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Category Archives: Climate Change

Newly Launched NASA Satellite Will Monitor Western Drought

News release: “In one of the space agency’s bolder projects, a newly launched NASA satellite will monitor western drought and study the moisture, frozen and liquid in Earth’s soil. It’s true that a satellite can’t possibly fix the devastating drought that has been plaguing the American West for the last years. It is also true that it can’t possibly change the fact that California has just gone through the driest month in recorded history. But what NASA plans to do is to provide the possibility of understanding the patterns of this extreme weather and, perhaps, foresee how much worse it could actually become.Called the SMAP (Soil Moisture Active Passive Satellite), this new, unmanned project was successfully launched on Saturday atop the United Launch Alliance Delta II Rocket. The launch took place at the California Vandenberg Air Force base at exactly 9:22 AM EST. With the successful launch, NASA just kick started a three year, $916 million mission focused on measuring and forecasting droughts, floods and other possible natural disasters that might come our way in the future.  With the help of SMAP, scientists will be able to measure the top 2 inches of Earth’s soil. SMAP is equipped with an enormous antenna that can help generate a global map of our planet’s topsoil moisture situation. Such a map will be created every three days for the first three years of the missions, NASA officials reveal.”

Surveying American Attitudes toward Climate Change and Clean Energy

“Resources for the Future has teamed up with Stanford University to conduct an in-depth survey of American perceptions of climate change and energy policies. The most recent poll was released in January 2015 in partnership with The New York Times. The survey asked respondents questions on a range of topics, including: How serious a problemContinue Reading

White House releases new flood risk management standard

FACT SHEET: Taking Action to Protect Communities and Reduce the Cost of Future Flood Disasters “Across the country, extreme weather and other impacts of climate change are threatening the health, safety, and prosperity of our communities. This month, NOAA and NASA announced that 2014 was the hottest global year on record.  And as the planetContinue Reading

Study – Melting Glaciers Release Vast Amounts of Carbon

Newsweek: “As the world warms, glaciers around the world are rapidly hemorrhaging ice and threatening catastrophic sea level rise. But melting glaciers also pose another kind of menace: the release of vast amounts of stored organic carbon into waterways. Florida State University assistant professor Robert Spencer and his colleagues have spent nearly a decade researchingContinue Reading

Sea Change: 2015-2025 Decadal Survey of Ocean Sciences

Committee on Guidance for NSF on National Ocean Science Research Priorities: Decadal Survey of Ocean Sciences; Ocean Studies Board; Division on Earth and Life Studies; National Research Council “Ocean science connects a global community of scientists in many disciplines – physics, chemistry, biology, geology and geophysics. New observational and computational technologies are transforming the abilityContinue Reading

NAP’s Guide to Science Issues and the State of the Union

“The 2015 State of the Union address focused on topics such as 21st century skills, climate change, and cybersecurity. The National Academies Press provides resources directly related to these national issues. A selection has been highlighted below. We’ve posted the full transcript of the President’s speech, annotated with lists of our related materials. Read our completeContinue Reading

New GAO Reports – Aviation Safety, Defense Headquarters, Polar Weather Satellites, VA Construction

Aviation Safety: Issues Related to Domestic Certification and Foreign Approval of U.S. Aviation Products, GAO-15-327T: Published: Jan 21, 2015. Publicly Released: Jan 21, 2015. Defense Headquarters: DOD Needs to Reassess Personnel Requirements for the Office of Secretary of Defense, Joint Staff, and Military Service Secretariats, GAO-15-10: Published: Jan 21, 2015. Publicly Released: Jan 21, 2015.Continue Reading

Old ice in Arctic vanishingly rare

NOAA: “Since the 1980s, the amount of perennial ice in the Arctic has declined. This animation tracks the relative amount of ice of different ages from 1987 through early November 2014. The oldest ice is white; the youngest (seasonal) ice is dark blue. Key patterns are the export of ice from the Arctic through FramContinue Reading

The Financial Risk from Global Warming

Covington, Howard and Thamotheram, Raj, The Case for Forceful Stewardship (Part 1): The Financial Risk from Global Warming (January 19, 2015). Available for download at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2551478 “If it reaches 4° or more, global warming may cause severe economic damage with the consequence that a significant portion of the value of a diversified equity investmentContinue Reading

Administration Annnounces Actions to Cut Methane Emissions

FACT SHEET: Administration Takes Steps Forward on Climate Action Plan by Announcing Actions to Cut Methane Emissions – “The Obama Administration is committed to taking responsible steps to address climate change and help ensure a cleaner, more stable environment for future generations. As part of that effort, today, the Administration is announcing a new goalContinue Reading

2014 Earth’s warmest year on record

December 2014 record warm; Global oceans also record warm for 2014 – “The globally averaged temperature over land and ocean surfaces for 2014 was the highest among all years since record keeping began in 1880. The December combined global land and ocean average surface temperature was also the highest on record.”

First Global Maps from Orbiting Carbon Observatory

“The first global maps of atmospheric carbon dioxide from NASA’s new Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 mission show elevated carbon dioxide concentrations across the Southern Hemisphere from springtime biomass burning and hint at potential surprises to come. At a media briefing  at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco, scientists from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California;Continue Reading