• Bomb Cyclones and Breadbaskets: How Climate, Food, and Political Unrest Intersect

    As climate change continues to increase both the frequency and magnitude of extreme weather events, extreme consequences can emerge across and downstream from these supply chains. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest report discusses at length the challenges that increasing global population and climatic volatility pose to food and water scarcity—and, consequently, to social and economic systems. As a result, weather and climate forecasting— coupled with the computer-aided modeling of economic and political resilience to such events—could help improve predictions of political flashpoints greatly at a time of unprecedented environmental change.

  • Past California Wildfire Activity Suggests Climate Change Will Worsen Future Fires

    In the wake of recent wildfires that have ravaged northern and central California, a new study finds that the severity of fire activity in the Sierra Nevada region has been sensitive to changes in climate over the past 1,400 years. The findings suggest that future climate change is likely to drive increased fire activity in the Sierras.

  • An Umbrella to Combat Warming

    Research examines the possibility of spraying tiny particles into the stratosphere to block the sun a bit and cool the planet. Shielding the Earth with a mist of tiny particles sounds like the stuff of sci-fi movies, but since it was first proposed in the 1950s the idea has gained traction among scientists around the world to shield us not from extraterrestrials, as Hollywood might have it, but from the sun. Known as solar geoengineering, the concept is to send planes into the stratosphere — 6 to 31 miles above the Earth — to spray particles that can reflect sunlight back into space and cool the planet.

  • Climate Change Could Cause Drought in Wheat-Growing Areas

    In a new study, researchers found that unless steps are taken to mitigate climate change, up to 60 percent of current wheat-growing areas worldwide could see simultaneous, severe and prolonged droughts by the end of the century. Wheat is the world’s largest rain-fed crop in terms of harvested area and supplies about 20 percent of all calories consumed by humans.

  • Less Fuel, More People: Most California Wildfires in Wildland-Urban Interface Areas

    In California, the state with more building destruction by wildfire than all of the other states combined, new research found something surprising. Over nearly three decades, half of all buildings destroyed by wildfire in California were located in an area that is described as having less of the grasses, bushes and trees that are thought to fuel fire in the wildland-urban interface, or WUI.

  • Designing the Coastal City of the Future

    Boston is situated along the Gulf of Maine, which is warming faster than 99 percent of the ocean due, in part, to changing sea patterns from melting ice in Greenland and the Arctic Ocean. Coupled with increased heat and precipitation, the rising sea level is threatening the low-lying city, much of which was built on landfill over the past 300 years along a 50-square-mile harbor. To save the 685,000-person city, the local government is calling on architects to help implement one of the most ambitious municipal resiliency plans in the United States: Climate Ready Boston. Launched in 2016 by Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Climate Ready Boston is an initiative to prepare the city for the long-term impacts of climate change.

  • Arctic Ice Is Melting Faster Than Expected. These Scientists Have a Radical Idea to Save It.

    glaciers, polar land, and sea ice are rapidly melting, much faster than many scientists expected, as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) report on oceans and the cryosphere released Wednesday reiterated. During a five-day heat wave this summer, Greenland lost more than 60 billion tons of ice, including the biggest loss in a 24-hour period since record-keeping began. Recent projections warn that Arctic summers could be nearly ice-free in 10 to 40 years. These grim warnings have prompted more researchers to apply technological solutions that intervene in the earth’s climate systems to slow the impacts of global warming, also known as “geoengineering.”

  • Ecosystem Investments Could Minimize Storm Damage

    A new study provides information on how to invest in natural coastal ecosystems that the Bahamian government, community leaders and development banks are applying in post-disaster recovery and future storm preparation in the Bahamas.

  • 250,000 Cubic Meters of Ice in Danger of Breaking Off Europe's Mont Blanc

    Highlighting concerns about global warming, Italian authorities now fear that part of the glacier on Mont Blanc, Europe’s highest mountain, is at risk of collapse. Experts have been monitoring the Planpicieux glacier on Mont Blanc for some time and concerns have been mounting in Italy that a section of the glacier is at risk of collapsing. Mayors of the picturesque ski towns in the area have been taking civil defense measures, including plans for evacuation on a short notice.

  • New Satellite Make Flood Prediction Easier

    A satellite on schedule to launch in 2021 could offer a more comprehensive look at flooding in vulnerable, under-studied parts of the world, including much of Africa, South America and Indonesia. A new study found that the satellite also will likely improve flood modeling around the world, even in areas that are already studied extensively, especially in the United States and Canada. That could mean more accurate flood plain maps and better predictions about which areas are likely to flood after snowmelt, hurricanes, ice jam breakup and others.

  • Global Climate in 2015-2019 Shows Climate Change Accelerating

    The tell-tale signs and impacts of climate change – such as sea level rise, ice loss, and extreme weather – increased during 2015-2019, which is set to be the warmest five-year period on record, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere have also increased to record levels, locking in the warming trend for generations to come.

  • In Quake-Rattled Albania, Government Detains Journalists on Fake News Charges after Aftershocks Warning

    Two Albanian journalists were taken into custody early Monday for an alleged hoax in “publishing the fake news, and causing panic among the citizens” about seismic activity, according to police. The headline on the original story called for people to leave their homes as soon as possible, triggering a massive panic as residents took to the darkened streets of a city already beset by Saturday’s magnitude-5.8 quake that damaged nearly 1,000 buildings and injured at least 105.

  • NYC Building a Seawall to Protect City from Rising Seas

    On Staten Island, the section of New York City which suffered most of Superstorm Sandy’s devastation, most of the homes destroyed by the storm still sit empty. City engineers have concluded that there was no point fixing and rehabilitating these homes until other measures are taken to protect the Staten Island from the next devastating storms. And climate change will only make these storms more frequent and more intense. These other measures are now underway.

  • Global Warming Has “Profound Consequences” for Oceans, Cryosphere

    The ocean and the cryosphere – the frozen parts of the planet – play a critical role for life on Earth. A total of 670 million people in high mountain regions and 680 million people in low-lying coastal zones depend directly on these systems. Four million people live permanently in the Arctic region, and small island developing states are home to 65 million people. Global warming has profound consequences for these ecosystems: The ocean is warmer, more acidic and less productive; melting glaciers and ice sheets are causing sea level rise; and coastal extreme events are becoming more severe.

  • Good Communication Is a Key Part of Disaster Response

    Behind the scenes during hurricanes and other disasters, scores of public information officers (PIOs) in state and local government agencies are fixed to their screens – often in 24-hour shifts – frantically fielding facts and phone calls, rushing to get information to the news media and the public. While this work may not seem as critical as search-and-rescue operations, it is essential.