At 12 points around the globe—including one at Stanford—scientists are working to detect when the Anthropocene began.
Rodolfo Dirzo is Professor of Biology and Earth Systems Science at Stanford University. Rodolfo's scientific work examines the study of species interactions in tropical ecosystems from California, Latin America, and other tropical areas of the world. Recent research highlights the decline of animal life (“defaunation”), and how this affects ecosystem processes/services (e.g. disease regulation).
SIEPR's David Lobell and Monika Piazzesi are among seven Stanford faculty elected to the National Academy of Sciences.
Ecologists deploy a small weapon in a big disease battle.
Island geography, genealogy, kinship, and other cultural and environmental factors influenced early Pacific island societies to develop sustainable practices. How can we apply these lessons to climate and sustainability issues today?
The new role involves near-term space planning on campus, master planning of the Hopkins Marine Station, and working to decrease barriers between different departments and programs.
NPR's Steve Inskeep asks climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh of Stanford University about the wild weather in California this year.
Stanford-led study reveals a fifth of California’s Sierra Nevada conifer forests are stranded in habitats that have grown too warm for them
The researchers created maps showing where warmer weather has left trees in conditions that don’t suit them, making them more prone to being replaced by other species. The findings could help inform long-term wildfire and ecosystem management in these “zombie forests.”
Trawlers working amidst a whale ‘supergroup’ raise red flag about human-whale conflicts in a changing ocean, Stanford study says
Scientists observed close to 1,000 fin whales foraging near Antarctica, while fishing vessels trawled for krill in their midst. Without action, such encounters are likely to become more common as this endangered species recovers and krill harvesting intensifies in the Southern Ocean.
The fellowship supports early-career researchers in scientific disciplines and technical fields in the United States and Canada.
Environmental justice roundtable highlights energy and policy, health, and Indigenous Peoples issues
The second event in a new dean’s lecture series through the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability featured environmental justice experts in energy, environmental health, and Native environmental policy.
Join Timothy Harris as he sits down with Dr. Tadashi Fukami, an Ecologist, to discuss his personal journey from Japan to the Bay Area and his innovative research in the field of ecology. In this revealing conversation, Dr. Fukami shares his insights on the impact of human activities on ecosystems the importance of preserving biodiversity, and most of all, his interesting journey to finding his true passions.
New analysis shows the U.S. has accounted for more wetland conversion and degradation than any other country. Its findings help better explain the causes and impacts of such losses and inform protection and restoration of wetlands.
Artificial intelligence provides new evidence our planet will cross the global warming threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius within 10 to 15 years. Even with low emissions, we could see 2 C of warming. But a future with less warming remains within reach.
Stanford human and planetary health course empowers students with tools for change to benefit both human health and the environment
More than 100 students from diverse backgrounds and fields of study were drawn to a fall class exploring the connection between the health of people and the environment, part of a wave of interest in classes about sustainability.
Plant-based and lab-grown meat substitutes are here to stay, but are unlikely to eliminate livestock agriculture’s climate and land use impacts anytime soon, according to Stanford environmental scientist David Lobell. In the meantime, Lobell says we should also focus on reducing emissions of animal-based systems. (Better-tasting fake cheese would be nice too.)
Stanford scientists are among a growing number of researchers harnessing artificial intelligence techniques to bring more realistic representations of ubiquitous atmospheric ripples into global climate models
There’s room for improvement in a popular climate-smart agricultural practice, Stanford-led study shows
Federal subsidies promote planting cover crops to store carbon in agricultural soils, among other benefits, but the approach as currently practiced can reduce yields in the U.S. Corn Belt, researchers find. Their analysis highlights the need to better implement the practice.
American beaver populations are booming in the western United States as conditions grow hotter and drier. New research shows their prolific dam building benefits river water quality so much, it outweighs the damaging influence of climate-driven droughts.
Based on new analyses of satellite data, scientists have found that hydrologic conditions that increase flash drought risk occur more often than current models predict. The research also shows that incorporating how plants change soil structures can improve Earth system models.
Years after Hurricane Katrina altered his life’s course, Elliott White Jr. set out to understand what drives coastal wetland loss as a way to help lessen harm from future climate impacts for vulnerable coastal communities. (Source: Stanford News)
“What I see are more and more opportunities to address the challenge”: Chris Field, a global ecology and climate science pioneer, is pursuing impact at scale at the new Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability.
Heat waves, drought, and floods driven by climate change are already impacting access to food and driving food insecurity in many parts of the world. Stanford professor David Lobell explains how food production and access are impacted by climate change. (Source: Stanford Center for Innovation in Global Health)
Pollution from wildfires is linked to lower test scores and possibly lower future earnings for kids growing up with more smoke days at school, a new study finds. Impacts of smoke exposure on earnings are disproportionately borne by economically disadvantaged communities of color.
Stanford researchers have developed an AI model for predicting dangerous particle pollution to help track the American West’s rapidly worsening wildfire smoke. The detailed results show millions of Americans are routinely exposed to pollution at levels rarely seen just a decade ago.
