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City Rain
Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Excessively wet year in eastern U.S. shows fingerprints of climate change

The effects of changing weather patterns are affecting pollinators. Drought conditions in the western U.S. in 2021 dried up bee forage — the floral nectar and pollen that bees need to produce honey and stay healthy. And extreme rain in the Northeast limited the hours that bees could fly for forage.

Five tropical storms and a summer of frequent thunderstorm activity have propelled parts of the eastern United States to one of its wettest calendar years on record.

Through November, 25 of 344 climate regions nationwide reported precipitation that exceeded 90 percent of years since 1895. All but two of these top-10 percent-rainfall regions were east of the Mississippi River, spread from Louisiana to Massachusetts and Illinois to Florida.

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Drought
SURACHET1/ISTOCK / GETTY IMAGES PLUS

Annual 2021 Drought Report

The patterns of drought and extreme rainfall are worsening as climate change accelerates.

Overall, when integrated across the nation and across the entire year, 2021 was a warm year with precipitation averaging near the middle of the historical distribution. The annual nationwide ranks were fourth warmest and 57th wettest (71st driest), based on data for 1895-2021. But this was a year of extremes as considerable variation occurred throughout the year and across the country. The year was unusually wet from the Gulf of Mexico coast to the eastern Great Lakes and southern portions of New England, where Massachusetts had the ninth wettest year on record and three other states ranked in the top twenty wettest category.

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Bridger Fire
Tom Rath

Notable impact of wildfires in the western United States on weather hazards in the central United States

On Monday, the Department of Energy released this groundbreaking research that found Western blazes are increasing the intensity of extreme weather in states as far east as Nebraska...

Wildfires have intensified in both frequency and burned areas in recent decades in the United States and constitute a significant threat to life and property. Sensible heat and aerosols produced by wildfires may affect severe storms and weather hazards downstream. Here, we show that wildfires in the western United States can lead to more severe hazardous weather in the central United States, notably increasing occurrences of heavy precipitation rates and large hail. Both heat and aerosols from wildfires play an important role. As wildfires are projected to be more severe in a warmer climate, the influence of wildfires on severe weather in downstream regions may become increasingly important.

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Aerial Fire
Flickr

Up in smoke: California’s greenhouse gas reductions could be wiped out by 2020 wildfires

This month, researchers from the University of Chicago and the University of California, Los Angeles, concluded in their own study that the wildfires of 2020 contributed to roughly a third of California’s total greenhouse gas emissions that year.

In this short communication, we estimate that California’s wildfire carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions from 2020 are approximately two times higher than California’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions since 2003. Without considering future vegetation regrowth, CO2e emissions from the 2020 wildfires could be the second most important source in the state above either industry or electrical power generation. Regrowth may partly of fully occur over a long period, but due to exigencies of the climate crisis most of the regrowth will not occur quickly enough to avert greater than 1.5 degrees of warming…

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Post Fire
Pixabay

Study shows worsening wildfire smoke is unraveling decades of air quality gains

Research is clarifying what we already know: our collective efforts to slow down climate change with natural climate solutions need to be supported by transitioning to renewables as soon as possible.

Wildfire smoke now exposes millions of Americans each year to dangerous levels of fine particulate matter, lofting enough soot across parts of the West in recent years to erase much of the air quality gains made over the last two decades.

In late September, Stanford University researchers published this study that found residents of Western states were exposed to a 27-fold increase of harmful particulate matter pollution, known as PM2.5, between 2006 and 2020 as wildfires intensified.

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Fire
David McNew/AFP via Getty Images

Western wildfires are fueling extreme weather in other states

Helping the people around you understand that taking climate action will have far-reaching effects can be difficult. Yet research is clarifying what we already know: our collective efforts to slow down climate change with natural climate solutions need to be supported by transitioning to renewables as soon as possible.

In late September, Stanford University researchers published a study that found residents of Western states were exposed to a 27-fold increase of harmful particulate matter pollution, known as PM2.5, between 2006 and 2020 as wildfires intensified.

Then this month, researchers from the University of Chicago and the University of California, Los Angeles, concluded in their own study that the wildfires of 2020 contributed to roughly a third of California’s total greenhouse gas emissions that year.

And on Monday, the Department of Energy released groundbreaking research that found Western blazes are increasing the intensity of extreme weather in states as far east as Nebraska…

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Forest
Xinhua/Rex/Shutterstock

The world’s forests do more than just store carbon, new research finds

New data suggests that forests help keep the earth at least half of a degree cooler, protecting us from the effects of the climate crisis.

Researchers from the U.S. and Colombia found that, overall, forests keep the planet at least half of a degree Celsius cooler when biophysical effects — from chemical compounds to turbulence and the reflection of light — are combined with carbon dioxide…

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Pump Jack
Pixabay

Keeping cattle on the move and carbon in the soil

Farmers and ranchers have depended on a relatively stable climate for generations. That's no longer possible. Conserving the land won't ensure that agriculture survives, and farmers know it. We can help.

The Obrechts stand at the forefront of an emerging collaboration between ranchers, conservation groups, and governmental agencies that aims to protect, restore, and revitalize the United States and Canada’s prairies — or what’s left of them…

Researchers estimate that grasslands could contain as much as 30 percent of the carbon stored in the Earth’s soil. Plowing them in order to plant crops releases large amounts of that carbon into the atmosphere…

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Peat Bog
GRLT

Rockland’s biggest, oldest ecological secret

Check out this slide show Georges River Land Trust used to communicate about the importance of peat bogs. It's very effective as a communication tool; you learn a lot even just by skimming. Perhaps you can use something like this to communicate about an important natural resource in your area...

What’s a peat bog? Where’s the Rockland Bog? What’s special about it? Why conserve it? How can you make a difference?

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Protecting a bog has significant climate impact

Climate action starts at home by taking personal action and working to save what you love. Many people don't know where to start. This land trust is making sure gardeners take notice.

Why protect the Rockland Bog? Learn about Rockland’s biggest, oldest ecological secret.

The Rockland Bog is home to waterfowl, wading birds, warblers, deer, beaver, rabbits, and other wildlife. For generations, it’s been a favorite of local outdoor enthusiasts, hunters, and hikers. Since it is the largest peat bog in midcoast Maine, it’s a giant sponge that stores carbon, mitigating the effects of climate change, and protecting the health of the Oyster and St. George Rivers…

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