to see above-average temperatures for the next three months, according to a forecast map from the federal government's Climate Prediction Center.
An entire forecast map awash in the red and orange colors of unusually warm temperatures for a 3-month period is unprecedented, according to Dan Collins, a meteorologist with the prediction center. Typically parts of the map register blue, depicting the likelihood of cooler-than-normal air, or white for equal chances of cool and warm.
St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said the heat wave that is growing across 21 states is an indication of extreme weather trends that will continue to endanger lives and livelihoods, while hitting Mississippi River cities in the pocketbook.
Coleman said from the Mississippi River's headwaters in Minnesota down to the gulf, flooding alone has cost river corridor communities an estimated $1 billion from December 2015 through March of this year.
Add catastrophic events such as Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Hurricane Isaac in 2012, and clean-up and restoration costs on top of lost tourism are exacting a heavy financial toll on river cities.
Katharine Hayhoe, director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University, noted that June marked the 14th consecutive month of record-breaking temperatures across the world. Not only are temperature peaks higher during the day, but cooling periods are shorter at night. She called recent trends "heat waves on steroids."
"We get heat waves naturally, but climate change is amping them up. It's giving them that extra heat," she said.
massive heat wave
stretching from sea to shining sea is hitting the U.S. this week, promising temperatures well above 100°F in large swaths of the country. Meteorologists say heat waves like this one hit the northern hemisphere every year-even if they do not typically cover such a broad area-but in the coming decades Americans should expect
stronger and more frequent
This particular heat wave is caused by hot air traveling up from west to east, bringing warm temperatures throughout the week. A high-pressure system-known colloquially as a "heat dome"-will hold the heat on the Earth's surface. (
on whether the colloquial description really fits the phenomenon). Temperatures will likely hit 110°F in the Phoenix and 105°F in parts of the Midwest, according to National Weather Service projections. They could hit 100°F in some East Coast cities over the coming weekend, but it remains too early to know for sure.
"There's a very large bubble that's working its way across the nation," said Sean Sublette, a meteorologist at Climate Central. "The atmosphere travels in waves-waves that are up and waves that are down. Up waves are allowing a lot of hot air to come up through the equator."
The vast algal bloom in the Pacific last year was also fed in part by El Niño, the mass of warm water that forms periodically off the West Coast. But longer-term
may also be playing a role, some experts say.
Warming atmospheric temperatures and wetter weather in some parts of the country increase the nutrient-laden runoff into streams, lakes and the ocean. And as ice melts in the Arctic, sea temperatures are rising and more sunlight is filtering into the ocean.
"Some of the features of climate change, such as warmer ocean temperatures and increased light availability through the loss of sea ice in the Arctic, are making conditions more favorable for phytoplankton growth - both toxic and nontoxic algae - in more regions and farther north," Kathi Lefebvre, a biologist at NOAA's Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle, wrote in an email.
"It is likely that toxic blooms will continue to increase and expand as these features of climate change continue," she added.
Dr. Davis said he also believed that climate change was working against efforts to prevent algal blooms.
"I certainly believe as a scientist that climate change will influence the size and intensity of these blooms," he said. "If nothing changes - the increase of rainfall, the increase nutrient loads, warmer water - all of this could lead to larger blooms that last longer and are more toxic."
The Resilience Roundup highlights
CIRCA's presence in the news, provides links to recent local/state/national news articles related to resilience and adaptation, and announces upcoming events and seminars.
The Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation's (CIRCA) mission is to increase the resilience and sustainability of vulnerable communities along Connecticut's coast and inland waterways to the growing impacts of climate change and extreme weather on the natural, built, and human environment. The institute is located at the University of Connecticut's Avery Point campus and includes faculty from across the university. CIRCA is a partnership between UConn and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP).