‘100-year’ floods will happen every 1 to 30 years, according to new flood mapsby Princeton UniversityResearchers at Princeton University calculated flood risks for 171 counties across four regions: New England (green), mid-Atlantic (orange), southeast Atlantic (blue), and Gulf of Mexico (red). They found that what used to be considered 100-year floods will occur far more often depending on the location. Credit: Reza Marsooli et alA 100-year flood is supposed to be just that: a flood that occurs once every 100 years, or a flood that has a one-percent chance of happening every year.But Princeton researchers have developed new maps that predict coastal flooding for every county on the Eastern and Gulf Coasts and find 100-year floods could become annual occurrences in New England; and happen every one to 30 years along the southeast Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico shorelines.”The historical 100-year floods may change to one-year floods in Northern coastal towns in the U.S.,” said Ning Lin, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Princeton University.In a new paper published in the journal Nature Communications, researchers combined storm surge, sea level rise, and the predicted increased occurrence and strength in tropical storms and hurricanes to create a map of flood hazard possibility along the U.S. East Coast and Gulf of Mexico. Coastlines at northern latitudes, like those in New England, will face higher flood levels primarily because of sea level rise. Those in more southern latitudes, especially along the Gulf of Mexico, will face higher flood levels because of both sea level rise and increasing storms into the late 21st century.
In staving off climate change, social landscape adjustsByBlaine FriedlanderChris Kitchen/University PhotoLara Skinner explains a climate jobs program for New York state at a panel discussion Feb. 26.Chris Kitchen/University PhotoBob Howarth explains that reducing methane from the atmosphere is “low-hanging fruit” to keep Earth from warming too much.At the intersection of activism and academia, a climate change and clean energy panel gave details of environmental urgency and impending social refinements. The Feb. 26 panel included Cornell researchers, alumnae, New York Assembly representatives and sustainability advocates, and was hosted by student-led KyotoNow! Cornell.“We can … actually make our society more socially equitable and socially just,” said Lara Skinner, associate director for Cornell’s Worker Institute. “It’s the cultural, political and social struggles that we face … the greatest social crisis of our time,” she said, noting how environmental changes resulting from a warming climate will modify the social science landscape
Protecting forests is a low-tech way to store carbon that has earned a lot of attention in the efforts fight global warming. Now, another, less discussed way of sequestering carbon is starting to capture the attention of policy makers: carbon farming.As negotiators in Paris continue to work towards an international agreement to fight disastrous levels of climate change, many side events and agreements are also being made. One of those agreements is the Lima-Paris Action Agenda, which was signed by a number of countries, NGOs and companies, and is aiming to provide practical guidelines for climate solutions. The solutions touch on a number of sectors, from finance to building to forests.One of the climate solutions the agenda is pushing is carbon farming, a type agricultural production that actually increases soil carbon. Supporters of organic agriculture have long called for this type of farming, sometimes called No Till farming, but this is the first time soil carbon has been formally included in an international plan to fight climate change.Most modern conventional farming uses tilling to suppress weeds and make it easier to plant, but this process also releases carbon stored in the soil into the air as carbon dioxide (CO2). The benefits of carbon farming are two-fold. First, it reverses the process of releasing carbon, and instead pulls carbon out of the air. Second, it can help improve the soil without synthetic fertilizers and leads to better crop production.Rattan Lal, a soil science professor and founder of the Carbon Management and Sequestration Center at Ohio State University, says that soil carbon is key to soil biodiversity and nutrient storage, and soil with more carbon is also better at retaining water.
In honor of this week’s COP21 climate conference in Paris, Google has unveiled Street View images of the places and living things that are depending on action from world leaders. A variety of conservation organizations took Google’s Street View Trekker camera technology and captured images that tell the story of what’s at stake.You can virtually visit polar bears thanks to Polar Bears International who mapped the bears and their fragile sea ice habitat near Churchill, Manitoba for all to view and created lesson plans and activities for educators to bring this information into classrooms.