During the stormy summer of 2005, hurricanes Katrina and Rita raised concerns about the potential effects of global warming on tropical cyclones. At the same time, the Amazon rainforest was experiencing one of its most intense droughts of the last century.
Years before Congress began debating greenhouse-gas reduction, more than 500 U.S. cities had pledged to reduce their carbon footprints in line with the goals of the Kyoto Protocol. Now American cities are leading the way on adapting to climate change.
In eastern Tennessee a portrait of Earth's progression from ice age to present is taking shape. Each day, up to 100 years of climatic history unfolds. By early this year, the story will be complete, thanks to some five million processing hours on supercomputers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
A growing body of research now confirms that the Montreal agreement averted at least one catastrophic form of climate change, even if others still loom. "The Montreal Protocol is a major success story," says William Randel.
In a vivid example of how a small geographic feature can have far-reaching impacts on climate, new research shows that water levels in the Bering Strait helped drive global climate patterns during ice age episodes dating back more than 100,000 years.
At first glance, the Copenhagen conference seemed like an alternate universe—enormous, byzantine, and riddled with customs and folkways that weren’t at all obvious to someone who’s never been to such a meeting.
Even though reports continue to pour in about melting glaciers, sea ice loss, and temperatures across much of the globe remaining unusually warm, fewer and fewer Americans seem to believe the climate is warming.
Few other parts of the world are showing climatic trends as distinct and ominous as Australia’s—and these changes are broadly consistent with what climate models tell us the 21st century has in store for the continent.