• Worry: Hurricanes are slowing down

    Some hurricanes are moving more slowly, spending increased time over land and leading to catastrophic local rainfall and flooding, according to a new study. The speed at which hurricanes track along their paths — their translational speed — plays a role in the damage and devastation they cause. Their movement influences how much rain falls in a given area. This is especially true as global temperatures increase. “The rainfalls associated with the ‘stall’ of 2017’s Hurricane Harvey in the Houston, Texas, area provided a dramatic example of the relationship between regional rainfall amounts and hurricane translation speeds,” says one researcher. “In addition to other factors affecting hurricanes, like intensification and poleward migration, these slowdowns are likely to make future storms more dangerous and costly.”

  • Coastal communities: Record number of high tide flooding days last year

    People living on the coast may see flooded sidewalks and streets more frequently this year due, in part, to El Nino conditions that are predicted to develop later this year, and from long-term sea level rise trends. Increased flooding trend is likely to continue: The projected increase in high tide flooding in 2018 may be as much as 60 percent higher across U.S. coastlines as compared to typical flooding about 20 years ago, according to NOAA scientists.

  • Contiguous U.S. had its warmest May on record

    Last month, the U.S. sizzled with record warmth. The average May temperature across the contiguous U.S. was 65.4 degrees F, 5.2 degrees above average, making it the warmest May in the 124-year record. This surpassed the previous record of 64.7°F set in 1934, during the dust bowl era. Each state was warmer than average, and Eastern U.S. saw record precipitation.

  • Economic models significantly underestimate climate change risks: Experts

    Policymakers are being misinformed by the results of economic models that underestimate the future risks of climate change impacts, according to a new study. The researchers say that “mounting evidence” that the “integrated assessment models” used by economists “largely ignore the potential for ‘tipping points’ beyond which impacts accelerate, become unstoppable, or become irreversible.” As a result “they inadequately account for the potential damages from climate change, especially at moderate to high levels of warming,” due to rises in global mean temperature of more than 2 Celsius degrees.

  • Alien apocalypse: Can any civilization survive climate change?

    In the face of climate change, deforestation and biodiversity loss, creating a sustainable version of civilization is one of humanity’s most urgent tasks. But when confronting this immense challenge, we rarely ask what may be the most pressing question of all: How do we know if sustainability is even possible? Astronomers have inventoried a sizable share of the universe’s stars, galaxies, comets, and black holes. But are planets with sustainable civilizations also something the universe contains? Or does every civilization that may have arisen in the cosmos last only a few centuries before it falls to the climate change it triggers?

  • Floridians to face more frequent, intense heatwaves

    By the late twenty-first century, if atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations reach worst-case projections, Floridians could experience summer heatwaves three times more frequently, and each heatwave could last six times longer than at present, according to new research. “More extreme heatwaves in Florida would have profound impacts on human health as well as the state’s economy,” says a researcher.

  • Climate change could increase arable land, agricultural feasibility in northern hemisphere

    Climate change could expand the agricultural feasibility of the global boreal region by 44 percent by the end of the century, according to new research. However, the scientists warn that the same climate trends that would increase land suitable for crop growth in that area could also significantly change the global climatic water balance – negatively impacting agriculture in the rest of the world.

  • Will London run out of water?

    The U.K.’s Environment Agency warns in a new report that England could suffer major water shortages by 2030 and that London is particularly at risk. The BBC agrees, placing London on its recent list of 11 cities most likely to run out of drinking water along with the likes of Cape Town, where an ongoing water crisis has caused social and economic disruption. There are limits to what can be achieved just by fixing leaky pipes or getting people to water their lawns less often. Though such measures are useful, they will not safeguard London’s water supplies against the more extreme combinations of growth and climate change.

  • Antibiotic resistance rise tied to hotter temps

    Could a warming climate be one of the factors bringing the world closer to the “post-antibiotic” era that infectious disease experts have been warning about? That’s one of the questions raised by a new study that explores the role that climate and other factors play in the distribution of antibiotic resistance in the United States.

  • Scientists set to tackle the mystery of Loch Ness

    The story of the Loch Ness monster is one of the world’s greatest mysteries. We have waited more than a thousand years for an answer on its existence. Now, it is only months away.

  • Future hurricanes: Stronger, slower, wetter

    Scientists have developed a detailed analysis of how twenty-two recent hurricanes would be different if they formed under the conditions predicted for the late twenty-first century. While each storm’s transformation would be unique, on balance, the hurricanes would become a little stronger, a little slower-moving, and a lot wetter.

  • We can get 100 percent of our energy from renewable sources: Scientists

    Is there enough space for all the wind turbines and solar panels to provide all our energy needs? What happens when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow? Won’t renewables destabilize the grid and cause blackouts? Scientists say that there are no roadblocks on the way to a 100 percent renewable future.

  • Insurance industry dangerously unprepared for extreme weather

    As historic flooding caused by climate change devastates coastal communities, new research reveals that the insurance industry hasn’t considered a changing climate in their practices, putting homeowners at financial risk.

  • Global warming of 2°C doubles the population exposed to climate risks compared to 1.5°C rise

    New research identifying climate vulnerability hotspots has found that the number of people affected by multiple climate change risks could double if the global temperature rises by 2°C, compared to a rise of 1.5°C. The researchers investigated the overlap between multiple climate change risks and socioeconomic development to identify the vulnerability hotspots if the global mean temperature should rise by 1.5°C, 2°C and 3°C by 2050, compared to the pre-industrial baseline.

  • Global warming fueled Hurricane Harvey’s record-breaking precipitation

    In the weeks before Hurricane Harvey tore across the Gulf of Mexico and plowed into the Texas coast in August 2017, the Gulf’s waters were warmer than any time on record, according to a new analysis. These hotter-than-normal conditions supercharged the storm, fueling it with vast stores of moisture. When it stalled near the Houston area, the resulting rains broke precipitation records and caused devastating flooding. “As climate change continues to heat the oceans, we can expect more supercharged storms like Harvey,” says one researcher.