What is a flash drought? An earth scientist explains

Antonia Hadjimichael, Penn State, from The Conversation Many people are familiar with flash floods – torrents that develop quickly after heavy rainfall. But there’s also such a thing as a flash drought, and these sudden, extreme dry spells are becoming a big concern for farmers and water utilities. Flash droughts start and intensify quickly, over periods of weeks to months, compared to years or decades…

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Looking back on America’s summer of heat, floods and climate change: Welcome to the new abnormal

Shuang-Ye Wu, University of Dayton (from The Conversation) The summer of 2022 started with a historic flood in Montana, brought on by heavy rain and melting snow, that tore up roads and caused large areas of Yellowstone National Park to be evacuated. It ended with a record-breaking heat wave in California and much of the West that pushed the power grid to the breaking point,…

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Climate change is intensifying the water cycle, bringing more powerful storms and flooding – here’s what the science shows

Mathew Barlow, UMass Lowell (from The Conservation) Powerful storm systems triggered flash flooding across the U.S. in late July 2022, killing at least 25 people in eastern Kentucky as floodwater engulfed homes and set off mudslides. Record rainfall also inundated St. Louis neighborhoods, and another deluge in Nevada flooded the Las Vegas strip. The impact of climate change on extreme water-related events like this is…

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Buying into conspiracy theories can be exciting – that’s what makes them dangerous

Donovan Schaefer, University of Pennsylvania (from The Conversation) Conspiracy theories have been around for centuries, from witch trials and antisemitic campaigns to beliefs that Freemasons were trying to topple European monarchies. In the mid-20th century, historian Richard Hofstadter described a “paranoid style” that he observed in right-wing U.S. politics and culture: a blend of “heated exaggeration, suspiciousness, and conspiratorial fantasy.” But the “golden age” of…

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What are PFAS, and why is the EPA warning about them in drinking water? An environmental health scientist explains

Kathryn Crawford, Middlebury (from The Conversation) “PFAS? What’s PFAS?” You may be hearing that term in the news as the federal government considers new rules and guidelines for the chemicals. Even if the acronym is new to you, you’re probably already familiar with what PFAS do. That’s because they’re found in everything from nonstick cookware to carpets to ski wax. PFAS stands for per- and…

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Excessive rainfall: a product of a changing climate

Pockets of intense rainfall occurring over a short period of time amid a larger movement toward drought is a signature of a changing climate. For more information, see — Excessive rainfall–the new normal Connections with a changing climate: drought, intense rainfall, and flooding Extreme rainfall will continue Large, intense thunderstorms will happen more frequently Extreme weather and climate change: the connections and impacts (from Science…

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