Summer traffic in Gloucester has become so extreme in recent years that residents can't always get out of their driveways or run weekend errands in town. Overwhelmed with the onslaught of traffic to its well-known public beaches, the city started an online reservation system this season specifically for nonresidents to secure parking spaces.
“As more people want to use the coast and as private property owners want to maybe better protect their own property, we're seeing increasing conflicts,” said Professor of Environmental Law and Policy John Duff. “And that's not just in Massachusetts, that's pretty much any coastal state.”
East Boston is one of the city neighborhoods most prone to the kind of flooding that climate scientists are trying to address. A recent UMass Boston report found the city could see high-tide flooding — also known as nuisance flooding — an average of 180 days a year by 2050; right now, we see this kind of flooding about 15 days a year.
“Twenty, thirty years from now, Liberty Plaza is flooded, parts of Maverick Square are flooded, the Sumner and Callahan Tunnels are flooded,” said Professor of Climate Adaptation Paul Kirshen, who is one of the report’s co-authors. “Instead of being an occasional nuisance it would be happening a lot."
Interim Dean of the School for the Environment Bob Chen led a group of UMass Boston academics to Denmark last month for an up-close view of the country's offshore wind industry as part of a delegation organized by the Alliance for Business Leadership. The goal was to bring leaders from a variety of sectors and corners of the state to educate them about the offshore wind industry, which is still getting started in the United States, and to hear their questions and concerns.
A patchwork of big real estate projects aim to fortify Boston’s twisting coastline against climate change. A research team led Professor of Climate Adaptation Paul Kirshen determined a massive flood barrier across Boston Harbor wouldn’t be worth the cost. The barrier would require a public works project the scale of the Big Dig, and likely wouldn’t be completed until 2050. Boston needs protection long before then. Kirshen said there are some advantages to a neighborhood-by-neighborhood approach, especially in a city like Boston with an existing blueprint for the areas that need protection.
“The city knows what has to be done and when it has to be done by,” Kirshen said. “The challenge the city is facing now is how to finance it . . . Where’s that money going to come from? It’s going to come from these public-private partnerships.”
Aside from diving for food, there is evidence that dives, especially more extreme ones, serve other purposes. Escaping from more formidable predators is a definite contender. In 2020, fisheries biologist and Assistant Research Professor at the School for the Environment Tim Lam, reported that six of 17 tuna he tagged in the waters off Hawaii appeared to have had a run-in with a predator.
In a five-year update to research on likely climate changes in the Boston area, researchers from the UMass Boston today released findings from the Greater Boston Research Advisory Group Report (GBRAG), entitled Climate Change Impacts and Projections for the Greater Boston Area, which provides detailed information on projected changes over this century to temperature, storms and precipitation, flooding, sea-level rise and groundwater in the Greater Boston area.
Research co-leads Ellen Douglas and Paul Kirshen of the School for the Environment discuss key takeaways from the report.
In a five-year update to research on likely climate changes in the Boston area, researchers from the UMass Boston released findings from the Greater Boston Research Advisory Group Report (GBRAG), entitled Climate Change Impacts and Projections for the Greater Boston Area.
"We are proud to deliver these updated projections ... and are empowered by the opportunity to continue these critical updates every five years as we near targets and decisions on climate actions become more high-stakes," said Professor of Climate Adaptation Paul Kirshen, director of the Stone Living Lab and co-lead for the report.
Some of the ocean’s biggest predators dive way down into the cold, dark depths. Animals-turned-oceanographers are helping biologists find out what they do when they get there.
In 2020, fisheries biologist and Assistant Research Professor at the School for the Environment Tim Lam reported that six of 17 tuna he tagged in the waters off Hawaii appeared to have had a run-in with a predator. Four dived deep — three of them to around 1,000 meters — and then lost their tags, possibly during frantic maneuvers as they tried to escape, Lam suggests.
Kelp losses on Australia’s Great Southern Reef threaten tourism and fishing industries worth $10 billion. Die-offs contributed to a 60 percent drop in species richness in the Mediterranean and were blamed for the collapse of the abalone fishery in Japan.
“You are losing habitat. You are losing food. You are losing shoreline protection,” said Associate Professor of Biology Jarrett Byrnes, who leads a working group on kelp and climate change. “They provide real value to humans.”