Environment

Solutions to urban heat differ between tropical and drier climes
Sept. 4, 2019
Author
Written by Molly Sharlach, Office of Engineering Communications

In summer heat, cities may swelter more than nearby suburbs and rural areas. And while the size of this urban heat island effect varies widely among the world’s cities, heat island intensity can largely be explained by a city’s population and precipitation level, researchers reported in a

'100-year' floods will happen every one to 30 years, according to new coastal flood prediction maps
Aug. 27, 2019
Author
Written by Jen A. Miller for the Office of Engineering Communications

A 100-year flood is supposed to be just that: a flood that occurs once every 100 years, or a flood that has a 1% 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…

When will we observe significant changes in the ocean due to climate change? New study offers road map
Aug. 19, 2019
Author
Written by Catherine Zandonella, Office of the Dean for Research

Sea temperature and ocean acidification have climbed during the last three decades to levels beyond what is expected due to natural variation alone, a new study led by Princeton researchers finds. Meanwhile other impacts from climate change, such as changes in the activity of ocean microbes that regulate the Earth’s carbon and oxygen cycles,…

Offshore oil and gas rigs leak more greenhouse gas than expected
Aug. 15, 2019
Author
Written by John Sullivan, Office of Engineering Communications

A survey of offshore installations extracting oil and natural gas in the North Sea revealed far more leakage of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, than currently estimated by the British government, according to a research team led by scientists from Princeton University.

Using a laser-based instrument mounted on small fishing boats,…

A small number of leaky natural gas wells produce large emissions of greenhouse gases
Aug. 1, 2019
Author
Written by Molly Seltzer, Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment

Wells that extract natural gas from underground often leak large amounts of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, into the air. A team of Princeton University researchers has found that, in one of the biggest gas-producing regions, most of these emissions come from a tiny subset of the wells, a finding with major implications for how to control…

Fewer fish may reach breeding age as climate change skews timing of reproduction, food availability
July 24, 2019
Author
Written by Joseph Albanese for the Princeton Environmental Institute

Climate change may be depriving juvenile fish of their most crucial early food source by throwing off the synchronization of when microscopic plants known as phytoplankton bloom and when fish hatch, according to Princeton University researchers. The long-term effect on fish reproductivity could mean fewer fish available for human consumption. 

More farmers, more problems: How smallholder agriculture is threatening the Western Amazon
July 15, 2019
Author
Written by B. Rose Kelly, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

A verdant, nearly roadless place, the Western Amazon in South America may be the most biologically diverse place in the world. There, many people live in near isolation, with goods coming in either by river or air. Turning to crops for profit or sustenance, farmers operate small family plots to make a living.

Unfortunately, these…

Sea slugs use algae's bacterial ‘weapons factory’ in three-way symbiotic relationship
June 27, 2019
Author
Written by Catherine Zandonella, Office of the Dean for Research

Delicate yet voracious, the sea slug Elysia rufescens grazes cow-like on bright green tufts of algae, rooting around to find the choicest bits.

But this inch-long marine mollusk gains not only a tasty meal — it also slurps up the algae's defensive chemicals, which the slug can then deploy against its own predators.

In a…

Redding explores the brightening future of solar power in the Philippines
June 26, 2019
Author
Written by Morgan Kelly, Princeton Environmental Institute

As a tropical nation spread across more than 7,600 islands, the Philippines seems like the ideal location to implement localized solar power for the 16 million Filipinos lacking reliable access to electricity. But as Princeton senior Erin Redding discovered, providing lasting energy solutions requires much more than a willing populace, low-cost…

Rapid Switch project to assess practicality and pace of global climate strategies
June 24, 2019
Author
Written by Molly Seltzer, Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment

Princeton University convened an international research team June 11-13 to begin a five-year effort to frame a realistic global response to climate change that accounts for massive economic development in countries, including India and China.

“It is impossible to address the global decarbonization agenda without thinking about the…