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Brian Kahn

Brian Kahn

Editorial

Brian Kahn is a Senior Science Writer at Climate Central. He previously worked at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society and partnered with climate.gov to produce multimedia stories, manage social media campaigns and develop version 2.0 of climate.gov. His writing has also appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Grist, the Daily Kos, Justmeans and the Yale Forum on Climate Change in the Media. In previous lives, he led sleigh ride tours through a herd of 7,000 elk and guided tourists around the deepest lake in the U.S. He holds an M.A. in Climate and Society from Columbia University. 

Most Recent News Entries:

What Tornado Season Looks Like in 8 Seconds

What Tornado Season Looks Like in 8 Seconds

It’s that time of year again when flowers bloom, ice starts to find its way into coffee and afternoon strolls are a must. Ah, spring. Yet for all the wonders warmer temperatures can bring, there are a few downsides. Allergies for one. But those are just a minor nuisance compared to severe weather and the tornadoes it can spawn that generally … Read More

New NASA Satellite Gets the Dirt on Soil Moisture

New NASA Satellite Gets the Dirt on Soil Moisture

Tracking soil moisture is a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it. Soil moisture is a critical indicator of drought. For decades, ground observations have done the heavy lifting but they’re few and far between. That’s why NASA spent $1 billion to launch a soil moisture monitoring satellite earlier this year. After months of calibration, the… Read More

Looking for Global Warming? Check the Ocean

Looking for Global Warming? Check the Ocean

We tend to focus on land surface temperatures, because, well, that’s where we live. And human greenhouse gas emissions have ensured their steady rise since the start of the Industrial Revolution, punctuated by 2014 setting the record for warmest year. But surface heat is just a fraction of the climate change equation. There's a whole other piece to… Read More

Major Changes Loom in Arctic as U.S. Leads Council

Major Changes Loom in Arctic as U.S. Leads Council

Just 30 years ago, the Arctic was viewed as a frozen expanse of limited opportunity. But climate change is rapidly reshaping the region — it’s warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet — creating new opportunities and risks that are coming into global focus. “Without climate change, we wouldn’t really be talking about the Arctic in the first… Read More

Pacific Winds Tied to Warming Slowdown, Dry West

Pacific Winds Tied to Warming Slowdown, Dry West

To understand why the West has been so dry since the turn of the century, cast your eye further west — to the natural waxing and waning of Pacific Ocean winds. Strong trade winds have been forcing heat into ocean depths, contributing to a temporary slowdown in land surface warming over the past 15 to 20 years that some have called a warming hiatus… Read More

Can Climate Scientists Make A Difference by Not Flying?

Can Climate Scientists Make A Difference by Not Flying?

Globally, air travel accounts for 2.5 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. If air travel were a country, it would be roughly on par with Germany in emissions. And if air travel by climate scientists were a city, it would be a one-stoplight outpost. In other words, climate scientists curtailing their air travel would make a microscopic dent in redu… Read More

Satellite Images Show Scope of Calif.’s Record Low Snow

Satellite Images Show Scope of Calif.’s Record Low Snow

When news broke of California’s record low snow earlier this week, it wasn’t a surprise this year was a recordbreaker. The real shock was just how low the snowpack had dwindled. Weak snowfall and downright balmy temperatures drove the snowpack down to just 6 percent of normal on April 1, a mark that “obliterates” the previous record, one official … Read More

One Image That Shows Future of Climate Models

One Image That Shows Future of Climate Models

The future of climate modeling is taking a lesson from Van Gogh’s paintings with a dose of extra technicolor for good measure. Los Alamos National Laboratory released a simulation that captures the temperatures and currents of the world’s oceans in intimate detail. The image reveals ripples down to a resolution of 9 miles in the North Atlantic, th… Read More

Satellites Show Vanuatu’s Scars From Cyclone Pam

Satellites Show Vanuatu’s Scars From Cyclone Pam

Cyclone Pam ripped through the small island nation of Vanuatu earlier this month, leaving behind scenes of utter devastation. Images on the ground have captured ripped up trees, destroyed houses and signs of cleanup underway. Now Landsat satellite images released by NASA Earth Observatory on Friday show the big picture of what those winds, in… Read More

Two Maps Show Countries’ Plans For CO2 Pledges

Two Maps Show Countries’ Plans For CO2 Pledges

International climate negotiations include every country from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. And as the world gears up for Paris, climate watchers will be looking to see how (or if) each country plans to rise to the challenge of reducing the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. The next major climate talks are still nine months down the road, but commitment… Read More

The West Coast Is in Hot Water

The West Coast Is in Hot Water

Move over polar bears. Are starving sea lion pups the new face of climate change? This year’s slew of hungry pups washing ashore in California, which has generated a slew of media coverage replete with heart-tugging images, has roots in natural temperature fluctuations in the ocean. But in the coming decades, human-induced warming could make these… Read More

Climate Change on International Disaster Talks Agenda

Climate Change on International Disaster Talks Agenda

It may be nine months until pivotal climate negotiations get underway in Paris, but climate change is very much on the international agenda this week in Sendai, Japan. Countries from the around world have convened there at the behest of the United Nations for the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction with the goal of updating a 10-year-old ag… Read More

