Melanie Fitzpatrick

Climate scientist

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Melanie Fitzpatrick, formerly a climate scientist with the UCS Climate and Energy Program, is an expert on local and global impacts of climate change. She holds a Ph.D. in Geophysics from the University of Washington, specializing in the role of sea ice and clouds in Antarctica. A specialist in polar and alpine research, Mel has worked for the Australian Antarctic Program, the US Antarctic Program, and in the Department of Earth and Space Sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle.

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Melanie's Latest Posts

Bushfire-Ravaged Australia Is Crying for Climate Action

I’m writing from Australia with a heavy heart and a growing sense of anger.

Uncontrolled bushfires, sparked in September and raging since October, continue to ravage the southern and eastern parts of the continent. So far, 25 people have lost their lives, thousands of houses have been destroyed, and whole towns have been razed to the ground. Countless native animals and livestock have died. Communities are grieving.  And there are months left to go in this fire season.

While the unfolding tragedy that has captured global headlines highlights our vulnerability in a rapidly warming climate, it also exposes a gaping absence of climate leadership both in this country and globally. Communities have been left shattered, exhausted and looking for answers. As a climate scientist who has been working on these issues for decades, I share below some thoughts on how we got here and the urgent new course we need to set. Read more >

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2014 on Track to be Hottest Year on Record

Today, NOAA announced another startling record-breaking month of elevated global temperatures. We have just experienced the  hottest October since record keeping began 135 years ago. This year, May, June, August, September and now October – half the months so far – all smashed previous records for global land and ocean temperatures.

According to NOAA, “The January–October combined global land and ocean average surface temperature was the warmest such period on record, surpassing the previous record set in 1998 and 2010.”

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As Sea Level Rises in Jamaica Bay, New York, Tidal Flooding Moves from Occasional to Chronic

What would it be like to live in a place that floods every full moon? We asked that question and others in our report, Encroaching Tides, which was released last week. Read more >

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Torrential Rain during the World Cup in Brazil, while the U.S. Midwest Floods

In the hours before yesterday’s World Cup football match between the U.S. and Germany, the Brazilian city of Recife was hit by a torrential downpour. A coastal city of 1.5 million people, Recife is used to high humidity and rainfall.  But with streets flooded to waist level in some places, players, officials and fans had a tough time even making it to the stadium for the game. Read more >

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Arctic Sea Ice Thins as Old Thick Ice Rapidly Disappears

Last week brought news of yet another alarming season for sea ice in the Arctic. The National Snow and Ice Data Center announced the Arctic sea ice coverage for winter was the fifth lowest maximum on record. The extent of ice was more than 280,000 square miles below the 30-year average for 1981-2010. That’s an area just bigger than the size of Texas missing. Read more >

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