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.
The presence of El Niño boosts the odds of big Denver-area snowstorms, even though the region's winters as a whole aren’t substantially wetter during El Niño. It’s a good example of nuance in the relationship between El Niño and climate.
While most El Niños tend to inhibit Atlantic hurricanes, the Modoki variety, with its peak warming displaced further west from the Atlantic, appears to leave more room for a bumper crop in at least some years.
If you’re a gardener in New England, you might remember the wet, cool summer of 2009 for its tomatoes and potatoes, ravaged by the earliest and most widespread “late blight” on record. If you’re from south Texas, you were probably just trying to keep green things alive.
Along with unusually persistent rains, there was a different kind of watery surprise this summer for people on the U.S. Atlantic coast. From the barrier islands of the Southeast to the rocky shores of Maine, tides ran as high as 2 feet above predicted values.