Kristy Dahl

Senior climate scientist

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Kristina Dahl is a climate scientist who designs, executes, and communicates scientific analyses that make climate change more tangible to the general public and policy makers. Her research focuses on the impacts of climate change--particularly sea level rise--on people and the places and institutions they care about. Dr. Dahl holds a Ph.D. in paleoclimate from the MIT/WHOI Joint Program in Cambridge and Woods Hole, Massachusetts.

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Kristy's Latest Posts

5 of California’s 6 Largest Fires on Record Are Burning Now: The Astonishing 2020 Wildfire Season in Context

Editor’s note: This post has been revised to reflect the most accurate data on fire acreage in the 1980s. The original relied on data from the NIFC for 1980-1983 and the updated version excludes this period, as the data are less reliable. The 1980s statistics now reflect data from MTBS and CalFire.

California is a state that burns. Like epic snowstorms in Tahoe, fog in San Francisco, and the dry heat of Palm Springs, wildfires are a natural feature of California’s climate—and like all of those, wildfire is changing because of global warming. Rising temperatures are drying out soils, plants, and forests, which then act as fuel for increasingly large fires.

When you’re far from the fires, or when their smoke isn’t cloaking your neighborhood, it can be difficult to conceive of their scale. Here are nine graphics that put this year’s fires into context. Read more >

Mike Lewelling/National Park Service
UCS
NASA
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In the US West Scorched by Wildfires, We Can Barely Breathe. It’s Going to Get Worse.

We built upon data from a 2016 study projecting future “smoke wave” days to better understand where and for whom smoky days will be of increasing concern as climate change pushes wildfires to new extremes. Read more >

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FEMA

As Hurricane Laura Bears Down on Gulf Coast, Data Shows How COVID-19 May Affect Evacuations

With Hurricane Laura churning toward the Gulf Coast, hundreds of thousands of people on the Texas and Louisiana coasts are currently under either voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders. Along with the thousands of people who have evacuated their homes due to wildfire threats in California, Gulf Coast evacuees will be adding to the ranks of those hoping to find safer shelter from climate-related events in the time of COVID-19. Read more >

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How Will People Cope With Extreme Heat and Rising COVID-19 Risks This Week?

As we speed toward a future where heat waves like this become the norm, we must do better. Read more >

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Pixnio

New COVID-19 Testing Data Reveal 70% More Positive Results in Non-White US Counties

New data compiled and analyzed by UCS shows that in counties with relatively large non-White populations, 70 percent more people test positive for COVID-19 than in predominantly White counties. Read more >

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