Preliminary analysis concludes Pacific Northwest heat wave was a 1,000-year event…hopefully

An international team of weather and climate experts known as the “World Weather Attribution” project has analyzed the late June heatwave in the U.S. Pacific Northwest and come to a preliminary conclusion that the event was a roughly 1-in-1,000-year event in today’s climate. (The results are preliminary because, while the methods the experts used have been applied to many other published studies like this, this specific analysis has not yet been formally reviewed by other experts.) If they are correct, it would have been at least 150 times rarer before global warming. Theoretically, a 1-in-150,000-year event—so rare, they concluded, that it’s fair to say it would have been “virtually impossible” in pre-industrial times. Taken at face value, it would also mean that events like that aren’t about to become common any time soon.

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Tribes Take the Lead in Climate Change Planning

The Little Rocky Mountains in Montana form an island range in a sea of prairie. As a result of their isolation, they are home to plant and wildlife species that are not found anywhere nearby, leaving them especially vulnerable to climate change impacts. In the shadow of the Little Rockies, the Aaniiih and Nakoda peoples of the Fort Belknap Indian Community are taking a bold stand to protect this mountain ecosystem to help preserve their traditional ways of life. The Center is supporting this effort by assisting them in restoring forest health and planning for a rapidly changing climate.

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Low-Tech Method Restores Eroded Lands

“A picture is worth a thousand words,” so the saying goes. Scientists with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Southwest Watershed Research Center in Tucson, AZ, took that saying to heart when they embarked on a project a decade ago to photograph the effectiveness of an ancient erosion-control technique.

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Climate Change Indicators: Greenhouse Gases

Greenhouse gases from human activities are the most significant driver of observed climate change since the mid-20th century.1 The indicators in this chapter characterize emissions of the major greenhouse gases resulting from human activities, the concentrations of these gases in the atmosphere, and how emissions and concentrations have changed over time. When comparing emissions of different gases, these indicators use a concept called “global warming potential” to convert amounts of other gases into carbon dioxide equivalents.

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Study Projects a Surge in Coastal Flooding, Starting in 2030s

In the mid-2030s, every U.S. coast will experience rapidly increasing high-tide floods, when a lunar cycle will amplify rising sea levels caused by climate change.

High-tide floods – also called nuisance floods or sunny day floods – are already a familiar problem in many cities on the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf coasts. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported a total of more than 600 such floods in 2019. Starting in the mid-2030s, however, the alignment of rising sea levels with a lunar cycle will cause coastal cities all around the U.S. to begin a decade of dramatic increases in flood numbers, according to the first study that takes into account all known oceanic and astronomical causes for floods.

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What Is the Greenhouse Effect?

Earth is said to be in a perfect "Goldilocks zone" away from the sun (not too cold, and not too hot), which enables life to thrive on the planet's surface. But Earth's balmy temperatures would not be possible without the greenhouse effect, which traps solar energy on Earth's surface and keeps the planet warm.

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