Sometimes it’s really difficult to accept that we’re still evolving. In the far distant past, our ancient ancestors could look about them and observe the planets and the stars and the tides. They would experience flood and drought and watch for signs of impending disasters. They might believe that the disasters were caused by angry gods, and their strategies for avoiding calamity may have been limited by their belief systems. Nevertheless, they were guided at least, in part, by what their eyes and senses told them, and relied on their powers of observation to predict what would happen. Read More
November 8th, 2012
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
October 11th, 2012
Even as all too many politicians continue to question the very existence of human-induced climate change, cities and counties in Florida and other coastal states are already struggling with the reality of sea level rise and are looking at billions of dollars in expenditures to deal with its impacts. 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 2nd, 2012
It’s official: North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue will join the state’s legislature today in burying a $5 million study estimating sea level rise off the North Carolina coast due to global warming. Her pusillanimous move follows months of public controversy that have subjected the state to much ridicule, and for good reason. The sordid tale shows the influence that developers and other special interests can have on the way that states and communities are able to use science to adapt to climate change and protect the public. Read More
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 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