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John Upton

John Upton

Editorial

John Upton is a Senior Science Writer at Climate Central. He is focused on shores and rising seas, and he also covers global climate policy, oceans research and wood energy. Upton has science and business degrees and a decade of international reporting experience. He has written for the New York Times, Slate, Nautilus, VICE, Grist, Pacific Standard, Modern Farmer, and Audubon magazine.

Most Recent News Entries:

Acidifying Waters Put Dungeness Crabs at Risk

Acidifying Waters Put Dungeness Crabs at Risk

Research published this month could give a crab connoisseur a case of acid reflux. Scientists reported in the journal Marine Biology that ocean acidification, which is caused when carbon dioxide pollution dissolves into oceans, can kill and stunt young crabs, potentially jeopardizing whole populations. “It’s something that’s projected into the … Read More

Abrupt Atlantic Ocean Changes May Have Been Natural

Abrupt Atlantic Ocean Changes May Have Been Natural

Climate change may not have been to blame for an abrupt recent slowdown of a sweeping Atlantic Ocean current, a change that delivered an intense pulse of ocean warming and sea level rise through the Gulf of Maine and elsewhere along the East Coast. Modeling-based analysis by British scientists, published Monday in Nature Geoscience, concluded that … Read More

Marine Parks Help Global Fish Stocks Withstand Warming

Marine Parks Help Global Fish Stocks Withstand Warming

New and expanded marine parks and fishing rules could be powerful antidotes for threats of famine as fisheries dwindle from climate change and overfishing, new research has shown. An ambitious new analysis of big marine data produced from thousands of dives by citizen scientists has detected a powerful link between the biodiversity of a … Read More

Sea Level Rise Could Help Marshes Ease Flooding

Sea Level Rise Could Help Marshes Ease Flooding

Along the mid-Atlantic coast, where waters are rising quickly, marshes are on the march, consuming forestland, farms and yards. “Habitats are changing fast here,” said Matt Whitbeck, a biologist at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Maryland, where dead trees still jut from young marshes. Newly published modeling shows that a looming… Read More

Ocean Acidification Making It Harder For Fish to Breathe

Ocean Acidification Making It Harder For Fish to Breathe

With carbon dioxide pollution dissolving into water bodies, causing them to acidify, laboratory experiments showed silversides in the sprawling Chesapeake Bay will find it harder to breathe in low-oxygen conditions. The findings have sweeping global implications. “These fish are superabundant — everything else eats them,” said Seth Miller, an… Read More

Florida Dredging Would Cut Path Across Corals in ‘Crisis’

Florida Dredging Would Cut Path Across Corals in ‘Crisis’

As America’s only barrier reefs bleach, dissolve and succumb to disease, experts worry that a $320 million plan to expand oil and cargo shipments through Florida’s corals could worsen flooding and threaten ecosystems crucial to fisheries and tourism businesses. In addition to being one of the world’s busiest cruise ship terminals, Port Everglades… Read More

Coral Deaths Threaten Coasts With Erosion, Flooding

Coral Deaths Threaten Coasts With Erosion, Flooding

Colorful corals draw snorkeling tourists to natural marine playlands along the Florida Keys, Mexican Riviera Maya and northeastern Australia, and new research shows the flailing ecosystems they underpin also protect beachfront hotels from erosion and floods. As coral reefs the world over bleach from warming waters, dissolve from acidification and … Read More

Global Warming Is Starving West Coast Waters of Oxygen

Global Warming Is Starving West Coast Waters of Oxygen

Rockfish populations that crashed off the southern Californian coast in the 1990s have been protected by fishing rules and marine parks. But climate change is making a natural threat to the fish even worse. As atmospheric pollution warms the planet and its seas, oxygen levels are declining in the oceans, making it harder for the bottom-dwelling… Read More

Climate Change is ‘Devastating’ The Great Barrier Reef

Climate Change is ‘Devastating’ The Great Barrier Reef

Warm ocean waters that sucked the color and vigor from sweeping stretches of the world’s greatest expanse of corals last month were driven by climate change, according to a new analysis by scientists, who are warning of worse impacts ahead. Climate change made it 170 times more likely that the surface waters of the Coral Sea, which off the… Read More

Carbon Fee Debate Goes Mainstream in Washington State

Carbon Fee Debate Goes Mainstream in Washington State

As governments worldwide begin imposing fees on pollution to try to protect the climate, a debate over dueling approaches — one that has long been restricted to conferences and academia — is becoming prominent in Washington state. Washington voters will decide in November whether to introduce a carbon tax on fossil fuels and electricity from coal … Read More

With The Paris Agreement Signed, Hard Work Begins

With The Paris Agreement Signed, Hard Work Begins

Diplomats and leaders representing more than half the world’s countries on Friday gave a global effort to slow climate change a ceremonial nudge forward. The signing in New York of the Paris Agreement, which is a United Nations climate treaty that was finalized during high-profile negotiations in France in December, was a symbolic overture to year … Read More

Fate of World’s Coastlines Rests on Melting Antarctic Ice

Fate of World’s Coastlines Rests on Melting Antarctic Ice

Mayors from small towns, planners from the world’s largest cities and U.N. diplomats are being guided on the details of a looming coastal crisis by sea level projections compiled by a U.N. science panel. The panel’s work includes warnings about the amount of flooding that could be caused by melting in Antarctica, and those warnings have been… Read More

