Beach Loss Through Sea-Level Rise Will Affect Underserved Communities the Most – Sea Grant California

Looking down from the cliffs that border Blacks Beach near La Jolla, San Diego, California. (by Wayne S. Grazio CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 via Flickr).

A new study shows that equitable coastal access might become another victim of climate change – unless we plan proactively.

As the rising sea level slowly erodes California’s beaches, underserved communities are most affected by the loss, according to preliminary results in a new study funded by California Sea Grant and the California State University Council on Ocean Affairs, Science & Technology (COAST).

“Sea level rise in California is bad news for beaches, worse news for coastal access and terrible news for meaningful coastal access and environmental justice,” said Kiki Patsch, Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Resource Management at California State University Channel Islands. 

Patsch is leading the study with a multidisciplinary team of researchers. Their goal is to provide data on beach resilience, access and use to help resource managers consider equity and environmental justice in their sea level rise planning…

Bay of Life – Frans Lanting and Christine Eckstrom – MAH

Excerpt:
The Bay of Life is a unique confluence of land and sea, energized by the sun, shaped by the forces of fog and fire, and influenced by the actions of people.

“We know of no other place in the world where land and sea connect
in such an extraordinary way.”
–Frans Lanting and Chris Eckstrom

Bay of Life: From Wind to Whales is a new exhibition from renowned National Geographic photographer-writer team Frans Lanting and Chris Eckstrom that brings land and sea together for a unified view of Monterey Bay and its natural abundance.

The exhibition is on view at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History (MAH) from January 19, 2023 to April 30, 2023.  The exhibition supports Lanting and Eckstrom’s new book, Bay of Life: From Wind to Whales, which documents how the region has recovered, telling a hopeful story of how damaged ecosystems can be restored when people care and take action together. Numerous organizations and institutions have played key roles in the region’s ecological comeback. Bay of Life celebrates their achievements and ties together the work of scientists and conservationists in both marine and terrestrial fields.

‘The Deluge’ is a climate nightmare — and it’s based on reality – Grist

Cover of the new novel "Deluge" by Stephen Markley (published January 10, 2023, courtesy Simon & Schuster).

Excerpt: Stephen Markley explains how he wrote a dystopia that feels a little too real.

It was the year 2028, and I was hiding with eco-terrorists in a cabin deep in the woods…Birds were dropping dead from the sky, and a dust storm raged around us, turning the sun crimson…I was relieved to wake up from this dream and shake my paranoia that the FBI was after me. That’s how immersive The Deluge is, an ambitious new novel by Stephen Markley…

Even at the Bottom of the World, the Ocean is Belching Plastic – EOS Magazine

Aukland from Rangitoto (by Georgie Sharp CC BY-NC 2.0 via Flickr).

Plastic fills the air above Auckland, New Zealand.

With its small population and remote location, New Zealand might hope to be sheltered from the world’s plastic pollution. But new research shows that’s far from the case. In a recent study published in Environmental Science and Technology, researchers report a mist of microplastics is constantly drifting across the country’s largest city.

“We don’t produce large amounts of plastics here in New Zealand,” said Joel Rindelaub, a research fellow at the University of Auckland in New Zealand who led the study. “But we did see large amounts of plastics falling out of the sky in Auckland.”

In 2020, Rindelaub and his colleagues installed two simple devices fashioned from glass bottles to capture plastic as it fell from the air—one in a suburban garden and the other on top of a six-story building in the heart of the city. They then used fluorescence microscopes to count the particles of plastic they collected in the contraption’s filter. The team was able to detect fragments as small as 10 microns (0.01 millimeter)—far smaller than previous studies could see.

“What got us to 10 microns,” said Rindelaub, “was mostly just the amount of time and effort that was devoted to this. A graduate student was working for months to scan the entire filter…”

Gov. DeSantis touts post-Hurricane Ian beach renourishment funding – Florida Politics

Gov. Ron DeSantis, Hurricane Ian Press Event (by Florida Fish and Wildlife CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 via Flickr).