Hurricanes and severe storms exacerbate inequalities. Ahead of a Sept. 21 webinar on the subject, Stanford experts discussed how to ensure equity in planning and response for such extreme weather events, economic benefits of nature-based storm defenses, and related issues. (Source: Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment)
Fendorf, the Terry Huffington Professor in the Department of Earth System Science and a senior fellow at the Woods Institute, has been elected for his exceptional achievements.
“We're seeing all around the world that heat records are being broken, and we're seeing the impacts of those severe heat events, whether it's in agriculture, in our food system, water resources, electricity generation, ecosystems, both on land and in rivers and streams, as well as in the ocean from marine heatwaves,” says Stanford's Noah Diffenbaugh.
When the right atmospheric factors come together to generate heavy precipitation, there is more water available to fall from the clouds than there had been before greenhouse-gas emissions began warming the planet, explains Stanford climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh.
Stanford researchers collected water samples from boreholes at Sanford Underground Research Facility and found evidence of a long-term transformation of subsurface microbial communities.
"In order to be resilient to climate change now and in the future, its going to require updating all those sophisticated systems that we have put in place because the frequency of severe heat, how hot it gets is different now and it will be even more different in the future," says Stanford's Noah Diffenbaugh.
Our built world has historically been designed around a predictable climate, and that era is over. “The real question is, what will it take to design and build infrastructure to protect against flooding in a changing climate?” says Noah Diffenbaugh. “Our assumptions are obsolete.”
The legislation “is important symbolically and internationally,” says Rob Jackson. “Its biggest benefits are to provide longer-term certainty for renewables development and to promote sales of lower-cost electric vehicles. It’s critical the U.S. do something."
David Lobell has been awarded a 2022 Global Health Seed Grant from Stanford’s Center for Innovation in Global Health, along with several faculty members joining the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability.
The Stanford geographer and environmental scientist discusses the sand shortage crisis and what it means for the future of the environment. (Source: Stanford News)
In a Stanford study of hospitalizations near the 2018 Camp Fire, a week of heavy smoke exposure was linked to a five percent increased risk of preterm births.
“The political reality is that climate isn’t a top priority for Democrats,” says Earth system science professor Rob Jackson. “I think it means we will zoom past 1.5 C in a couple years and hurdle toward 2 C before we know it.”
New research reveals that, rather than being influenced only by environmental conditions, deep subsurface microbial communities can transform because of geological movements. The findings advance our understanding of subsurface microorganisms, which comprise up to half of all living material on the planet.
Most government policies for mitigating public health risks from wildfire smoke aim to educate citizens to protect themselves by staying indoors, closing windows, and using air filters. Stanford research shows why that approach fails for Americans across all income groups and points to solutions.
When wildfire smoke descends, Californians are told to close windows and run air purifiers. But this advice may not be widely followed, according to a study led by Marshall Burke. And the disparity between wealthy and low-income neighborhoods is significant.
“This...makes sense only as a death knell for coal. Otherwise, it’s baffling. We’re approaching 8 billion tons of carbon dioxide pollution a year from gas use alone, and that can’t continue,” says Rob Jackson in an article that also cites research on methane leaks led by Adam Brandt.
A new study shows wealthier households are more likely to change their movement patterns in response to wildfires. “More public safety options could include something like clean air centers at libraries or other public buildings,” says co-author Sam Heft-Neal.
“Cement emissions have grown faster than most other carbon sources,” says Stanford Earth system science professor Rob Jackson, adding that the climbing emissions can largely be tied to increased manufacturing in China.
“Our primary focus needs to be on fossil fuel use because that’s where most emissions come from,” says Stanford professor Rob Jackson. “I don’t think cement is on most policymakers’ radar.”
"What we showed was that the limits to the accuracy of the forecast changes based on the basic temperature of the Earth. It's this really nice link between weather and climate," says Aditi Sheshadri in a podcast interview about her research on the limits of accurate weather predictions in warmer climates.
The award recognizes individuals who go above and beyond their role to create a more inclusive, just, and welcoming community at the Stanford School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences.
Stanford Earth’s Excellence in Teaching Award is presented annually to an instructor during the diploma ceremony on commencement weekend. The honoree is selected based on nominations from students, faculty, and alumni.
More than any class before, the 2022 graduates of the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences are prepared to navigate uncertainties in the pursuit of a life that brings happiness and meaning, according to Dean Stephan Graham.
Since 1900, Earth's average air temperature has increased by 1.1 degrees Celsius. The odds of a record heat event or extreme heat day have doubled or tripled, says Stanford's Noah Diffenbaugh. “These types of conditions are increasing, it’s not just your imagination.”
New analysis shows crop yields could increase by about 25% in China and up to 10% in other parts of the world if emissions of a common air pollutant decreased by about half.
