• In one generation, climate of North American cities will shift hundreds of miles

    In one generation, the climate experienced in many North American cities is projected to change to that of locations hundreds of miles away—or to a new climate unlike any found in North America today. New web application helps visualize climate changes in 540 North American cities.

  • 2018 fourth warmest year in continued warming trend

    Earth’s global surface temperatures in 2018 were the fourth warmest since 1880, according to independent analyses by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Global temperatures in 2018 were 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit (0.83 degrees Celsius) warmer than the 1951 to 1980 mean. Globally, 2018’s temperatures rank behind those of 2016, 2017 and 2015. The past five years are, collectively, the warmest years in the modern record.

  • Lawmakers tell Pentagon to redo climate change report

    Earlier this month, the Pentagon, in compliance with a congressional mandate, released a landmark report which identified the 79 American military installations most vulnerable to the “effects of a changing climate.” Several Democrats on the House Armed Services Committee welcomed the report – but at the same time harshly criticized it for failing to include details requested by Congress, among them the estimates by each of the armed services of the cost of protecting or replacing the ten most vulnerable military bases.

  • Rising seas: to keep humans safe, let nature shape the coast

    Even under the most conservative climate change scenarios, sea levels 30cm higher than at present seem all but certain on much of the U.K.’s coast by the end of this century. Depending on emission scenarios, sea levels one meter higher than at present by 2100 are also plausible. The knee-jerk reaction to sea level rise has traditionally been to maintain the shoreline’s position at all cost, by building new flood defense structures or upgrading old ones, but this traditional approach of “grey” engineered sea defenses locks society into ever increasing costs of replacement and maintenance. The alternatives are “nature-based solutions” to coastal flooding and erosion, which work with natural processes to reduce flood risk and incorporate ecosystems into flood defense.

  • Diffusing the methane bomb

    The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, causing the carbon containing permafrost that has been frozen for tens or hundreds of thousands of years to thaw and release methane into the atmosphere, thereby contributing to global warming. The findings of a study that included researchers from IIASA, however, suggest that it is still possible to neutralize this threat.

  • Seas may be rising faster than thought

    A new Tulane University study questions the reliability of how sea-level rise in low-lying coastal areas such as southern Louisiana is measured and suggests that the current method underestimates the severity of the problem.

  • Climate change tipping point may be coming sooner than we think

    Global carbon emissions reached a record high in 2018, rising by an estimated 3.4 percent in the U.S. alone. This trend is making scientists, government officials, and industry leaders more anxious than ever about the future of our planet. While it’s known that extreme weather events can affect the year-to-year variability in carbon uptake, but a new study is the first to actually quantify the effects through the 21st century and demonstrates that wetter-than-normal years do not compensate for losses in carbon uptake during dryer-than-normal years, caused by events such as droughts or heatwaves.

  • Near-term climate prediction “coming of age”

    The quest for climate scientists to be able to bridge the gap between shorter-term seasonal forecasts and long-term climate projections is “coming of age,” a study shows. The research has shown the true capabilities of near-term climate predictions, out to just a few years ahead.

  • Sierra snowpack could drop by nearly 80% by end of century

    A future warmer world will almost certainly feature a decline in fresh water from the Sierra Nevada mountain snowpack. Now a new study that analyzed the headwater regions of California’s 10 major reservoirs, representing nearly half of the state’s surface storage, found they could see on average a 79 percent drop in peak snowpack water volume by 2100.

  • Connected vehicles’ windshield wipers could help prevent flooding

    We’ve been promised all kinds of benefits from a future of connected vehicles, but flood control? One of your car’s oldest features has been put to a new, high-tech use by University of Michigan researchers. Utilizing a test fleet in the city of Ann Arbor, engineers tracked when wipers were being used and matched it with video from onboard cameras to document rainfall. They found that tracking windshield wiper activity can provide faster, more accurate rainfall data than radar and rain gauge systems we currently have in place.

  • Preparing for extreme weather

    From high winds and heavy rainfall to droughts and plummeting temperatures, people in Europe have already begun to feel the effects of extreme weather. As we get used to this new reality, scientists are investigating how it will affect how we get around and whether our infrastructure can cope.

  • Coastal wetlands need to move inland in fight against climate change

    Up to 30 percent of coastal wetlands could be lost globally as a result of rising sea levels, with a dramatic effect on global warming and coastal flooding, if action is not taken to protect them, new research warns. The global study suggests that the future of global coastal wetlands, including tidal marshes and mangroves, could be secured if they were able to migrate further inland.

  • 2018 fourth costliest year in insured losses

    2018 was the fourth-costliest year since 1980 in terms of insured losses. This was due to an accumulation of severe and costly events in the second half of the year. A comparison with the last 30 years shows that 2018 was above the inflation-adjusted overall loss average of $140bn. The figure for insured losses – $80bn – was significantly higher than the 30-year average of $41bn. 2018 therefore ranks among the ten costliest disaster years in terms of overall losses, and was the fourth-costliest year since 1980 for the insurance industry.

  • Droughts boost emissions as hydropower dries up

    Recent droughts caused increases in emissions of carbon dioxide and harmful air pollutants from power generation in several western states as fossil fuels came online to replace hampered hydroelectric power. A new study quantifies the impact.

  • Looking in wrong place when predicting tornadoes

    Historically, there have been a wide number of conflicting theories about how tornadoes form, but the most widely accepted was that they form from the top down, based on work done from the 1970s through the 1990s. For the first time, new observational evidence shows that they actually form from the ground up, which could have a profound impact on the way tornado warnings are issued in the future. It’s the first time these hypotheses have been able to be evaluated observationally, thanks to a modern radar system that collects data very rapidly.