Jun 23, 2018

Cheat sheet: How climate change affects our weather

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

One way we're each experiencing climate change today is in the form of extreme weather.

Why it matters: According to numerous studies, climate change is making some events, like heatwaves and heavy downpours, more intense and more likely to occur. These can be deadly, damaging and expensive.

"There is essentially no uncertainty that the Earth is warming, and that we're responsible. There is uncertainty in what exactly this means, for whom, and where.  This uncertainty isn't comforting, it's terrifying: if we knew exactly what was coming, we could plan ahead. But we don't, and we're facing a huge and certain threat partially in the dark."
— NASA climate scientist Kate Marvel to Axios

Between the lines: Think of climate change as an aggravating factor in our weather, rather than something that causes a specific event to occur. For example, Axios' Amy Harder wrote that climate change "is like diabetes for the planet," because it aggravates pre-existing conditions.

  • Heat waves: Scientists have the most confidence when it comes to making a connection between heat waves and global warming.
  • Heavy precipitation events: Similarly, scientists are confident in making links between heavy downpours and climate change, since a warmer atmosphere carries more water vapor.
  • Hurricanes: We know that climate change is melting land ice, which is causing sea levels to rise.
  • Wildfires: Most scientific studies show that large wildfires across the western U.S. have increased in recent decades. The two biggest reasons:
    • Hotter temperatures: Forests dry out and are more primed for wildfires that grow more rapidly than they otherwise would have been with lower temperatures.
    • More firefighting: The century-old practice of suppressing wildfires has ironically helped cause wildfires to be more intense when they do burn because there is more forest to burn.

What's next: Scientists are racing to get a better understanding of the stability of the planet's ice sheets, which determine sea level rise and coastal flooding.

  • Recent studies have revised sea level projections upward from just a few years ago.

Go deeper:

Editor's note: Axios energy reporter Amy Harder contributed reporting.

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In photos: Authorities issue warning as Americans venture out for Memorial Day weekend

Venice Beach in Los Angeles on May 24. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

Authorities urged Americans to maintain social distancing and wear masks against the coronavirus amid reports of packed beaches and bars during the Memorial Day weekend.

Driving the news: Law enforcement stepped up beach patrols, authorities on Florida's Gulf Coast closed parking lots because they were full and there were crowded scenes at Lake of the Ozarks bars in Missouri, per AP, which reports a shooting injured several people at a packed Daytona Beach in Florida.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 5,405,029 — Total deaths: 344,997 — Total recoveries — 2,168,408Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 1,642,021 — Total deaths: 97,698 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,195Map.
  3. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil, coronavirus hotspot in Southern Hemisphere Over 100 coronavirus cases in Germany tied to single day of church services — Boris Johnson backs top aide amid reports that he broke U.K. lockdown while exhibiting symptoms.
  4. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks headed into Memorial Day weekend Report finds "little evidence" coronavirus under control in most statesHurricanes, wildfires, the flu could strain COVID-19 response
  5. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Public employees brace for layoffs.
  6. Federal government: Trump attacks a Columbia University study that suggests earlier lockdown could have saved 36,000 American lives.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Republicans sue California over mail-out ballot plan

California Gov. Gavin Newsom during a February news conference in Sacramento, California. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

President Trump accused Democrats of trying "Rig" November's general election as Republican groups filed a lawsuit against California Sunday in an attempt to stop Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) from mailing ballots to all registered voters.

Driving the news: Newsom signed an executive order this month in response to the coronavirus pandemic ensuring that all registered voters in the state receive a mail-in ballot.