• Coastal resilienceIdentifying sources of coastal resiliency

    As extreme weather events become more commonplace, regions of the world that get hit the hardest are often left scrambling to put the pieces of their homeland back together. ASU’s Sian Mooney, an economist, recently returned from a trip to Cuba, where the economist attended a tri-national workshop on the theme: “Enhancing Resilience of Coastal Caribbean Communities.” The workshop’s participants have been charged with defining and identifying sources of coastal resiliency and then working to implement them in the region over the next few years. 

  • Climate threatsRecord high CO2 emissions – after 3-year hiatus

    Global emissions of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels have risen again after a three-year hiatus, according to new figures from the Global Carbon Project (GCP). The GCP report reveals that global emissions from all human activities will reach 41 billion tons in 2017, following a projected 2 percent rise in burning fossil fuels.

  • GeoengineeringArtificially cooling the planet could have devastating effects

    Geoengineering — the intentional manipulation of the climate to counter the effect of global warming by injecting aerosols artificially into the atmosphere — has been mooted as a potential way to deal with climate change. Proposals to reduce the effects of global warming by imitating volcanic eruptions could have a devastating effect on global regions prone to either tumultuous storms or prolonged drought, new research has shown.

  • Climate-change threatsU.S. had 3rd warmest and 2nd wettest year to date

    October typically ushers in those crisp, sunny days of fall. But last month was no ordinary October, as warm and wet conditions dampened peak leaf viewing across many parts of the Midwest and New England and fires devastated parts of Northern California and the West.

  • Climate-change threatsHuman-caused warming increasing rate of heat record-breaking around world

    A new study finds human-caused global warming is significantly increasing the rate at which hot temperature records are being broken around the world. Global annual temperature records show there were 17 record hot years from 1861 to 2005. The new study examines whether these temperature records are being broken more often and if so, whether human-caused global warming is to blame.

  • Climate threatsGlobal warming is here, caused by human activity: Massive federal government report

    The White House allowed the release on Friday of a report by U.S. government’s scientists – the Climate Science Special Report – which offers voluminous scientific evidence that climate change is real, it is already here, and that it has been caused – and is being exacerbated – by human activity. The report, which is mandated by Congress, is the most comprehensive report on climate change ever produced. The study, noting that the planet is now the warmest it has been in the history of modern civilization, says that “it’s extremely likely that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, are the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-twentieth century.”

  • Climate threatsGreenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere surge to new record

    Concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere surged at a record-breaking speed in 2016 to the highest level in 800,000 years, according to the World Meteorological Organization’s Greenhouse Gas Bulletin. The abrupt changes in the atmosphere witnessed in the past seventy years are without precedent. Globally averaged concentrations of CO2 reached 403.3 parts per million in 2016, up from 400.00 ppm in 2015 because of a combination of human activities and a strong El Niño event. Concentrations of CO2 are now 145 percent of pre-industrial (before 1750) levels.

  • Climate threats: MitigationBattelle completes 15-year CO2 storage project at Mountaineer Power Plant

    One of the first tests for geologic storage of carbon dioxide at a commercial, coal-fired power plant has concluded, more than fifteen years after it began, completing a journey from an initial exploratory well to successful operations and site closure. The Mountaineer project helped establish the technical viability of carbon capture and storage (CCS) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants, and to store carbon dioxide in geologic layers with limited prior data.

  • Considered opinionWith more superstorms predicted, there’s a dream project to keep New York above water

    By Molly Rubin

    Five years ago, on 29 October 2012, the coasts of New York and New Jersey were devastated by a rare late-October superstorm. Superstorm Sandy killed seventy-two people in the United States and caused more than $70 billion in damage. Over the next thirty years, floods of 7.4 feet or more, which used to occur in the New York area once every 500 years and are now happening every 25, could strike as frequently as every five years. Scientists say that sea-level rise caused by climate change is the biggest factor. One big idea to prevent massive destruction from the next, inevitable superstorm: A constellation of giant underwater gates which would rise in New York Harbor and beyond when disaster looms.

  • WildfiresWhy were California’s wine country fires so destructive?

    By Jon Keeley

    As of late October more than a dozen wildfires north of San Francisco had killed more than 40 people, burned approximately 160,000 acres and destroyed more than 7,000 structures. The path of the destructive 2017 Tubbs fire in Napa and Sonoma counties mirrors that of the Hanley fire of 1964. Strikingly, though, no lives were lost during the Hanley fire and only 29 structures were destroyed. Why did these two fires, 50 years apart, burn on the same general landscape, under similar extreme winds, with such different human impacts? Fire scientists will study these events intensively to parse out the relative importance of various factors. But it is clear that two factors probably were major contributors: wind and population growth. Drought and warmer climates have made wildfires a year-round hazard in California. Expanded urban development, in tandem with hot winds, seems to be the primary reason for the destruction this year.

  • Water securityMountain glaciers shrinking across the West

    A new, satellite-produced, high-resolution map of roughly 1,200 mountain glaciers in the lower 48 states shows steady, and worrisome, loss of snow and ice cover. Tracking the status of so many glaciers will allow scientists to further explore patterns in the changes of snow and ice coverage over time, which will help pinpoint the causes — from changes in temperature and precipitation to slope angle and elevation – and also help improve water management in areas dependent on meltwater.

  • Coastal threatsFuture NYC flooding will be caused by sea-level rise, not stronger storm surge

    Rising sea levels caused by a warming climate threaten greater future storm damage to New York City, but the paths of stronger future storms may shift offshore, changing the coastal risk for the city, according to a team of climate scientists. Future changes in sea level and storms would be smaller if actions were taken to slow climate change, such as the Paris Accord’s goal of limiting warming to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Climate change threatsGlobe had 2nd warmest year to date, 4th warmest September on record

    The average global temperature set in September 2017 was 1.40 degrees F above the 20th-century average of 59.0 degrees. This average temperature was the fourth highest for September in the 1880-2017 record. This marked the 41st consecutive September and the 393rd consecutive month with temperatures above the 20th-century average. The year-to-date average temperature was 1.57 degrees F above the 20th-century average of 57.5 degrees. Arctic and Antarctic sea ice coverage remains small.

  • Climate change threatsWarming seas could lead to 70 percent increase in hurricane-related financial loss

    If oceans warm at a rate predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the UN-sponsored group that assesses climate change research and issues periodic reports, expected financial losses caused by hurricanes could increase more than 70 percent by 2100, according to researchers. The finding is based on the panel’s most severe potential climate change scenario – and resulting increased sea surface temperature – and is predicted at an 80 percent confidence level. The model drew on hurricane data for the last 150 years gathered by NOAA.

  • Climate change threatsClimate action window could close as early as 2023

    As the Trump administration repeals the U.S. Clean Power Plan, a new study underscores the urgency of reducing greenhouse gas emissions—from both environmental and economic perspectives. For the U.S. most energy-hungry sectors—automotive and electricity—the study identifies timetables for action, after which the researchers say it will be too late to stave off a climate tipping point. And the longer the nation waits, the more expensive it will be to move to cleaner technologies in those sectors—a finding that runs contrary to conventional economic thought because prices of solar, wind and battery technologies are rapidly falling, the study’s authors say.