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Boyd Park submerged by Raritan River flood after Tropical Storm Ida, New Brunswick NJ, courtesy Rutgers Today


New Jersey’s Temperatures Rise by 4 Degrees Fahrenheit, Twice the Global Average Since 1900

RUTGERS TODAY – Heavy rainfall, flooding, increasing heat waves and heat-related illness are likely to become more common in New Jersey by 2100, according to a report by researchers from Rutgers University-New Brunswick, the Office of the New Jersey State Climatologist and the University of Delaware.

State of the Climate: New Jersey 2021 is an annual overview for state and local decision-makers, hazard planning and climate resilience professionals and residents that summarizes the current scientific information on climate trends and projections to help prepare for future impacts.

According to the data, temperatures have been climbing at a faster rate in recent decades in New Jersey. The mid-Atlantic region is one of the most rapidly warming locations in the U.S. This trend is expected to accelerate with further climate change.

“In 2021, we experienced the 3rd warmest year on record in New Jersey and our annual temperatures have increased by about 4 degrees Fahrenheit since 1900, roughly twice the global average,” David Robinson, a Distinguished Professor at Rutgers and state climatologist, said.

With moderate greenhouse gas emissions continuing throughout the century, annual temperatures are projected to increase by 5 to 8 degrees Fahrenheit above preindustrial levels by 2021. With high emissions, temperatures could increase by as much as 8 to 14 degrees Fahrenheit. Rising temperatures increase the likelihood of heat waves and heat-related illness for New Jersey’s citizens.

In tandem with rising temperatures, sea level has also risen by about 18 inches in Atlantic City since the early 1900s, and by 2050 is projected to rise 11 inches to 2.1 feet above 2000 conditions. By 2100, this shift will make our coastal storms more destructive and “sunny day flooding” in tidal areas occur most of the year during high tides, even with moderate greenhouse gas emissions.

The year 2021 may provide a glimpse of what a changing climate will look like, according to the report. The year was marked by extreme rainfall such as post-tropical cyclone Ida, which brought torrential rains and flooding. Flooding from Ida killed 30 people, the second greatest loss of life in New Jersey because of a natural disaster on record (the first being post-tropical storm Sandy in 2012). By the end of the century, extreme rainfall is projected to intensify, leading to even greater flooding.

“A warming climate has led to increased temperature extremes, sea level, and rainfall intensity within New Jersey,” said James Shope, an applied climatologist with the New Jersey Climate Change Resource Center at Rutgers and lead author of the report. “These changes will continue. Our report provides yearly updated information and context for how climate change hazards can affect human health, ecosystems, agricultural production, and more in New Jersey.”

The report was led by the Rutgers New Jersey Climate Change Resource Center in partnership with the Rutgers Climate Institute and the Office of the New Jersey State Climatologist and support from the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station.

The New Jersey Climate Change Resource Center was created by statute in 2020 to address climate change issues in New Jersey by providing actionable science, planning tools and technical guidance to policymakers, practitioners and communities.

Meet the Climate Corps

Angel Alguera, Rutgers Climate CorpsAngel Alguera
I am a first-year Atmospheric Science master’s degree student in the Department of Environmental Sciences, and my work focuses on meteorology and applications of climate change resiliency. My professional interests include severe weather forecasting and community preparedness regarding weather-related disasters. I work with Dr. James Shope at the NJ Climate Change Resource Center to produce applied research and reports relevant to New Jersey stakeholders. I currently assist with climate change data analysis, large dataset management, and report writing.

Daniel GilkesonDaniel Gilkeson
I’m a second-year master’s student in the City and Regional Planning Program with a concentration in environmental planning. As a planner, I hope to build more resilient communities in the face of increased risk due to climate change. With the Climate Change Resource Center, I am working on a project to aid the state in an update of its floodplain buyout program, known as Blue Acres, to be more proactive and comprehensive. Prior to this position, I interned in the Community and Economic Development Office at the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Association. I’m also an AmeriCorps alum, having completed a year of service working on affordable housing in Nashville, Tennessee.

Benjamin GoldbergBenjamin Goldberg
I am a second-year Master of City and Regional Planning student concentrating in climate adaptation and resiliency planning, with experience in sustainable food systems. I joined the Climate Corps last summer to help develop a GIS-based food waste recovery tool, and currently support community resilience through flood vulnerability analysis. I hold a B.A. from Middlebury College and a Certificate in Ecological Horticulture from UC Santa Cruz.

