June Climate Science News Roundup

It’s increasingly clear that action on climate change in the United States must happen at the local and grassroots level, rather than the federal level. With that in mind, it’s more important than ever that we stay up to date on developments in climate science. This month’s climate science round-up seeks to arm us all with accurate and effective information so that we can work together to save our planet.


This year has been the 2nd warmest year on record in the United States so far

This year, the average temperature has been 3.4 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average, making it the second-warmest first-half of the year on record. (2012 was 1.2 degrees Fahrenheit warmer.) This year the U.S. has also experienced a near-record number of billion-dollar disasters, including two floods, a freeze, and six severe storms, which collectively caused 57 fatalities.


U.S. reports a major milestone in wind and solar power

Ten percent of all electricity generated in the U.S. in March came from wind and solar power, according to a new U.S. Energy Information Administration report. This is the first time this milestone has been hit, and the EIA estimates that wind and solar farms likely generated 10 percent of America’s electricity in April as well. A decade ago, less than one percent of all U.S. electricity came from wind or solar annually.


Jet biofuel may reduce climate-warming clouds

NASA is studying the use of biofuel in jets to see if it would increase or decrease contributions to climate change. A recent study shows that biofuel produces fewer and smaller soot particles than standard jet fuel. That creates fewer opportunities for planet-insulating contrails to form. However, biofuel also produces more water vapor than standard jet fuel, which may in fact lead it to create more contrail rather than less. NASA plans to continue this research in order to build more reliable models.


Climate change is likely to increase forest fires

Wildfires have been increasing in number in recent years, and a recent study shows lightning has been the main driver. Higher temperatures spur more thunderstorms, which in turn ignite forests. Researchers also found that the fires are creeping farther north, near the transition from boreal forests to Arctic tundra.


Increasing probability of mortality during heat waves

Rising global temperatures are causing increases in the frequency and severity of extreme climatic events, such as floods, droughts, and heat waves. A new study in Science shows that the increase in average summer temperatures in India corresponds to an increase in the probability of heat-related mortality events. This in turn suggests that future climate warming will lead to substantial increases in heat-related mortality, particularly in developing low-latitude countries.


World’s largest wind turbine would be taller than the Empire State Building

An alliance of six institutions led by researchers at the University of Virginia are designing the world’s largest wind turbine at 500 meters tall. Larger wind turbines are more cost-effective because the wind blows stronger and more steadily at greater altitudes. Longer turbine blades can also catch the wind more efficiently.


Longform feature: Watts in the water

Close to 200 trillion watts of kinetic energy lurk in the seas — more than enough to power the planet, if we could somehow extract it all.



Edited by Elizabeth Weinberg. Have a climate science tip? Send it to climate-science@350pdx.org.

May Climate Science News Roundup

With climate change now our daily reality, climate scientists are working hard to understand its effects. And as climate denial and misinformation seems to crop up everywhere these days, it’s more important than ever that we keep tabs of current climate science so we can be effective, informed activists.

With that in mind, each month we be bring you a curated roundup of the some of the most important current studies on climate-related science, from studies on our changing ocean to news about climate’s effects on key industries. See all articles →

Climate Change Snapshots #2

 

 

Think of this bowl as representing the Earth’s sea ice (a hyper accurate visual, clearly). It’s 33% gone – and it’s melting fast.

There is now less sea ice on Earth than at any time in recorded history. Since 1980, the Earth has lost about 1/3rd of its total sea ice volume.

To illustrate how outside of normal climate behaviors the earth is experiencing: In December global sea ice extent fell 4.4 million sq km below average, an event eight standard deviations from the normal range. In other words, the statistical probability of that event happening under past expectations of average is 1 in 30 billion, aka: hugely unlikely aka climate change has disrupted what “normal” climate looks like. Read more

April Climate Science Roundup

The first 100 days of the Trump administration saw unprecedented attacks on science, including — and especially — climate science. But researchers continue to work diligently to understand the risks and effects of climate change. This month’s climate science roundup seeks to arm us all with accurate, effective information so that we can work together to save our planet. See all articles →

March Climate Science News Roundup

With climate change now our daily reality, climate scientists are working hard to understand its effects. And as climate denial and misinformation seems to crop up everywhere these days, it’s more important than ever that we keep tabs of current climate science so we can be effective, informed activists.

With that in mind, each month we’ll be bringing you a curated roundup of the some of the most important current studies on climate-related science, from studies on our changing ocean to news about climate’s effects on key industries.