Sinking Atlantic Coastline Meets Rapidly Rising Seas

Sinking Atlantic Coastline Meets Rapidly Rising Seas

Geological changes along the East Coast are causing land to sink along the seaboard. That’s exacerbating the flood-inducing effects of sea level rise, which has been occurring faster in the western Atlantic Ocean than elsewhere in recent years. New research using GPS and prehistoric data has shown that nearly the entire coast is affected, from… Read More

Carbon Pollution Seen As Key Driver of Sea Level Rise

Carbon Pollution Seen As Key Driver of Sea Level Rise

New computer modeling has shown that human influences were responsible for two-thirds of sea level rise from 1970 to 2005. By contrast, natural forces were responsible for about two-thirds of the rise in sea levels detected from 1900 to 1950. “We’re driving sea levels at the moment,” said Aimee Slangen, a researcher with Australia’s federal … Read More

Clouds Play Lesser Role in Curbing Warming, Study Finds

Clouds Play Lesser Role in Curbing Warming, Study Finds

To some, clouds resemble bunnies. To others, they can look like squished flowers. When scientists used NASA data to peer into clouds, what they saw resembled a hazard sign warning of a fast-deteriorating climate ahead. Analysis of the first seven years of data from a NASA cloud-monitoring mission suggests clouds are doing less to slow the warming … Read More

Fishing Bans Can Protect Great Barrier Reef Corals

Fishing Bans Can Protect Great Barrier Reef Corals

As the famed corals of Australia’s northeastern shoreline turn white at a rate never before seen, scientists there have made a striking discovery — one that offers new hope for reefs as greenhouse gas pollution warms the waters around them. Corals growing in areas of the Great Barrier Reef where fishing is banned were found to be more likely to … Read More

Climate Change Worsening Colorado River Droughts

Climate Change Worsening Colorado River Droughts

Even as the number of Americans relying on the Colorado River for household water swells to about 40 million, global warming appears to be taking a chunk out of the flows that feed their reservoirs. Winter storms over the Rocky Mountains provide much of the water that courses down the heavily-tapped waterway, which spills through deep gorges of … Read More

Antarctica at Risk of Runaway Melting, Scientists Discover

Antarctica at Risk of Runaway Melting, Scientists Discover

The world’s greatest reservoir of ice is verging on a breakdown that could push seas to heights not experienced since prehistoric times, drowning dense coastal neighborhoods during the decades ahead, new computer models have shown. A pair of researchers developed the models to help them understand high sea levels during previous eras of warmer … Read More

These Tiny Mangroves Hold Vast Stores of Carbon

These Tiny Mangroves Hold Vast Stores of Carbon

Squat mangrove forests that seem at first blush to simply eke by along the coasts of Baja California are sitting on a big secret — one with with sweeping implications in an era of accelerating climate change. Despite their diminutive appearance, scientists discovered that these mucky coastal ecosystems store huge amounts of carbon, helping to slow… Read More

California Snowpack Returns, But Fears Held For Future

California Snowpack Returns, But Fears Held For Future

Climate change is projected to corrode California’s snowpack, forcing water officials to rethink how they store and distribute water in a state that’s prone to prolonged droughts. Efforts have begun to improve the management of water stored in the state’s underground aquifers, which could help compensate for its loss of snowpack storage. Despite … Read More

New Hope For U.S. Coastlines Even As Seas Rise

New Hope For U.S. Coastlines Even As Seas Rise

Scientists have encouraging news for planners along the Eastern seaboard staring down the worsening crisis of sea level rise: if managed well, most of the region’s shorelines could adapt naturally to the drenching changes that lie ahead. The research, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, offers hope that vulnerable coastal areas could r… Read More

How the World Has Changed Since Paris Climate Pact

How the World Has Changed Since Paris Climate Pact

National leaders have yet to sign a new United Nations climate pact, but developments during the three months since the Paris Agreement was finalized have been feverish. The fate of electricity rules underpinning U.S. commitments under the pact has been thrown into doubt, new data suggests China may have already hit its targets, and Europe has … Read More

As U.S. Coastal Cities Swell, Rising Seas Threaten Millions

As U.S. Coastal Cities Swell, Rising Seas Threaten Millions

That combination of rising populations and rising seas could see millions of Americans living in homes that flood regularly during the decades ahead, according to a nationwide analysis published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change. That’s unless steps are taken to protect homes, relocate populations or redirect development into regions with… Read More

U.S., Canada Pact Targets Lesser Known Climate Impacts

U.S., Canada Pact Targets Lesser Known Climate Impacts

Just three months after the world united on climate action and reached a high-profile United Nations agreement in Paris to curb warming, the U.S. and Canada on Thursday announced a bilateral climate agreement. The announcement was historically significant: both nations are in the throes of newfound commitments to protect the climate following … Read More

Scientists Trace Climate-Heat Link Back to 1930s

Scientists Trace Climate-Heat Link Back to 1930s

For the first time, climate scientists have identified greenhouse gas pollution’s role in global temperatures measured during record-breaking years back to 1937, as industrialized cities and nations continued burning coal to power factories and trains. “What we found was that we could actually detect human influence on extreme events a lot earlier… Read More

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Arctic Sea Ice Thinning: Winter Winter view: Arctic sea ice has been getting thinner, even faster than its area has been shrinking

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