Volusia County is set to receive $37.7M out of the $100M set aside for beach renourishment.

Volusia County and other areas that suffered beach erosion from Hurricane Ian and Hurricane Nicole are set to receive $100 million for beach renourishment projects as part of legislation passed by lawmakers and signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis in December.

DeSantis highlighted the specific grant amounts to each community during an event Wednesday in Daytona Beach.

Although Hurricane Ian hit the state as a Category 4 storm on Sept. 28 and packed the biggest punch in Southwest Florida, where storm surge caused more than 100 deaths, it brought damaging beach erosion on the east coast as well, especially in Volusia County where dozens of homes and other structures were affected.

“The coastal erosion caused by these storms not only damaged upland structures and infrastructure but left them vulnerable to subsequent storms if not addressed,” DeSantis said. “I am pleased to announce another step to expedite recovery of our communities impacted by these historic storm events. This funding will support beach restoration needs, allowing us to rebuild and further enhance resilience…”

Seeing Through Turbulence to Track Oil Spills in the Ocean – EOS Magazine

Isreal Defense Force soldiers help clean up the 2021 Israel oil spill, February 2021 (courtesy of IDF Spokesperson's Unit CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Israel).

After oil and tar washed up on eastern Mediterranean beaches in 2021, scientists devised a way to trace the pollution back to its sources using satellite imagery and mathematics.

In mid-February 2021, heavy storms brought intense downpours to the eastern Mediterranean coast, keeping residents indoors. After the storms passed, residents returned to local beaches and noticed signs that something amiss had occurred offshore. In Israel, clumps of tarred sand appeared on beaches, along with oil-covered wildlife like turtles and fish. A dead 17-meter-long fin whale also washed ashore—an autopsy revealed oily liquid in its lungs, although the source of the oil was not identified definitively.

Experts estimated that more than a thousand metric tons of tar had landed along 180 kilometers of the Israeli and Lebanese shorelines in mid-February (Figure 1). Gaza also reported that similar arrivals of tar had reached its beaches. The findings forced Israeli authorities to announce the temporary closure of the country’s beaches on Sunday, 21 February, and prompted calls to identify the source (or sources) of the oil, which was not immediately clear…

Grains of Sand: Too Much and Never Enough – EOS Magazine

Sand dunes in Kernel - Sydney, Australia (by Bea Pierce CC BY-NC 2.0 via Flickr).

Sand is a foundational element of our cities, our homes, our landscapes and seascapes. How we will interact with the material in the future, however, is less certain.

Smartphone screens, wine bottles, and porcelain toilets share a surprising ingredient: sand. In fact, the ubiquitous material is the second most exploited natural resource on Earth, after water.

Most sand pours into the construction industry, which in turn pours much of it into concrete. “Sand is the most mined solid material on Earth, and we’re using more and more sand as we’re becoming more and more people,” said Mette Bendixen, a physical geographer at McGill University in Montreal.

“The use of sand is now faced with two major challenges,” said Xiaoyang Zhong, a doctoral student in environmental science at Leiden University in the Netherlands. “One is that it has caused enormous consequences in the environment,” he explained. “The second challenge is that easily usable sand resources are running out in many regions…”

On the Coast: Before and After the Parade of Atmospheric Rivers – Planet Snapshots issue 59 via Medium

Swirls of sediment off the coast of California on January 17, 2023, and a view of same area off the coast of California under more typical conditions on January 23, 2023 (Satellite image by Joshua Stevens, courtesy of NASA earth observatory).

California is left drenched, flooded, and perhaps a little hopeful after recurring atmospheric rivers pummeled the state for 2 weeks straight. The rains are a small reprieve for the area’s years-long drought. But the sheer volume of rainfall was much more than the parched landscape could handle. With a turn of the faucet, the state went from too dry to too wet in what’s called a “weather whiplash,” transforming the Golden State to shades of brown…