News and Feature Articles

2015 News and Feature Articles

Earth's Recent History Key to Predicting Global Temperatures

Satellite photo of smog over China

Estimates of future global temperatures based on recent observations must account for the differing characteristics of each important driver of recent climate change. Researchers need to know the transient response and equilibrium sensitivity of climate forcings.

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Seeing Through the Smoky Pall: Indonesia's Fire Season

Photo of smoke-enshrouded Mount Kerinci

Thick peat, El Niño weather, and economic development in Indonesia came together to produce prodigious fires and planet-warming emissions. Scientists around the world used many different tools to better understand why the fires were so severe and what their impact was on human health and the environment.

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Declining Snowpacks May Cut Many Nations' Water

MODIS imagery of snow-covered mountains

Snow is an important seasonal water source around large mountain chains. A new study has examined the potential effects of declining snow accumulations in many regions around the world, identifying areas that may be particularly vulnerable.

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Accounting for Climate's Backseat Drivers

Photo of Canadian oil sands refinery

The climate would be a much easier system to study if there was only one thing going on at a time. Unfortunately, all of the different external forcings happen independently. As climate changes, can we make any clear attributions to the individual factors?

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Smoke Blankets Indonesia

Satellite imagrey of Indonesian fire smoke

Fires in Indonesia are persistent, difficult to extinguish, and very polluting. Climatologists worry that this year could be very bad as a strong El Niño influences reduces regional rainfall.

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NYCRI Students Team with Teachers, NASA Scientists

Group photo of students and educators

Every summer, high school and undergraduate students team up with teachers and NASA scientists at NASA GISS in New York City. Known as the New York City Research Initiative, the program brings students and teachers face-to-face with premier scientists.

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Sea Level Rise Hits Home at NASA

Image of NASA Kennedy launchpad

The nation's problem of sea level rise is also NASA's problem, and not just because several satellites and hundreds of Earth scientists are monitoring the rising seas. Sea level rise hits especially close to home because half to two-thirds of NASA's infrastructure and assets stand within 16 feet of sea level.

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Three NASA Scientists Honored as AGU Fellows

Photos of Travis and Rosenzweig

Larry Travis and Cynthia Rosenzweig from the Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City as well as Lorraine Remer, an affiliate of the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, have been named fellows by the American Geophysical Union.

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“Snowball Earth” Might Have Been Slushy

Image of polar ice

To better understand factors affecting the range of habitable conditions of exoplanets, GISS climate modelers go back in time to simulate the “Snowball Earth” conditions of 720 to 635 million years ago and find that complete freeze-over is hard to achieve.

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GISS Scientists Select Best Institute Paper of 2014

Image of Journal Article

The staff of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies have voted the journal article “CMIP5 historical simulations (1850-2012) with GISS ModelE2” by Ron Miller et al. as the top work among over 130 research publications by institute staff to have been published in 2014.

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No Major U.S. Hurricane Landfalls in Nine Years: Luck?

Satellite image of hurrican striking Gulf Coast

The United States hasn't experienced the landfall of a Category 3 or larger hurricane in nine years — a string of years that's likely to come along only once every 177 years, according to a new NASA study.

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NASA's Exoplanet Nexus — 2. Looking to the Stars

Artist's concept of exoplanet

While the Goddard Institute for Space Studies was opening the eyes of the world to new areas of Earth systems science in recent decades, its research roots in planetary science have continued. That expertise will now be applied to the new area of exoplanet systems science.

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NASA's Exoplanet Nexus — 1. A History in Climate Studies

Graphic of Pioneer Venus

The Goddard Institute for Space Studies is providing expertise to the Nexus for Exoplanet System Science in the area of exoplanet atmospheres and climate. GISS has been a key player in the study of planetary climates and atmospheres for decades.

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NASA GISS to Help Lead Search for Habitable Exoplanets

Graphic of exoplanet simulation data

NASA announced this week the creation of the Nexus for Exoplanet Systems Science (NExSS) network that will study planets beyond our solar system for habitability and other features tapping the expertise of researchers at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Goddard Space Flight Center and other locations.

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Increased Rainfall in Tropics Caused by More Frequent Big Storms

Photo of Pacific rain cloud

A new study based in part on NASA satellite data has shown what has been called a “rich-get-richer” pattern in which an increase in large, well-organized thunderstorms is boosting rainfall in the wettest regions of Earth's tropics.

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Study Assesses Fragility of Global Food System

Photo of drought-stressed corn

As global food networks become more complex and interdependent, how concerned should we be about the stability of the system being disrupted by geopolitical, economic, and climatic events? What can we do to avoid future trouble?

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NASA Science Leads New York City Climate Change Report

Map of New York City flood zones

A new report by the New York City Panel on Climate Change details significant future increases in temperature, precipitation and sea level in the New York metropolitan area. The report aims to increase current and future resiliency of the communities, citywide systems and infrastructure in the New York metropolitan region to a range of climate risks.

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Carbon Emissions Could Dramatically Increase Risk of U.S. Megadroughts

Map of North American soil moisture

Droughts in the U.S. Southwest and Central Plains during the last half of this century could be drier and longer than drought conditions seen in those regions in the last 1,000 years, according to a new NASA study.

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Why So Many Global Temperature Records?

Line plot of temperature anomaly

You could hardly miss the media stories about how the past year ranked in terms of global temperatures. Astute readers may ask: how do different institutions come up with slightly different numbers for the same planet?

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NASA, NOAA Find 2014 Warmest Year in Modern Record

Global map of 2014 temperature anomaly

The year 2014 ranks as Earth's warmest since 1880, according to two separate analyses by NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The 10 warmest years in the instrumental record, with the exception of 1998, have now occurred since 2000.

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