Despite our technological advances, we are still at the whim of the planet’s weather and climate. We cannot make or stop hurricanes, meteorological droughts, or heat waves from happening, for example. It is thus critical for us to study the climate system so that we can understand better the current conditions and predict how they may change during the next few days, weeks, months, years, or decades. This can help save thousands to millions of lives – human and otherwise – by acting preemptively in the face of natural hazards, and also to know how to adapt to climate change. This climate system includes the interactions between the oceans, atmospheres, sea ice, and the continental lands, meaning that affecting one of them – especially at a large scale – will also have an impact on all the others.
In this page you will find articles that discuss climate change, natural variability, as well as extreme events and natural hazards.

 

Sustainability: That Ain’t Country?

Written by Ashford King In the US, the fight against climate change often looks more like a fight to achieve the public recognition that climate change is real. Flat out denial of science by the dominant strain of conservative politics and the reticence to take bold action on the part of moderates, combined with the…

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It’s Past Time for Princeton to Divest from Fossil Fuels

Written by Ryan Warsing of Divest Princeton If you’re reading this, you probably don’t need to be persuaded that the planet is on fire, and we need to do something to put it out fast.  We see evidence all around us:  California is again in the throes of a record wildfire season, glaciers the size of Manhattan are sliding into…

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Inside a Solar Energy Company

Written by Molly Chaney Finding an internship as a Ph.D. student is hard. Finding one at a company you have legitimate interest in is even harder. In search of a more refined answer to the dreaded question, “so what do you want to do after you get your Ph.D.?” I started looking for opportunities in…

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Integrating Renewable Energy Part 2: Electricity Market & Policy Challenges

Written by Kasparas Spokas The rising popularity and falling capital costs of renewable energy make its integration into the electricity system appear inevitable. However, major challenges remain. In part one of our ‘integrating renewable energy’ series, we introduced key concepts of the physical electricity system and some of the physical challenges of integrating variable renewable…

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Integrating Renewable Energy Part 1: Physical Challenges

Written by Kasparas Spokas Meeting climate change mitigation targets will require rapidly reducing greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation, which is responsible for a quarter of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. The prospect of electrifying other sectors, such as transportation, further underscores the necessity to reduce electricity emissions to meet climate goals. To address this,…

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Evaluating the geoengineering treatment

Written by Xin Rong Chua Might there be a remedy for the worldwide temperature and rainfall changes caused by humanity’s emissions? If so, what would the cure cost? We watch as Mr. Human grapples with these questions with the help of Dr. Planet. Dr. Planet was about to put an end to a long, hard…

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Carbon Capture and Sequestration: A key player in the climate fight

Written by Kasparas Spokas and Ryan Edwards The world faces an urgent need to drastically reduce climate-warming CO2 emissions. At the same time, however, reliance on the fossil fuels that produce CO2 emissions appears inevitable for the foreseeable future. One existing technology enables fossil fuel use without emissions: Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS). Instead of allowing…

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How Do Scientists Know Human Activities Impact Climate? A brief look into the assessment process

Written by Levi Golston On the subject of climate change, one of the most widely cited numbers is that humans have increased the net radiation balance of the Earth’s lower atmosphere by approximately 2.3 W m-2 (Watts per square meter) since pre-industrial times, as determined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in their…

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Losing the Climate War to Methane? The role of methane emissions in the global warming puzzle

Written by Dr. Arvind Ravikumar There is much to cheer about the recent climate agreement signed last December at the 21st Conference of Parties (COP 21) in Paris, France to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit global temperature rise to below 2° C. Whether countries will implement effective policies to achieve this agreement is a…

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Human Impacts on Droughts: How these hazards stopped being purely natural phenomena

Written by Dr. Niko Wanders We often hear about droughts around the world including those recently in the U.S. and Brazil, which has threatened the water safety for this year’s Olympic Games. Despite their natural occurrence, there is still a lot that we do not understand fully about the processes that cause them and about how they impact our society…

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A Precarious Puzzle of Expanding Deserts: How arid Asia has varied over time and the confusion over recent desertification

Written by Jane Baldwin Inner Mongolia (Nei MengGu in Mandarin Chinese) lies right at the border of the nation of Mongolia within mainland China (see Figure 1). Pictures of yurts, traditional pony races, Mongolian wrestlers, and most of all rolling grasslands attract many Chinese tourists to this region each year (see Figure 2). In summer…

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