Maps show where Americans care about climate change

The Yale Climate Opinion Maps were recently updated to reflect current information on how people across the United States view climate change. Among other things, the maps now show that seven in 10 registered voters believe the U.S. should remain a participant in the international agreement to limit climate change, and that 70 percent of Americans think global warming is happening and will harm future generations. The updates to the maps also include information by urban area and counties, and add additional survey questions. See all articles →

February Climate Science News Roundup

With climate change now our daily reality, climate scientists are working hard to understand its effects. And as climate denial and misinformation seems to crop up everywhere these days, it’s more important than ever that we keep tabs of current climate science so we can be effective, informed activists.

With that in mind, each month we’ll be bringing you a curated roundup of the some of the most important current studies on climate-related science, from studies on our changing ocean to news about climate’s effects on key industries.


January was 3rd warmest on record for the globe

Global data from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information show that January 2017 was the third-warmest on record since scientists began to track global land and ocean temperatures in 1880. January 2016 was the warmest on record, with 2007 in second place. The dataset also shows record-low sea ice extent at the poles: the average Arctic sea ice extent was 8.6 percent below the 1981-2010 average, while the average Antarctic sea ice extent was 22.8 percent below that average. See all articles →

January Climate Science News Roundup

With climate change now our daily reality, climate scientists are working hard to understand its effects. And as climate denial and misinformation seems to crop up everywhere these days, it’s more important than ever that we keep tabs of current climate science so we can be effective, informed activists.

With that in mind, each month we’ll be bringing you a curated roundup of the some of the most important current studies on climate-related science, from studies on our changing ocean to news about climate’s effects on key industries.

2016 marks three consecutive years of record warmth for the globe

Data from new reports from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information show that the 2016 globally-averaged surface temperature was the highest since recordkeeping began in 1880. Since the start of the 21st century, the annual global temperature record has been broken five times (2005, 2010, 2014, 2015, and 2016). The globally averaged sea surface temperature was also the highest on record, at 1.35 degree F above average. The average Arctic sea ice extent for 2016 was the smallest annual average since recordkeeping began in 1979, while the average Antarctic sea ice extent for the year was the second smallest annual average. See all articles →

Climate Camping at Mt. Hood National Forest

00000Climate Change is now a global problem. Day by day the impact of Climate Change is becoming more visible and very acute to life and livelihood.

As part of Bark’s 2016 Summer Base Camp, 350PDX was invited to help organize a focus on climate change and the effects of deforestation from Sept 2 – 4th. During the weekend, over 80 people participated from different organizations and places to make it successful. The primary goal of Base Camp, which consisted of two 2 week camps was to bring people together to gather on-the-ground information about the area threatened by the Forest Service’s Hunter Timber Sale project. The camping included a variety of free workshops and activities each evening at camp, from live improv theatre to climate action training! This camp out was a significant way of encouraging more people to get involved to advocate for the protection this amazing forest. Read more

Guest Editorial: Climate Denial and the Oregonian

On May 26th the Oregonian published an editorial criticizing the Portland Public Schools for passing a resolution on climate change and the school curriculum. The editorial uses the term critical thinking three times and claims that the PPS are failing to teach it.

Part of critical thinking is learning to recognize sincere and legitimate discussion and understand the difference between that and efforts at fear-mongering, self-aggrandizement and manipulation. This editorial is so clearly the latter that the only thing the editorial actually says is something about the political posture of the Oregonian editorial staff.

The editorial states “After the applause died, the board, Esparza Brown included, turned right around and indicated that some viewpoints — those that challenge the thinking of climate-change activists — may not be tolerable after all.”

We are talking about science here, not viewpoints, beliefs, personal opinions or the thinking of activists (who don’t all agree with each other anyway). What the PPS did is to decide to update their curriculum to reflect the current state of climate science.

Already in 2010, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) declared anthropogenic (human caused) climate change to be a settled fact.

For the Portland Public Schools to be following the lead of a prestigious and conservative organization like the NAS is not the slightest bit controversial. And the NOAA, NASA, MIT, British MET and every other major institution worldwide that studies the climate has the same conclusion and has for some years now. The science is settled. Read more

A Misleading Beauty: Why Portland’s Air and Water Aren’t As Clean As We Thought

Willamette River (image from Ecopol Project

Willamette River (image from Ecopol Project)

I stand on the shores of the Willamette River, on sandy rocks that were underwater during the winter rains. The Scouler’s willows are full again. The salmonberries have deep pink flowers. The air smells like cottonwood pollen, a scent so inextricably tied to the river that I can’t smell one without thinking of the other.

I’ve known the river nearly all my life. When I was a child we played on its banks, sitting in the sun, climbing on the rock cliffs. One winter a thin sheet of ice formed on it, and we marveled at its fragility, how, in the pale light before sunset, spider web cracks already glistened along its edges. We dared only to tap the ice with our fingertips and ran, laughing, into the snow.   Read more