China became the world’s largest carbon polluter in 2006, surpassing the U.S. But it is also rapidly going green through cutting coal use, investing heavily in renewable energy and launching the world’s largest carbon trading system.
Atmospheric scientist Adam Sobel is author of the new book “Storm Surge: Hurricane Sandy, Our Changing Climate and Extreme Weather of the Past and Future.” Sobel was one of the first researchers to explain to media and the public what might be brewing, before the storm hit. In the aftermath, he looked closely at the factors driving the storm’s unusual ferocity, and how these played against human weaknesses. The book offers a primer on what drives storm systems, and what we know (and don’t) about their relation to warming climate. Sobel also looks into future weather, urban infrastructure and the politics of global climate change. He recently discussed some of his insights.
“Climate change has been making the fire season in the United States longer and on average more intense,” said John Holdren, President Obama’s science advisor. And, wildfires are not only intensified by climate change, they also exacerbate it.
In my early years I didn’t talk about the politics of global warming much. I didn’t bring it up with friends or family, let alone engage in any public way. It seemed to me unseemly for a scientist to be vocal on a political issue related, even indirectly, to his own research. Wouldn’t that be an indication of bias, of a lack of scientific impartiality? But I have changed my mind.
Climate scientist William D’Andrea of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory asked young scientists attending a symposium last October, “What do you wish everyone knew about climate change?” He turned the responses into this video, which covers the topic pretty well.
The most important lessons drawn from geology are that the earth’s climate can change radically, and rapidly. We can’t say precisely at what CO2 level we’re in danger of melting Antarctica, but that threshold could be reached in 150-300 years, if CO2 levels keep rising at the current rate.
NASA has named Gavin A. Schmidt to head its Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), an affiliate of Columbia University’s Earth Institute.
Currently serving as deputy director, Schmidt takes over from long-time director James E. Hansen, who retired last year to open a separate climate science and advocacy center at the Earth Institute.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the controversial method for extracting natural gas, has become a hot button issue across the U.S. But let’s try to look objectively at its benefits and risks.
On Monday, June 2, President Obama will announce proposed federal rules aimed at curbing carbon emissions from existing U.S. power plants–possibly a landmark in U.S. climate policy. It is uncertain how far the rule will go, and the announcement is being closely watched around the world.
Scientists from Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory are trying to determine how high sea levels may rise in the future by studying the shorelines of the past. Led by a team of researchers including Lamont climate scientist and marine geologist Maureen Raymo, the goal of Pliomax is to increase the accuracy of global sea level estimates for the Pliocene era, which occurred about 3 million years ago.