climate change

Between Harvey, Irma, and Maria, hurricanes have left hundreds of thousands of people in Texas, Florida, and the Caribbean with a gut-wrenching choice: rebuild, or relocate? It’s a question that some Massachusetts towns and property owners face on a regular – if less dramatic – basis.

National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Woods Hole, MA Labels by Syagria / Public Domain

The waters off New England’s coast are warming faster than 99.9% of the world’s oceans. A new study finds that summer-like conditions in the Gulf of Maine now last two months longer than they did just a few decades ago. And that's not necessarily a good thing.

Scientists have known for a handful of years that the waters off the northeast coast are warming at an unusually rapid rate. Over the course of thirty three years, the average temperature has gone up about one degree. But the warming hasn't happened steadily.

Hurricanes Nudge Financial Policy

Sep 11, 2017
Paula DiPerna
Wikicommons / http://bit.ly/2wk9Z7C

The cost of extreme weather has increased dramatically in recent years. Hurricane Katrina was the most expensive weather event of past thirty years with a total price tag of more than $150 billion. Harvey is expected to be in that range, and we are still watching Irma and Jose unfold.

Are these economic impacts changing policy or behavior more broadly?

The Texas Army National Guard responds to Hurricane Harvey
Army National Guard / http://bit.ly/2wAHHrd

Hurricane Harvey dropped an unprecedented amount of rain on a vulnerable area. How much of that is the fault of human-caused climate change? Before the floodwaters had even left Houston, Michael Wehner was working on that question. He is a scientist in the Computational Research Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

The report says the Northeast will be strongly impacted by climate change.
Elsa Partan

A climate science report leaked to the New York Times this past week presents some unsettling warnings, both about our changing weather and our current political climate. That report is part of the fourth National Climate Assessment. These assessments are intended to provide guidance to lawmakers and officials – from federal to local.

World Climate Simulation pairs mock U.N. negotiations with a climate model that shows participants the likely result of their actions.
Courtesy of John Sterman / Climate Interactive

In the two and a half weeks since President Trump announced that the US would withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, there’s been a lot of speculation about how the rest of the world will respond, and whether they can address climate change without the U.S. on board. An MIT researcher plans to test exactly this idea with a simulation this Thursday.

As water temperatures rise, southern New England is losing its lobsters.
Derek Keats, Wikimedia Commons / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en

When it comes to the iconic fisheries of New England, lobster is a close second only to cod. But lobsters are not faring well in the waters off southern New England. In fact, on a ten-point scale, lobster biologist Kari Lavalli of Boston University puts the population at a three.

Beth Casoni, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Lobstermen's Association, says lobsters south and west of Cape Cod have faced “a multitude of stressors.” Lavalli agrees, but points the finger primarily at climate change. Both say this is definitely not the fault of those who catch and eat lobsters.

Self-folding pasta could significantly cut the cost and carbon footprint of shipping dried pasta - a multi-billion dollar industry in the U.S.
Courtesy of Transformative Appetite / MIT Media Lab

President Trump has clearly signaled that his administration won't make an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but one initiative he proposed this week might do just that. And other cuts could come from unexpected places.

President Trump's announcement last week that he will withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement was not unexpected. Besides the fact that the news was leaked to the press a day in advance, Trump has been promising to do this since he was on the campaign trail. But Trump’s blatant disregard for climate science and his description of the Paris Agreement, itself, has drawn criticism from the science community.

Secretary Tillerson Signs the Scientific Cooperation Agreement at the 10th Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting in Fairbanks, AK.
U.S. Air Force / Public Domain

The Arctic Council held their tenth annual ministerial meeting last week and adopted a science cooperation agreement that puts climate change front and center. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson signed that agreement, but also told council members that the U.S. will not rush and will “work to make the right decision for the United States” when it comes to climate policies.

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