• Potential impacts of future heat waves on humans and wildlife

    Climate change is often talked about in terms of averages — like the goal set by the Paris Agreement to limit the Earth’s temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius. What such numbers fail to convey is that climate change will not only increase the world’s average temperature, it will also intensify extreme heat waves that even now are harming people and wildlife.

  • Feeling the heat: Recognizing the risks of extreme weather

    Heat waves are more dangerous than tornadoes, statistically. They kill more people than sharks, and put more human lives at risk than blizzards, floods or lightning storms. But they lack a certain dramatic flair, making it surprisingly difficult for many people to grasp and evaluate the real danger lurking behind their devastating effects. Recognizing those risks could be a matter of life or death – especially as a changing climate is making dangerous extreme heat events more and more likely every year in the United States.

  • Dealing with disaster

    It took less than 90 minutes before students in Miaki Ishii’s first-year seminar started to talk openly about revolt. The unrest, however, wasn’t due to any political issue currently making headlines, but to a small room in Harvard’s Geological Museum and a handful of their classmates. The students took part in a role-playing game that saw them acting as citizens of the island of Montserrat, the tiny country’s government, and a group of scientists monitoring the island’s volcano. Why revolt? Because the students soon grew skeptical of the government’s ability to quickly and effectively respond to pressing environmental concerns.

  • Climate tool points to end of winter by 2050

    Researchers have designed a tool which takes existing data and communicates the impacts of climate change in a way that people can engage with and better understand. The resulting new climate tool visualizes data which shows by 2050, Australians will no longer enjoy winter as they know it today and will experience a new season the designers are calling “New Summer.”

  • Forecasters use Iron Dome science to handle disasters

    Typhoons, floods, droughts, earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires — the frequency and intensity of natural disasters across the globe are worsening, and these deadly events could continue plaguing the planet as a result of climate change. Iron Dome tech firm uses rocket science to enable utilities to plan for and manage effects of wildfires, storms, hurricanes and earthquakes.

  • Wildfire risk in California no longer linked to winter precipitation

    From 1600 to 1903, the position of the North Pacific jet stream over California was linked to the amount of winter precipitation and the severity of the subsequent wildfire season, the team found. Wet winters brought by the jet stream were followed by low wildfire activity, and dry winters were generally followed by higher wildfire activity. Wet winters no longer predict possible relief from severe wildfires for California, according to a new study.

  • Emission regulatory rollback: 200M metric tons of additional green house gasses annually

    Following the release of the Fourth National Climate Assessment, the Trump administration is proposing to give four top climate-polluting industries a pass. A new report says that six specific regulatory rollbacks will cause an annual increase of more than 200 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, resulting in the loss of hundreds of billions of dollars in forgone benefits, and lead to tens of thousands of premature deaths.

  • “Clustering” land buyouts could improve flood resiliency after Hurricane Harvey

    A new study analyzes flood loss claims and estimates from over 74,000 properties impacted by Hurricane Harvey in Houston’s Harris County. The study finds that a strategic land buyout approach that prioritizes the purchase of land parcels in ‘clusters,’ as well as proximity to existing open space, is just as cost-effective as the traditional, piecemeal approach but with major added ecological and social benefits.

  • Resilience and adaptation strategies can address the impacts of climate change

    By the end of this century, Chicago could face the kind of searing summer heat that Las Vegas sees now. Phoenix could hit 110 degrees, 60 or more days a year. That’s not wild speculation. It’s the official position of 13 federal agencies on climate change, released late last year with a warning: Local governments need to do more to prepare. Every road they build, every storm drain they put in, will have to hold up under conditions that modern civilization has never seen. How do you plan for that? Researchers at RAND have been working on that problem for a while now.

  • Population increases, climate change will cause future U.S. water shortages

    Climate change plus population growth are setting the stage for water shortages in parts of the U.S. long before the end of the century, according to a new study. Even efforts to use water more efficiently in municipal and industrial sectors won’t be enough to stave off shortages, say the authors of the new study. The results suggest that reductions in agricultural water use will probably play the biggest role in limiting future water shortages.

  • “It eats everything” – the new breed of wildfire that’s impossible to predict

    Climate change and negligent forest management are causing higher-intensity, faster-moving fires that can generate enough energy to evolve into erratic firestorms, known as pyroCbs, in the face of which first responders can do little.

  • Climate change increases potential for conflict, violence

    Images of extensive flooding or fire-ravaged communities help us see how climate change is accelerating the severity of natural disasters. The devastation is obvious, but what is not as clear is the indirect effect of these disasters, or more generally of rapid climate change, on violence and aggression.

  • And now, land may be sinking

    In the coming decades, cities and towns up and down the eastern seaboard will have to come to terms with the impact of rising sea level due to climate change. A new study, however, is suggesting that rising sea levels may be only part of the picture — because the land along the coast is also sinking.

  • Rising seas disrupt local economies

    Impacts from climate change are not always easy to see. But for many local businesses in coastal communities across the United States, the evidence is right outside their doors – or in their parking lots. High-tide flooding resulting from climate change is already disrupting the economy of Annapolis, Maryland. As sea levels rise, the impacts are expected to get worse for coastal communities.

  • Keeping the lights on during and after a disaster

    The threat of an inevitable earthquake is the uncomfortable truth we all face in the Cascadia Subduction Zone, which stretches from Alaska to California. Because the last major earthquake in the area was in the 1700s, our infrastructure developed without an appreciation and understanding of earthquake resilience. That means the next major earthquake will likely devastate our buildings, roads, bridges, and utility providers, posing immediate risks for the health and safety of those who live in the region. And later, there will be long-term economic aftershocks.