Analysis of air pollution and crop health via satellite imagery led by Stanford's David Lobell suggests that limiting emissions of nitrogen dioxide, a potent greenhouse gas, could boost crop yields by up to 28 percent.
Environmental scientist Chris Field explains why taking on climate change will require that we continue to reduce emissions and adapt to the effects of increasing temperatures. (Source: Stanford Engineering)
"I’m reminded of the common question, ‘Paper or plastic?’ The right answer is whatever you already have, so long as you reuse it," says Stanford professor Rob Jackson.
A TIME magazine feature covers the harmful health and climate effects of natural gas stoves and possible solutions based on a study led by Rob Jackson's research group.
"We're starting the season in a severe drought heading into the warm part of the year, and we know that the kinds of severe heat waves that have really amplified fire risk in recent years are much more likely now than they were previously in California's history," says Stanford climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh.
"Farming finfish on an industrial scale is like farming livestock on land on an industrial scale,” says Rosamond L. Naylor, who directs Stanford's Center on Food Security and the Environment. “There are ways to minimize risks, but they are costly, and not everyone is taking the steps they should be taking.”
While gas fireplaces, furnaces, and hot water heaters all burn and leak methane, and are thus a concern from a climate perspective, Stanford's Eric Lebel and Rob Jackson say there's less of a worry than with gas stoves from a health perspective.
A new certificate program provides a framework for Stanford Earth graduate students and postdoctoral researchers to learn new skills, gain practical experience, and produce portfolio pieces that will broaden their professional preparedness. The program will be carried into the new school focused on climate and sustainability.
“People in countries like the U.S. are starting to ask what all this extra stuff filling our lives gets us. The answer appears to be very little, perhaps nothing," says Rob Jackson on excessive energy use levels around the world.
Analysis of data from 140 countries suggests many rich countries could use less energy per capita without compromising health, happiness or prosperity. Countries struggling with energy poverty may be able to maximize well-being with less energy than previously thought.
Human well-being is strongly tethered to energy access, but a new Stanford-led study finds high-consuming countries could scale back consumption without sacrificing health and happiness.
How much energy does it take to have a good and healthy life? A new study led by Earth system science professor Rob Jackson has found that the answer is far less than the average American is using.
Billions of people could be lifted out of poverty without boosting global energy consumption, according to a new Stanford study that has deep implications for climate change.
The grant supports early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization.
Stephan Graham, Noah Diffenbaugh, Sally Benson and Anjana Richards served as panelists at a recent Deliberative Polling event to discuss proposals for the new school focused on climate and sustainability.
Surveys of people exposed to wildfires and hurricanes show that negative experiences with these events are associated with elevated perceived risk for specific climate hazards and self-reported adaptation behaviors, as well as increased support for interventions. The findings could help shape public communications and policy.
New analysis by Rob Jackson and PhD student Sam Abernethy emphasizes that a reduction in global methane emissions is critical to meeting short-term climate targets.
Nicole Ardoin and Mark Horowitz discuss exciting new programs and courses within the new school, which will focus on climate and sustainability.
Stanford scholars Krishna Rao, Alexandra Konings and Noah Diffenbaugh used satellite data to track vegetation dryness patterns over time and identify wildfire vulnerabilities in the West.
By focusing on the climate impact of methane over a 100-year timeframe, international climate negotiators have underestimated the importance of this short-lived greenhouse gas for achieving Paris climate agreement goals, a new Stanford University study finds.
Rapidly growing communities in the American West’s forests and shrublands are nestled in zones where local soil and plant traits amplify the effect of climate change on wildfire hazards and lead to bigger burns.
Field has won one of the world’s foremost prizes for his contributions to estimation of global biospheric productivity and climate change science.
Natural gas stoves release methane – a potent greenhouse gas – and other pollutants through leaks and incomplete combustion. Stanford researchers estimate that methane leaking from stoves inside U.S. homes has the same climate impact as about 500,000 gasoline-powered cars and the stoves can expose people to respiratory disease-triggering pollutants. VIDEO
“It seems that colder climates are just inherently more predictable than warmer ones,” says Aditi Sheshadri, lead author of a study that suggests warming can impact the accuracy of weather forecasts in the future.
The award recognizes research by a mid-career scientist who has made an extraordinary contribution to agriculture or to the understanding of the biology of a species fundamentally important to agriculture or food production.
The fourth annual Stanford Earth Photo Contest drew images of a dramatic sunset, a menacing shark, an intriguing frog, and a perennial favorite – the Milky Way. The winners were selected among 101 submissions.
Stanford atmospheric scientist Morgan O'Neill comments on methodologies that researchers at UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography are using to study cyclone formations on Jupiter.
Rob Jackson, Stanford professor and chair of the Global Carbon Project, comments on the future consequences if Democrats are not able to pass the Build Back Better Act to invest in clean energy.
Noah Diffenbaugh comments on the sudden wet trend in the California drought: “deficits have been so pronounced through so much of the state that it will take more than one normal year to overcome, and we don’t know how this year will ultimately play out. That said, it’s a very encouraging start."
