• Feasibility, Cost, and Potential Impacts of Ocean-Based Carbon Dioxide Removal Approaches

    To better understand the potential risks and benefits of removing or sequestering atmospheric carbon dioxide using ocean-based interventions — for example, by cultivating seaweed on a large scale or manipulating nutrients in seawater — the U.S. should undertake a new research program to learn more about how these methods could be used to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

  • California’s Water Supplies Are in Trouble as Climate Change Worsens Natural Dry Spells, Especially in the Sierra Nevada

    By Roger Bales

    California is preparing for a third straight year of drought, and officials are tightening limits on water use to levels never seen so early in the water year. Especially worrying is the outlook for the Sierra Nevada, the long mountain chain that runs through the eastern part of the state. California’s cities and its farms – which grow over a third of the nation’s vegetables and two-thirds of its fruit and nuts – rely on runoff from the mountains’ snowpack for water.

  • Eight Worst Wildfire Weather Years on Record Happened in the Last Decade

    The world’s eight most extreme wildfire weather years have occurred in the last decade. Lower humidity and higher temperatures are driving extreme weather that makes wildfires more frequent and intense.

  • Big Batteries on Wheels: Zero-Emissions Rail While Securing the Grid

    Trains have been on the sidelines of electrification efforts for a long time in the U.S. because they account for only 2 percent of transportation sector emissions, but diesel freight trains emit 35 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually and produce air pollution that leads to $6.5 billion in health costs, resulting in an estimated 1,000 premature deaths each year. Researchers show how battery-electric trains can deliver environmental benefits, cost-savings, and resilience to the U.S.

  • National Security Consequences of Climate Change

    The consequences of climate change for national security and international stability are numerus and serious. Rising temperatures which reduce agricultural opportunities can lead to mass migrations away from struggling communities. Violent hurricanes and winter storms can disrupt electric grid operations, interrupting access to electricity and other utilities long after the initial climate threat has passed. Researchers are simulating how climate change affects the safety and security of the country.

  • How Climate Change Will Impact National Security

    By Christina Pazzanese

    The recent U.S. National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) lays out the likely security implications over the next two decades of the mounting climate crisis. Calder Walton, the research director at Harvard’s Belfer Center, says: “Let’s start with the basics: that climate change does pose a threat to U.S. national security. The National Intelligence Estimate is a joint assessment produced by the entire U.S. intelligence community, 18 agencies. That’s significant. There are no naysayers; there’s no doubt. So that’s a breakthrough. In this extraordinarily polarized and politicized environment, that is a big milestone itself.”

  • Experts Call for More Comprehensive Research into Solar Geoengineering

    Two articles published in Science magazine this week argue for more and better social science research into the potential use of solar geoengineering to offset some of the global warming from greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

  • Human-Caused Climate Change Increases Wildfire Activity

    The western United States has experienced a rapid increase of fire weather as the vapor pressure deficit (VPD) increases in the area during the warm season. New research shows that two-thirds (approximately 68 percent) of the increase in VPD is due to human-caused climate change.

  • Back-to-Back Hurricanes Expected to Increase in the Gulf Coast

    Over the past four decades, the time between tropical storms making landfall in the Gulf Coast has been getting shorter. Florida and Louisiana are most likely to experience “sequential landfall,” where one hurricane moves over land faster than infrastructure damaged in a previous storm can be repaired. The researchers estimate this timescale between hurricanes to be 10 days for those states. Being hit by two storms in quick succession gives communities and infrastructure less time to recover between disasters.

  • Stalling Shifting Sand Dunes, Protecting Infrastructure and Ecosystems

    As deserts continue to expand, sand dunes pose an increasing risk to the built environment: swallowing up roads and houses whole as they engulf the land. In a similar way, dunes on the seabed can block shipping routes and even compromise the safety of underwater cables and pipelines.

  • Groundwater Flow to Colorado River May Decline by a Third over Next 30 Years

    A new study projects that a hot and dry future climate may lead to a 29 percent decline in Upper Colorado River Basin “baseflow” at the basin outlet by the 2050s, affecting both people and ecosystems. Baseflow is the movement of groundwater into streams and, on average, accounts for more than 50 percent of annual streamflow in the Upper Colorado River Basin.

  • Extreme Ice Melting in Greenland Raises Global Flood Risk

    Global warming has caused extreme ice melting events in Greenland to become more frequent and more intense over the past 40 years, raising sea levels and flood risk worldwide. Over the past decade alone, 3.5 trillion tons of ice has melted from the surface of the island and flowed downhill into the ocean.

  • The Ripple Factor: Weather Extremes Amplify Economic Losses

    Weather extremes can cause economic ripples along our supply chains. A new study shows that if they occur at roughly the same time the ripples start interacting and can amplify even if they occur at completely different places around the world.

  • Extreme Events and Major Impacts

    In a sobering new report, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) says that record atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations and associated accumulated heat have propelled the planet into uncharted territory, with far-reaching repercussions for current and future generations

  • Managing Water Resources in a Low-to-No-Snow Future

    With mountain snowpacks shrinking in the western U.S., a new Lab study analyzes when a low-to-no-snow future might arrive and implications for water management.