As concern grows over human-induced climate change, many scientists are looking back through Earth’s history to events that can shed light on changes occurring today.
The 2018 summer heatwave in the UK broke records – and it won’t be the last spell of such severe heat. In fact, climate change means that hot summers which would once occur twice a century may soon occur twice a decade.
Antarctica is further from civilisation than any other place on Earth. The Greenland ice sheet is closer to home but around one tenth the size of its southern sibling.
The world has witnessed a shocking series of disastrous events in 2017. Devastating hurricanes and Mexico’s 7.1 magnitude earthquake were just some of the catastrophes to captivate our collective attention.
The claim that humanity only has just over a decade left due to climate change is based on a misunderstanding.
In a post-apocalyptic future, what might happen to life if humans left the scene? After all, humans are very likely to disappear long before the sun expands into a red giant and exterminates all living things from the Earth.
Around the world, the health care debate often revolves around access. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organization, recently announced: “All roads lead to universal health coverage.”
Managed retreat in the face of sea level rise will be a mixed bag, researchers predict.
The Sierra Nevada mountain streams that naturalist John Muir extolled are now in peril, research finds.
Nearly half a billion more people could be at risk for contracting mosquito-borne diseases in the next 30 years as a result of climate change.
Flooding in the Midwest, triggered by an intense “bomb cyclone,” has devastated parts of the region, which has been plagued by flood events in recent decades.
The dire climate change situation continues to make headlines and inspire actions like the Sunrise Movement.
Many parts of Queensland have been declared disaster zones and thousands of residents evacuated due to a 1-in-100-year flood.
Many parts of Australia have suffered a run of severe and, in some cases, unprecedented weather events this summer.
Due to food shortages related to climate change, the Earth may experience a net increase of 529,000 adult deaths by 2050, according to a new review article published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
A record-breaking cold wave is sending literal shivers down the spines of millions of Americans. Temperatures across the upper Midwest are forecast to fall an astonishing 50 degrees Fahrenheit (28 degrees Celsius) below normal this week – as low as 35 degrees below zero.
Rising temperatures are weakening the jet stream, allowing frigid Arctic air to reach further south.
Scientists say the answer is in the ice. Scientists know that sea levels have risen more in some places during the past century than in others.
Is your morning coffee an espresso or a skinny latte? Is it from a darkly roasted French or Italian blend?
The kind of hot, dry conditions that can shrink crop yields, destabilize food prices, and lay the groundwork for devastating wildfires are increasingly striking multiple regions simultaneously as a result of a warming climate, according to a new study.
Hopes for fewer large wildfires in 2018, after last year’s disastrous fire season, are rapidly disappearing across the West.
Drought, crop failure, storms, and land disputes pit the rich against the poor, and Central America is ground zero for climate change. Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador lie in the trajectory of the so-called “dry corridor” of Central America that stretches from Southern Mexico to Panama. This epithet is a recently adopted description of the region, to describe the droughts that have risen in intensity and frequency over the last 10 years.
Once again, the summer and fall of 2018 in the Northern Hemisphere has brought us an epidemic of major wildfires. These burn forests, houses and other structures, displace thousands of people and animals, and cause major disruptions in people’s lives.
New research digs into how links between economic development, technology, politics, and decision-making affect actions people are willing to take against climate change.
The burning of unwanted gas associated with oil production—called “flaring”—remains the most carbon-intensive part of producing oil, according to a new analysis.
The price of beer could double under unchecked climate change, as droughts and extreme temperatures cause barley yields to drop. That’s one conclusion of research we recently published in Nature Plants.
Museums, archaeological sites and historical buildings are rarely included in conversations about climate change, which tend to focus on the wider impact and global threats to our contemporary world. Yet these threats impact everything, from local cultural practices to iconic sites of outstanding universal value. In light of this, it’s worth exploring the relationship between our heritage and the changing global climate in more detail.
Cyclone Winston struck Fiji on February 20, 2016, leaving a trail of destruction. Winston was a Category 5 cyclone (the strongest rating) with reported wind speeds of almost 300 km per hour. This made it among the strongest cyclones ever to make landfall globally, and the and the strongest recorded in the Southern Hemisphere.
As part of the Paris Agreement on climate change, the international community committed in 2015 to limit rising global temperatures to “well below” 2C by the end of the 21st century and to “pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5C”.
Persistent weather conditions, including dry and wet spells, that have increased in the United States may be a result of rapid Arctic warming, according to a new study.
Exposure to air pollution has a staggering effect on human health. It is thought to cause around 7m premature deaths each year worldwide, with around 40,000 occurring in Britain.
Two generations of Australians, Generations X and Y, say climate change is their number one cause for concern, according to a new report. Contrary to stereotypes of young generations being narcissistic or complacent, researchers say both groups are united in concerns about the future of the environment.
Hurricane Harvey, with its historical amount of rainfall over Texas, followed by a string of Hurricanes Irma, Jose and Katia in the North Atlantic basin in 2017, has triggered longstanding questions about any linkage between hurricanes and climate. Can we really blame these recent hurricanes on climate changes? Or are they simply a coincidence of nature happening once every few decades, similar to the triple of Hurricanes Beulah, Chloe and Doria back in 1967?