Aditi Shedshadri, Noah Diffenbaugh, Newsha Ajami and other California scientists share research-based insights about climate, water and more.
Governments all over the world have failed to invest in green economic recovery 18 months after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Earth scientist Rob Jackson shares his insights on keeping global temperatures from rising in the future.
Rob Jackson discusses the health risks of natural gas usage inside homes, fueling the California-driven movement to shift kitchens from gas to electric stoves, with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas pollution nationwide.
Helping to show the public the effects of global warming, Noah Diffenbaugh and other attribution scientists link climate change to the nuanced impacts of extreme weather events in affected communities.
A Stanford University study shows chaos reigns earlier in midlatitude weather models as temperatures rise. The result? Climate change could be shifting the limits of weather predictability and pushing reliable 10-day forecasts out of reach.
New research shows that physics measurements of just a small portion of reef can be used to assess the health of an entire reef system. The findings may help scientists grasp how these important ecosystems will respond to a changing climate.
Associate professor of Earth system science Marshall Burke comments on the climate impacts of having children, stating that more people doesn’t necessarily mean a warmer Earth.
Hydrologist Steven Gorelick addresses how his work on freshwater accessibility in Jordan can be applied to other Middle Eastern countries like Syria, which is also amidst a water crisis.
As climate conditions change, tree species are shifting their ranges. Wildfire is accelerating this process, likely by reducing competition from established species – a finding that raises questions about how to manage land in an era of shifting ecosystems.
In an op-ed, Rob Jackson, Sam Abernethy and coauthors write that after months of social distancing and stay-at-home orders, economies are reopening, and carbon dioxide levels are rising.
Stanford experts discuss strengths and weaknesses of major pledges at the UN climate summit that target methane emissions and deforestation.
An investigation of 196 countries by the Washington Post found that emissions are underreported by billions of tons. Stanford Earth scientist Rob Jackson explains why.
Much of the debate around climate change and climate policy centers on the price tag of doing something. But the costs of inaction, in terms of overall livelihoods and economic well being, are far greater, explains Stanford environmental economist Marshall Burke. (Source: Stanford Center for Innovation in Global Health)
“If we don’t know the state of emissions today, we don’t know whether we’re cutting emissions meaningfully and substantially,” said Rob Jackson. “The atmosphere ultimately is the truth. The atmosphere is what we care about.”
The Paris climate agreement set a goal of limiting warming to “2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius.” In a way, both thresholds are "somewhat arbitrary,” said Stanford's Rob Jackson. “Every tenth of a degree matters!”
Marshall Burke, Noah Diffenbaugh and Gabrielle Wong-Parodi are interviewed in a segment about a unique partnership in California that uses behavioral science and cultural awareness in climate studies to help communities cope with extreme weather.
"I wasn't surprised to see a rebound," said Stanford Earth's Rob Jackson. "I was surprised to see emissions bounce back like a rubber band."
New estimates from the Global Carbon Project, chaired by Stanford Earth professor Rob Jackson, vividly illustrate the global challenge posed by decades of delayed climate policy and investment.
Global emissions of carbon dioxide are surging once again as power plants and industry burn more coal and natural gas, narrowing the remaining window for limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Rob Jackson, a Stanford professor of Earth system science, discusses new estimates of global carbon emissions. One surprising finding is that emissions came roaring back, not trickling as they did after the 2008 recession.
“Treading water for global fossil carbon emissions like we’re doing now is closer to drowning when it comes to climate change,” said Rob Jackson.
Carbon dioxide emissions are on track to rise in every country and region in the world this year compared with 2020. “We thought global coal use had peaked in 2014, but we’re perilously close to that value again this year,” said Rob Jackson.
"We might have seen emissions snap back this year in any case, since it’s tough to completely change the global energy system in a single year, but we could have set ourselves up much better for future years," said Rob Jackson, professor of Earth system science.
Nations around the world are joining a pledge to curb emissions of methane, and the Biden administration is proposing stricter regulation of the potent greenhouse gas. Explore Stanford research about methane emissions and promising solutions.
International negotiators will meet in Scotland this Sunday for the latest UN Climate Change Conference. Stanford experts in a range of fields discuss their hopes for the talks as well as major themes likely to influence negotiations, keys to success and more.
Research led by Stanford Earth's Morgan O'Neill shows supercell storm tops may act like mountains that obstruct winds, transforming their flow into violent turbulence that mixes near-surface air with the stratosphere above.
Policy interventions to stop deforestation are most effective when enacted in a certain order, according to a new study. (Source: Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment)
“The rate of change has been so dramatic. If I was the California tourism industry, I’d be really worried," said Stanford environmental economist Marshall Burke. What’s even more disruptive than fire, he said, is its erratic sidekick: smoke.
A 14-year analysis of air quality data across California led by Stanford Earth's David Gonzalez and Marshall Burke revealed residents who live within 2.5 miles of oil and gas wells are exposed to elevated levels of toxic gases.
