climate change

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.

RIPR FILE

A Brown University class focused on international climate change policy will culminate the semester this month with hands-on learning in Lima, Peru. That’s where two weeks of U.N. climate negotiations begin today.  More than 150 countries will get together to continue drafting agreements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Timmons Roberts, Ittleson Professor of Environmental Studies and Sociology at Brown University, has attended U.N. climate talks since 2003, helping think tanks and developing countries with research.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Last week, we brought you the story of West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin’s visit to Rhode Island. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse brought the Democratic senator, a strong coal advocate, to witness how climate change is wearing away the landscape here. Manchin learned from fishermen what challenges they’re facing in a changing ocean. Rhode Island Public Radio’s environmental reporter Ambar Espinoza brings you the second part of this story, when Manchin sees the effects climate change is having on land. 

Hans Hillewaert via Creative Commons License

NOAA Fisheries issued emergency measures last week to protect Gulf of Maine cod. On the heels of this emergency action, the New England Fishery Management Council has recommended new restrictions to address the depleted cod population, as it finalizes next year’s fishing management measures for several fish.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Rapidly rising sea levels and severe weather threaten every community and natural habitat in the Ocean State, not just along the coast. Through a new ongoing series we’re calling, Battle With The Sea, Rhode Island Public Radio will examine the range and scope of these threats from city to city and town to town, and the solutions to prepare and strengthen Rhode Island for future threats to come.

U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse says the new climate change deal between the U.S. and China is good news for Rhode Island.  

The U.S. is committing to reducing carbon emissions 28 percent by 2025.

Whitehouse sais though Rhode Island is not a major carbon polluting state, it’s already feeling the effects of climate change. “Particularly with rising sea levels, Narragansett Bay is 3 to 4 degrees warmer, the winter flounder catch has virtually collapsed,” said Whitehouse.

Tom Kleindinst © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

A research team led by the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography will embark on an expedition to collect sediment samples of the deep seafloor beginning tomorrow for 38 days. The team wants to reconstruct how and why the earth’s temperature has changed over the last 20,000 years.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Rhode Island's high unemployment rate is at the top of many voters’ minds this election season. This year’s gubernatorial candidates have offered different ways to create jobs. But the Ocean State’s next governor will also need to tackle a wide range of environmental issues. As part of our Rhody Votes ’14 coverage, Rhode Island Public Radio environmental reporter Ambar Espinoza explores what those issues are.

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