Arctic’s strongest sea ice breaks up for first time on record

The oldest and thickest sea ice in the Arctic has started to break up, opening waters north of Greenland that are normally frozen, even in summer. This phenomenon – which has never been recorded before – has occurred twice this year due to warm winds and a climate-change driven heatwave in the northern hemisphere. One meteorologist described the loss of ice as “scary”....

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An army of deer ticks carrying Lyme disease is advancing. It will only get worse.

Across the United States, tick- and mosquito-borne diseases, some potentially lethal, are emerging in places and volumes not previously seen. Climate change almost certainly is to blame, according to a 2016 report by 13 federal agencies that warned of intensifying heat, storms, air pollution and infectious diseases. Last year, a coalition of 24 academic and government...

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Glacier National Park is on fire — and yes, warming is making things worse

This summer has felt like a global warming turning point. Now, another milestone: Saturday, August 11, 2018 was the hottest day in the history of Glacier National Park, and its first recorded time reaching 100 degrees F. On the same day, lightning started three fires in the Montana park, which has since been partly evacuated and closed. On Sunday, hot and dry winds...

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Water Tables and Wetlands

Some wetlands won’t stay wet, according to new research that blends long-term observations and climate projections. “By end of the 21st century, all five of the wetland sites studied are predicted to become much drier,” says USDA Forest Service research hydrologist Ge Sun. The five wetlands are long-term research sites located throughout the southeastern U.S. They...

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The world is hot, on fire, and flooding. Climate change is here.

The worst ravages of climate change are on display around the world. Wildfires have ripped through towns in Greece, floods have submerged parts of Laos, and heat waves have overwhelmed Japan and Great Britain. These are striking examples of climate change playing out in its deadliest forms, and they’re making the term “natural disaster” an outdated concept. People in...

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Spring Is Springing Sooner, Throwing Nature’s Rhythms Out Of Whack

There’s a cycle that starts when the snow melts and the earth thaws high in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. It’s a seasonal cycle based on timing and temperature, two variables that climate change is pushing increasingly out of sync. To the outsider, it can be hard to see: Plants still grow, flowers bud, bears awake, and marmots breed. Broad-tailed...

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The global corn crop is vulnerable to the effects of climate change

Corn is the world’s most-produced food crop. But it could be headed for trouble as the Earth warms. A new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds that climate change will not only increase the risk of food shocks from world corn production but that these crop failures could occur simultaneously. “Increased warming leads to global crop...

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Sea Level Rise Will Flood Key Internet Infrastructure Within 15 Years

Critical portions of America’s internet infrastructure, particularly in New York City, Miami, and Seattle, may be submerged and damaged by rising sea levels—possibly within the next 15 years, according to research presented at a meeting of internet researchers. The peer-reviewed study found that projected increases in coastal flooding over the coming decades—a trend...

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We’ve entered the era of ‘fire tsunamis’

Life in the Rocky Mountains is frequently extreme as blizzards, baking sun, and fires alternate with the seasons. But fire tsunamis? Those aren’t normal. On July 5, 2018,, one observer described a “tsunami” of flames overnight at the Spring Creek fire near La Veta in the south-central part of the state. And you can’t stop tsunamis. “It was a perfect firestorm,” Ben...

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Swiss Re limits thermal coal coverage

Swiss Re Ltd. will not provide insurance or reinsurance to businesses with more than 30% thermal coal exposure. The Zurich-based reinsurer has started implementation of its thermal coal policy, adopted as part of Swiss Re’s “strong commitment” to adopt the principles of the Paris climate agreement, which reaffirmed a goal of limiting the global temperature increase below...

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Climate change is making it harder to revive damaged land

Carianne Campbell remembers the exact moment she fell in love with the Sonoran Desert. As a botany major in college, she joined a class field trip to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument on the southern border of Arizona, arriving and setting up camp in the dark. Emerging from her tent the next morning, Campbell, who grew up on the East Coast, caught her first glimpse of...

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Oil and Gas Fields Leak Far More Methane than EPA Reports

The amount of methane leaking from the nation’s oil and gas fields may be 60 percent higher than the official estimates of the Environmental Protection Agency, according to a new study in the journal Science. The study, led by a group of scientists from the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), presents some of the most compelling evidence to date that switching to gas...

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Global warming cooks up ‘a different world’ over 3 decades

We were warned. On June 23, 1988, a sultry day in Washington, James Hansen told Congress and the world that global warming wasn’t approaching — it had already arrived. The testimony of the top NASA scientist, said Rice University historian Douglas Brinkley, was “the opening salvo of the age of climate change.” Thirty years later, it’s clear that Hansen and other...

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Antarctic ice loss has tripled in a decade. If that continues we are in serious trouble.

Antarctica’s ice sheet is melting at rapidly increasing rate, now pouring more than 200 billion tons of ice into the ocean annually and raising sea levels a half millimeter every year, a team of 80 scientists has reported. The melt rate has tripled in the past decade, the study concluded. If the acceleration continues, some of scientists’ worst fears about rising oceans...

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Giant African baobab trees die suddenly after thousands of years

Some of Africa’s oldest and biggest baobab trees have abruptly died, wholly or in part, in the past decade, according to researchers. The trees, aged between 1,100 and 2,500 years and in some cases as wide as a bus is long, may have fallen victim to climate change, the team speculated. “We report that nine of the 13 oldest … individuals have died, or at least their...

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This could be the biggest advance in aluminum production in 130 years

Apple, the largest publicly traded company in the world, joined a major collaboration last week that could change how it gets one of the key components that makes its ubiquitous gadgets look so sleek: aluminum. And it is looking as though, simply by seeking out a greener component for iPhones and Macs, the tech giant just might push an entire industry in a new direction....

