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Thoughts on everything from climate modeling to energy policy.

2012 Has Had Most Extreme Weather On Record for U.S.

That the year-to-date was the most extreme on record should not come as much of a surprise, since the year-to-date was the hottest on record and a massive drought accompanied by searing heat waves have gripped much of the country.… Read More

Image of the Day: A Giant Blob of Superheated Gas

If you happened to see a display of the Northern Lights on the night of September 3, here’s the reason why. Three days earlier, this giant blob of superheated gas, known as a coronal mass ejection (CME) erupted from the Sun and went speeding off into space at more than 3 million mph. It zipped by the Earth, jiggling our planet’s magnetic field and … Read More

Image of the Day: Bamboo, Nature’s Renewable Resource

A beautiful grove of bamboo in the Arashiyama bamboo forest outside Kyoto, Japan. Bamboo has been a huge part of Japanese culture and is an amazing green resource. As the Japanese have discovered, bamboo is incredibly versatile and is reported to be stronger than many steel alloys and does not fall victim to termites. Bamboo’s strength and flexibil… Read More

Wind Power Has its Limits, But It’s Not the Sky

Scientists have been thinking hard about the limits of wind power — and their thoughts have turned into a paper just published in Nature Climate Change. In principle, they argue, the very existence of wind turbines could slow the planet’s winds to the point where they couldn’t generate any more energy. In practice, fortunately, that… Read More

Image of the Day: The Tongue of the Malaspina Glacier

A Landsat 7 satellite image shows the tongue of the Malaspina Glacier, the largest glacier in Alaska and the largest piedmont glacier — a glacier that ends on flat land rather than in the ocean — in the world. Research has shown that glaciers around the world have been retreating at unprecedented rates, and Alaska, which has only 5 percent of the t… Read More

Image of the Day: Shelter Dogs Get New Leash on Life

An innovative program uses high-energy shelter dogs to sniff out endangered species. In a win-win situation, active dogs in shelters are selected and their energy channeled into finding the scat of threatened and endangered species in a program called Conservation Canines Program at the University of Washington’s Center for Conservation Biology. A… Read More

Image of the Day: Trippy View of Hot Time in the City

Research has shown that urbanization alone could drive local temperatures up by a whopping 7°F by 2050 in some parts of the U.S. — some two or three times higher than the effects of global warming (which would also be going on at the same time). So because of this, climate scientists have to subtract this so-called urban heat island effect from the… Read More

To Say ‘Deep Water’ is a Great Read is Selling it Short

How high and how fast will sea level rise? It’s a hugely important question: the ocean is creeping ever higher thanks to global warming, posing a growing threat to life and property all over the world. The current consensus says sea level should go up another three feet or so by 2100, a disastrous enough scenario that would put many millions of … Read More