In Colombia’s coffee-producing region of Risaralda, small trees run along the sharp incline of the Andes Mountains, carefully tended in tidy rows. Thousands of green coffee berries turn brilliant red as they ripen, ready to be harvested by hand. The steep hills here prevent mechanized techniques.
Global warming isn’t the cause of slowdown in a huge circulation pattern in the Atlantic Ocean, which is, in fact, part of regular, decades-long cycle that will affect temperatures in coming decades, according to a new study.
New research asks a big question: Is there such a thing as a sustainable civilization, perhaps one that lies far beyond our own galaxy? Or are all civilizations doomed to destroy themselves?
I am afraid my message is going to be controversial. You see, I think there are deep problems with the standard climate change narrative, which has equated "green" with carbon reduction.
Australia is a continent defined by extremes, and recent decades have seen some extraordinary climate events. But droughts, floods, heatwaves, and fires have battered Australia for millennia. Are recent extreme events really worse than those in the past?
The targets set in the Paris Agreement on climate change are ambitious but necessary. Failure to meet them will lead to widespread drought, disease and desperation in some of the world’s poorest regions.
Almost every climate scientist agrees human-caused climate change is a major global threat. Yet, despite efforts over the past 30 years to do something about it, emissions keep increasing.
Scientists have known for a long time that as climate change started to heat up the Earth, its effects would be most pronounced in the Arctic.
Many projections suggest that burning fossil fuels and the resulting climate change will make it harder to grow enough food for everyone in the coming decades.
The ocean currents that help warm the Atlantic coasts of Europe and North America have significantly slowed since the 1800s and are at their weakest in 1600 years, according to new research my colleagues and I have conducted.
Science fiction writers can’t seem to agree on the rules of time travel. Sometimes, as in Doctor Who, characters can travel in time and affect small events without appearing to alter the grand course of history.
Land degradation can take many forms, but always entails a serious disruption of a healthy balance between five key ecosystem functions.
On Campbell Island in the Southern Ocean, some 400 miles south of New Zealand, is a single Sitka spruce. More than 170 miles from any other tree, it is often credited as the “world’s loneliest tree”.
For every 10 degrees north from the equator you move, spring arrives about four days earlier than it did a decade ago, a new study suggests.
Much of the public discussion about climate science consists of a stream of assertions. The climate is changing or it isn’t; carbon dioxide causes global warming or it doesn’t; humans are partly responsible or they are not; scientists have a rigorous process of peer review or they don’t, and so on.
Over the last 30 years, floods have killed more than 500,000 people globally, and displaced about 650m more. In a paper published by the Centre for Economic Performance, we examined why so many people are hit by devastating floods.
If you read or listen to almost any article about climate change, it’s likely the story refers in some way to the “2 degrees Celsius limit.” The story often mentions greatly increased risks if the climate exceeds 2°C and even “catastrophic” impacts to our world if we warm more than the target.
When fires, floods and other major disruptions alter natural areas, our first instinct is to restore what’s lost. But moving forward may mean leaving some treasured things behind.
The Trump administration, and its allies in Congress, are fighting a losing war. They continue to press forward for the development of oil, gas, and coal when the rest of the world understands the implication of that folly. Global warming is the most pressing issue for our time.
Damage from extreme weather events during 2017 racked up the biggest-ever bills for the U.S. Most of these events involved conditions that align intuitively with global warming: heat records, drought, wildfires, coastal flooding, hurricane damage and heavy rainfall.
Many scientists have found evidence that climate change is amplifying the impacts of hurricanes. For example, several studies just published in December 2017 conclude that human-induced climate change made rainfall during Hurricane Harvey more intense. But climate change is not the only factor making hurricanes more damaging.
Many observers of China’s escalating global program of foreign investment and infrastructure development are crossing their fingers and hoping for the best.
Even before this year’s devastating hurricane season, the team of demographers I work with at Penn State and the Puerto Rico Institute of Statistics had predicted that the population of Puerto Rico would decline over the next few decades.
In August 2016, a third of the residents of the North Island township Havelock North fell acutely ill with gastroenteritis after their water was contaminated with campylobacter.
Humans are probably contributing more methane to the atmosphere through fossil fuel use and extraction than scientists previously believed, report researchers.
More than 95% of people still eat meat and don’t like being told that it is wrong and bad for the planet to do so. But it is now well established that meat production is responsible for a substantial proportion of human greenhouse gas emissions, not to mention issues around animal welfare.
Around the globe, about 815 million people – 11 percent of the world’s population – went hungry in 2016, according to the latest data from the United Nations. This was the first increase in more than 15 years.
Melting of Antarctica’s ice can trigger rapid warming on the other side of the planet, according to our new research which details how just such an abrupt climate event happened 30,000 years ago, in which the North Atlantic region warmed dramatically.
Some aspects of climate change could benefit certain forms of agriculture in the Northeastern United States, new research suggests—though the researchers caution that there are many variables in the future scenario they envision.