Stanford's Rob Jackson says he wishes Google offered granularity about its storage battery capacity and its plans to power sites at night and on cloudy days. Still, Google’s endeavor “goes beyond what I’ve seen from most other companies.”
Pam Matson has been appointed to help lead the International Science Council, an international non-governmental organization that works to provide a global voice for science.
Researchers found increased concentrations of air pollutants downwind from oil and gas wells in California, likely affecting millions of Californians who live near them.
A bill under debate in Congress would pave the way to verifying and paying for farms’ carbon savings. Stanford scientists explore this and other opportunities for growing climate change solutions on U.S. farms.
Air pollution is known to harm children’s respiratory health, but its specific impacts on infection rates have remained unclear. A new analysis provides evidence of a link between the two in low-income settings, and indicates one industry may play an outsized role in the problem. (Source: Stanford News)
Mucciarone, lab manager in the Department of Earth System Science, is among this year’s winners of the Amy J. Blue Award, which honors staff who are exceptionally dedicated, supportive of colleagues and passionate about their work.
The Earth system science PhD candidate has been awarded by the European Association of Organic Geochemists for her innovative and groundbreaking research on ancient bacteria.
Looking into the future we're going to need to consider that extreme fire weather is going to become more and more frequent, said Michael Goss, a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford Earth. More extreme fire weather means more area burned.
An analysis of federal satellite imagery by NPR’s California Newsroom and associate professor Marshall Burke's lab at Stanford shows smoke from Western wildfires is is choking vast swaths of the country.
Field has been appointed co-chair of a new nonpartisan, multidisciplinary, multiyear project focused on identifying barriers to climate action and recommending how the U.S. can accelerate climate mitigation and adaptation.
"There’s probably nothing we could do that has a bigger effect on shaving peak temperatures over the next few decades than removing methane," said Stanford Earth professor Rob Jackson.
Analyses lay out a blueprint for speeding development of methane removal technologies and modeling how the approach could improve human health and have an outsized effect on reducing future peak temperatures.
A deep learning approach to classifying buildings with wildfire damage may help responders focus their recovery efforts and offer more immediate information to displaced residents.
Humanity is likely to consume more fish and shellfish in the coming decades. Preparing for that future requires better data on the types of fish that people eat, sustainable expansion of aquaculture and improved understanding of the local context for the food on our plates.
Hunger, malnutrition and obesity affect billions of people. A first-of-its-kind comprehensive review of the so-called blue foods sector reveals challenges and opportunities for creating a healthier, more sustainable, equitable and resilient global food system.
The ecohydrologist has been recognized for her research, educational or societal impacts in the area of global environmental change.
The most devastating tornadoes are often preceded by a cloudy plume of ice and water vapor billowing above a severe thunderstorm. New research reveals the mechanism for these plumes could be tied to “hydraulic jumps” – a phenomenon Leonardo Da Vinci observed more than 500 years ago.
The behavioral scientist will explore the effects of interventions to reduce exposure to wildfire smoke among low-income hard-to-reach populations in California.
Interviews with Northern California residents reveal that social norms and social support are essential for understanding protective health behaviors during wildfire smoke events – information that could be leveraged to improve public health outcomes.
New Stanford research highlights the importance of pollutants associated with wildfire smoke, which might be different from other sources of air pollution, and are becoming more of an issue with climate change.
A study from Stanford University estimates that the effects of wildfire smoke may have resulted in as many as 7,000 extra preterm births in California between 2007 and 2012.
Smoke from wildfires may have contributed to thousands of additional premature births in California between 2007 and 2012. The findings underscore the value of reducing the risk of big, extreme wildfires and suggest pregnant people should avoid very smoky air.
Exposure to wildfire smoke during pregnancy increases the risk of preterm birth – a risk that is only getting worse, a new study from Stanford University has found.
Geomicrobiologist Paula Welander has come to see microbes as a system for grappling with complex questions about life, evolution and ancient Earth.
According to Stanford professor Rob Jackson, the best estimate is that methane caused about a third of the global warming we’ve seen in the past decade, not far behind the contributions of carbon dioxide.
Droughts and water constraints in California and the West could impact America's supply of nuts, fruits and vegetables. "So far, we have not seen widespread food price increases for American consumers," Chris Field wrote in an email. "But, as extremes become more common, the risk becomes more and more real."
While solar radiation management remains on the periphery of climate discussions, carbon dioxide removal has been accepted as a necessary tool for mitigating climate change, said Stanford University scientist Chris Field.
A new machine learning approach helps scientists understand why extreme precipitation days in the Midwest are becoming more frequent. It could also help scientists better predict how these and other extreme weather events will change in the future.
Noah Diffenbaugh discussed the UN climate report with Fox News starting at [01:00]. "Impacts of climate change are already happening, but depending on human behavior and decarbonizing, we could lessen these impacts," he said.
