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Summer Fun: How Much Hotter Will Your City Be?

July 11, 2014 Comments off

Summer Fun: How Much Hotter Will Your City Be?
Source: Climate Central

If it feels hot to you now in the dog days of this summer, imagine a time when summertime Boston starts feeling like Miami and even Montana sizzles.

Thanks to climate change, that day is coming by the end of the century, making it harder to avoid simmering temperatures.

Summers in most of the U.S. are already warmer than they were in the 1970s. And climate models tell us that summers are going to keep getting hotter as greenhouse gas emissions continue. What will this warming feel like? Our new analysis of future summers illustrates just how dramatic warming is going to be by the end of this century if current emissions trends continue unabated.

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Report: Can U.S. Carbon Emissions Keep Falling?

December 13, 2012 Comments off

Report: Can U.S. Carbon Emissions Keep Falling?

Source: Climate Central

A Climate Central analysis of the American energy economy shows that the nearly 9 percent reduction in annual carbon emissions in the U.S. since 2005 is unlikely to continue in the years ahead without major departures from the ways energy is currently produced and used.

Recent declines in carbon emissions are the result of a combination of factors including the recession, increased natural gas production and the related decline in coal-fired electricity generation, continuing improvements in efficiencies of energy use, and growth in renewables, particularly wind power. The recession, however, appears to be the most significant factor in the decline.

Consequently, as the economy rebounds the fall in emissions is likely to be neutralized or overtaken by growing population and incomes that will drive increased demand for energy-using appliances, air conditioners, TVs, personal electronic devices, cars, and other amenities. In the face of such growth and the 80 percent reliance of the U.S. on fossil fuels for energy today, modest improvements in energy efficiencies and expansions of lower-carbon energy alternatives will not provide the level of change in the energy economy needed for carbon emissions to fall by 2050 to a level that most climate scientists believe is needed to avoid severe impacts of climate change.

The Heat is On: U.S. Temperature Trends

June 14, 2012 Comments off

The Heat is On: U.S. Temperature Trends
Source: Climate Central

Global warming isn’t uniform. The continental U.S. has warmed by about 1.3°F over the past 100 years, but the temperature increase hasn’t been the same everywhere: some places have warmed more than others, some less, and some not much at all. Natural variability explains some of the differences, and air pollution with fine aerosols screening incoming solar radiation could also be a factor.

Our state-by-state analysis of warming over the past 100 years shows where it warmed the most and where it warmed the least. We found that no matter how much or how little a given state warmed over that 100-year period, the pace of warming in all regions accelerated dramatically starting in the 1970s, coinciding with the time when the effect of greenhouse gases began to overwhelm the other natural and human influences on climate at the global and continental scales.

We looked at average daily temperatures for the continental 48 states from 1912 to the present, and also from 1970 to the present and found:

  • Over the past 100 years, the top 10 states warmed 60 times faster than the bottom 10 (0.26°F per decade vs. 0.004°F per decade), when looking at average mean temperatures. During this timeframe, 45 states showed warming trends, although 21 were not statistically significant. Three states experienced a slight cooling trend.
  • Since 1970, warming began accelerating everywhere. The speed of warming across the lower 48 more than tripled, from 0.127°F per decade over the 100-year period, to 0.435°F per decade since 1970, while the gap between the fast and slowly warming states narrowed significantly; the 10 fastest warming states heated up just twice as fast, not 60 times as fast as the 10 slowest warming states (0.60°F vs. 0.30°F per decade). Over the past 42 years 17 states warmed more than half a degree F per decade.
  • The states that have warmed the most — whether you look at the past 100 years or just the past 40 — include northern-tier states from Minnesota to Maine and the Southwest, particularly Arizona and New Mexico. Places that have warmed the least include Southeast states, like Florida, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina, along with parts of the central Midwest, like Iowa and Nebraska.

Report: Warming Doubles Extreme Coastal Flood Risk Across U.S.

March 17, 2012 Comments off

Report: Warming Doubles Extreme Coastal Flood Risk Across U.S.
Source: Climate Central

Global warming has raised global sea level about 8 inches since 1880, and the rate of rise is accelerating. Rising seas dramatically increase the odds of damaging floods from storm surges. A Climate Central analysis finds the odds of “century” or worse floods occurring by 2030 are on track to double or more, over widespread areas of the U.S. These increases threaten an enormous amount of damage. Across the country, nearly 5 million people live in 2.6 million homes at less than 4 feet above high tide — a level lower than the century flood line for most locations analyzed. And compounding this risk, scientists expect roughly 2 to 7 more feet of sea level rise this century — a lot depending upon how much more heat-trapping pollution humanity puts into the sky.

Search or navigate our interactive map tool to see maps of areas below different amounts of sea level rise and flooding, down to neighborhood scale, matched with area timelines of risk. The tool also provides statistics of population, homes and land affected by city, county and state, plus links to factsheets, data downloads, action plans, embeddable widgets, and more.

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