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Category Archives: Climate Change

Urban Heat: Can White Roofs Help Cool World’s Warming Cities?

Yale Environment 360: “Summers in the city can be extremely hot — several degrees hotter than in the surrounding countryside. But recent research indicates that it may not have to be that way. The systematic replacement of dark surfaces with white could lower heat wave maximum temperatures by 2 degrees Celsius or more. And with climate change and continued urbanization set to intensify “urban heat islands,” the case for such aggressive local geoengineering to maintain our cool grows. The meteorological phenomenon of the urban heat island has been well known since giant cities began to emerge in the 19th century. The materials that comprise most city buildings and roads reflect much less solar radiation – and absorb more – than the vegetation they have replaced. They radiate some of that energy in the form of heat into the surrounding air. The darker the surface, the more the heating. Fresh asphalt reflects only 4 percent of sunlight compared to as much as 25 percent for natural grassland and up to 90 percent for a white surface such as fresh snow. Most of the roughly 2 percent of the earth’s land surface covered in urban development suffers from some level of urban heating. New York City averages 1-3 degrees C warmer than the surrounding countryside, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – and as much as 12 degrees warmer during some evenings. The effect is so pervasive that some climate skeptics have seriously claimed that global warming is merely an illusion created by thousands of once-rural meteorological stations becoming surrounded by urban development. Climate change researchers adjust for such measurement bias, so that claim does not stand up. Nonetheless, the effect is real and pervasive. So, argues a recent study published in the journal Nature Geoscience, if dark heat-absorbing surfaces are warming our cities, why not negate the effect by installing white roofs and other light-colored surfaces to reflect back the sun’s rays?…”

How famous DC cherry blossom trees reveal impacts of climate change

AccuWeather: “In anticipation of the annual springtime National Cherry Blossom Festival, millions of people await the announcement of the peak bloom date of Washington, D.C.’s famous cherry blossoms each year. Flowers from the cherry trees, which were gifted from Japan to the United States in 1912, have bloomed earlier in recent years. Warmer weather appears… Continue Reading

Safe Climate Caucus Members Urge Trump To Halt “Systematic Effort” To Reduce Public Access To Climate Change Resources

“[February 28, 2018] the Congressional Safe Climate Caucus sent a letter condemning the White House’s systematic effort to reduce and suppress public access to climate change resources through federal channels. The members highlighted many examples and expressed their concerns that these efforts violate the intent of the Federal Records Act.  The letter comes after a… Continue Reading

Welcome to the Age of Climate Migration

Rolling Stone: Extreme weather due to climate change displaced more than a million people from their homes last year. It could soon reshape the nation. “In 2017, a string of climate disasters – six big hurricanes in the Atlantic, wildfires in the West, horrific mudslides, high-temperature records breaking all over the country – caused $306… Continue Reading

The World’s Renewable Energy Cities

“Of the 570 plus global cities reporting to CDP, over 100 now get at least 70% of their electricity from renewable sources such as hydro, geothermal, solar and wind. We expect to see even more cities targeting a clean energy future. Cities not only want to transition to renewable energy but, most importantly – as… Continue Reading

NOAA – January was 5th warmest on record for the globe

Arctic and Antarctic sea ice coverage remain at record, near-record lows – “The average global temperature in January 2018 was 1.28 degrees F above the 20th-century average of 53.6 degrees, according to scientists from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. This average temperature was the fifth highest for the month of January in the NOAA’s… Continue Reading

New cutting-edge science confirms that Antartica is losing ice faster every year

Quartz: “New data analysis confirms what scientists have suspected for a while now: West Antarctic ice melt is speeding up. In a cutting-edge survey of satellite data published Feb. 13 in the journal Cryosphere, researchers from NASA and other institutions shows that ice loss from the critical region of Antarctica is happening at an increasingly… Continue Reading

guardian – German cities to trial free public transport to cut pollution

The Guardian: ““Car nation” Germany has surprised neighbours with a radical proposal to reduce road traffic by making public transport free, as Berlin scrambles to meet EU air pollution targets and avoid big fines. The move comes just over two years after Volkswagen’s devastating “dieselgate” emissions cheating scandal unleashed a wave of anger at the… Continue Reading

Poll reveals Americans are hitting their breaking point on the environment

ThinkProgress: “Americans’ dissatisfaction with the quality of the environment is at an all-time high, Gallup reported Monday. In a poll of 1,024 Americans conducted last month, 45 percent said they were satisfied with “the quality of the environment in the nation,” while 52 percent said they were dissatisfied. This is the lowest level of satisfaction and… Continue Reading

Evolving Assessments of Human and Natural Contributions to Climate Change

CRS report via – Evolving Assessments of Human and Natural Contributions to Climate Change, February 1, 2018. “As Congress continues to deliberate whether and how to address climate change, a key question has been the degree to which humans have influenced observed global climate change. Members of Congress sometimes stress that policies or actions… Continue Reading

As Ice Sheets Melt Faster, Sea Level Rise Is Accelerating Every Year

Yale Environment 360: “The melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets is speeding up the pace of sea level rise a little bit every year, according to a new analysis of satellite data published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. If the current pace continues, the study estimates, seas could rise… Continue Reading

Dead zone conditions expanding rapidly throughout shallow coastal seas and lakes

Quartz: “On January 5, 2018, a paper published in the journal Science delivered a sobering message: The oxygenation of open oceans and coastal seas has been steadily declining during the past half century. The volume of ocean with no oxygen at all has quadrupled, and the volume where oxygen levels are falling dangerously low has… Continue Reading