Scott Fendorf, Jane Willenbring, Howard Zebker, Alex Konings, Steve Gorelick and Gabrielle Wong-Parodi received awards from the Woods Institute for interdisciplinary research to solve major environmental challenges.
Higher temperatures attributed to climate change caused payouts from the nation’s biggest farm support program to increase by $27 billion between 1991 and 2017, according to new estimates from Stanford researchers. Costs are likely to rise even further with the growing intensity and frequency of heat waves and other severe weather events.
California may be headed for another record-breaking wildfire season. Stanford researchers discuss the shift in federal, state and local approaches necessary to turn the tide of destruction.
The researchers aim to advise both NSF and the federal government more broadly about near-term funding priorities and future preparedness.
The new school will include transitional academic divisions, university-wide cross-cutting themes organized into institutes and an accelerator focused on solutions.
This summer, 19 undergraduate students are participating in faculty research projects through the Stanford Earth Summer Undergraduate Research program.
California will prohibit the sale of new gas-powered vehicles by 2035. But charging-station infrastructure takes time to develop. Already, some places are in danger of being left out, perpetuating historical disparities. (Source: Bill Lane Center for the American West)
Roz Naylor proposes that a new mindset and consideration of aquatic animals, plants and algae can transform our food system. "The only way to fix the global food system is to address the opportunities and challenges of blue and green foods together, " Naylor wrote.
Governor Newsom met with scientists and climate change experts including Diffenbaugh to examine how the state can accelerate progress toward climate targets.
Warnings of another severe wildfire season abound, as do efforts to reduce the risk of ignition. Yet few are taking precautions against the smoke. Stanford experts advise on contending with hazardous air quality.
Downstream of hydroelectric dams and Alberta’s oil sands, one of the world’s largest freshwater deltas is drying out. New Stanford University research suggests long-term drying is making it harder for muskrats to recover from massive die-offs. It’s a sign of threats to come for many other species.
Noah Diffenbaugh and Chris Field explain how July 4th fireworks could increase the risk of wildfires.
The analysis estimates pollution reductions between 1999 and 2019 contributed to about 20 percent of the increase in corn and soybean yield gains during that period – an amount worth about $5 billion per year.
In a 34-year global analysis, researchers found that photosynthesis – an important process for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it in soil – was controlled by extreme wet events nearly as often as droughts in certain locations.
Faculty at Stanford's School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences recommend these 29 books for your summer reading.
Over the next 15 years, the U.S. is set to slash the use of powerful greenhouse gases used in refrigerants. That means changes to your grocery store. "If we can phase out HFCs quickly, we'll reduce global warming by 1 degree Fahrenheit at century's end," said Rob Jackson.
Graduates of the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences have the skills and knowledge to persevere in the face of new challenges and uncertainty, according to Dean Stephan Graham.
Recipients of the school’s annual Excellence in Teaching Awards are selected based on nominations from students, faculty, and alumni.
In a recent episode of "Climate Conversations,” Chris Field discussed the possible risks and benefits of geoengineering and the need for more research.
Mucciarone, who manages the Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry Laboratory (SIBL), was honored for being exceptionally dedicated, supportive of colleagues and passionate about his work.
In a Q&A, Stanford economists describe what the social cost of carbon is, how it is calculated and used in policymaking, and how it relates to environmental justice. (Source: Stanford News)
Katerina Gonzales says researchers like herself can work to communicate in a trauma-informed way, partly by reflecting on how their own background, position and status may have protected them from traumatic experiences.
Stanford Earth graduate students Amanda Zerbe, Carl Ziade, Ian Field, Jenna Louie, Krishna Rao, Lauren Abrahams and Marie-Cristine Kaptan have received 2021 Community Impact Awards from the Stanford Alumni Association (SAA) for campus contributions.
New research focused on interactions among microbes in water suggests fungal microparasites play a bigger than expected role in aquatic food webs and the global carbon cycle.
April 2021 saw a 20-year high in the number of people stopped at the U.S./Mexico border, and President Joe Biden recently raised the cap on annual refugee admissions. Stanford researchers discuss how climate change’s effect on migration will change, how we can prepare for the impacts and what kind of policies could help alleviate the issue.
"There is a 'confluence of conditions' that contribute to wildfires, but the drought persisting throughout California has made many residents concerned about what the arid conditions will mean for the next spate of fires," said Stanford climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh.
“We’ve seen that extreme precipitation events are increasing in frequency or intensity, and so we wanted to quantify what are the financial costs of those changes in precipitation,” said Frances Davenport, a PhD student in Earth system science.
“Our research suggests that many more people likely perish from smoke exposure during large fire events than perish directly in the fire, and many more people are made sick,” said Stanford environmental economist Marshall Burke.
Rob Jackson discussed how our emergence from the pandemic could lead to a spike in emissions. "The quickest jump will come when everyone hops back in their cars and starts commuting regularly," he said.
“So many different types of extremes we know are increasing in frequency or intensity as a result of global warming, even the ones that don’t include temperature directly,” said climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh.
