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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.

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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Evidence Check: Which Extreme Weather Events Are More Linked with Climate Change – Heat Waves or Hurricanes?

The heat gripping the United States this month has been relentless. And if that weren’t enough, hurricane season is upon us. How does the scientific evidence stack up over the past decades regarding how these extreme events are changing? And how much influence does human-caused climate change have on these events? We created an infographic to serve as a quick reference of the current state of scientific understanding.

UPDATE July 18th (see at bottom of post)

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Beware: Wildfire Smoke Can Be Like Smoking a Couple of Packs of Cigarettes over a Few Hours

This week I heard from a friend who evacuated from their work place and another whose parents had to evacuate from their home to protect themselves from wildfires raging throughout the West. Yet, the media coverage I have seen often focuses on the risks to and loss of property.  Coverage has been much less focused on the risks to the health of people both in close proximity to fires and those not in the immediate paths of fire, but who still can suffer from its more widespread effects.  Read More

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5 Things to Know about Population and Heat-trapping Emissions

[Co-written with Peter Frumhoff, Director of Science & Policy/Chief Scientist, Climate]

In public talks about climate science, my colleague, Peter Frumhoff and I often show images of the projected rapid increase in global emissions of carbon dioxide, the most important heat-trapping gas. Read More

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