• Groundwater deficit growing in important western U.S. aquifers

    By 2050, climate change will increase the groundwater deficit even more for four economically important aquifers in the Western United States, a new report says. Groundwater deficits are expected to worsen in four important aquifers, creating a precarious balance between usage and recharge. The new report is the first to integrate scientists’ knowledge about groundwater in the American West with scientific models that show how climate change will affect the region.

  • Outbreaks of extreme tornados have become more common

    Most death and destruction inflicted by tornadoes in North America occurs during outbreaks — large-scale weather events that can last one to three days and span huge regions. The largest outbreak ever recorded happened in 2011. It spawned 363 tornadoes across the United States and Canada, killing more than 350 people and causing $11 billion in damage. A new study shows that the average number of tornadoes per outbreak has grown by more than 40 percent over the last half century. The likelihood of extreme outbreaks — those with many tornadoes — is also greater.

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  • Climate change impact on food production could cause 500,000 extra deaths in 2050

    Climate change could kill more than 500,000 adults in 2050 worldwide due to changes in diets and bodyweight from reduced crop productivity. The research, published yesterday in The Lancet, is the strongest evidence yet that climate change could have damaging consequences for food production and health worldwide. The study found that by 2050, reduced fruit and vegetable intake could cause twice as many deaths as under-nutrition, and that three-quarters of all climate-related deaths due to changes in food production are estimated to occur in China and India.

  • Water storage strategies in Sub-Sahara Africa

    Direct abstraction of water from rivers through ponds and pumping devices seems the most attractive water storage option in Ethiopia. However, the funding agencies that may be interested in investing in such a storage system have to consider that better access to credit, and clear abstraction policies should be ensured.

  • Calculating monetary losses from floods caused by sea level rise

    Damages from extreme events like floods are even more relevant than the mean sea level itself when it comes to the costs of climate impacts for coastal regions. However, while it is now rather well understood how sea-levels will rise in the future, only small progress has been made estimating how the implied damage for cities at the coasts will increase during the next decades. Scientists now provide a method to quantify monetary losses from coastal floods under sea-level rise. For the first time, the scientists show that the damage costs consistently increase at a higher rate than the sea-level rise itself.

  • Sea-level rise in twentieth century faster than in any previous century

    Global sea level rose faster in the twentieth century than in any of the twenty-seven previous centuries, according to a new study. Moreover, without global warming, global sea level would have risen by less than half the observed twentieth century increase and might even have fallen. Instead, global sea level rose by about 14 centimeters, or 5.5 inches, from 1900 to 2000. This is a substantial increase, especially for vulnerable, low-lying coastal areas.

  • New tool for coastal planners preparing for sea level rise

    Scientists have developed a new model to help coastal planners assess the risks of sea level rise. Put to use on a global scale, it estimates that the oceans will rise at least twenty-eight centimeters on average by the end of this century — and as much as 131 cm if greenhouse gas emissions continue to grow unchecked.

  • Experts tackle U.K. flood risk

    The U.K. Blue-Green Cities Research Project combines the expertise of academics from nine U.K. universities plus partners in the United States and China specializing in flood inundation modelling, computation fluid dynamics, sediment debris processes, river restoration and habitats, urban drainage infrastructure, environmental economics, uncertainty, flood risk management, and stakeholder engagement. The project’s goal is to make U.K. cities more resilient to flooding.

  • Integrating markets to offset climate-related food insecurity

    Global market integration is key to buffering future commodity prices and food security from the negative effects of climate change on agriculture. Rising temperatures and an increase in extreme weather events will likely have adverse impacts on global crop production, leading to higher food prices and food scarcity. But global markets that have the ability to deliver food where it is needed most could help offset these consequences.

  • Extreme weather likely to result in “food shocks”

    A panel of British and American researchers, speaking at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Washington, D.C., presented updated research revealing how extreme events which affect the food system are increasingly likely to occur, resulting in “food shocks.”

  • Better Greenland, Antarctica sheet modeling helps predict sea-level rise

    The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets will make a dominant contribution to twenty-first century sea-level rise if current climate trends continue. However, predicting the expected loss of ice sheet mass is difficult due to the complexity of modeling ice sheet behavior. Better to understand this loss, a team of Sandia National Laboratories researchers has been improving the reliability and efficiency of computational models that describe ice sheet behavior and dynamics.

  • Passengers on trans-Atlantic flights will spend more time in the air as a result of climate change

    Planes flying between Europe and North America will be spending more time in the air due to the effects of climate change, a new study has shown. By accelerating the jet stream — a high-altitude wind blowing from west to east across the Atlantic — climate change will speed up eastbound flights but slow down westbound flights, the study found. The findings could have implications for airlines, passengers, and airports.

  • Severe drought no longer caused just by nature

    Scientists are calling on drought researchers and managers around the world to consider both human activity and natural phenomena in their battle to preserve increasingly scarce global water supplies. The experts say that severe droughts experienced recently in countries such as China, Brazil and the United States can no longer be seen as purely natural hazards. Changes to the way people use the water and the landscape contribute to extreme water shortages.

  • Tools to help communities predict, cope with floods

    Anticipation and preparedness of large-scale flood events play a key role in mitigating their impacts and optimizing the strategic planning of water resources. Although many countries have well-established systems for river monitoring and early flood warning, an increasing number of inhabitants are affected by floods every year. The Global Flood Awareness System (GloFAS) has been set up providing an overview on upcoming flooding in large world river basins.

  • Human-induced climate change helped cause south of England floods: Scientists

    Human-induced climate change increased the risk of severe storms like those that hit the south of England in the winter of 2013-14, causing devastating flooding and costing several people their lives. This is according to new analysis from an international team of climate scientists led by researchers at Oxford University.