climate change

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The Rhode Island Department of Health did a comprehensive analysis to figure out which drinking water sources are most vulnerable to climate change to help water suppliers plan for the future. Rhode Island Public Radio’s environmental reporter Ambar Espinoza sat down with the June Swallow, chief of the Office of Drinking Water Quality at the state health department. She oversees the project called SafeWater Rhode Island

URI/RI Sea Grant

With more than 500 public drinking water suppliers in the state, the Rhode Island Department of Health is worried about how they will cope with climate-related changes like intense rains, rising seas, and warmer temperatures. For the next installment of our series, Battle With The Sea, environmental reporter Ambar Espinoza heads to Newport, home to one of the most vulnerable drinking water supplies in the state when it comes to climate change.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Natural disasters and extreme weather events cause great physical damage, but they can also take a toll on mental health. That’s the topic the state Department of Health and the Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council will explore this week at workshops they are co-sponsoring.

The workshops are tailored for mental health practitioners, health department employees, and the general public.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

The average global temperature has gone up over the last century due to the phenomenon known as global warming. But one region in the north Atlantic has seen the opposite trend. A Roger Williams University researcher explains this anomaly in a recent paper published in Nature Climate Change.

The Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council, or EC4 for short, meets today for the first time this year.  New faces will join the meeting.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

The regional head of the environmental protection agency said Rhode Island is doing state-of-the-art planning for climate change threats.  Curt Spalding spent Wednesday seeing firsthand the tools coastal managers have already put into place.

Whitehouse Office

Climate change is real, not a hoax. That’s according the U.S. Senate, which is now on record about the reality of climate change.  The Senate voted 98 to 1 on an amendment recognizing climate change in the Keystone Pipeline bill.  

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency’s New England region is in Rhode Island Wednesday. Curt Spalding will survey parts of the state, to see which are at risk to storms and increased sea level rise.

For two days, the EPA’s Curt Spalding will tour areas in Westerly, South Kingstown, North Kingstown and Warwick. The idea behind the tour is twofold: to examine at-risk areas, and share ideas and existing tools for how to plan for rising seas and more violent storms.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

We throw away a lot of food over the holidays. More than usual. We generate about 25 percent more waste between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. Food that ends up in the trash can not only hurts our wallets, but also fills up landfills, sending off noxious gases. The Rhode Island Food Policy Council launched a pilot program earlier this year, teaching people how to cut down the amount of food they throw away. Our environmental reporter Ambar Espinoza gave it a try and has this story.

Jay Dickson / Brown University/University of Texas/National Science Foundation

Monitoring how the climate is changing in Antarctica’s most stable environments, the desert valleys, is very difficult. But that’s what Jay Dickson, a staff scientist at Brown University’s Department of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences, is trying to do, using time-lapse photography.

Photo Courtesy of Janine Burke

Here’s an effect of climate change you might not have thought of: heavy rains flood wastewater treatment plants. These intense rain storms are one result of warming temperatures. As part of our ongoing series, Battle With The Sea, Rhode Island Public Radio’s environmental reporter Ambar Espinoza has a report from a wastewater treatment plant in Warwick.

The Warwick Sewer Authority is located on the banks of the Pawtuxet River, next to what is called an oxbow, the U-shape curve in a river. The river wants to fill in the land next to the oxbow each time it floods. 

Screenshot of STORMTOOLS

The University of Rhode Island, in partnership with the Coastal Resources Management Council, has developed new tools to plan for future climate change threats. New maps with projected storm surge and sea level rise are now available online.

Courtesy of Sara Harris / University of British Columbia

For the past three weeks, we've brought you stories about how climate change is already affecting Rhode Island. Narragansett Bay is getting warmer. Seas are rapidly rising. Shorelines are eroding. And we're experiencing more severe weather events. As part of our new ongoing series, Battle With The Sea, we take a step back this week to look at the science of how we know these changes are happening.

More than 100 people will gather in Newport today to learn how to minimize impacts to waterfront businesses from sea level rise and other severe weather at the 13th Annual Baird Symposium. The one-day conference called, "Staying Afloat: Adapting Waterfront Businesses to Rising Seas and Extreme Storms," kicked off its symposium last night with a public lecture, featuring John Englander, author of High Tide on Main Street: Rising Sea Levels and the Coming Coastal Crisis

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Within four years, the town of Westerly experienced four major storms: the Great Flood of 2010, Hurricane Irene in 2011, Superstorm Sandy in 2012, and the February 2013 Nor’easter. Like many coastal cities and towns around the state, Westerly is also vulnerable to high tides that flood roads even without storms.

As part of our new ongoing series we’re calling “Battle With The Sea,” Rhode Island Public Radio’s environmental reporter Ambar Espinoza looks at how the town of Westerly is wrestling to shore up homes and businesses for future climate change threats.