In the News
- July 17, 2016 - UConn To Establish Institute Of Biological Risk, CBS Connecticut
- July 16, 2016 - SCSU Coastal and Marine Program To Study Dramatic Decline in Long Island Sound's 'Seaweed', New Haven Register
- July 7, 2016 - Lower Connecticut River COG earns $95,000 Grant For Wetlands Mapping, The Middletown Press
- July 14, 2016 - Baked Alaska: Heat Records Shattered Across State, USA Today
- July 13, 2016 - The Extraordinary Years Have Become the Normal Years': Scientists Survey Radical Arctic Melt, The Washington Post
- July 13, 2016 - U.S. Faces Dramatic Rise In Extreme Heat, Humidity, Climate Central
- July 8, 2016 - Next Frontier For Regional Planning: The Ocean Off Mid-Atlantic States, Energy & Environment
- July 7, 2016 - June Swoon: US Breaks Another Monthly Temperature Record, The Guardian
- July 5, 2016 - Can New York Be Saved In The Era Of Global Warming?, Rolling Stone
Guide For Considering Climate Change In Coastal Conservation
- Climate change is affecting coastal environments, calling for revised conservation approaches, and therefore must be considered in long-term planning. This guide provides a step-by-step approach for incorporating climate change information into new or existing conservation plans. The guide's six steps draw from existing strategic conservation planning frameworks but focus on climate considerations and key resources specifically relevant to the coastal environment, including coastal watersheds.
As you all know, climate change is altering coastal environments and how conservation is approached. To help address the challenge, the Office for Coastal Management has released a new Guide for Considering Climate Change in Coastal Conservation
, along with a companion How to Consider Climate Change in Coastal Conservation
self-guided online resource. We hope that together, these products will help practitioners evaluate how their conservation efforts can endure amid changing conditions and place communities and natural environments in the best position to adapt.
The Guide describes a step-wise approach to considering climate change in coastal conservation planning, with links to relevant tools, information and other resources. The steps should be familiar to those already practicing strategic conservation planning, but unlike other guides, these new products specifically focus on climate and habitat considerations of the coastal environment.
The How-To offers brief instruction on each step from the Guide and provides quick access to the most applicable tools when working through each step. This interactive online resource allows users to dive into whichever stage of the process is most relevant to them. It will be updated periodically with new resources.
These products are now live on NOAA's Digital Coast under "Training" and will soon be found on the Green Infrastructure topics page
July 26, 2016
Governor's Council on Climate Change
(GC3) will hold a second round of stakeholder events on Tuesday, July 26th, 5:30pm-7:30pm (refreshments available at 5:00pm). CIRCA will be hosting one of the satellite locations for the event in UConn - Avery Point's Marine Science Building Seminar Room 103.
The primary/central location will be in Hartford, with 9 satellite locations across the state (from Goshen to Groton and from Norwalk to Killingly). Participants at the satellite locations will view the presentation via video link and then engage in facilitated dialogue at the local level.
Nearly 200 people participated in Round 1 on May 5th.
The GC3 is seeking input from stakeholders as it develops a set of strategies to achieve the state's mandated goal of a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below 2001 levels by 2050.
Participants in the July stakeholder events will have an opportunity to learn about the initial results of the modeling scenarios, provide feedback to the GC3 members on the priorities incorporated within those scenarios, and engage in local dialogue about some of the policy implications of the initial results: Which activities should be prioritized for early implementation? What criteria should be used in identifying the communities/regions where we should focus limited resources in the short-term?
Please register online
to receive detailed location information and background materials prior to the event, and to tell us which site you plan to attend.
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)
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
The University of Connecticut is establishing an Institute of Biological Risk.
The school says the new institute will seek to understand and mitigate emerging threats to agriculture, natural resources, human health and the economy.
That means studying things such as climate change and invasive plants and diseases spread by mosquitoes, ticks and other biological organisms.
The school says the institute will build on UConn's strengths in global-change biology and will work to develop ties to Connecticut's government, businesses and nonprofit organizations.
UConn announced last week that the institute is one of 15 new projects that will receive a total of $3 million in grants this year under the school's recently adopted academic plan.
Back to News Clips
Kelp forests offer an ecosystem unlike any other marine habitat.
Entering the underwater forests for food and protection from predators, crustaceans, starfish and fish species take refuge amidst the intertwining stipes of the brown algae that cannot grow any further south than Long Island Sound. Underwater kelp forests, though they thrive in cooler temperatures, are a hotbed of marine activity.
But though the tops of these forests used to be visible from Connecticut shores, Grace has not seen them for a number of years.