Microbes in permafrost that eat sun-weakened carbon and convert it into carbon dioxide may be providing a major pathway for the greenhouse gas to enter the atmosphere, new research suggests.
A new study outlines some of the effects that climate change will have on northern cities with cold climates, including in Europe and the North America.
There has been no let up since Hurricane Harvey dumped record-breaking rains on the Houston area of Texas. Hurricane Irma lashed parts of the Caribbean and Cuba and devastated the Florida Keys and the state’s west coast.
What we believe and how we act don’t always stack up. Recently, in considering what it means to live in a post-truth world, I had cause to examine my understanding of how the world works and my actions on sustainability.
The rainfall from Harvey has now exceeded the amount from the previous record-bearer, Tropical Storm Amelia in 1978.
If you read or listen to almost any article about climate change, it’s likely the story refers in some way to the “2 degrees Celsius limit.”
The largest wildfire ever recorded in Greenland was recently spotted close to the west coast town of Sisimiut, not far from Disko Island where I research retreating glaciers.
Our worry is that putting too much emphasis on the climate overlooks the role of political and socio-economic factors in determining a community’s vulnerability to environmental stress.
Multiple lines of evidence are now telling us a convincing story that boreal fires are changing — they are getting bigger, larger. And if this continues, there is a good chance that...
One of the largest icebergs ever recorded has just broken away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica.
In the year 2100, 2 billion people—about one-fifth of the world’s population—could become refugees due to rising ocean levels.
Urban Canadians are feeling the impact of climate change. Flooding in Quebec this spring damaged nearly 1,900 homes in 126 municipalities, causing widespread psychological distress.
Deadly heat stress is projected to affect hundreds of millions more people each year under relatively little additional climate warming.
The hottest year on record was 2016. It was also the year scientists advised that Earth’s citizens were now living in the Anthropocene Epoch.
Seeing how a new crop or missing animal affects the food web of the Ancestral Puebloan southwestern United States could shed light on the future of our food.
If citizens have heard anything about the upheaval in the U.S. coal industry, it is probably the insistence that President Obama and the EPA have waged a “war on coal.”
When we think of coasts, we are likely to think about the great sandy beaches that have been the destination for many day trips and long weekends.
Warming in the 21st century has reduced Colorado River flows by at least 0.5 million acre-feet—about the amount of water used by 2 million people for one year, a new study warns.
While increases in population and wealth will lift global demand for food by up to 70% by 2050, agriculture is already feeling the effects of climate change.
Australia’s summer is officially over, and it’s certainly been a weird one. The centre and east of the continent have had severe heat with many temperature records falling, particularly in New South Wales and Queensland.
The heatwave that engulfed southeastern Australia at the end of last week has seen heat records continue to tumble like Jenga blocks.
Prior to President Donald Trump taking office, there was a push to require oil and gas companies to inform their investors about the risks of climate change.
In the geographical heart of Africa lies a huge wetland. After years of exploring these remote swamps, our research shows that the region contains the most extensive tropical peatland on Earth.
The increase in large-scale tornado outbreaks in the US doesn’t appear to be clearly linked to climate change, a new study suggests.
What, quantitatively, is the social cost of carbon dioxide—the economic damage caused by a 1-ton increase in emissions or the benefits of a 1-ton decrease?
After lying largely forgotten in a museum for decades, a set of fossilised footprints have revealed a new glimpse of the world when reptiles began taking over from amphibians as the dominant land animals.
Ocean acidification is an inevitable consequence of increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. That’s a matter of fact. The journalist James Delingpole disagrees.
Technological advances wouldn’t protect US agriculture from a drought on the scale of the legendary Dust Bowl crisis of the 1930s, research shows.
Global climate change has already impacted every aspect of life on Earth, from genes to entire ecosystems, according to a new study in Science.
Beijing, London, Mexico City, New Delhi and Paris are among the cities that have drawn attention for their dangerously high air pollution levels in 2016 – but they’re not alone.
Almost half of plant and animal species have experienced local extinctions due to climate change, research reveals, with the tropics suffering the most pronounced loss.
There is no doubt that 2016 has been a record-breaking year for Earth’s climate.
A warming climate is exposing the Arctic to the possibility of radical changes that could affect the rest of the planet, scientists say.
As demand for grain increases to feed a rising population, scientists warn that global warming could seriously reduce wheat productivity.
President-elect Donald Trump has been unclear so far on how many of his campaign pledges he actually intends to see through. Hopeful Democrats and moderates have clung to this uncertainty as reason to hope that a Trump presidency wouldn’t be as bad as they feared.
The consequences of climate change are already being felt all over the globe. But some regions are particularly affected. These so-called “hotspots” are areas where strong physical and ecological effects of climate change come together with large numbers of vulnerable and poor people and communities.
The high ambition of the Paris Agreement, to limit global warming to “well below 2°C”, was driven by concern over long-term sea level rise. A warmer climate inevitably means melting ice – you don’t need a computer model to predict this, it is simple common sense.
More than a dozen authors from different universities and nongovernmental organizations around the world have concluded, based on an analysis of hundreds of studies, that almost every aspect of life on Earth has been affected by climate change.