Day: May 4, 2020

USDA to buy $470M of produce, dairy and seafood

Read the full story in Politico.

The purchases will aid farmers and feed people in need through school meals and other programs.

Coronavirus crisis hits solar and wind energy industry

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

The coronavirus crisis is not only battering the oil and gas industry. It’s drying up capital and disrupting supply chains for businesses trying to move the country toward cleaner sources of energy.

The Tricky Dance of Sharing a Winery in the Pandemic Era

Read the full story in the New York Times.

For six producers who form a mutually beneficial winemaking community in Sonoma, Covid-19 poses practical and financial obstacles beyond health.

Job announcement: Climate Scientist

Use science to help transform the climate conversation. Climate Central seeks a highly motivated, creative, mid- to senior-level natural or social scientist to play a major role in our most ambitious effort to date. The mission: to make accurate and effective climate communications ubiquitous.

You will spearhead a strategic effort to build an unprecedented library of ways to link diverse local observations and events to climate science, impacts, and solutions for dissemination to social media, journalists, and other key messengers, in near real-time. Other audiences will include public and private decision-makers. This work will require efficient identification of authoritative literature in fields across the natural and social sciences; a nose for significant emerging science; and active research collaboration in high-value cases. Robust engagement with a broad research community will be critical.

About Climate Central

Climate Central is an independent group of scientists and science translators who research and report the facts about our changing climate and how it affects people’s lives. We use science, big data, and tech to generate thousands of local storylines and compelling visuals that make climate change relevant and show what can be done about it. We address climate science, sea level rise, extreme weather, energy, and related topics. We collaborate nationwide with TV meteorologists, journalists, and other respected messengers, reaching broad audiences through local voices. Our programs spurred more than 3,500 TV spots in the U.S. in 2019. Media have covered our global sea level research, maps, and imagery in well over 100 nations. We see major and timely opportunities to continue to grow our impact.

Key responsibilities 

  • Provide scientific leadership and inputs for a major new initiative leveraging technology to deliver compelling climate content to the right people at the right time in the right place, again and again
  • Support all Climate Central programs providing science-based content and context to broadcast meteorologists, journalists, and other key amplifiers, plus decision-makers and clients
  • Identify authoritative recent research and datasets to inform effective local communications
  • Track, advise, and participate in key relevant emerging research
  • Conduct high-priority research and analysis 
  • Advise and participate in translation of science to broadly accessible words and visuals
  • Engage with outside scientists in a diverse variety of fields 
  • Represent Climate Central in the media and in external meetings and conferences

Essential qualifications

  • Ph.D. in a relevant natural or social science plus more than 10 years of research experience
  • Fast learner comfortable at identifying authoritative information and at working in new areas
  • Wide familiarity with literatures on climate science, impacts, and solutions 
  • High creativity; able to find relevant science, stories, and climate connections in unexpected places
  • Highly productive and able to handle multiple concurrent initiatives 
  • Excellent analytical and communication skills including for lay audiences
  • Driven to impact the climate conversation and to pursue a work agenda shaped accordingly
  • Able to travel and extend work hours for critical priorities
  • Good interpersonal skills 

Additional qualifications.  Preference will be given to candidates who have:

  • Prior experience interacting effectively with media and public audiences
  • Strong data science and/or data visualization skills
  • Familiarity with localizable health impacts, economic impacts, and/or solutions


Climate Central’s headquarters are in Princeton, N.J. A meaningful amount of presence at headquarters will be important, but partial-time remote work is an option for this position. 


Compensation is competitive, with generous benefits.


Climate Central strongly encourages diverse candidates to apply. We are an Equal Employment Opportunity employer and as such do not discriminate against any applicant for employment or employee on the basis of race, color, religious creed, gender, age, marital status, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, veteran status or any other classification protected by applicable discrimination laws.

How to Apply

Please send your cover letter including salary expectations; your resume; and contact information for three references familiar with your work, to with the exact subject line, “Climate Scientist” (no quotes). Due to the volume of employment applications and queries received, Climate Central is unable to respond to each application individually. Applicants will be contacted directly if selected as a candidate. The search will close when a successful candidate is recruited.

Battered by floods, U.S. river communities try new remedies

Read the full story from the Associated Press.

Floods in the Missouri, Mississippi and Arkansas river basins caused $20 billion in damage in 2019, the second-wettest year on record. The National Weather Service forecast moderate to severe problems in 23 states this spring but said last week the risk had declined because of below-normal rainfall in the past two months. Longer term, one government assessment predicts annual flood damage in the Midwest growing by $500 million by 2050.

But the floodplain awaiting this year’s surge is part of a changing picture, altered from just a few decades ago. It is now dotted with more parks, marshes and forests on land surrendered in recent years by communities and individuals. Some experts envision this expanding green patchwork as a promising model for relieving pressure on a river system that can no longer stay in its man-made channels.

EPA Announces Winners of its Annual Campus RainWorks Challenge

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced the winners of its eighth annual Campus RainWorks Challenge, a national competition that engages college students in the design of on-campus green infrastructure solutions to help address stormwater pollution. This year’s winning projects demonstrate innovative design and illustrate the health and environmental benefits of good stormwater management.

