What Winter? Climate Change Alters Weather and Ocean Circulation Patterns

What Winter? Climate Change Alters Weather and Ocean Circulation Patterns

We know this winter was a warm one in much of the U.S. — dozens of cities east of the Mississippi River experienced a “meteorological winter” that was among their top 10 warmest on record — because, according to climate scientists, the Arctic oscillation has been in an unusually strong and it kept the cold Arctic air trapped up north,

Why This Matters:  Some of the Earth’s major circulatory systems are being altered by climate change, and now we can prove it.  The changes to weather and to the distribution of species on land and in the ocean could be devastating.

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Interview of the Week: Author Jeffrey Peterson

Interview of the Week: Author Jeffrey Peterson

Jeffrey Peterson has more than 40 years of experience in environmental policy both on the Hill and at EPA.  He recently wrote a book entitled “A New Coast” about the need for policies to respond to devastating storms and rising seas. ODP:  What motivated you to write about coastal adaptation after your long career in […]

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Chile Makes Good On Its Promise of an Azul COP

Chile Makes Good On Its Promise of an Azul COP

One of the major ways that this year’s UN Climate meeting is greatly different from previous ones is its recognition of oceans as a major part of the climate problems (with support from the findings of the IPCC’s recent Oceans and Cryosphere report) and also its solutions. Chile’s Foreign Minister, Teodoro Ribera Neumann explained today that Chile elevated ocean issues because they are integral to both climate change and to his country.

Why This Matters:  The UN climate meetings in the past had failed to take oceans into account when looking at how to address climate change and that, frankly, was a major oversight.

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Extreme Weather Around the Globe: U.S. Freezing, Australia on Fire, Canada Melting

Extreme Weather Around the Globe: U.S. Freezing, Australia on Fire, Canada Melting

Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales, is being consumed by wildfires, with the city of Sydney at risk for the first time, and the government has declared a state of emergency in the region for the next week.  Meanwhile, here in the U.S., a massive arctic front has shifted south, bringing bone-chilling cold and snow to the middle of the country today, with more than 67 million Americans are under winter weather alerts and hundreds of cold temperature records could be broken.

Why This Matters:  This is more than just uncomfortable weather — it is dangerous.  This type of “catastrophic” wildfire risk has never happened before in New South Wales — and the public is being warned not to be dismissive — with officials explaining that these conditions mean that lives are at risk.  The same is true for bitter cold here — with snow from the Dakotas to New England over the course of the week, and it is not even mid-November.

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One Climate SOS Thing:  Floating A House Down the River Thames

One Climate SOS Thing: Floating A House Down the River Thames

The Extinction Rebellion launched another high profile protest, this time floating down the River Thames in London a “model” of a suburban home that is literally partially under water as a way to raise awareness about rising sea levels that will leave many homes under water.  The group said that, “[w]e are watching, in real-time, as […]

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Now That We Are Starting To Do It, Can We Get Adaptation Right?

Now That We Are Starting To Do It, Can We Get Adaptation Right?

A new study in the Journal of Ocean & Coastal Management concludes that decisions regarding which adaptation projects to put in place are not being made on the basis of what is most efficient and effective in the long run and that the poorest citizens are bearing the brunt of these mistakes, Bloomberg reports

Why This Matters:  Beach replenishment is preferable over hardening coastlines to protect them from the climate impacts we are already experiencing, but sometimes buyouts will be more cost-effective than repeatedly replenishing.   Doing adaptation the right way may be more expensive and may require difficult choices about how to be fair, and not simply undertake projects that disproportionately benefit the wealthy landowners and increase the vulnerability of poor and historically marginalized communities.

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