• Germany needs to invest in nature to defend against floods

    Wednesday, 2 February, is the first international World Wetlands Day. It should prompt action to restore these vital ecosystems to protect communities, biodiversity, and prevent future disasters

  • Demand for Rare Minerals and Metals Creates Eco-Dilemma

    The world is crying out for rare minerals for the manufacture of electric cars, wind turbines and other technologies that we simply need more of. But how can we guarantee access to these resources without threatening the natural world and mankind as we know it?

  • 2021 Was U.S. 4th-Warmest Year on Record, Fueled By a Record-Warm December

    The year 2021 was marked by extremes across the U.S., including exceptional warmth, devastating severe weather and the second-highest number of billion-dollar weather and climate disasters on record. The U.S. was struck with 20 separate billion-dollar disasters in 2021.

  • Weather Disasters in U.S. Dominate Natural Disaster Losses in 2021

    In 2021, natural disasters caused overall losses of $280bn, of which roughly $120bn were insured. Alongside 2005 and 2011, the year 2021 proved to be the second-costliest ever for the insurance sector (record year 2017: $146bn, inflation-adjusted). Overall losses from natural disasters were the fourth-highest to date (record year 2011: $355bn). Hurricane Ida was the year’s costliest natural disaster, with overall losses of $65bn (insured losses of $36bn). In Europe, flash floods after extreme rainfall caused losses of $54bn (€46bn) – the costliest natural disaster on record in Germany. Many of the weather catastrophes fit in with the expected consequences of climate change, making greater loss preparedness and  climate protection a matter of urgency.

  • Cities Boosted Rain, Sent Storms to the Suburbs During Europe’s Deadly Summer Floods

    When it comes to extreme weather, climate change usually gets all the attention. But according to a new study, the unique effects of cities – which can intensify storms and influence where rain falls – need to be accounted for as well.

  • Compound-Flood Modeling Tools Hel Build Community Climate Resilience

    In 2021, extreme flooding from rain affected residents across the United States, causing property damage and loss of life. These extreme weather events are becoming all too common. In fact, a recent United Nations report—Climate Change 2021—found that heavy rain events are likely to become more intense and frequent, resulting in an increase in severe flooding events around the globe.

  • December in Texas Hottest on Record in More Than 130 Years

    The state climatologist says last month was the warmest December since 1889. From Dallas through Abilene to Del Rio, temperatures averaged 5 to 9 degrees above normal.

  • Antarctica’s “Doomsday” Glacier: How Its Collapse Could Trigger Global Floods and Swallow Islands

    Driven by global warming, sea level has risen around 20cm since 1900, an amount which is already forcing coastal communities out of their homes and exacerbating environmental problems such as flooding, saltwater contamination and habitat loss. The massive Thwaites glacier in West Antarctica is similar in size to Great Britain, and it contains enough ice to raise global sea levels by 65cm if it were to completely collapse. The worry is that Thwaites might not be the only glacier to go.

  • Controlled Burning of Natural Environments Could Help Offset Carbon Emissions

    Planting trees and suppressing wildfires do not necessarily maximize the carbon storage of natural ecosystems. A new study has found that prescribed burning can actually lock in or increase carbon in the soils of temperate forests, savannahs and grasslands.

  • What Are the Geopolitical Risks of Manipulating the Climate?

    It would only take one country—watching its crops shrivel or its water run dry—deciding to take a chance to set in motion a global geoengineering climate experiment, and technologies which could, for example, block the sun’s rays or siphon huge amounts of carbon from the air are not that far out of reach. The effects could get out of hand quickly. Yet the international community has not established the kinds of guardrails you might expect for potentially world-changing technologies. As a result, no single governing body is overseeing geoengineering efforts on a global scale.

  • Improving Estimates of Population Exposed to Sea Level Rise: Not as Straightforward as It May Seem

    An analysis of data from 2015 finds that between 750 million and more than a billion people globally resided in the ≤ 10 meters low elevation coastal zone (LECZ), up from 521 million and 745 million in 1990. Understanding the number and location of people living LECZ is necessary for policy makers and communities preparing for and adapting to impacts from sea level rise caused by climate change.

  • 2021’s Climate Disasters Revealed an East-West Weather Divide, with One Side of the Country Too Wet, the Other Dangerously Dry

    Alongside a lingering global pandemic, the year 2021 was filled with climate disasters, some so intense they surprised even the scientists who study them. Many of these extreme weather events have been linked to human-caused climate change, and they offer a glimpse of what to expect in a rapidly warming world. In the U.S., something in particular stood out: a sharp national precipitation divide, with one side of the country too wet, the other too dry.

  • Has Winter Blown Off Course?

    What in the world is going on in the West? Some say that climate change has affected this year’s winter in the Western region of the country, while others are wondering what the lack of snowpack might mean for regional water supply, which is already in a precarious state.

  • Tornadoes and Climate Change: What a Warming World Means for Deadly Twisters and the Type of Storms That Spawn Them

    The deadly tornado outbreak that tore through communities from Arkansas to Illinois on the night of Dec. 10-11, 2021, was so unusual in its duration and strength, particularly for December, that a lot of people including the U.S. president are asking what role climate change might have played – and whether tornadoes will become more common in a warming world. Both questions are easier asked than answered, but research is offering new clues.

  • On the Move: How Nations Address Climate-Driven Migration

    One of the most consequential human responses to climate change is and will continue to be the mass movement of people. Rising temperatures which reduce agricultural opportunities can lead to mass migrations away from struggling communities. As the environmental impacts of climate change increase in scope and severity, more and more people will move to new places to preserve or enhance their lives and livelihoods. How do nations address, and plan to address, the growing wave of migrants fleeing their home countries in search for better living conditions?