Climate

climate

Highlights of 2012: Climate 2012 - A window into what to expect for 2013 and beyond?

July 2012 was the hottest month by far for the lower 48 states. Much of the nation faced drought conditions that grew steadily worse throughout the summer, and there were major repercussions for crop yields and food prices. Wildfires were also rampant. The record low snowpack in May 2012 in the Colorado Rockies set the stage for major wildfires in June, with more than 600 homes lost in Colorado alone. Wildfires developed in other regions in July as well, as tremendous record-breaking heat developed in Oklahoma and surrounding areas. Considered individually, the record temperatures, droughts, fires and diminished snowpack are not necessarily alarming and may not signal anything beyond the natural occurrence of a hotter-than-average year. But combined, these indicators are much more significant from a climate standpoint. They highlight that there is more than just natural variability playing a role: Global warming has reared its head in a way that can only be a major warning for the future. So, what can we expect?

25 Nov 2012

A day without Glory

On a warm afternoon in early March, the Taurus XL rocket that was prepped for launch at Vandenberg Air Force Base in Southern California looked more like a giant chopstick standing on end than a potential game changer in the debate over climate change science. The barrel-shaped satellite that the rocket carried — named Glory — was designed to deliver critical information about small airborne particles called aerosols.

19 Aug 2011

Voices: Geologists on the wrong side of the law

We live in a litigious society. Engineering and environmental geologists are no strangers to the legal system. They frequently deal with issues relating to geologic hazards such as active faults and unstable ground, the release of contaminants into the environment and numerous other circumstances. But for the most part, geoscientists tend to avoid legal battles. Is that changing?

03 Dec 2010

Greening the friendly skies

If you’re a frequent flyer, the script of plane travel is probably so familiar you may mumble it along with the flight attendant: “Please raise your tray tables and return your seatbacks to their full upright position. We’re beginning our descent.” The sounds of that descent are probably just as familiar: The whir of landing gear descending, the loud drone of engine power rising and falling as the plane makes a series of stair-step descents to lower and lower altitudes before landing on the runway.

02 Nov 2010

Blogging on EARTH: Climate change threatens Virginia's vacation spots

Each year, millions of visitors flock to Virginia’s natural wonders, such as Shenandoah National Park, and to historical landmarks, like Jamestown, one of America’s earliest colonies. But a new report by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) states that many of Virginia’s landmarks are jeopardized by climate change.

03 Sep 2010

Is it time to invest in entrepreneurial geoengineering?

Government research and development has its limits: Time, money and bureaucracy can all hamper the timely progress of research. As a result, many federal agencies are looking to private companies to help drive new innovation and keep costs down — but it’s never that simple. Two current hot-button topics — returning humans to space and geo­engin­eer­ing — highlight a range of issues related to how private and public investment in science can coexist. Last month, we looked at NASA’s push toward privatization.

02 Aug 2010

Local coastal impacts underestimated from sea-level rise

Most studies indicate that sea levels will rise over the next century due to melting glaciers, more ice breaking off the Antarctic ice sheet and thermal expansion — and there is great variation in how much scientists estimate seas will rise. But that’s not even the most important question, according to a new study. Instead, researchers should be looking at relative sea-level rise — how much rising seas will affect individual regions. And when you break it down by region, the study suggests, the outlook isn’t promising.

09 Jul 2010

Hazardous Living: Climategate climatologists cleared of wrongdoing

Last November, a thousand private e-mails between prominent climatologists were hacked, resulting in a brouhaha that threatened to discredit the work presented in the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fourth Assessment Report.

08 Jul 2010

A Martian icecap, now in 3-D

Move over, James Cameron. Researchers have created the first 3-D subsurface pictures of Mars’ northern icecap — and they’re using these images to solve a 40-year-old Martian puzzle.

The puzzle centered around Chasma Boreale, an ice canyon in the northern icecap that is comparable in size to the Grand Canyon, and the spiral troughs that extend in a pinwheel-fashion from the icecap’s center. How each of these features formed has long mystified researchers.

27 May 2010

Termites and climate change: Here, there and everywhere?

Will climate change allow termite populations in North America to spread?

16 Feb 2010

Pages