• Emerging threatsThirty-one leading scientific societies call for action on climate change

    In a consensus letter to U.S. policymakers, a partnership of thirty-one leading nonpartisan scientific societies the other day reaffirmed the reality of human-caused climate change, noting that greenhouse gas emissions “must be substantially reduced” to minimize negative impacts on the global economy, natural resources, and human health. Climate-change impacts in the United States have already included increased threats of extreme weather events, sea-level rise, water scarcity, heat waves, wildfires, and disturbances to ecosystems and animals, the intersociety group reported.

  • Emerging threatsClimate assessment must be relevant and useful to policymakers

    Climate change assessments must be more relevant to policymakers’ needs, experts say. They argue that coming off the Paris agreement late last year, ambition for fighting climate change is high. They assert that groups like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) should capitalize on this increased enthusiasm by integrating studies and presenting their results in ways that are useful to policymakers.

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  • Extreme weatherWe need better information to understand extreme weather

    Scientists need more credible and relevant information to help communities become more resilient to extreme weather events such as floods. Researchers need improved techniques to be able to understand why the climate is changing, and the part humans play in this process, experts say.

  • Food securityCrop breeding is not keeping pace with climate change

    Crop yields will fall within the next decade due to climate change unless immediate action is taken to speed up the introduction of new and improved varieties, experts have warned. The researchers focused on maize in Africa but the underlying processes affect crops across the tropics.

  • Coastal resilienceThe contribution of human dynamics to coastal communities’ resilience

    The National Academies of Sciences has established a $10 million grants program to fund projects that enhance the science and practice of coastal community resilience in the Gulf of Mexico region. Rather than focus on infrastructure needs or the built environment, as many existing resilience-focused programs do, the new grants program will support the study of the human dynamics that influence a community’s ability to respond to adverse events.

  • Heat waveWestern U.S. braces for “dangerous and deadly” 120 degrees heatwave

    Forecasters have warned that temperatures in the western United States are set to reach 120 degrees in a “rare, dangerous, and deadly” heatwave. The forecasts have worried officials, who are bracing for devastating wildfires and power cuts which will knock out air-conditioning systems, leading to heat-related fatalities. The area which will be subjected to the heat wave stretches from Oklahoma to California. It is home to sixty-six million people, one-fifth of the U.S. population.

  • Emerging threatsYear-long heat streak results in new global heat records

    Fresh out of the oven that was a warm start to the year, global temperatures are on a roll: For the 13th consecutive month, the globe was record warm in May — the longest such stretch in 137 years of record-keeping. The more than yearlong heat streak also resulted in other new global heat records.

  • EnergyIn Sweden, replacing nuclear power with wind power does not make sense

    The Swedish power supply is largely free of carbon emissions. Indeed, it is mainly based on a combination of hydroelectric and nuclear power combined with power exchange with neighboring Scandinavian countries. A new study, investigating the possibility of replacing nuclear power with wind power, which is by nature intermittent, concludes that a backup system, based on fossil fuel, namely gas, would be required in combination with wind power. In such a scenario, the CO2 emissions would double.

  • Emerging threatsFuture summers could regularly be hotter than the hottest summers on record

    In fifty years, summers across most of the globe could regularly be hotter than any summer experienced so far by people alive today, according to a new study. If climate change continues on its current trajectory, the probability that any summer between 2061 and 2080 will be warmer than the hottest on record is 80 percent across the world’s land areas, excluding Antarctica, which was not studied. If greenhouse gas emissions are reduced, however, that probability drops to 41 percent, according to the study.

  • ResilienceCities can prepare for hurricane season by reforming shortsighted and outdated laws

    By John Travis Marshall

    In the past decade major storms have devastated U.S. coastal cities from Galveston to Atlantic City and New York. They also have ravaged inland capitals, including Baton Rouge, Richmond, and Montpelier. Ensuring that our cities have the legal infrastructure in place to build safer, more efficient, and more equitable neighborhoods and communities after storms is just as important as preparing homes and businesses to ride out those storms.

  • ResilienceNew USGS models help predict storm effects on beaches

    As the 2016 hurricane season opens, weather forecasters, emergency managers and coastal residents have access to tools developed by the USGS which predict, more precisely than ever, where beach erosion and beachfront flooding will take place during hurricanes and other storms.

  • Coastal infrastructureGroundwater extraction contributes less to sea level rise than previously thought

    Groundwater extraction and other land water contribute about three times less to sea level rise than previous estimates, according to a new study. The study does not change the overall picture of future sea level rise, but provides a much more accurate understanding of the interactions between water on land, in the atmosphere, and the oceans, which could help to improve future models of sea level rise.

  • Emerging threatsChanging climate threatens World Heritage, tourism sites

    Climate change is fast becoming one of the most significant risks for World Heritage sites across the globe. Many World Heritage sites, designated for their global significance and universal value to humankind, are major tourist destinations. Some are among the most iconic places on Earth.

  • Personal protection equipmentCotton candy machine inspires lighter bullet proof vests, and more

    It is “boots on the ground” in this Harvard lab where the researchers are on a mission to protect U.S. troops on the battlefield. Researchersare developing next generation nanofibers at the Harvard Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC). The researchers draw their inspiration from the cotton candy machine. They use their own version of that technology to spin a wide range of polymers, both natural and synthetic, into new fabrics and materials for military use.

  • Food securityBetter understanding of how climate change threatens agriculture

    Climate change expected over the next decade may cause food production in a key agricultural region of Brazil to decline by up to 13 percent. The decline reflects both reductions in crop yield — how much is produced per area harvested — and how crop failures and farmers’ decisions together lead to cultivating less land and growing only one crop in a season instead of two. “Some amount of climate change is inevitable,” says a researcher. “So we’re asking, How vulnerable is the agricultural system, and what are the remedies?”