• Oil spillsNew decision-making tool for oil spill clean-up

    Engineers have created an interactive decision tree aimed at finding the best solution for specific oil spill scenarios. Numerous chemical dispersant technologies are available to address different types of oil spills and countless variables and external conditions can play into the effectiveness of any given dispersant. The decision-making tool helps bridge this gap to determine how a dispersant technology will perform under different spill scenarios.

  • Climate threatsNear-term climate prediction “coming of age”

    The quest for climate scientists to be able to bridge the gap between shorter-term seasonal forecasts and long-term climate projections is “coming of age,” a study shows. The research has shown the true capabilities of near-term climate predictions, out to just a few years ahead.

  • Water securitySierra snowpack could drop by nearly 80% by end of century

    A future warmer world will almost certainly feature a decline in fresh water from the Sierra Nevada mountain snowpack. Now a new study that analyzed the headwater regions of California’s 10 major reservoirs, representing nearly half of the state’s surface storage, found they could see on average a 79 percent drop in peak snowpack water volume by 2100.

  • Extreme weatherPreparing for extreme weather

    By Jonathan O'Callaghan

    From high winds and heavy rainfall to droughts and plummeting temperatures, people in Europe have already begun to feel the effects of extreme weather. As we get used to this new reality, scientists are investigating how it will affect how we get around and whether our infrastructure can cope.

  • Coastal perilCoastal wetlands need to move inland in fight against climate change

    Up to 30 percent of coastal wetlands could be lost globally as a result of rising sea levels, with a dramatic effect on global warming and coastal flooding, if action is not taken to protect them, new research warns. The global study suggests that the future of global coastal wetlands, including tidal marshes and mangroves, could be secured if they were able to migrate further inland.

  • Future threatsNew policy design required to tackle global environmental threat: Report

    A pioneering new report has devised a seven-point plan to help policymakers devise new, coherent and collaborative strategies to tackle the greatest global environmental threats. A team of international researchers has examined how politicians and legislators can develop a new way to tackle the growing threat of climate change. comes in response to advice from leading scientists, suggesting that the human impact on the environment are already tipping the world into a new geologically significant era.

  • Climate threatsDroughts boost emissions as hydropower dries up

    Recent droughts caused increases in emissions of carbon dioxide and harmful air pollutants from power generation in several western states as fossil fuels came online to replace hampered hydroelectric power. A new study quantifies the impact.

  • Mitigating climate threatsUsing the National Climate Assessment to prepare for climate change

    Every four years, the National Climate Assessment evaluates the state of climate science and the impact of climate change in the U.S., now and into the future. The most recent NCA was released on Black Friday, and many cities, states, businesses, and local communities are ready to take action on climate change—and they’re wondering how to go about it.

  • Climate threats“Pause” in global warming was never real, new research proves

    Claims of a “pause” in observed global temperature warming are comprehensively disproved in a pair of new studies published this week. An international team of climate researchers reviewed existing data and studies and reanalyzed them. They concluded there has never been a statistically significant “pause” in global warming. This conclusion holds whether considering the “pause” as a change in the rate of warming in observations or as a mismatch in rate between observations and expectations from climate models.

  • Climate threatsEvidence supporting regulation of greenhouse gases stronger than ever: Scientists

    Sixteen prominent climate scientists argue that there is more reason than ever for the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gases, at the same time some politicians are pushing the EPA to reverse its 2009 decision to do so.

  • Food securityMidwest at risk: Big-picture look at climate change impact on U.S. agriculture

    A new study shows that Midwest agriculture is increasingly vulnerable to climate change because of the region’s reliance on growing rain-fed crops. The researchers set out to assess the impact extreme weather is having on agricultural productivity in the United States. While previous studies have looked at the vulnerability of individual field crops, which make up one-third of the country’s agricultural output, researchers haven’t addressed the whole scope of agricultural production, including livestock, at the national level.

  • Water securityWater resources in Western U.S. threatened by declining snow mass

    Since 1982, some parts of the West have had a 41 percent reduction in the yearly maximum mass of snow. In Western U.S., winter snows and subsequent snow melt contribute substantially to water resources. Snow melt contributes to groundwater and to surface water sources such as the Colorado River.

  • Oil spillsInexpensive super-absorbent material offers solution for ocean oil spills

    A super-absorbent material developed by Penn State scientists could dramatically reduce the environmental impact of oil spills on oceans and allow recovered oil to be refined normally. The synthetic material, called i-Petrogel, absorbs more than 40 times its weight in crude oil, and effectively stops the oil from spreading after a spill, according to the researchers.

  • Climate threatsGreenhouse gas levels in atmosphere break another record

    Levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have reached another new record high, according to a report issued on Thursday by the United Nations weather agency, which reveals that there is no sign of reversal of this trend, responsible for climate change, sea level rise, ocean acidification and extreme weather.

  • Water securityNational Climate Assessment: Will U.S. water problems worsen?

    Upmanu Lall is director of the Columbia Water Center, chair of Earth and Environmental Engineering, and the lead author of the chapter on water resources in the latest U.S. National Climate Assessment. The report, issued two weeks ago, paints a troubling picture of the nation’s climate future, including projected droughts and extreme precipitation events that could worsen already existing problems with U.S. water supplies and infrastructure. Lall discusses the climate change-driven water challenges the U.S. faces, and ideas for how the nation can respond.