Climate Week NYC is taking place this week from September 17-24, 2023. This global climate event is bringing together diverse audiences, communities, and decision-makers to spotlight the climate crisis, as well as the innovative and collaborative ways we can mitigate and halt its consequences. Check out what’s going on at Columbia Climate School, and take our quiz below to test your knowledge of the latest climate news from the Climate School, the State of the Planet blog, and beyond. Be sure to drop your score in the comments section below.
In a monumental climate trial this year, on August 14, 2023, a state judge issued a landmark ruling in favor of what group?
In the first constitutional climate trial in the United States to confront a state’s responsibility for climate change, a state judge issued a landmark ruling in favor of young Montana climate activists in the Held v. State of Montana case. The plaintiffs claimed that the state violated their right to a clean and healthful environment under Montana’s constitution. District Court judge Kathy Seeley declared that a state law violated this right by stopping agencies from considering climate impacts when conducting environmental reviews.
Climate change has the potential to disrupt air travel in a variety of ways. How do rising temperatures hinder airplane takeoffs or potentially prevent them?
Higher temperatures make air less dense, so planes need to generate more lift by going faster to take off. In some cases, they might not have enough runway to achieve the necessary speed. Or they may be forced to reduce the weight they are carrying. Moreover, temperatures of 100 degrees F or more can cause tarmac to soften, causing aircraft wheels to get stuck. And because tarmac can turn into a heat island, high temperatures may also limit how long ground crews can work outside.
According to a recent paper in Nature Climate Change, what type of projects aimed at adapting and mitigating the effects of climate change carry the greatest risk for maladaptation or unintended consequences?
A new paper in the journal Nature Climate Change examines this issue and establishes an approach for assessing adaptation activities. One bottom-line result: infrastructure projects in general carry the most risks of maladaptation, while shifts involving changes in diet and restoration of natural areas carry the least.
Buildings, roads, and urban infrastructure all absorb and re-emit more of the sun’s heat than natural landscapes do. These built environments, combined with heat from human activities, can lead to urban heat islands—inner-city zones where temperatures can be as much as how many degrees F warmer than surrounding, vegetated areas?
Urban heat islands are zones where temperatures can be as much as 20 degrees F warmer in certain city areas compared with the surrounding areas.
According to scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, which recent month was hotter than any other month in the global temperature record?
Scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies reported July 2023 to be hotter than any other month in the global temperature record.
A recent study in the journal Science estimates a large portion of Greenland melted to become an ice-free tundra about how many years ago?
A new study in the journal Science says a large portion of Greenland turned to ice-free tundra about 416,000 years ago, plus or minus 38,000 years—quite recent in geologic time. They calculate that the melting caused at least five feet of sea level rise—and maybe as much as 20 feet—at a time when temperatures were only slightly warmer than today, even though atmospheric levels of heat-trapping carbon dioxide were far lower.