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
August 15th, 2013
May 22nd, 2013
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
May 22nd, 2013
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
May 15th, 2013
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
Grappling with Sea Level Rise Before and After Hurricane Sandy: Film “Shored Up” Leaves No Sand Grain Unturned
April 17th, 2013
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.
April 5th, 2013
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
Don’t Just Watch the Weather Forecast. Do Something About It! All You Need Is Five Seconds and This New App from NOAA.
February 8th, 2013
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
November 27th, 2012
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?
November 16th, 2012
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
October 31st, 2012
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