Brenda Ekwurzel

Senior climate scientist

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Brenda Ekwurzel is a senior climate scientist and the director of climate science at UCS. She has expertise on many aspects of climate variability, including the 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.

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Photo: Julian Osley/Geograph

You Can’t Ignore the Future: 5 Reasons Climate Science Looks Beyond 2040

Yesterday it was reported that the Trump administration is redoubling its efforts to undermine climate science. James Reilly, head of the US Geological Survey, reportedly instructed scientists in the office to limit projections of climate impacts to just 2040. Studies typically project out to 2100. It is nearly the end of May 2019.  Failing to look beyond 2040 is like pretending a baby born today won’t live past 21.  As with many life plans, like mortgages signed onto today, climate science routinely looks past the year 2040.  Here are five reasons why:

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Photo: Julian Osley/Geograph
IPCC
USGCRP NCA4 Vol II
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Hot Arctic and a Chill in the Northeast: What’s Behind the Gloomy Spring Weather?

When temperatures lurk in the drizzly 40s and 50s well into flower season, northerners get impatient for summer. But when 80-degree temperatures visit the high Arctic, as they just did, and when sleet disrupts Mother’s Day weekend in May in Massachusetts, as it just did, thoughts turn to: What is going on here? Read more >

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A car ventures out in the polar vortex on January 30, 2019. Photo: Down Dickerson/Flickr

US Winter 2018-2019: Bomb Cyclones, Arctic Outbreaks, Abundant Snowfall, Flooding, and an Unseasonably Warm Alaska

Winter is still very much a part of a warming world and this past season was characterized by the changing behavior of the most unwelcome parts of any season: extreme weather. Read more >

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Graphic: ClimateReanalyzer.org

Winter Storm Jayden, the Polar Vortex, and Climate Change: 3 Factors that Matter

Temperatures are predicted to plummet across the Eastern US as one of the coldest air masses in decades settles into these regions. So zip up and cinch your scarves. Stay safe. And remember that despite this bitter chill, the planet is still heating up. Read more >

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Photo: Bob Dass/Flickr

Winds and Wildfires in California: 4 Factors to Watch that Increase Danger

Santa Ana influenced fires, which occur between October and April, are different from the warm and dry season fires, that typically occur between June and September. Scientists have found the main reasons why Santa Ana influenced fires contribute the vast majority of cumulative economic losses in California compared to other wildfires that typically occur in the summer.  From 1990-2009, Santa Ana influenced fires spread three times faster, occurred closer to urban areas, and burned into areas with greater housing values. Over the same years, other fires often occurred in higher elevation forests, were more sensitive to how old the vegetation was, lasted for extended periods, and accounted for 70% of total suppression costs.  In other words, other fires burned in remote forests, often with plenty of mature vegetation or ‘fuel’ for long-lasting wildfires. Whereas Santa Ana influenced fires scorched with greater speed through areas that were typically closer to more people. Read more >

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