Four Countries Eclipse EU Renewable Goals Early

Four Countries Eclipse EU Renewable Goals Early

The European Union continues to march toward its renewable energy goals for 2020, but some countries aren’t content to wait until then to meet their targets. Newly released data show that four countries — Sweden, Bulgaria, Estonia and Lithuania — have met or surpassed their renewable energy target ahead of schedule, and two others are on the cusp … Read More

Sao Paulo’s Reservoirs Feel Pinch of Failed Wet Season

Sao Paulo’s Reservoirs Feel Pinch of Failed Wet Season

Sao Paulo, in the wake of another dry summer in southeast Brazil, continues to struggle with a multi-year drought. The city has implemented water rationing, but reservoir levels still hover at perilously low levels and will likely remain there or drop even further as the usual rainy season ends. What is traditionally the rainy season runs from Sept… Read More

Warming Could Hit Rates Unseen in 1,000 Years

Warming Could Hit Rates Unseen in 1,000 Years

We are standing on the edge of a new world where warming is poised to accelerate at rates unseen for at least 1,000 years. That’s the main finding of a paper published Monday in Nature Climate Change, which looked at the rate of temperature change over 40-year periods. The new research also shows that the Arctic, North America and Europe will be … Read More

Drought Weakens the Amazon’s Ability to Capture Carbon

Drought Weakens the Amazon’s Ability to Capture Carbon

During drought, trees across the Amazon continue to stretch their limbs. But they shirk one of their more important, planet-saving tasks: inhaling carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. In the drought of 2010, the ability of the Amazon’s trees, shrubs, bushes and vines to absorb carbon was greatly diminished, according to new research that used on-th… Read More

Maps Show El Niño Won’t Help the West’s Water Woes

Maps Show El Niño Won’t Help the West’s Water Woes

El Niño has finally proved the haters wrong. After months of being derided as “El Limbo” and “El No Show,” scientists declared the phenomenon here almost a year to the day after declaring an El Niño Watch. Sure, it’s later and wimpier than initial forecasts, but better late and weaker than never. Unless of course you’re suffering from drought in … Read More

Global Warming Upped Heat Driving California’s Drought

Global Warming Upped Heat Driving California’s Drought

Another dismal wet season is nearly behind California. Extremely low snowpack in the Sierra Nevada has conspired with warm temperatures to keep the state in the grips of one its worst droughts on record for at least another year. The precipitation has been the key ingredient to start the drought, but heat has played an important role in maintainin… Read More

Climate Change a ‘Contributing Factor’ in Syrian Conflict

Climate Change a ‘Contributing Factor’ in Syrian Conflict

Moist air comes flowing off the Mediterranean into Syria each winter, unleashing rains that transform the dull brown countryside into myriad hues of green. But in 2005, the rains never fully materialized, the first of five consecutive failed rainy seasons that sparked the worst drought in Syria’s history and directly preceded the country’s descent … Read More

NASA Satellites Show Rain In Detail Like Never Before

NASA Satellites Show Rain In Detail Like Never Before

Few things on our planet connect us like precipitation. The storm that drops snow in the mountains of North Carolina one day can bring rain to the plains of Spain a week later. Yet there hasn't been a way to effectively monitor all the precipitation across the globe at once, let alone create a vertical profile from the clouds to the ground. All th… Read More

How Sahara Dust Sustains the Amazon Rainforest, in 3-D

How Sahara Dust Sustains the Amazon Rainforest, in 3-D

The Amazon rainforest exists in part due to an atmospheric pipeline of dust from the Sahara Desert. And if that pipeline were to dry up or be diverted, massive biological changes could occur across the jungle. New research published on Tuesday in the journal Geophysical Research Letters uses satellite data to create the first three-dimensional look… Read More

Here’s Where Ocean Acidification Will Hit the U.S. Hardest

Here’s Where Ocean Acidification Will Hit the U.S. Hardest

U.S. coastal communities better start preparing for ocean acidification now, especially if we want scallops, oysters and other shellfish to keep appearing on our dinnerplates. That’s the message of a new study that shows that shellfisheries across the U.S. are more vulnerable to climate change’s less considered counterpart than previously thought … Read More

Freeze Frame: Drone Captures Niagara Falls on Ice

Freeze Frame: Drone Captures Niagara Falls on Ice

It may feel too cold to even think of walking outside if you live on the East Coast. But you know what it's not too cold to do? Fly a drone over a mostly frozen Niagara Falls. That's exactly what Canadian videographer Brent Foster did on Friday. The results? Pretty spectacular. Raise your glass of hot chocolate (or iced tea if you're out West) to … Read More

Dry or Snowy? Winter Weather Splits the U.S.

Dry or Snowy? Winter Weather Splits the U.S.

Snow, snow, and more snow. That’s what’s been dominating the headlines the past few weeks. However, other than the most recent winter storm that cut across the middle of the country and cut up along the East Coast, it’s really only a small area of the U.S. that is getting pounded with such high amounts of snow — yes, that’s you coastal New England.… Read More

Ocean Acidification, Now Watchable in Real Time

Ocean Acidification, Now Watchable in Real Time

The depressing task of monitoring ocean acidification just got a little easier. A collection of scientists from Europe, the U.S. and India have developed a technique that could provide the first global and nearly real-time assessment of our rapidly acidifying seas.… Read More

Gallery

Fall Precipitation Trends Fall precip has changed since the early 1970s, but unlike fall temperatures, the changes form more of a patchwork story.

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