Kelp forests used to be a regular occurrence in northern oceanic waters, and in many places they still are. The Gulf of Maine, for example, still has thick forests of the brown algae that stretch close to 50 feet high.
Long Island Sound is generally believed to be the southern-most point in which kelp forests will grow. Similar trends in the disappearance of kelp beds have been noticed in Rhode Island as well, Grace said.
Beginning next month, Grace and a team of scientists will visit spots in Long Island Sound that were historically known to have thriving kelp beds. The scientists will observe what kelp is there now, and latch thermometers near to where the kelp is growing, which will collect temperature data every 10 minutes for one year.
The temperature data, as well as observations of the density of the kelp, will help scientists better understand whether climate change and water pollution are indeed factors in ensuring the kelp's survival and ability to thrive. Grace said the growing theory is that rising water temperatures and pollution are contributing to the seaweed's decline.
Kelp could certainly be reintroduced into the Sound, but without the proper conditions, it will not stay, he said. If kelp were to disappear altogether, the species that rely on kelp forests for protection and food also would decline.
According to the Kelp Ecosystem Ecology Network website, kelp forests can be found along 25 percent of the world's coastlines.
Protecting kelp beds and ensuring their survival may not be in the forefront of swimmer's minds, but Grace said the seaweed's presence is a great indicator of environmental health.
"Most people have negative views of seaweed," he said. "But you want to swim in healthy water."
And healthy water has kelp.
The Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments is among nine regional organizations awarded $4.3 million in funding recently to help regionalize services and coordinate essential functions, according to a press release from the governor's office.
Monies are intended to help cities and states lower their costs.
The River COG received a $95,000 grant for The Lower Regional Wetlands Data Set project, which will provide for current, accurate mapping of wetland boundaries for the shoreline region. Those 17 towns include Chester, Clinton, Cromwell, Deep River, Durham, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Killingworth, Middlefield, Middletown, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook.
"In this new economic reality, it is crucial that we remain steadfast in our commitment to improve and streamline the way that government works at every level," Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said in a prepared statement. "These grants will encourage municipalities and regions to rethink the way they provide local services - resulting in more efficiencies and smaller costs for taxpayers."
The grants are administered under the state's Regional Performance Incentive Program, which is handled by the Office of Policy and Management. Any councils of governments, two or more municipalities, or regional economic districts are eligible for a grant under the program.
The River COG provides services in the areas of land use, transportation and conservation to its member towns. For information, see here.
National News Clips
Heat records have been shattered this week in Alaska, typically the USA's coldest state.
Deadhorse, located near the coast of the Arctic Ocean, skyrocketed to a record 85 degrees Wednesday, the warmest temperature ever recorded in that area, the National Weather Service said.
It was also the state's highest temperature ever measured within 50 miles of the Arctic, climatologist Brian Brettschneider, who lives in Alaska, said.
The average high temperature this time of year in Deadhorse is 57 degrees, Weather Underground reports.
Brettschneider also said the heat index at Tanana, Alaska, on Wednesday was 85 degrees. It was 88 degrees in Fairbanks on Wednesday, hotter than New York City's 85 degrees.
The heat wave follows a freakishly warm start to the year in Alaska. It was the warmest winter, spring and first six months of the year there, according to NOAA. So far in 2016, the state's average temperature is 30.4 degrees, some 9 degrees higher than normal.
The all-time record high temperature in Alaska is 100 degrees, set on June 27, 1915, in Fort Yukon.
The warmth in northern and central Alaska is not forecast to last, with a dramatic cool-down expected by the weekend and next week, the weather service said. Temperatures could drop to as much as 20 degrees below normal, and some freezing rain is possible in Barrow.
Back to News Clips
A group of scientists studying a broad range of Arctic systems - from sea ice to permafrost to the Greenland ice sheet - gathered in D.C. Wednesday to lay out just how extreme a year 2016 has been so far for the northern cap of the planet.
"I see the situation as a train going downhill," said Marco Tedesco, who studies Greenland at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University. "And the feedback mechanisms in the Arctic [are] the slope of your hill. And it gets harder and harder to stop it."
The word "record" was uttered repeatedly at the event at the National Press Club, which was sponsored by
(the Study of Environmental Arctic Change). Walt Meier, a scientist with NASA who studies Arctic sea ice, laid out a series of "really extreme conditions" that began with
sharply anomalous above-freezing temperatures at the North Pole
for a short stint during the winter, and then led to large early breakups of ice above Alaska and in other regions. Overall, the Arctic sea ice extent has been at record lows for
five out of six months so far this year
"We've lost about twice the size of the state of Alaska in terms of area," said Meier, referring to the long-term trend in Arctic sea ice over the past several decades. "It's also thinning as well, we've lost about 50 percent of the thickness. And this is happening more rapidly than even the most aggressive climate models."
