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Brenda Ekwurzel

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About the author: Brenda Ekwurzel is a senior climate scientist and assistant director of climate research and analysis at UCS. She has expertise on many aspects of climate variability including Arctic Ocean and sea ice, wildfires, groundwater, and coastal erosion. She holds a Ph.D. in isotope geochemistry from Columbia University (Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory). See Brenda's full bio.

Angry Summer Down Under: Murdoch Paper Hosts Op-Ed that Attacks Scientists while Australia Sizzles

INTRO NOTE: My colleague Melanie Fitzpatrick has just come back on board here at UCS. She’s a climate scientist who originally hails from Australia. She’s traveled the world doing scientific research on the climate, including in Antarctica. We’re very happy to have her back and she’ll have her own blog up soon. In the meantime, we wanted to share her thoughts on climate change in Australia and a disturbing op-ed recently published in The Australian. Read More

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Don’t Just Watch the Weather Forecast. Do Something About It! All You Need Is Five Seconds and This New App from NOAA.

I took five seconds this morning to help scientists monitor the potentially historic winter storm that is hitting the Northeast today. That’s all the time it took to verify the form of precipitation falling around me with a new free application for mobile phones called mPING, which is available for both Apple and Android devices.  Read More

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Hurricane Sandy: Sand Castles and Seawalls

I remember as a child working furiously with my brother to erect a sand castle fast enough during low tide so we could enjoy it before the high tide began its work of destroying our youthful attempts at engineering. Even as children we had a respect for the power of the ocean. We knew our sand castle was a bit of fantasy that was temporary fun, but I am not so sure we have the same notion when it comes to seawalls or other structures erected along sand, gravel or cobble shorelines. Hurricane Sandy reminds us just how powerful the ocean is and how vulnerable nearly any structure is that we put within its reach. With its reach now expanding, what can be done?

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Get “Ice Bitten” on the Big Screen

Several years ago, as I stood upon the bow of a ship leaving the Arctic sea ice after months of research, a senior colleague observed that I had become “ice bitten.” He was right. It’s a feeling that’s never left me, one that still motivates me today. And as a new documentary, “Chasing Ice,” hits the big screens this weekend for a limited engagement, one thing is clear. I’m not the only one. Read More

Categories: Global Warming  

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Hurricane Sandy and Climate Change: Answers to the Most Frequently Asked Questions

As Hurricane Sandy approached Virginia Beach, I watched churning surf form a troublesome backdrop to two skateboarders harnessing the wind to propel themselves rapidly along the boardwalk. Those same winds were piling up water to form a dangerous storm surge and portended a powerful blow that would ultimately cause widespread devastation throughout the region. Since that moment, I have been asked many questions about Hurricane Sandy. Here are answers to the most common ones. Read More

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Signed, Stamped, and Delivered: Nearly 20,000 Postcards Call on News Corporation to Stop Misleading on Climate Science

A mother cradles her baby while she juggles a large stamp loaded with fresh red ink to press “Not Science” over misleading climate science claims in a larger-than-life size Wall Street Journal Opinion piece. This symbolic act occurred soon after the Union of Concerned Scientists released a new snapshot analysis of Fox News Channel’s prime time shows and the Wall Street Journal opinion pages — an analysis that revealed a staggering proportion of misrepresentation of climate science. Read More

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Sea Level Rise in Florida Is No Laughing Matter

Local sea level rise has increased so much since the Key West Airport was built, that during the “Super Moon” super high tide in May 2012 it was flooded with seawater.  Sea planes would have been more appropriate than jet planes during that day. Floridians are grappling with how to prepare their schools, roads, homes and airports to withstand sea level rise, accelerated by climate change.

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Hurricane Watch Checklist: Four Factors that Strengthen and Four that Weaken Tropical Cyclones

Whenever I see that a tropical storm is threatening to convert into a tropical cyclone – that’s meteorology-speak for hurricanes in the Atlantic, typhoons in the Pacific or cyclones in the Indian Ocean – I consult my checklist.  These are the factors that can nip that tropical storm in the bud or escalate it into a full blown hurricane.

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Where is Sea Level Rise Most Rapid? Today Congress Heard the Answer: North America

Today members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) were presented with a figure illustrating that the Gulf Coast and U.S. East Coast experienced the fastest pace of sea level rise compared to nearly all the rest of the coasts around the world from 1955 to 2003. I was struck by the vigorous discussion around the graphs, which were presented by my colleague Dr. James McCarthy and others before a full committee hearing entitled “Update on the Latest Climate Change Science and Local Adaptation Measures.”
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Drought Double Whammy: As the World Warms, U.S. Droughts Likely to Be Hotter, More Damaging

The drought ravaging U.S. corn crops this summer may remind some of the horrific Texas region droughts of the 1950s. Yet scientists studying those droughts found that today’s droughts in the region are more likely to be much hotter. This double whammy of drought combined with higher temperatures can turbo charge evaporation rates, which dries out soils even more and wreaks havoc with crops and livestock that can suffer immensely in the scorching heat without irrigation or other mitigation efforts.

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