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Fireflies are disappearing. Here’s why — and what you can do to help.

Fireflies were a source of great pleasure when I was kid. My friends and I would chase them through our yards on summer nights, catching them in our palms and delicately moving them to mason jars, where they’d light up our bedrooms. But now, fireflies are disappearing on a much larger scale. For years scientists have “been warning that the world’s estimated 2,000 species...

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Climate change could make thousands of tropical islands ‘uninhabitable’ in coming decades, new study says

More than a thousand low-lying tropical islands risk becoming “uninhabitable” by the middle of the century — or possibly sooner — because of rising sea levels, upending the populations of some island nations and endangering key U.S. military assets, according to new research. The threats to the islands are twofold. In the long term, the rising seas threaten to inundate...

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Greenland’s ice is melting much faster than we thought. Here’s why that’s scary.

Our planet is warming and its cryosphere — Earth’s frozen regions — is melting. This we know. The Arctic, in particular, is warming at a rate twice as fast as the rest of the planet. And this winter, the sheet of Arctic sea ice that grows and shrinks in an annual cycle was at its second lowest extent since scientists began measuring it with satellites. But the ice that...

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Wipeout: Human role in climate change removed from government science report

National Park Service officials have deleted every mention of humans’ role in causing climate change in drafts of a long-awaited report on sea level rise and storm surge, contradicting Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s vow to Congress, under oath, that his department is not censoring science. The research for the first time projects the risks from rising seas and flooding...

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EPA threatens to revoke California’s ability to set emissions standards as the Trump administration moves to abandon fuel mileage goals

The Trump administration openly threatened one of the cornerstones of California’s environmental protections, saying that it may revoke the state’s ability under the Clean Air Act to impose stricter standards than the federal government sets for vehicle emissions. The announcement came as the administration confirmed it is tearing up landmark fuel economy...

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UN reports see a lonelier planet with fewer plants, animals

Earth is losing plants, animals and clean water at a dramatic rate, according to four new United Nations scientific reports that provide the most comprehensive and localized look at the state of biodiversity. Scientists meeting in Colombia issued four regional reports on how well animal and plants are doing in the Americas; Europe and Central Asia; Africa; and the...

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Easter Island Is Eroding

The human bones lay baking in the sun. It wasn’t the first time Hetereki Huke had stumbled upon an open grave like this one. For years, the swelling waves had broken open platform after platform containing ancient remains. Inside the tombs were old obsidian spearheads, pieces of cremated bone and, sometimes, parts of the haunting statues that have made this island...

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Lack of snowpack leaves the West hung out to dry

The lack of snow across the West this winter points to a parched summer ahead. In California, Colorado, and across the Southwest, the snowfall has ranked among the lowest on record. The last four months have also been among the warmest throughout most of the region. Parts of eight states are already under “extreme” drought conditions. Snowy, chilly winters are critical...

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Fire and Ice: The Pacific Crest Trail in the Era of Climate Change

“Last year was the most challenging year we’ve had in terms of dealing with closures on the PCT,” said Beth Boyst, who for the last 11 years has been the trail’s chief administrator with the U.S. Forest Service (the PCT passes through all different designations of federal and state land, but USFS holds the lead oversight role). Boyst’s tenure has...

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Federal court denies Trump’s last-ditch attempt to derail the youth climate lawsuit

A federal court has denied the Trump administration’s last-ditch effort to prevent a landmark climate lawsuit from going to trial. It called the motion “entirely premature” and argued that the administration had failed to reach the “high bar” required for dismissal. “There is enduring value in the orderly administration of litigation by the trial courts, free of needless...

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Solar and wind power alone could provide four fifths of U.S. power

  A new study finds that wind power and solar photovoltaics could by themselves meet 80 percent of all U.S. electricity demand. It’s especially encouraging for two additional reasons. First, the price of solar and wind have been dropping rapidly. Second, the study only examined how wind and solar could power the grid. In doing so, it found these two sources...

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Beech booming as climate changes, and that’s bad for forests

Beech trees are dominating the woodlands of the northeastern United States as the climate changes, and that could be bad news for the forests and people who work in them, according to a group of scientists. The scientists say the move toward beech-heavy forests is associated with higher temperatures and precipitation. They say their 30-year study, published in the...

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Scientists say the fallout from soaring Arctic temperatures will be ‘nasty’

It was the warmest December on record in the Arctic, and 2018 has already set a string of records for lowest Arctic sea ice. Unfortunately for America and the rest of the planet, the best science makes clear that what happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic. “We long ago anticipated that warming would be greatest in the Arctic owing to the vicious cycle of...

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The world’s permafrost holds vast stores of carbon. What happens when it thaws?

Like a giant dragonfly, the chopper skims over undulating swaths of tussocky tundra, then touches down at Wolverine Lake, one of a swarm of kettle lakes near the Toolik Field Station on Alaska’s North Slope. Even before the blades stop spinning, Rose Cory, an aquatic geochemist from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, gracefully swings to the ground and beelines to...

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Climate Influences Male-Female Balance

For many reptile and fish species, temperature during egg incubation determines whether hatchlings are male or female. In the northern part of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, scientists have discovered that 99 percent of immature green turtles hatched in warming sands are female, raising concerns about successful reproduction in the future. U.S. Forest Service scientists...

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Alaska’s Bering Sea Lost a Third of Its Ice in Just 8 Days

In just eight days in mid-February, nearly a third of the sea ice covering the Bering Sea off Alaska’s west coast disappeared. That kind of ice loss and the changing climate as the planet warms is affecting the lives of the people who live along the coast. At a time when the sea ice should be growing toward its maximum extent for the year, it’s shrinking...

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