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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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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.

Go deeper

Why made-for-TV moments matter during the pandemic

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Erin Schaff-Pool, Biden Inaugural Committee via Getty Images

In a world where most Americans are isolated and forced to laugh, cry and mourn without friends or family by their side, viral moments can offer critical opportunities to unite the country or divide it.

Driving the news: President Biden's inauguration was produced to create several made-for-social viral moments, a tactic similar to what the Democratic National Committee and the Biden campaign pulled off during the Democratic National Convention.

Updated 8 hours ago - World

Over 3,000 detained in protests across Russia demanding Navalny's release

Russian police officers beat protestesters at a rally against of jailing of oppositon leader Alexei Navalny in Moscow on Saturday. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Police in Russia on Saturday arrested more than 3,300 people as protesters nationwide demanded that opposition leader Alexey Navalny be released from jail.

Details: Demonstrations began in the eastern regions of Russia and spread west to more than 60 cities.

Updated 10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona Republicans censure Cindy McCain and GOP governor

Combination images of Cindy McCain and Gov. Doug Ducey. Photo: FilmMagic/FilmMagic for U.S.VETS/Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Arizona Republican Party members voted on Saturday to censure prominent GOP figures Cindy McCain, Gov. Doug Ducey and former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who've all faced clashes with former President Trump.

Why it matters: Although the resolution is symbolic, this move plus the re-election of the Trump-endorsed Kelli Ward as state GOP chair shows the strong hold the former president has on the party in Arizona, despite President Biden winning the state in the 2020 election.

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