In an address to Congress, President Joe Biden pitched a wide-ranging initiative called the American Jobs Plan. Stanford researchers discuss how and why climate change resilience is central to the initiative.
Rob Jackson co-authored an op-ed about ways that policymakers can reduce methane emissions. "We must mitigate methane emissions at their sources," they wrote.
Analysis of sales data and flood risk data over two decades indicates that housing markets fail to fully account for information about flood risk. The findings suggest that policies to improve risk communication could influence market outcomes.
Jordan's yearly decrease in rainfall could lead to a 30 percent reduction by 2100, according to the Jordan Water Project, led by Steve Gorelick of Stanford.
In a podcast series hosted by The Stanford Daily, Dean Stephan Graham discussed the new climate and sustainability school and other topics affecting the Stanford community.
A collection of research and insights from Stanford experts who are revealing the stakes of emission cuts, enabling better carbon accounting, predicting the consequences of future emission pathways and mapping out viable solutions.
Chris Field co-authored an op-ed about how a comprehensive national climate adaptation plan can save lives and money.
Research led by Steve Gorelick found that Jordan's annual rainfall could be reduced 30 percent by 2100. Supplemental resources are limited, making the situation bleak.
New research shows climate change has wiped out seven years of improvements in agricultural productivity over the past 60 years.
On March 12, Noah Diffenbaugh testified to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space & Technology about the science behind climate change.
Prolonged and potentially destabilizing water shortages will become commonplace in Jordan by 2100, new research finds, unless the nation implements comprehensive reform, from fixing leaky pipes to desalinating seawater. Jordan’s water crisis is emblematic of challenges looming around the world as a result of climate change and rapid population growth.
Stanford researchers weigh in on how the Biden administration can address environmental justice and social issues that have been generations in the making.
Led by atmospheric scientist Aditi Sheshadri, the research aims to leverage Loon balloon data, high-resolution simulations, and data-informed methods to understand the impact of gravity waves on climate and improve their representation in climate models.
The U.S. must seriously consider the idea of tinkering with the atmosphere to cool a warming Earth and research how and whether humanity should hack the planet. “I honestly don’t know whether or not it’s going to make sense,” said Chris Field.
“Solar geoengineering is not a substitute for decarbonizing,” said Chris Field, adding that technology to reflect sunlight “should be researched as rapidly and effectively as possible.”
The results contradict a widely accepted assumption in climate models that biomass and soil carbon will increase in tandem in the coming decades and highlight the importance of grasslands in helping to draw down carbon.
Twenty years ago, a Stanford-led analysis sparked controversy by highlighting fish farming’s damage to ocean fisheries. Now a follow-up study takes stock of the industry’s progress and points to opportunities for sustainable growth.
“We expected faster plant growth and more biomass to increase soil organic carbon, as extra leaves and biomass fall to the forest floor,” said Rob Jackson. “It didn’t, and that was the biggest surprise in our work.”
Stanford University scholars discuss the Biden administration’s early actions on environmental issues in the Arctic and how the U.S. government can address threats to ecosystems, people and infrastructure in the fastest-warming place on Earth.
The Biden administration’s ambitious plans for environmental progress face complex obstacles. The findings, expertise and policy experience of Stanford researchers working across multiple fields could help contribute to sustainable, cost-effective solutions.
The assistant professor of Earth system science will explore how communities are impacted by exposure to extreme climate events over time, with a focus on low-income populations that have historically been disadvantaged by climate hazards.
Satellite imagery shows air pollution levels bounced back to pre-pandemic numbers after a decline due to COVID-19 lockdowns. Environmental economist Marshall Burke said, "the better air quality could have saved between 50,000 and 75,000 people from dying prematurely."
Hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, used in refrigerants have a significant drawback. “One large glass of HFC 134 has the same warming as a thousand pounds of carbon dioxide pollution from our cars,” said Rob Jackson. “It's really an amazingly potent greenhouse gas.”
Dean Stephan Graham and Nicole Ardoin presented an update on the structure of the new school at the Faculty Senate meeting on March 11th. The plans include a Sustainability Accelerator that will translate policy and technology solutions.
Salvador investigated the diversity and symbiotic relationships of nitrogen-fixing microorganisms – which are involved with critical biogeochemical cycles – within marine sediments and deep-sea methane seeps.
"We can't cut emissions by putting hundreds of millions of people out of work and locking everyone at home," said Rob Jackson. Emissions are back to pre-pandemic levels but to lower them again it shouldn't cost people their jobs.
"The Amazon is vulnerable, and we tend to get tunnel vision about one greenhouse gas alone," said Rob Jackson, a leading expert in global emissions.
A new study provides the first global accounting of fluctuations in lake and reservoir water levels. The research shows 57 percent of the variability occurs in dammed reservoirs and other bodies of water managed by people, highlighting the dominant role humans now play in Earth’s water cycle.
Among the dozens of countries that reduced their emissions 2016-2019, carbon dioxide emissions fell at roughly one tenth the rate needed worldwide to hold global warming well below 2°C relative to preindustrial levels, a new study finds.
