Category Archives: News

September 2019 tied as hottest on record for planet


The globe continued to simmer in exceptional warmth, as September 2019 tied with 2015 as the hottest September in NOAA’s 140-year temperature record. The month also capped off another warm year so far, with the globe experiencing its second-warmest January through September (YTD) ever recorded.

Below are highlights from NOAA’s latest monthly global climate report:

Climate by the numbers

September 2019
The average global land and ocean surface temperature for September 2019 was 1.71 degrees F (0.95 degrees C) above the 20th-century average and tied 2015 as the highest September temperature departure from average since global records began in 1880.

Septembers for 2015, 2016 and 2019 were the only Septembers with a global land and ocean surface temperature departure from average greater or equal than 1.62 degrees F (0.90 degrees C).

September 2019 was also the 43rd consecutive September and the 417th consecutive month with temperatures — at least nominally — above the 20th-century average.

Year to date | January through September
The first nine months of the year each had a global land and ocean temperature departure from average that ranked among the five warmest for their respective months. This gave way to the second-warmest January-through-September period in the 140-year record with a temperature of 1.69 degrees F (0.94 degrees C) above the 20th-century average. This was 0.22 degrees F (0.12 degrees C) cooler than the record-warm year to date set in 2016 and only 0.02 degrees F (0.01 degrees C) warmer than the now third- warmest year to date set in 2017.

An annotated map showing notable climate events that occurred around the world in September 2019. For details, see the short bulleted list below in our story and at

More notable climate events in this report

  • North America had its warmest September since continental records began in 1910 at 3.10 degrees F (1.72 degrees C). South America, Africa, Asia, the Gulf of Mexico and the Hawaiian region had a top-three warmest September on record.
  • The Arctic sea ice coverage (extent) for September was the third lowest on record at 32.6% below the 1981–2010 average. The Arctic reached its annual minimum sea ice extent of 1.60 million square miles on September 18, marking the end of the melt season. The Arctic sea ice minimum extent for 2019 tied with 2007 and 2016 as the second lowest minimum extent in the 41-year record.
  • The Antarctic sea ice extent for September was 1.3% below the 1981-2010 average and the 13th-smallest September extent in the 41-year record.

Original Article; NOAA (10-16-2019)

Army Corps’ proposal for sand dunes in newest plan brings questions about cost, feasibility

Coastal restoration, living shorelines. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care


A $32 billion plan for a coastal barrier system to protect the Houston-Galveston region, including 14-foot-high dune fields is seen as the latest innovation designed for Texas to engineer its way out of an existential crisis: a coastline gradually vanishing and increasingly vulnerable to massive storm surges and sea level rise…

Read Full Article; The Houston Chronicle (10-16-2019)

Rethinking Living Shorelines, By Orrin H. Pilkey, Rob Young, Norma Longo, and Andy Coburn;Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines / Western Carolina University, March 1, 2012, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University
In response to the detrimental environmental impacts caused by traditional erosion control structures, environmental groups, state and federal resource management agencies, now advocate an approach known as “Living Shorelines”that embraces the use of natural habitat elements such as indigenous vegetation, to stabilize and protect eroding shorelines.

A softer approach, living shorelines as an alternative to a hardened coast; PortCity (05-12-2018)

NOAA Study Finds Marshes, Reefs, Beaches Can Enhance Coastal Resilience, NOAA (04-29-2015)

NOAA study finds ‘living shorelines’ can lessen climate change’s effects, NOAA (12-22-2015)

Living Shorelines: Better Than Bulkheads, Coastal Review Online (02-08-2016)
More than 14,000 miles – 14 percent of continental U.S. coastline — has been armored with hardened structures. Hardened structures cause elevated rates of erosion on the shoreward side of the

Coastal Hazards & Targeted Acquisitions: A Reasonable Shoreline Management Alternative: North Topsail Beach, North Carolina Case Study; by the Western Carolina University Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines, July 1, 2019

Scientists rush to rescue sea turtles threatened by mysterious Brazil oil spill

Atlantic coast, Brazil. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care


Crude oil has been washing up on the coast of the Brazilian northeast for over a month, leaving more than 150 of Brazil’s postcard-perfect beaches covered in thick, sludgy black patches.

The origin of the oil, found in nine Brazilian states along a 1,200-mile stretch of coastline, remains unknown. It is also along this coastline that olive ridley and loggerhead sea turtles come to make their nests and lay their eggs.

Read Full Article; PRI (10-15-2019)

Mysterious Oil Spill Becomes New Environmental Crisis for Brazil; The NYT (10-08-2019)
A mysterious oil spill that has polluted shores along a vast area of Brazil’s northeast may have resulted from unspecified criminal activity. An estimated 100 tons of crude has drifted toward land since early September, polluting some of the country’s most pristine beaches…

Strong storms generating earthquake-like seismic activity

Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care


Researcher have uncovered a new geophysical phenomenon where a hurricane or other strong storm can spark seismic events in the nearby ocean as strong as a 3.5 magnitude earthquake.

