• Heat waveDangerous Heat Wave Is Building in the Central and Eastern U.S.

    The National Weather Service said Thursday that an upper-level ridge is building over the southeastern U.S., setting the stage for what will be a miserably hot and humid weekend for millions of Americans. Heat advisories and warnings affect 154 million Americans. In many major population centers, the heat index  is forecast to peak around 110 degrees between Friday and Sunday.

  • DroughtsWarming Climate Intensifies Summer Drought in Parts of U.S.

    Climate change is amplifying the intensity and likelihood of heatwaves during severe droughts in the southern plains and southwest United States, according to a new study. The findings raise the idea of a self-reinforcing climate loop: as a region’s climate becomes more arid due to climate change, droughts become hotter, further reducing soil moisture.

  • Managed coastal retreatRaising Tough Questions about Retreat from Rising Seas

    By Sarah Fecht

    As the global thermostat climbs and polar ice melts, the oceans are swelling and swallowing up coastlines. By some calculations, rising seas could displace 13 million Americans by 2100. While some communities are attempting to adapt in place with elevated buildings and seawalls to divert water, relocation appears inevitable for many.

  • GeoengineeringPreventing West Antarctic Ice Collapse by Snowing Ocean Water onto It

    The ice sheet covering West Antarctica is at risk of sliding off into the ocean. The slow, yet inexorable loss of West Antarctic ice is likely to continue even after climate warming is stabilized. A collapse will raise sea levels worldwide by more than three meters. Researchers are now scrutinizing a daring way of stabilizing the ice sheet: Generating trillions of tons of additional snowfall by pumping ocean water onto the glaciers and distributing it with snow canons.

  • FloodsPredicting flood duration

    The duration of floods can be determined by river flow, precipitation and atmospheric blocking. Researchers now offer a novel physically based Bayesian network model for inference and prediction of flood duration. The model also accurately examines the timescales of flooding.

  • PerspectiveCalifornia’s Wildfires Are 500 Percent Larger Due to Climate Change

    Californians may feel like they’re enduring an epidemic of fire. The past decade has seen half of the state’s 10 largest wildfires and seven of its 10 most destructive fires, including last year’s Camp Fire, the state’s deadliest wildfire ever. A new study finds that the state’s fire outbreak is real—and that it’s being driven by climate change. Since 1972, California’s annual burned area has increased more than fivefold, a trend clearly attributable to the warming climate. “Each degree of warming causes way more fire than the previous degree of warming did. And that’s a really big deal,” Park Williams, a climate scientist at Columbia University and an author of the paper, said. Among the many ways climate change might be messing with the environment, extra heat is among the simplest and most obvious. “Heat is the most clear result of human-caused climate change,” Williams said.

  • WildfiresClimate Change Is Driving Many California Wildfires

    Against a backdrop of long-term rises in temperature in recent decades, California has seen ever higher spikes in seasonal wildfires, and, in the last two years, a string of disastrous, record-setting blazes. This has led scientists, politicians and media to ponder: what role might warming climate be playing here?

  • HurricanesCan the “Masters of the Flood” Help Texas Protect Its Coast from Hurricanes?

    By Kiah Collier

    After centuries of fighting back water in a low-lying nation, the Dutch have become the world leaders in flood control. And their expertise is helping Texas design what would become the nation’s most ambitious — and expensive — coastal barrier.

  • Climate crisisSouthwest to Endure 50 Days or More a Year When Temperature “Feels Like” Exceeding 105 Degrees

    Increases in potentially lethal heat driven by climate change will affect every state in the contiguous U.S. in the decades ahead. Few places would be unaffected by extreme heat conditions by midcentury and only a few mountainous regions would remain extreme heat refuges by the century’s end. The dangerously soaring heat across the U.S. is posing unprecedented health risks.

  • InfrastructureTimber Skyscrapers Can Rewind the Carbon Footprint of the Concrete Industry

    Recent innovations in engineered timber have laid the foundations for the world’s first wooden skyscrapers to appear within a decade, a feat that is not only achievable, but one they hope will beckon in an era of sustainable wooden cities, helping reverse historic emissions from the construction industry.

  • Water securityCalifornia Plans to Better Use Winter Storms to Refill Its Aquifers

    With new rules coming into effect, California farmers and municipalities using groundwater must either find more water to support the aquifers or take cropland out of use. To ease the pain, engineers are looking to harness an unconventional and unwieldy source of water: the torrential storms that sometimes blast across the Pacific Ocean and soak California.

  • Climate threatsU.S. Costal Communities Face More than $400 Billion in Seawall Costs by 2040

    Coastal communities in the contiguous U.S. face more than $400 billion in costs over the next twenty years, much of it sooner, to defend coastal communities from inevitable sea-level rise, according to a new report. This is approaching the cost of the original interstate highway system and will require the construction of more than 50,000 miles of coastal barriers in 22 states by 2040, half the time it took to create the nation’s iconic roadway network.

  • PerspectiveThe California Coast Is Disappearing under the Rising Sea. Our Choices Are Grim

    The California coast grew and prospered during a remarkable moment in history when the sea was at its tamest. But the mighty Pacific, unbeknownst to all, was nearing its final years of a calm but unusual cycle that had lulled dreaming settlers into a false sense of endless summer.

  • Perspective: Climate threatsClimate Change Made Europe’s Mega-Heatwave Five Times More Likely

    After a series of unusually hot summers, France and other parts of Europe last week experienced another intense heatwave that broke temperature records across the continent. Quirin Schiermeier writes in Scientific American that for one group of climate scientists, the event presented a rare opportunity: to rapidly analyse whether the cause of the heatwave — which made headlines around the world — could be attributed to global warming. After a seven-day analysis, their results are in: climate change made the temperatures reached in France last week at least five times more likely to occur than in a world without global warming.

  • Perspective: Climate threatsOne Climate Crisis Disaster Happening Every Week, UN Warns

    Climate crisis disasters are happening at the rate of one a week, though most draw little international attention and work is urgently needed to prepare developing countries for the profound impacts, the UN has warned. Fiona Harvey writes in the Guardian that this means that adapting to the climate crisis could no longer be seen as a long-term problem, but one that needed investment now, said Mami Mizutori, the UN secretary-general’s special representative on disaster risk reduction. “People need to talk more about adaptation and resilience.”