Surya Jacob, Rutgers Climate CorpsSurya Jacob
I am a graduate student in the Master of City and Regional Planning program at the Bloustein School concentrating in community development, focused on housing, land and finance, as well as pursuing the Real Estate Development/Redevelopment Certification. Prior to Bloustein, I worked as an architect and interior designer in India and Canada and am pivoting towards a career in urban planning to engage in extensive projects at the macro level. My interests include affordable and mixed income housing, urban redevelopment, and housing finance, and I am deeply passionate about climate resilience in community planning. Being part of Climate Corps is a foundational step towards helping to solve equity issues in vulnerable communities along the coastal region.

Vineesh Das Kodakkandathil, RutgersVineesh Das Kodakkandathil
I am an urban planner with five years of professional experience in community-led ecotourism development and land use and environment management planning in ecologically sensitive areas. I have worked on and conducted extensive environmental sensitivity analyses, flood and landslide vulnerability assessments, and human impact assessments with the help of GIS tools. I’m currently pursuing my master’s in City and Regional Planning at Bloustein School with a concentration in Transport Planning and GIS.

Douglas LeungDouglas Leung
I am working with the Climate Change Resource Center to identify vulnerable communities and places affected by climate-induced flooding in coastal New Jersey municipalities. I am a Master of City and Regional Planning candidate at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. As a planner, I want to develop strategies and solve problems affecting our cities and communities that enable more equitable outcomes in housing and transportation. I am also a recent Army veteran, having served as a company commander of recruiting in the northern suburbs of Chicago and as a reconnaissance platoon leader in the 10th Mountain Division. For fun, I enjoy weightlifting, running, reading fiction, and board games.

Nihar MhatreNihar Mhatre
I am a master’s candidate in city and regional planning at Rutgers University’s Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, focusing on urban design and land use planning. Before being accepted at Rutgers, I worked as an architect at JD Studio and had my own architectural practice, Vastu Insights. My research interests revolve around designing and developing climate change adaptation and resilience strategies to promote equity in urban landscapes. Having the opportunity to work on real-world projects through Climate Corps will be an essential step in the development of my understanding of addressing climate change issues in vulnerable regions.

Justin MorrisJustin Morris
Justin is a master’s student at Rutgers University studying discovery informatics and data sciences. He is working under Professor Mark Rodgers to develop an optimization model that will act as a decision support tool for university financial investments with the end goal of eliminating Rutgers’ scope 2 emissions. He is excited to apply his background in data analytics and mathematical programming to help the university fight climate change.

Josephine O'GradyJosephine O’Grady
I am a first-year student in the Master of Public Policy program. Through the Coastal Climate Risk and Resilience (C2R2) certification, I am focusing a significant portion of my graduate coursework on topics including coastal geomorphology, environmental justice, and hazard mitigation planning. Before beginning my studies at the Bloustein School, I received my bachelor’s degree in public health from Kean University, where I first became interested in how coastal dynamics shape lived experiences. I previously served as an intern at the New Jersey State Policy Lab and currently work for the Megalopolitan Coastal Transformation Hub (MACH) team.

Jessica Parineet Jessica Parineet
I am a first-year Master of Public Policy student at the Bloustein School with a strong interest in climate change policy and related topics. In my previous work, I gained experience in a number of dimensions of climate change issues through carbon capture storage research, urban heat island research, and community level engagement as I am currently on the Student Advisory Board for the Rutgers Office of Climate Action. I am excited to expand on my interests in environmental justice and local level resilience planning through my involvement in the Climate Corps.

Dillon Patel Dillan Patel
I am a second-year Master of City and Regional Planning student concentrating in Environmental Planning and International Development. I have previously worked as an economist performing cost-benefit analysis and conducting monitoring and evaluation for renewable energy in developing countries. I have also spent a summer in western Massachusetts mapping stormwater infrastructure and working with planners to identify suitable places for green stormwater infrastructure.

Moira Sweeder, Rutgers Climate CorpsMoira Sweeder
I am a graduate student enrolled in the Master of City and Regional Planning program at the Bloustein School. My concentration is environmental planning with a focus on coastal resilience. Before pursuing my master’s degree at Rutgers, I studied sustainability at Stockton University. During this time, I interned for the PSEG Institute of Sustainability Studies, the Jacques Cousteau National Estuary Research Reserve, and NJ Audubon. I am thrilled to now be a part of the Climate Corps, researching coastal resilience as a part of the Megalopolitan Coastal Transformation Hub (MACH) team.

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