Nick Sundt's blog

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24 Hours of Reality: The Dirty Weather Report

From an 8 pm EST kickoff on Wednesday 14 November to a 7-8 pm finale on Thursday 15 November 2012, watch the live online broadcast of 24 Hours of Reality on climate disruption and its affect on all of us. The event spotlights every region of the globe across all 24 time zones, highlighting different impacts and solutions every hour from a variety of voices—musicians, comedians, experts, every day people.

Hurricane Sandy is 11th Billion Dollar Weather-Extreme for U.S. in 2012, as Americans see 2nd Most Disastrous Year on Record

With two months still left in 2012, the preliminary data indicate that the U.S. has thus far experienced eleven weather-related disasters each with damages of at least a billion dollars. Since 1980, only 2011 saw more billion-dollar weather disasters (14 in all). With the drought and Hurricane Sandy likely to be among the costliest weather-related disasters on record (i.e. since 1980), 2012 also is likely to edge out 1988 as the second costliest year in terms of billion-dollar weather-extremes.

Video (PBS): How Cities Should Prepare for Climate Disruption and Sea Level Rise

Should cities be preparing for the consequences of climate disruption and rising sea levels?  As part of the PBS Newshour series on "Coping With Climate Change," Ray Suarez discusses the question with Joseph Romm of Center for American Progress and American Enterprise Institute's Kenneth Green.

In Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Group Issues Report Saying Observed Climate Change Impacts "Have Little National Significance"

In 2009, a publicly funded assessment of the impacts of climate change, Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States, warned in its key findings that "coastal areas are at increasing risk from sea-level rise and storm surge." Now, just days after "Frankenstorm" Sandy pushed the most destructive and costly storm surge on record for the U.S. mid-Atlantic into the region's heavily populated coastal areas, the libertarian Cato Institute is treating Americans to a Halloween trick. It released today (31 October 2012) a slick study masquerading as an updated "Addendum" to the Federal report. In its key findings, Cato entirely drops any mention of storm surges and says the "[i]mpacts of observed climate change have little national significance."

Federal Report: Rising Seas and Climate Change Threaten Coasts, as Local Governments Shoulder Much of the Preparedness Burden

A new report on climate change impacts, adaptation and vulnerability in coastal areas of the U.S. warns that coping with sea level rise and coastal disruption "will be a challenge for coastal economies that contributed $8.3 trillion to the GDP in 2011." It says that local governments will have to shoulder much of the burden of "making the critical, basic land-use and public investment decisions and ...working with community stakeholder groups to implement adaptive measures on the ground."

Video: From Rooftop to Alleyway, Chicago Fights Extreme Urban Heat With Greener Ideas

As the planet warms, heat waves are becoming more frequent and severe.  The problem is compounded in cities by the "urban heat island" effect -- the tendency for cities to be much warmer than the surrounding countryside.  In this 10 minute video, PBS Newshour reports on Chicago's efforts to cool the city down and dampen the rising need for air conditioning.  

In Film "Chasing Ice," See How Climate Change Puts the Planet on a Slippery Slope (video)

Whether or not we take action to slow climate change and prepare for its impacts depends a lot on compelling images of what is happening to the planet around us, and on visualizing alternative futures. Few images can be as iconic, compelling and symbolic of climate change than the melting and disintegration of the world's ice sheets and glaciers. In the movie Chasing Ice, to be released on 9 November 2012, audiences will follow photographer James Balog and his crew in their determined efforts to capture those images in some of the harshest, most isolated -- and most beautiful -- areas of the planet.

With Inadequate Sea Ice North of Alaska, Walruses Haul-Out Along Russian Coast

We reported last week (26 September 2012), that sea ice in the Chukchi Sea north of Alaska had declined to the point where the National Ice Center had characterized an area preferred by walruses (Hanna Shoal) as open water. Without the sea ice they needed to rest on, walruses were headed ashore in search of a suitable area of coastal land where they could "haul out." We and others expected large numbers of walruses to haul out in the area of Point Lay, Alaska, where they have hauled out in recent years. But most of the walruses instead opted to continue swimming far to the West, to haul out in the vicinity of Russia's Cape Serdtse-Kamen -- joining other walruses already hauled out there. Though we cannot yet confirm that large numbers of walruses are hauling out at the remote cape, that certainly was the case last year. By mid-October 2011, an estimated (and astounding) 100,000 walruses from both the U.S. and Russian sides of the Chukchi, had hauled out there.

Earth Hour 2013 (Video): Take Action Beyond the Hour

It's not too soon to start thinking about Earth Hour 2013!  From 8.30pm – 9.30pm on Saturday 23 March 2013, people around the world will turn off their lights for an hour in symbolic support for taking steps to address climate change and the other threats to our planet.  The official Earth Hour 2013 video captures the excitement of past Earth Hours and challenges us to take substantive actions beyond the hour.  The video features David Guetta’s “Without You.”

Southwest U.S. Forests Projected by 2050 to See Worst Drought Conditions in at Least 1,000 years, With Extensive Forest Die-off

Scientists report in the journal Nature Climate Change that the drought-stress currently being experienced by forests in the Southwestern U.S. "is more severe than any event since the late 1500s megadrought" that "probably led to deaths of a large proportion of trees living at the time." They warn that climate projections indicate that "the mean forest drought-stress by the 2050s will exceed that of the most severe droughts in the past 1,000 years."

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