Since we can cut projected U.S. oil use in half over the next 20 years, I couldn’t help but think of Cracker’s irony-laden song, Teen Angst, when I read this piece at Grist about the potential for a “Cold War” over oil in the Arctic. The piece, and the New York Times and Wall Street Journal articles it references, talks about efforts by several countries to take advantage of climate change-driven melting of Arctic sea ice. Read More
September 20th, 2012
September 20th, 2012
It’s hard to overstate the importance of understanding how carbon moves through land, oceans, air, and all life on Earth. The carbon cycle has helped shape the planet’s climate back into deep time and is a primary determinant today. It is then not welcome news that we may be faced with losing some of our capacity to measure carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases under looming budget cuts. Read More
September 10th, 2012
Last winter, after two weeks at the climate negotiations in Durban, I took a few days of vacation and visited the unique “Afrotemperate forests” of the Southern Cape of South Africa, in the Knysna-Tsitsikamma region. Natural forests cover less that 0.5 percent of South Africa, which is much more famous for wildlife-rich savannas and for the incredibly biodiverse fynbos vegetation around the Cape of Good Hope. Read More
August 31st, 2012
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.
August 1st, 2012
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.”
July 31st, 2012
The terrible drought that is wringing the life out of crops over a large swath of the country, especially in the Midwest, has understandably been in the news. There have been warnings about rising food prices, and the cost to taxpayers for disaster relief to farmers and big insurance companies that are subsidized by the federal government. And as with rising energy prices in the past, rising food prices could be another unwanted burden on a fragile U.S. economy. Read More
July 30th, 2012
We couldn’t have chosen more appropriate weather (hot!) to mark the release of our report looking at changing summer heat in the Midwest. Millennium Park in Chicago was just beginning to get really hot and Crown Fountain crowded as we discussed the summer heat trends that Chicago has experienced over the past 60 or so years. A true “DT” day, indeed. (You’ll have to read the report to find out what that means. No spoilers here). The report finds that, on average, summer weather is changing in ways that increase the risk of heat-related health impacts in large Midwestern cities, including Chicago, Minneapolis, Detroit, St. Louis, and Cincinnati. Read More
July 27th, 2012
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.
Evidence Check: Which Extreme Weather Events Are More Linked with Climate Change – Heat Waves or Hurricanes?
July 16th, 2012
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)
July 13th, 2012
In our fight for a better quality of life for all Americans, we need storytellers. We need to reach people through personal anecdotes, through editorial cartoons, through songs. We need to arm people with narratives of what is possible, so that together we may be successful in spurning the cynicism that supports the status quo and disillusions the disempowered. And few have done this better than the man who would have turned 100 years old tomorrow: songwriter and American folk hero Woody Guthrie.
But what do Woody’s writings have to do with science? As it turns out, plenty. Read More