• Humans Cause 97 Percent of Home-Threatening Wildfires

    People are starting almost all the wildfires that threaten U.S. homes, according to an innovative new analysis combining housing and wildfire data. Through activities like debris burning, equipment use and arson, humans were responsible for igniting 97 percent of home-threatening wildfires. Moreover, one million homes sat within the boundaries of wildfires in the last 24 years.

  • Climate Engineering: Modelling Projections Oversimplify Risks

    Climate change is gaining prominence as a political and public priority. But many ambitious climate action plans foresee the use of climate engineering technologies whose risks are insufficiently understood. Researchers warn that over-optimistic expectations of climate engineering may reinforce the inertia with which industry and politics have been addressing decarbonization. In order to forestall this trend, they recommend more stakeholder input and clearer communication of the premises and limitations of model results.

  • Climate Change Will Ultimately Cost Humanity $100,000 Per Ton of Carbon, Scientists Estimate

    Economists frequently try to estimate the societal cost of releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, but few of their projections go beyond the year 2100—far short of the millennia it takes for the climate changes from burning carbon to ultimately subside. Two geoscientists and a philosopher from the University of Chicago wanted to take a much longer view on the matter. Their new estimate for an “ultimate cost of carbon” to humanity, published in the journal Climactic Change, came out closer to $100,000 per ton of carbon—a thousand times higher than the $100 or less routinely calculated for the cost to our generation.

  • Devastating Hurricanes Could Be Up to Five Times More Likely in the Caribbean

    Global warming is dramatically increasing the risk of extreme hurricanes in the Caribbean, but meeting more ambitious climate change goals could up to halve the likelihood of such disasters in the region, according to new research.

  • Natural Disasters Must Be Unusual or Deadly to Prompt Local Climate Policy Change

    Natural disasters alone are not enough to motivate local communities to engage in climate change mitigation or adaptation, a new study found. Rather, policy change in response to extreme weather events appears to depend on a combination of factors, including fatalities, sustained media coverage, the unusualness of the event and the political makeup of the community.

  • Amateur Drone to Aid in Natural Disaster Damage Assessment

    It wasn’t long after Hurricane Laura hit the Gulf Coast Thursday that people began flying drones to record the damage and posting videos on social media. Those videos are a precious resource, say researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, who are working on ways to use them for rapid damage assessment.

  • Sea Level Rise Matches Worst-Case Scenario

    Ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica whose melting rates are rapidly increasing have raised the global sea level by 1.8cm since the 1990s, and are matching worst-case climate warming scenarios. “The melting is overtaking the climate models we use to guide us, and we are in danger of being unprepared for the risks posed by sea level rise,” says one expert.

  • U.S. Flood Strategy Shifts to ‘Unavoidable’ Relocation of Entire Neighborhoods

    For years, even as seas rose and flooding worsened nationwide, policymakers stuck to the belief that relocating entire communities away from vulnerable areas was simply too extreme to consider — an attack on Americans’ love of home and private property as well as a costly use of taxpayer dollars. Christopher Flavelle writes that now, however, that is rapidly changing amid acceptance that rebuilding over and over after successive floods makes little sense. Using tax dollars to move whole communities out of flood zones is swiftly becoming policy, marking a new and more disruptive phase of climate change.

  • Better Typhoon Predictions

    Tropical cyclones, also known as typhoons, wreak havoc in Asia and the Pacific. The storms can be deadly—in 2013, Typhoon Haiyan, the strongest ever recorded, was responsible for 6,340 deaths—and cost billions in damages. Current forecast models can only predict these storms 10 days in advance, at most, and they cannot precisely predict how intense the storms will become. To rectify this, an international team of researchers has developed a model that analyzes nearly a quarter of Earth’s surface and atmosphere in order to better predict the conditions that birth typhoons, as well as the conditions that lead to more severe storms.

  • Warming May Force Some Favorite Produce Crops to Get a Move On

    Record drought and heat have some farmers worried about where and when crops can be grown in the future, even in California where unprecedented microclimate diversity creates ideal growing conditions for many of the most popular items in America’s grocery stores Warmer California temperatures by mid-century will be too hot for some crops, just right for others.

  • The World's Biggest Waves: How Climate Change Could Trigger Large Landslides and “Mega-Tsunamis”

    Natural hazards which are triggered, made more frequent, or exacerbated by climate change can’t be prevented, but damage to infrastructure and populations can be minimized. This can be achieved through scientific understanding of the physical processes, site-specific engineering risk analysis and coastal management of hazard-prone regions.

  • Warming Greenland Ice Sheet Passes Point of No Return

    Nearly forty years of satellite data from Greenland shows that glaciers on the island have shrunk so much that even if global warming were to stop today, the ice sheet would continue shrinking. The finding means that Greenland’s glaciers have passed a tipping point of sorts, where the snowfall that replenishes the ice sheet each year cannot keep up with the ice that is flowing into the ocean from glaciers.

  • Sea-Level Rise Linked to Higher Water Tables Along California Coast

    In the first comprehensive study of the link between rising sea levels and inland water tables along the California coast, researchers found an increased threat to populated areas already at risk from rising water tables, and the possibility of flooding in unexpected inland areas.

  • Resilience solutions for international power system planners

    When a power system fails, consequences can be catastrophic. At-risk communities may be left without access to lifesaving medical resources, while sanitation, manufacturing, and other critical services may be rendered powerless and unable to function. If a nation or region is geographically isolated or otherwise poorly equipped to respond, recovery time can take even longer.

  • Demographics Data Helps Predict N.Y. Flood Insurance Claims

    In flood-prone areas of the Hudson River valley in New York state, census areas with more white and affluent home owners tend to file a higher percentage of flood insurance claims than lower-income, minority residents, raising the issue of developing more nuanced, need-based federal flood insurance subsidies in these floodplains, according to a new study.