During a storm season, hurricanes or nor’easters transfer energy into the ocean as strong ocean waves, and the waves interact with the solid earth producing intense seismic source activity…

Read Full Article; Science Daily (10-15-2019)

Ferocious typhoon leaves as many as 33 dead, floods over 1,000 homes in Japan

“The most unique thing about this typhoon is how rapidly it intensified to super typhoon strength early in its life,” Duran said. “We don’t have enough observations of typhoons to know how common such a rapid intensification event actually is, but we do know that this is one of the most rapid intensifications we have observed.” Image and Captions source: NASA


Typhoon Hagibis made landfall south of Tokyo on Saturday evening and battered central and northern Japan…

Read Full Article; USA Today (10-13-2019)

Melting ice redraws the World map and starts a power struggle

Svalbard, Arctic region. Photo source: ©© Bjorn Alfthan / UNEP


The Arctic is emerging as a potential geopolitical flashpoint for the U.S., Russia and China as shipping routes get unblocked…

Read Full Article; Bloomberg (10-11-2019)

Marine mammals most at risk from increased Arctic ship traffic; Science Daily (07-02-2018)
The first comprehensive survey of Arctic marine mammal populations’ vulnerability to shipping along two main routes finds which face the most risks from heavier traffic in the region…

“FREIGHTENED – The Real Price of Shipping,” a movie by multi award-winning filmmaker Denis Delestrac-©-2016; (03-31-2016)
90% of the goods we consume in the West are manufactured in far-off lands and brought to us by ship. The cargo shipping industry is a key player in world economy and forms the basis of our very model of modern civilisation; without it, it would be impossible to fulfil the ever-increasing demands of our societies. Yet the functioning and regulations of this business remain largely obscure to many, and its hidden costs affect us all. Due to their size, freight ships no longer fit in traditional city harbours; they have moved out of the public’s eye, behind barriers and check points…

Nor’easter submerges newly replenished N.J. beaches

Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care


An ocean storm will continue to meander off the Middle Atlantic coast through Saturday, generating a strong onshore flow that will continue to lash New Jersey beaches.

Lavallette and Seaside Heights are both recent recipients of Army Corps of Engineers beach replenishment and engineered protective dune systems. While the beaches were underwater, water did not appear to impact the dunes…

Read Full Article; WHYY (10-11-2019)

Can Adding Sand to Beaches Save Them? How Stuff Works (04-13-2018)
The question is, can beach nourishment keep up with the ever-increasing forces of climate change or, like Sisyphus forever pushing his boulder up the hill, is adding sand to beaches an expensive, temporary fix to a long-term problem?..

A look at the billions of dollars behind beach renourishment: Is it worth it? WMBF (10-15-2018)

“A Never-Ending Commitment”: The High Cost of Preserving Vulnerable Beaches; ProPublica (09-27-2018)
The U.S. government pays to dump truckloads of sand onto eroding beaches, in a cycle that is said to harm ecosystems and disproportionately benefit the rich…

Coastal geologist criticizes beach renourishment efforts; By Robert S. Young, PhD; The State (08-17-2016)
Rob Young, who heads the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines at Western Carolina University, said the government is subsidizing coastal development with renourishment money – and that’s costing taxpayers. Communities across the country have spent millions of dollars renourishing beaches. Those efforts encourage people to rebuild after every major hurricane…

Palm Beach Mid-Town Dredge Project, A Youtube Video (02-04-2015)
“Beach nourishment projects like this have become commonplace along the US East and Gulf Coasts. These projects have immediate environmental impacts through burial of nearshore habitat and increased turbidity during project placement.The cumulative environmental impacts of doing this repeatedly on the same beach while conducting projects from Maine to Texas is unknown. But, we should be concerned. ” —Robert S. Young, PhD, Director, Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines, Professor, Coastal Geology, Western Carolina University

Piling sand to stop erosion ultimately made the land sink, study says, NOLA (12-26-2015)

Is pumping more sand onto NC beaches causing deadly currents?; The News & Observer (08-30-2018)
A growing number of scientists and coastal engineers worry that there’s a serious downside to beach nourishment: Unnaturally altered beaches could pose an elevated risk of injury to the very tourists that sand replenishment was meant to attract…

A wider, deeper beach awaits Ocean City vacationers, but is it safe? The Washington Post (06-01-2018)
Ocean City vacationers may notice deeper, wider beaches, the result of a $282 million sand-dredging project aimed at protecting the resort town from storm damage. But the work also raises concerns about surf injuries and swimmer safety…

Widening beaches might bring more hazards, researchers say; Sun Sentinel (04-04-2018)
Widening beaches might be linked to an increase in accidents, according to new data. The number of ocean rescues spikes after beaches are buffed up, according to the data published in the Journal of Ocean Research…

Broad Beach sand project hits the rocks

Malibu. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care


Eight years and millions of dollars after embarking on a sand replenishment project, a recent court ruling sends Broad Beach landowners back to square one…

Read Full Article; Malibu Times (10-09-2019)

What will Malibu’s beach erosion problem look like in 20 years? The Malibu Magazine (09-19-2019)
The rapid erosion of Malibu’s beaches in the past few years is nothing short of startling and has drawn the concerned attention of local citizens, advocacy groups and public officials. Beach erosion, attributable in part to climate change and in part to the hand of man, is pervasive, invasive and expensive…

Mysterious Oil Spill Becomes New Environmental Crisis for Brazil

Atlantic coast, Itacare, Brazil. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care


A mysterious oil spill that has polluted shores along a vast area of Brazil’s northeast may have resulted from unspecified criminal activity. An estimated 100 tons of crude has drifted toward land since early September, polluting some of the country’s most pristine beaches…

Read Full Article; The NYT (10-08-2019)

Oil contaminating Brazil’s beaches ‘very likely from Venezuela’, minister says; Guardian UK (10-09-2019)
A foreign ship near Brazil’s coastline appeared to have caused the spill “accidentally or not”.