Climate Change News

EPA Releases Climate Assessment Update to National Stormwater Calculator

EPA – January 29, 2014

EPA has released Phase II of the National Stormwater Calculator and Climate Assessment Tool package. The updated calculator includes future climate vulnerability scenarios.  The calculator is a desktop application that estimates the annual amount of stormwater runoff from a specific location.  The calculator now includes changes in seasonal precipitation levels, the effects of more frequent high-intensity storms, and changes in evaporation rates based on validated Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change climate change scenarios.  The updated calculator includes climate models that can be incorporated into the calculation of stormwater runoff.  Users can enter any U.S. location and select different scenarios to learn how specific green infrastructure changes, including inexpensive changes such as rain barrels and rain gardens, can reduce stormwater runoff.  This information shows users how adding green infrastructure, which mimics natural processes, can be one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce stormwater runoff.  For more information on the National Stormwater Calculator and Climate Assessment Tool package, click here.  To learn about EPA's Green Infrastructure research, click here.

State of the Union, Obama pledges strong action on climate

By Ryan Cooper – The Washington Post - The Plum Line – January 28, 2014

During President Obama’s speech tonight, he announced many different ways he would use the executive branch to pursue strong action on climate change. For longtime readers, this is old hat by now; I’ve been over how the EPA can use its pollution authority to cut back on carbon emissions several times. The policy framework hasn’t changed. Instead, this is a good signal that President Obama intends to finish what he has started. To a first approximation, climate change is about coal. The oldest and filthiest coal-fired power plants are already being retired, squeezed by cheap natural gas and ever-cheaper renewables on one side, and the EPA on the other. With a bit of luck, and if the president keeps up the pressure, by the time he hands off to his successor coal will be on a permanently downward trajectory. For full blog post, click here.

Industry Awakens to Threat of Climate Change

By Coral Davenport – New York Times – January 23, 2014

Coca-Cola has always been more focused on its economic bottom line than on global warming, but when the company lost a lucrative operating license in India because of a serious water shortage there in 2004, things began to change. Today, after a decade of increasing damage to Coke’s balance sheet as global droughts dried up the water needed to produce its soda, the company has embraced the idea of climate change as an economically disruptive force. For full story, click here.

FEMA: Caught Between Climate Change and Congress

By Katherine Bagley – Inside Climate News – January 27, 2014

Thanks to climate change, extreme weather disasters have hammered the United States with increasing frequency in recent years—from drought and wildfires to coastal storms and flooding. It is perhaps surprising, then, that the U.S. agency in charge of preparing for and responding to these disasters, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), doesn't account for climate change in most of its budget planning and resource allocation or in the National Flood Insurance Program it administers. For full story, click here.

NASA: Cracked sea ice stirs up Arctic mercury concern

By Carol Rasmussen – NASA Global Climate Change – January 15, 2014

Vigorous mixing in the air above large cracks in Arctic sea ice that expose seawater to cold polar air pumps atmospheric mercury down to the surface, finds a NASA field campaign. This process can lead to more of the toxic pollutant entering the food chain, where it can negatively affect the health of fish and animals who eat them, including humans. For full story, click here.

Native Alaskans Grapple With Global Warming

By Lauren Gardner – Roll Call – January 14, 2014

A group of Native Alaskans traveled to Washington, D.C., this week to plead for congressional action on climate change as they grapple with its dramatic impacts. Residents of the village of Shishmaref, located on a barrier island off Alaska’s northwest coast, described their community’s drastically changing landscape and the effects of the warming climate on their culture to the Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change on Tuesday. For full story, click here.

How Climate Change Benefits Florida Forests

Conservation Magazine – December 31, 2013

Mangroves are on the move. In Florida, these valuable coastal forests have expanded to the north — thanks to a drop in the number of cold snaps. Mangroves are important ecosystems that support fish, birds, and other coastal critters. They also store carbon and provide a buffer against damaging storms. Researchers estimate that these “services” are worth about $1.6 trillion per year. For full article, click here.

Iceland's vanishing ice

By Cheryl Katz – The Daily Climate – December 18, 2013

A fierce wind shrieks down the glacier slope, flinging ice and grit like a weather-witch from an old Icelandic saga. The glacier, Solheimajokull, a tongue of ice reaching toward Iceland's southeast coast, has become an apologue of climate change in recent years: Retreating an average of one Olympic pool-length every year for the past two decades due to climbing temperatures, warming ocean currents and disrupted seasons. For full story, click here.