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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.

Hot Topics for IPCC Release: Surface Temperature “Speed Bump” and the Latest on Extreme Events

Residents in Colorado are recovering from extremely rare precipitation the second week of September that was ten times greater than the average precipitation for this time of year. On September 19, Usagi reached “Super-typhoon” status with wind gusts over 160 miles per hour (over 71 meters per second). Better predictions about these events in real time are saving lives. At the same time, scientists are studying these events with more urgency so even more lives can potentially be saved.  What does the latest science tell us about these rare events? And what about the recent trend in global average surface air temperature that has been in the news of late?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is poised to release the latest climate assessment “summary for policymakers” in Stockholm, Sweden, when they meet September 23 – 26, where these hot topics will be addressed. Read More

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Climate Reality Must Win Out Over Political Attacks on Science

This summer’s heat has been brutal. A surprisingly early June heat wave broke records in the Western United States. The heat sent people to emergency rooms and stoked wildfires that destroyed homes and lives. Europe and Asia have suffered recent dangerous heat waves, too.  Wildfire season in the U.S. West—fueled by extreme heat and water stress—is nearly two months longer than in the 1970s. Read More

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What Is All the Fuss Over the Last Decade of Global Average Temperature?

There’s been a flurry of magazine articles, a Congressional opinion piece in a national newspaper, and blogs disparaging climate models, all due to global average temperature not following a steady upward trend every step of the way. What’s remarkable is the sense these pieces convey that if there is a wiggle or pause over a decade in the clear long-term upward trend over the last century, then we should “throw out the baby with the bathwater.” Read More

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Evidence to Date Does Not Show Clear Link Between Tornadoes and Climate Change

In the wake of extreme weather events, people often ask scientists if they can be linked to climate change. Naturally, questions are being asked about tornadoes following the tragic losses suffered in the region of Moore, Oklahoma on May 20, 2013 after an EF5 Tornado. Read More

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10 Places President Obama Should Visit to See Climate Change In Action

In November, President Obama suggested that we needed a wide-ranging national discussion about climate change. But where to have that conversation? There are so many stories from communities that are on the front lines of climate change, grappling with ways to cope and looking for options. Here are ten places especially deserving of a visit from the President because they are dealing with consequences of climate change that affect many other parts of the country, indeed the world. Read More

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Grappling with Sea Level Rise Before and After Hurricane Sandy: Film “Shored Up” Leaves No Sand Grain Unturned

I have the opportunity to participate in a work-in-progress screening of the new film “Shored Up” with Ben Kalina, Director and Producer, as part of the 2013 Filmfest DC. The film leaves no sand grain unturned; every perspective is brought together to capture wisdom and ironic lessons as New Jersey and North Carolina grapple with accelerating sea level rise before and after Hurricane Sandy. It is a gripping tale about human nature and how we try to prevail over the tremendous forces of nature that can be episodic and terrifying at times, separated by long periods of seeming tranquility. The scenes shot during and after Hurricane Sandy remind us of that reality in a visceral way.

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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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