Using government satellite images instead of air quality data, Marshall Burke projected an increase in smoky days in coming years. “In the future, it’s going to get worse than 2020,” he says. “We should expect that.”
A keen interest in the possibility of alien life ultimately led geomicrobiologist Anne Dekas to study some of the least-examined microbes on Earth – those dwelling in the deep sea.
Research conducted by Noah Diffenbaugh and Frances Davenport found that flood damage in the U.S. totaled $75 billion over the past three decades.
Research led by Salvatore Pascale shows human-caused climate change made Cape Town's worst drought on record five to six times more likely. The city's water crisis holds lessons on how we can solve environmental problems by encouraging virtuous habits.
Texas' power woes should be yet another reminder that California needs to invest more in preparing for disaster risk, said Chris Field, director of Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.
A group of researchers including Jamie Jones examined how reparation payments made before the pandemic would have affected Louisiana, a state that remains segregated in parts, and found that the payments could have reduced coronavirus transmission in the state by 31% to 68%.
“In 2020, we saw roughly 60 days with wildfire smoke that was in the air that we breathed, up from 10 to 15 days just a decade ago,” said Stanford environmental economist Marshall Burke.
David Lobell led a committee appointed to recommend methods that would decrease the influence of wealth in the admissions process.
"Social and environmental factors like mobility, segregation, and the nature of the built environment help determine rates of infection," said James Jones, associate professor of Earth system science.
A new model of disease spread describes how competing economic and health incentives influence social contact – and vice versa. The result is a complex and dynamic epidemic trajectory.
Research based on the daily movements of people living in a contemporary hunter-gatherer society provides new evidence for links between the gendered division of labor in human societies over the past 2.5 million years and differences in the way men and women think about space.
A new study finds emissions from deforestation, conversion of wild landscapes to agriculture, and other changes in land use worldwide contributed 25 percent of all human-caused emissions between 2001 and 2017.
Following deliberations by a Blueprint Advisory Committee in the fall, leaders are seeking faculty input on proposals for the new school’s structure, composition and areas of focus.
The award from the Geochemical Society is given to a mid-career scientist for outstanding accomplishments that draw together multiple fields of investigation to advance biogeochemical science.
“We know smoke is bad for health. But we really didn’t have a comprehensive national picture for how much wildfires are contributing to poor air quality,” said Marshall Burke.
Wildfire smoke will be one of the most widely felt health impacts of climate change throughout the country, but U.S. clean air regulations are not equipped to deal with it. Stanford experts discuss the causes and impacts of wildfire activity and its rapid acceleration in the American west.
Research by Frances Davenport, Noah Diffenbaugh and Marshall Burke shows that over the past three decades, the U.S. has had nearly $75 billion in damage from floods fueled by the climate crisis.
“This shows that there is real economic value in avoiding higher levels of global warming,” said Stanford climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh. “That’s not a political statement. That’s a factual statement about costs."
Wildfire smoke has resulted in as much as half of the soot pollution in parts of the western U.S., according to a study led by Stanford environmental economist Marshall Burke.
"Most people do not see sea-level rise. Most people do not ever see hurricanes. Many, many people will see wildfire smoke from climate change," said Stanford environmental economist Marshall Burke.
“Most people do not see sea-level rise. Most people do not ever see hurricanes. Many, many people will see wildfire smoke from climate change,” said Marshall Burke.
“The more global warming we get, the more we can expect these damages to increase – and reductions (in emissions) will have value in terms of avoided costs,” said climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh.
Flooding has caused hundreds of billions of dollars in damage in the U.S. over the past three decades. Researchers found that 36 percent of the costs of flooding in the U.S. from 1988 to 2017 were a result of intensifying precipitation, consistent with predictions of global warming.
“We have clear evidence that not only California has warmed, but that California is now in a new climate that is both warmer overall and is much more likely to experience unprecedented hot conditions,” said climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh.
“Unless global emissions are curbed, the trajectory we’re on as a civilization will likely lead to greater than 3 degrees [Celsius],” said Stanford's Noah Diffenbaugh. Work to mitigate the looming effects of climate change is unifying Stockton, California.
In an analysis published in March, Marshall Burke found that a coronavirus lockdown in China probably saved more lives from a reduction in air pollution – which is linked to climate change – than it lost to Covid-19.
“A lot of the news coverage focuses on immediate danger: people with homes in harm’s way,” said Marshall Burke. “The impacts are much, much larger than that … they extend all over the place to people hundreds of miles away from wildfire.”
“We caught a glimpse of a future with cleaner air in our cities without fossil fuel pollution from vehicles,” said Stanford scientist Rob Jackson.
"We're in a 'once in our history' experiment observing the succession of these forests. They're growing back in a new climate. It's yet to be seen how that unfolds," said climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh.
Rob Jackson said it may be too early to tell if global emissions have peaked. “We will only know when world economies recover," he added.