By Jugal Patel – Mace & Crown – April 14, 2015

The first time I felt like I really understood how much this university meant, I stood before the control panel of a 5-foot luminous omniglobe in the dimly lit lobby of Old Dominion University’s Physics and Oceanography Building. The digital panel offers a collection of intriguing visualizations of our planet from space. Beneath the surface, the visualizations are powered by thousands of data points gathered by satellites orbiting the Earth. Some of the projected models were uploaded by scientists at ODU engaged in research on our global environmental systems. The visualization I was most interested in showed the fluctuating height of our oceans’ surfaces over time. Off the coastline of Southeast Virginia, a poignant cluster of red gathered, illustrating the all too familiar sentiment on the area’s vulnerability to changes to our global climate. For full story, click here.

By Magdalena Mis – Planet Ark – April 15, 2015

There will be enough water to produce food for 10 billion people in 2050, but over-consumption and the impact of climate change threaten food security and water supplies in many regions, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said on Tuesday. By 2050 some 60 percent more food will be needed to feed the world's people and as farming remains the largest user of water, food must be produced sustainably to ensure future supplies of food and water, the FAO and the World Water Council (WWC) said in a joint report. For full story, click here.

By Andy Hoffman – The Conversation – April 2, 2015

Last week, California Governor Jerry Brown described Senator Ted Cruz as unfit to run for office because of his “direct falsification of the existing scientific data” on climate change. Cruz fired back that “global warming alarmists” like Brown “ridicule and insult anyone who actually looks at the real data.” Here we go again. This is but the latest example of the toxicity of the public debate over climate change. For full story, click here.

By Doug Boucher – Union of Concerned Scientists - The Equation – April 3, 2015

The United States has now told the world what it intends to do about climate change in the 2020s, by submitting its INDC (“Intended Nationally Determined Contribution”) to the United Nations. As we found in our report Halfway There? in January, the U.S.’ land sector – agriculture and forests – could be a big deal for the climate negotiations in Paris next December. Of course, our actions to reduce fossil fuels will be critical, but land use is important both as a source of global warming pollution and a way to take it back out of the atmosphere. For full blog post, click here.

By Katherine Bagley – Record Searchlight – March 19, 2015

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is making it tougher for governors to deny man-made climate change. Starting next year, the agency will approve disaster preparedness funds only for states whose governors approve hazard mitigation plans that address climate change. This may put several Republican governors who maintain the earth isn’t warming due to human activities, or prefer to do nothing about it, into a political bind. Their position may block their states’ access to hundreds of millions of dollars in FEMA funds. For full story, click here.

Reporting Climate Science – March 26, 2015

Natural wetlands usually emit methane and sequester carbon dioxide. Anthropogenic impacts however, in particular the conversion of wetlands into cropland, result in a significant increase in CO2 emissions, which overcompensate potential decreases in methane emission, caused by the reduction of wetlands. A large international research team now calculated that the conversion of arctic and boreal wetlands into agricultural land would result in an additional cumulative radiative forcing of about 0,1 mJ per square meter for the next 100 years. The conversion of temperate wetlands into agricultural land would even result in a cumulative radiative forcing of 0,15 mJ per square meter. Converting forested wetlands into managed forests also contributes to increased warming, albeit much less than the conversion of non-forested wetlands. For full story, click here.

 

By Cheryl Katz – Environmental News Network – March 30, 2015

For decades, the earth’s oceans have soaked up more than nine-tenths of the atmosphere’s excess heat trapped by greenhouse gas emissions. By stowing that extra energy in their depths, oceans have spared the planet from feeling the full effects of humanity’s carbon overindulgence. But as those gases build in the air, an energy overload is rising below the waves. A raft of recent research finds that the ocean has been heating faster and deeper than scientists had previously thought. And there are new signs that the oceans might be starting to release some of that pent-up thermal to significant global temperature increases in the coming years. For full story, click here.

By Peter Fimrite – SFGate – March 28, 2015

The abominable snowpack in the Sierra Nevada reached an unprecedented low this week, dipping below the historic lows in 1977 and 2014 for the driest winter in 65 years of record-keeping. Electronic surveys show the water content of the snow throughout the Sierra is a shocking 8 percent of the historical average for this time of year, by far the driest it has been since 1950, the year record-keeping began, because of the lack of rain and snowfall and the exceedingly high temperatures. It is a troubling milestone that water resources officials say is bound to get even lower as the skies remain stubbornly blue. For full story, click here.

By Darryl Fears – The Washington Post – March 28, 2015

At her small beach house that sits in a flood zone, Nancy Loft-Powers worries. The prospect of rising water, she said, isn’t what bothers her. It’s the expected rise in the cost of her $7,500 yearly flood insurance. “My insurance is more than my mortgage,” Loft-Powers said in a phone interview from her year-round home in Deerfield Beach, Fla., near Fort Lauderdale. “I live by the beach in an old neighborhood. I pay [too much] insurance for a crap house that’s not great.” This April Fool’s Day, when a congressional act that revised federal insurance premiums goes into effect, coastal homeowners such as Loft-Powers say the joke will be on them. The government is slowly phasing out subsidized flood insurance for more than a million Americans with houses in flood zones who, in some cases, pay half the true commercial rate. For full story, click here.