Hurricane Matthew Florida

Research has shown that Florida, South Carolina and other coastal states south of New Jersey have lost $7.4 billion in real estate value since 2005 because of regular flooding. In this file photo, a traffic light hangs in an intersection as Hurricane Matthew moves through Jacksonville, Fla. Friday, Oct. 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Sea level rise and flooding caused a $7.4 billion loss in home value across the five coastal states of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia from 2005 to 2017, according to a study by scientists with the nonprofit First Street Foundation.

Proximity to road flooding was found to have as much of an impact on home value as direct, property-level, flooding.

The foundation has a Flood iQ tool to visualize the risk of flooding today and as long as 15 years in the future in the five states above as sea levels rise at floodiq.com.

Fish rather than larvicides for mosquito control: There is a pesticide-free way to limit mosquito populations and reduce the spread of the West Nile virus — introducing hungry minnows into livestock reservoirs where the insects breed.

Researcher Brad Fedy at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, found that in a season, untreated control ponds had 114 percent more larvae than those in which minnows were introduced.

“Unfortunately, in North America, control efforts are largely limited to larvicides, which require a repeated application and have potentially negative ecological impacts,” said Fedy. “Addressing the problem with minnows ... is low-maintenance, cost-effective, better for the environment in many cases, and our health.”

Though minnows did not completely eradicate mosquito larvae, they were found to be a promising alternative to chemicals.

Carbon dioxide load in coastal waters harms mental abilities of fish: Acidification of coastal waters and river estuaries can lead to disorientation and cognitive problems in some fish species, including salmon, sharks and cod. It can lead them to lose their ability to navigate, or even make them swim toward predators, according to recent research from several U.S. marine laboratories. It’s a problem heightened in near-shore waters, scientists found after studying waters off the U.S. West Coast and Gulf of Mexico.

The release of carbon dioxide through the burning of fossil fuels has been linked to climate change as well as acid rain that affects the oceans and forests.

Colder water in more northern areas are more vulnerable to large swings in pCO2, said lead researcher Richard Feely, senior scientist from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle.

“Estuarine and coastal waters will be more severely impacted by the effects of ocean acidification more quickly than the open ocean, particularly if they are already impacted by nutrient, deoxygenation and fertilizer runoff, which can cause higher CO2 levels in subsurface waters,” said lead researcher Wei-Jun Cai, co-author of the research. “Unfortunately, many of our coastal waterways have elevated nutrient levels and have low oxygen concentrations in subsurface waters.”

Permafrost melt could speed up climate change: Methane and carbon dioxide released by thawing permafrost from some Arctic lakes could significantly accelerate climate change, according to a University of Alaska Fairbanks-led study published Aug. 15 in the journal Nature Communications.

Lead author Katey Walter Anthony and her colleagues studied hundreds of lakes formed by melting permafrost in Alaska and Siberia during a 12-year period, measuring their growth and how much methane was bubbling up in them. They determined the “abrupt thaw” beneath such lakes is likely to release large amounts of permafrost carbon into the atmosphere this century, which could double the release from terrestrial landscapes by the 2050s.

The effort is part of a 10-year NASA-funded project to better understand climate change effects on the Arctic.

— Michelle Brunetti Post

Contact: 609-272-7219

mpost@pressofac.com

Twitter @MichelleBPost

Facebook.com/EnvironmentSouthJersey

In my first job after college got paid to read the New York Times and summarize articles for an early online data base. First reporting job was with The Daily Record in Parsippany. I have also worked in nonprofits, and have been with The Press since 1990.

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