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Reading Recommendations

August 2018

A framework to diagnose factors influencing proenvironmental behaviors in water-sensitive urban design

Jacki Schirmer and Fiona Dyer

Urban stormwater runoff contributes significantly to water-quality problems in freshwater systems worldwide. Water-sensitive urban design (WSUD) typically addresses this through construction of ecologically sensitive infrastructure but rarely considers how encouraging change in human behaviors could contribute to improving water quality.



Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change

By Nathaniel Rich

The world has warmed more than one degree Celsius since the Industrial Revolution. The Paris climate agreement — the nonbinding, unenforceable and already unheeded treaty signed on Earth Day in 2016 — hoped to restrict warming to two degrees. The odds of succeeding, according to a recent study based on current emissions trends, are one in 20. If by some miracle we are able to limit warming to two degrees, we will only have to negotiate the extinction of the world’s tropical reefs, sea-level rise of several meters and the abandonment of the Persian Gulf.


NY Times

Droughts, heatwaves and floods: How to tell when climate change is to blame

Quirin Schiermeier

Weather forecasters will soon provide instant assessments of global warming’s influence on extreme events.



Urban mobility and neighborhood isolation in America’s 50 largest cities

Qi Wang, Nolan Edward Phillips, Mario L. Small, and Robert J. Sampson

Using new methods to analyze urban mobility in the 50 largest American cities, we find that residents of primarily black and Hispanic neighborhoods—whether poor or not—are far less exposed to either nonpoor or white middle-class neighborhoods than residents of primarily white neighborhoods. Although residents of disadvantaged neighborhoods regularly travel as far and to as many different neighborhoods as those from advantaged neighborhoods, their relative isolation and segregation persist.



Extreme weather wallops both coasts with flooding, scorching heat, wildfires


Extreme, potentially dangerous weather is affecting large portions of the U.S. this week, with flooding in the East and heat advisories in effect across the West.  In the East, a powerful coastal storm brought an onslaught of rain that pounded the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, prompting flood watches and warnings from the Carolinas all the way up to New York state. The system is now stalled, lashing parts of Pennsylvania and New York with downpours, CBS News’ Tony Dokoupil reports.



Disentangling vehicular emission impact on urban air pollution using ethanol as a tracer

Brito., K et al

The Sao Paulo Metropolitan Area is a unique case worldwide due to the extensive use of biofuel, particularly ethanol, by its large fleet of nearly 8 million cars.



The seasonal fingerprint of climate change

William J. Randel

The identification of anthropogenically forced climate change from observational data is challenging. Climate-change effects over the time scale of decades are relatively small compared to natural variability but become progressively larger and influential as time proceeds. Detection of an evolving forced climate signal in observational data is often based on identifying characteristic space-time patterns; this approach is referred to as fingerprint or optimal detection studies.



Officials and scientists need help to track down rogue source of CFCs


Emissions of ozone-destroying chemical blamed on Chinese companies, but origin is yet to be confirmed.



What Climate Change Looks Like In 2018

By Christie Aschwanden

It’s not just the U.S. During the first five months of 2018, nearly every continent experienced record warm temperatures, and May 2018 marked the 401st consecutive month in which temperatures exceeded the 20th century average.



Sea-level commitment as a gauge for climate policy

Peter U. Clark  et al.

A well-defined relationship between global mean sea-level rise and cumulative carbon emissions can be used to inform policy about emission limits to prevent dangerous and essentially permanent anthropogenic interference with the climate system.


Nature Climate Change

2018 Global Heat So Far

By Climate Central

With the release of the monthly global temperature analysis from NOAA today, it is a good opportunity to compare temperatures so far this year to their historical levels. And as greenhouse gases continue to accumulate in the atmosphere, the heat goes on both globally and here in the U.S.


Climate Central

Comprehensive study: carbon taxes won’t hamper the economy

Danna Nuccitelli

Eleven teams participated in a recent Stanford Energy Modeling Forum (EMF) project, examining the economic and environmental impacts of a carbon tax. The studies included “revenue recycling,” in which the funds generated from a carbon tax are returned to taxpayers either through regular household rebate checks or by offsetting income taxes.


The Guardian

Ammonia—a renewable fuel made from sun, air, and water—could power the globe without carbon

By Robert F. Service

That’s where MacFarlane comes in. For the past 4 years, he has been working on a fuel cell that can convert renewable electricity into a carbon-free fuel: ammonia. Fuel cells typically use the energy stored in chemical bonds to make electricity; MacFarlane’s operates in reverse.



A fresh take on ancient climate change in the North Pacific

By Kaustubh Thirumalai

Climate anomalies punctuated the last ice age, characterized by the discharge of icebergs that released fresh water into the North Atlantic Ocean. It now emerges that fresh water also sometimes flooded the North Pacific.



News Feature: The carbon detectives

Stephen Battersby

Even if countries agree to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, researchers face the monumental task of precisely monitoring the amounts of gases that are being emitted, and where. New tech will help, but the complications are many.



Putting waste to work for green and resilient cities

By Sonia Chand Sandhu

ADB’s Sonia Chand Sandhu says trash is a wasted opportunity in many Asian cities. Here’s what local governments can do to reap the full benefits from the “brown economy.”


Atmospheric blocking as a traffic jam in the jet stream

Noboru Nakamura and Clare S. Y. Huang

Persistent meandering of the jet stream can cause atmospheric blocking of prevailing eastward winds and result in weather extremes such as heat waves in the midlatitudes. Nakamura and Huang interpret the poorly understood origins of these systems as the meteorological equivalents of traffic congestion on a highway and show how they can be described by analogous mathematical theory. Climate change may affect the frequency of blocking as well as its geographic distribution, reflecting a simultaneous shift in the structure of the stationary atmospheric waves and the regional capacity of the jet stream.



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