Across the U.S., we've hit the dog days of summer. Most regions are now seeing their hottest temperatures of the year, and the combination of heat and high humidity sends most people running for a cold drink, some shade, or an air conditioner.
We found that scores of U.S. cities home to tens of millions of people will face dramatic increases in dangerous and extreme heat days by the middle of this century if current greenhouse gas emissions trends continue.
The hottest parts of the country, including Texas, the Southwest, and Florida have already experienced large increases in extreme heat days, including days over 90°F, 95°F, and 100°F, as well as rising levels of humidity that make hot days feel miserable and extremely hot days downright dangerous. Cities in those same states are facing the biggest projected increases in dangerous heat over the next several decades.
State and federal agencies, Native American tribes, join together to plan for effective sharing and management of ocean resources
With the ocean facing significant challenges in the near future, Mid-Atlantic states, federal agencies, and others have banded together to draft a plan to promote more regional planning and coordination in managing the resource.
strategy of its kind
in the region, the plan has been put together in a cooperative effort among state officials, stakeholders, and federally recognized Native American tribes to inform policies to protect the region's waters and coast. The Mid-Atlantic Ocean Action Plan involved the states of New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
The plan recognizes that the region's ocean, where offshore wind farms are under development, is home to the East Coast's largest seaport, and countless recreational opportunities, is likely to be the site of numerous conflicts over the next decades.
Those challenges "have the potential to grow in severity as society seeks to accommodate new and expanding ocean uses while simultaneously protecting the health and resilience of a rapidly changing natural system,'' according to the plan.
Among those factors are the effects of climate change on the region's marine waters, rising sea levels, and the impact on the already battered coastal environment of extreme storms like Hurricane Sandy, which are likely to occur more frequently.
The US experienced its warmest ever June last month, with a scorching summer set to compound a string of climate-related disasters that have already claimed dozens of lives and cost billions of dollars in damage this year.
Worldwide, heat records
have been broken for 13 months in a row
, an unprecedented streak of warmth that has stunned climate scientists and heightened concerns over the future livability of parts of the planet.
The average temperature for the contiguous US was
71.8F (22.1C) in June
- a full 3.3F (1.8C) above the 20th-century average and breaking a record set in 1933. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa), the first six months of 2016 have been the third warmest on record in the US.
Drought conditions "remain entrenched across much of California" according to Noaa, with 16% of the contiguous US in drought - up 3.5% compared to May.
The US has already suffered a number of climate- and weather-related calamities in 2016, with Noaa recording
eight events that have each cost at least $1bn
in damages. More than 30 lives have been lost in disasters including flooding in Texas, tornadoes across the south-east and wildfires in the west.
It's a bright spring day in New York, with sunlight dancing on the East River and robins singing Broadway tunes. I'm walking along the sea wall on the Lower East Side of Manhattan with Daniel Zarrilli, 41, the head of New York's Office of Resilience and Recovery - basically Mayor Bill de Blasio's point man for preparing the city for the coming decades of storms and sea-level rise. Zarrilli is dressed in his usual City Hall attire: white shirt and tie, polished black shoes. He has short-cropped gray hair, dark eyes and an edgy I've-got-a-job-to-do manner. Zarrilli may be the only person in the world who holds in his head the full catastrophe of what rising seas and increasingly violent storms mean to the greatest city in America. Not surprisingly, instead of musing about the beautiful weather, he points to the East River, where the water is innocently bouncing off the sea wall about six feet below us. "During Sandy," he says, darkly, "the storm surge was about nine feet above high tide. You and I would be standing in about four feet of water right now."
As Zarrilli knows better than anyone, Hurricane Sandy, which hit New York in October 2012, flooding more than 88,000 buildings in the city and killing 44 people, was a transformative event. It did not just reveal how vulnerable New York is to a powerful storm, but it also gave a preview of what the city faces over the next century, when sea levels are projected to rise five, six, seven feet or more, causing Sandy-like flooding (or much worse) to occur with increasing frequency. "The problem for New York is, climate science is getting better and better, and storm intensity and sea-level-rise projections are getting more and more alarming," says Chris Ward, the former executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the agency in charge of airports, tunnels and other transportation infrastructure. "It fundamentally calls into question New York's existence. The water is coming, and the long-term implications are gigantic."
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).