• Climate change will reshape global economy: Study

    Unmitigated climate change is likely to reduce the income of an average person on Earth by roughly 23 percent in 2100, according to estimates contained in a new study. The findings indicate climate change will widen global inequality, perhaps dramatically, because warming is good for cold countries, which tend to be richer, and more harmful for hot countries, which tend to be poorer. In the researchers’ benchmark estimate, climate change will reduce average income in the poorest 40 percent of countries by 75 percent in 2100, while the richest 20 percent may experience slight gains.

  • September 2015, and January-September 2015, the warmest on record

    A new report from the National oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) finds that September 2015 was the warmest month on record, with average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces reaching 1.62°F (0.90°C) above the twentieth century average. The year-to-date temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.53°F (0.85°C) above the twentieth century average. This was the highest for January–September in the 1880–2015 record.

  • U.S. should lead climate change fight to bolster global stability: U.S. defense, diplomacy leaders

    Forty-eight former U.S. leaders, both Republicans and Democrats – among them secretaries of state and defense, national security advisers, leaders of the intelligence community, diplomats, generals in all four branches of the armed services, senators, and members of the House of Representatives – have published an open letter in the Wall Street Journal which called on U.S. political and business leaders to “think past tomorrow” and lead the fight on climate change. The U.S. security establishment has long recognized the threat posed by climate change to U.S. national security, defining climate change as a “threat multiplier,” adding fuel to conflicts. Security experts and military leaders no longer regard climate change as only a threat multiplier, but rather as s serious danger on its own – with droughts, sea-level rise, food shortages, and extreme weather events triggering migration and armed conflicts.

  • California’s future: More frequent and more severe droughts and floods

    In the future, the Pacific Ocean’s temperature cycles could disrupt more than just December fishing. A new study suggests that the weather patterns known as El Nino and La Nina could lead to at least a doubling of extreme droughts and floods in California later this century.

  • Technology confronts disasters

    In 2010, soon after Haiti was devastated by an earthquake, a team from MIT Lincoln Laboratory collected and analyzed information to help the U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM), the lead military agency responding to the crisis, effectively dispatch vital resources, including food, water, tents, and medical supplies, to the victims of this disaster. This Haiti experience demonstrated to Lincoln Laboratory researchers that advanced technology and technical expertise developed for the Department of Defense (DoD) can significantly benefit future humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts. In February, the Laboratory established the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) Systems Group to explore ways to leverage or advance existing capabilities for improving disaster responses.

  • Developing nuclear cladding to withstand Fukushima-like meltdown conditions

    Like much of the rest of the world, thousands of scientists and engineers watched in March 2011 as Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors exploded. The fuel’s cladding, a zirconium alloy used to contain the fuel and radioactive fission products, reacted with boiling coolant water to form hydrogen gas, which then exploded, resulting in the biggest nuclear power-related disaster since Chernobyl. Challenged by this event, two research teams have made progress in developing fuel claddings that are capable of withstanding the high temperatures resulting from a Loss of Coolant Accident (LOCA), like that at Fukushima.

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  • Airborne networking capabilities for hostile environments

    Modern airborne warfare is becoming increasingly complex, with manned and unmanned systems having rapidly to share information in a volatile environment where adversaries use advanced, commercially available electronic systems to disrupt U.S. and allied communications. DARPA’s Dynamic Network Adaptation for Mission Optimization (DyNAMO) program. DyNAMO seeks novel technologies which would enable independently designed networks to share information and adapt to sporadic jamming and mission-critical dynamic network bursts in contested RF environments.

  • Scholars challenge colleges to reform STEM learning

    America’s colleges and universities need to transform not only how but what they teach in introductory science courses, a group of scholars say. The researchers say that college students are expected to learn too many facts that do not connect across their coursework or prepare them to apply scientific knowledge in their lives. They believe a different set of strategies taking hold in K-12 schools can be used to improve learning in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM, during the first two years of college.

  • Philippines coastal areas go underwater due to sea level rise

    More than 167,000 hectares of Philippines coastland — about 0.6 percent of the country’s total area — are projected to go underwater in, especially in low-lying island communities, according to research by the University of the Philippines. Low-lying countries with an abundance of coastlines are at significant risk from rising sea levels resulting from global warming. According to data by the World Meteorological Organization, the water levels around the Philippines are rising at a rate almost three times the global average due partly to the influence of the trade winds pushing ocean currents. On average, sea levels around the world rise 3.1 centimeters every ten years. Water levels in the Philippines are projected to rise between 7.6 and 10.2 centimeters each decade.

  • Managing urban stormwater runoff better

    As meteorologists monitor the El Nino condition currently gaining strength in the Pacific Ocean, Californians look with hope to the much-needed rain and snow it could yield. But if Californians are going to make the most of the precipitation, they need to put a LID on it. LIDs, or low-impact development technologies, mimic pre-urban stream functions. Examples are green roofs that absorb and evapotranspire rainfall; rainwater tanks attached to homes and other buildings; and permeable pavement for roads, driveways and parking lots. Rainwater could even be used in the home for toilet flushing and laundry.

  • Experts are often fallible, so expert advice should be examined carefully

    Evidence shows that experts are frequently fallible, say leading risk researchers, and policy makers should not act on expert advice without using rigorous methods that balance subjective distortions inherent in expert estimates. Many governments aspire to evidence-based policy, but the researchers say the evidence on experts themselves actually shows that they are highly susceptible to “subjective influences” — from individual values and mood, to whether they stand to gain or lose from a decision — and, while highly credible, experts often vastly overestimate their objectivity and the reliability of peers. 

  • IPCC projections “wildly over optimistic”: Climate expert

    As a new chairman is appointed to the Intergovernmental Panel on climate Change (IPCC), one climate expert has said headline projections from the organization about future warming are “wildly over optimistic.” The expert says that IPCC claims that “global economic growth would not be strongly effected” are unrealistic and that if we are to meet the 2°C warming target, wealthy and high emitting individuals will need to make dramatic cuts in the energy they use and in the material goods they consume  at least until the transition away from fossil fuels is complete.

  • Improving precision of drone navigation

    Researchers are working to bring a new level of precision to the navigation systems used to guide drones. The work is supported through a contract with Southern Company, one of the U.S. largest energy companies, which plans to use unmanned aircraft to enhance safety for crews in the field and improve reliability for customers. The researchers have designed a prototype which uses onboard ultrasound sensors to relay information on the aircraft’s location to its operator.

  • Sea level rise dooms Miami, New Orleans

    Say goodbye to Miami and New Orleans. No matter what we do to curb global warming, these and other beloved U.S. cities will sink below rising seas, according to a new study. “In our analysis, a lot of cities have futures that depend on our carbon choices but some appear to be already lost,” says one of the study’s authors. “And it is hard to imagine how we could defend Miami in the long run.” An online tool shows which U.S. cities may face “lock-in dates beyond which the cumulative effects of carbon emissions likely commit them to long-term sea-level rise that could submerge land under more than half of the city’s population,” said the study.

  • Global marine analysis: Food chain collapse likely

    A world-first global analysis of marine responses to climbing human CO2 emissions has painted a grim picture of future fisheries and ocean ecosystems. Marine ecologists say the expected ocean acidification and warming is likely to produce a reduction in diversity and numbers of various key species that underpin marine ecosystems around the world. The researchers found that there would be “limited scope” for acclimation to warmer waters and acidification. Very few species will escape the negative effects of increasing CO2, with an expected large reduction in species diversity and abundance across the globe.