Soil in the Succotash Marsh, Rhode Island: Coring for clues to past coastal storms

When you think of a saltmarsh, what comes to mind? Maybe a place that smells bad and you prefer to avoid? A place to fish? Turns out, salt marshes hold clues to the past. Scientists along the East Coast of the United States, for example, can use the information in salt marsh soils to reconstruct past storms and determine the past sea levels. As scientists in Rhode Island, we were able to easily try and replicate the findings of a previously published study from the Succotash Marsh also located in Rhode Island.

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Seeing the Forest for the Trees

Satellites have changed our ability to see the globe. We can now use satellite data is to monitor change in the amount of land covered by forests, and determine the reasons for that change. In this article, we discuss recent findings global forest monitoring and the impact of supply chain decisions by corporate actors.

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Sea-Level Rise won’t affect every place in the same way

Do you, like 40% of the global population, live within 100 km of the coast? If so, you have probably wondered about the impacts sea level rise will have on your home, your community, and daily activities. Interestingly, sea level is not expected increase the same amount in all places around the globe. Read on to learn about how the reconstruction of historical environments can help us define how different areas around the globe will be impacted by sea level rise.

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Summertime Sadness: Hurricanes and Water Quality

Hurricanes are natural disasters that can turn water quality nasty! Just how nasty depends on what’s on the land that’s being flooded. Hurricane Fran (1996) struck the Cape Fear region in southeastern North Carolina, and researchers from the University of North Carolina Wilmington noticed dissolved oxygen plummeted as a result of swamp water and swine farm waste flooding. The lack of oxygen in the water caused widespread death of fish and critters living in the bottom of the rivers, not to mention all that sewage introduced bacteria and disease into the environment! Swamp water flooding may be a natural, unavoidable consequence of hurricanes, but we must have policies and practices in place to reduce further degrading water quality from human activities.

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Predicting the future by looking to the past: Determining Rates and Magnitudes of Sea-Level Change from Sediment Cores

With sea levels rising at an alarming rate, coastal communities have one thing on their mind: how much will sea levels rise, and how soon? The rate at which sea level rises is unique to each coastline and reliant on many factors. However, many scientists believe projecting future sea-level rise rates is dependent on understanding a coastline’s past. This summary explores past research on the secrets of sea-level rise in marine sediments.

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Turning the Sahara Green: Some Unintended Consequences of Wind and Solar Farms

A few days ago, the IPCC released a special report announcing that we only have about twelve years before we cross the 1.5-degree warming threshold that many countries are trying to avoid.  We need to reduce our carbon emissions more urgently than ever, and some scientists have risen to this challenge with proposals so ambitious that they almost sound like science fiction.  One proposal is to cover much of the Sahara Desert with wind turbines and solar panels. A move this big could have many unintended consequences for the climate, but fortunately, a new study by Li Yan et al. suggests that enormous wind and solar farms could actually have positive impacts for those living around the Sahara.

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Following a Coastal Geologic Hazards course in Rhode Island

Coastal communities are impacted by hazards such as hurricanes, tsunamis, and beach erosion. Geologists reconstruct past events to understand future events. Follow along as a University of Rhode Island geology class explores coastal geologic hazards.

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Where will the tall trees grow?

What will the landscape look like when the world is four degrees warmer? Seven degrees warmer? Will you see the same trees and shrubs? Will the same birds visit your bird feeder? If you live in a forest now, will you then live in a desert? The implications have wide consequences not least for the production of food and the provision of water for your future self.

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