“EPA’s Campus RainWorks Challenge encourages students to transform classroom knowledge into innovative and replicable solutions for stormwater management,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “I congratulate this year’s winners and applaud the hard work of all of the teams that competed.”

Stormwater runoff is a significant source of water pollution in America. Managing runoff remains a complex environmental challenge for local communities across the country. EPA’s Campus RainWorks Challenge asks students and faculty members at colleges and universities across the country to apply green infrastructure design principles, foster interdisciplinary collaboration and increase the use of green infrastructure on the nation’s college campuses. Since 2012 more than 700 teams have participated in the challenge. 

In this year’s Challenge, EPA invited student teams to compete in two design categories. The Master Plan category examines how green infrastructure can be broadly integrated across campus while the Demonstration Project category focuses on how green infrastructure can address stormwater pollution at a specific site on campus. With the help of a faculty advisor, teams of students focused their expertise, creativity and energy on the challenges of stormwater management and showcased the environmental, economic and social benefits of green infrastructure.

The Challenge winners are:

Florida International University (1st Place Master Plan Category) – The “Coastal Eco-Waters: Adapting for a Resilient Campus” project redesigned the University’s Biscayne Bay campus to incorporate replicable green infrastructure practices that engage with the broader community to cultivate regional resiliency in an area that experiences extreme weather events.

University of California at Los Angeles (1st Place Demonstration Project Category) – The team’s project, titled “Little Steps to a Sustainable Future,” redesigned a local elementary school campus to incorporate a variety of green infrastructure practices. Extensive stakeholder engagement across the school district led to a realistic design capable of managing stormwater runoff onsite and providing hands-on environmental education that will connect students to their watershed.

University of Arizona (2nd Place Master Plan Category) – The “Against the Grain” project integrated multiple green infrastructure practices into a master plan design that revitalized key transportation and pedestrian corridors. This project sought to enhance flood protection through inclusion of bioretention facilities with native plants and trees and treat stormwater runoff as a resource by incorporating cisterns for irrigation.

Arizona State University (2nd Place Demonstration Project Category) – In their project titled, “Ready! Set! Activate!” this team worked with a local elementary school to reduce local flooding during Arizona’s monsoon season and create a resilient, multi-functional space that effectively manages stormwater runoff and yields educational and ecological benefits. 

EPA is also pleased to recognize the University of California at Berkeley for honorable mention in the Demonstration Project category and Michigan State University for honorable mention in the Master Plan category.


Green infrastructure tools and techniques for stormwater management include green roofs, permeable materials, alternative designs for streets and buildings, trees, habitat conservation, rain gardens and rain harvesting systems. Utilizing these tools decreases pollution to local waterways by treating rain where it falls and keeping polluted stormwater from entering sewer systems. Communities are increasingly using innovative green infrastructure to supplement “gray” infrastructure such as pipes, filters and ponds. Green infrastructure reduces water pollution while increasing economic activity and neighborhood revitalization, job creation, energy savings and open space.

First place teams will receive a $5,000 student prize to be split among team members and a $5,000 faculty prize to support green infrastructure research and training. Second place teams will receive a $2,500 student prize and a $2,500 faculty prize. Designs were completed and submitted to EPA last fall for review and consideration.  

Nudging reaction in reverse repurposes polyurethane foam

Read the full story in Chemical and Engineering News.

Polyurethane shows up in all sorts of consumer products: seat cushions in furniture and vehicles, car bumpers, shock-absorbing sneaker soles, and more. The global market for polyurethane was over $19 billion last year, and when those products wear out they generate vast quantities of waste—more than 1 million metric tons annually in the US alone. But the very thing that gives polyurethane its strength and durability—crosslinked polymer chains—makes it tough to reprocess into new products of comparable value. Instead of dumping it into landfills or “downcycling” it to make carpet padding, a group of researchers has shown they can break those crosslinks and reform the material to use in new products of similar commercial value to the original (ACS Cent. Sci., 2020, DOI: 10.1021/acscentsci.0c00083).

New Database Helps Scientists Track Climate Change Over Thousands Of Years

Read the full story from WUWM.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released a new database earlier this month. It’s called Nature’s Archives, and NOAA says it’s the most comprehensive temperature change database ever assembled.

New database wrangles data on land rights projects around the globe

Read the full story at MongaBay.

The Land Portal Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in the Netherlands, recently released what it’s calling “the largest global database of land and property rights projects.”

Effective way to replenish threatened plants

Read the full story from the University of Guelph.

Planting Hill’s thistle seeds has low flowering and germination rates. The study used the CPR (Conservation, Propagation, Redistribution) method to preserve the genetic material of germ cells of two plants and then use that material to produce 1,000 plants in the lab. They transplanted 300 at 12 sites in Ontario. Survival rate ranged from 67 to 99 per cent, with nearly all plants surviving the winter and showing shoot regeneration and flowering.

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