A collection of research and insights from Stanford experts who are predicting the consequences of future emission pathways, mapping out viable climate solutions, enabling better carbon accounting and revealing the stakes of ambitious emission targets.
“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."
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.
“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.
“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.
"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.
What happens with La Niña heavily determines what the water year will look like, said Stanford climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh. "It's not just bad luck. There are configurations that tend to tip the odds towards more dry conditions,” he said.
“It’s not an obvious thing to wrap your head around. It’s a little counterintuitive to think about droughts over the ocean, because it’s wet,” Julio Herrera Estrada said about recent research co-authored with Noah Diffenbaugh.
“We’re certainly in a drought-risk posture statewide at the moment,” said Stanford climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh. “Having the odds tip toward a warm, dry winter suggest the potential for deepening drought conditions.”
“The addition of more 'fire ready' days have stemmed from just a one degree rise in global temperatures, and have resulted in some of the worst wildfires in history,” says Stanford climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh.
A study by Julio Herrera-Estrada and Noah Diffenbaugh reveals that landfalling droughts, which develop over the ocean and end up on land, are significantly larger and more intense than droughts that develop over land, and are linked to large weather patterns over the ocean.
Unusual lightning strikes sparked the massive wildfires burning across California. Stanford climate and wildfire experts discuss extreme weather’s role in current and future wildfires, as well as ways to combat the trend toward bigger, more intense conflagrations.
Analysis shows global warming is intensifying the occurrence of unprecedented hot spells and downpours faster than predicted by historical trends. New approaches for incorporating global warming into extreme weather analysis could improve global risk management.
Days after completing a formal fact-checking review, Facebook removed an ad containing misinformation about Australia's deadly wildfires. Noah Diffenbaugh explains how climate change elevates wildfire risk.
Melting Arctic ice sheets may be the primary cause of extreme weather around the globe. The most immediate impacts are felt in the Arctic, says Noah Diffenbaugh, but there is strong evidence of impacts on conditions experienced in California.
By analyzing more than two decades of data in the western U.S., scientists have shown that flood sizes increase exponentially as a higher fraction of precipitation falls as rain, offering insight into how flood risks may change in a warming world with less snow.
Severe wildfire conditions from heat and drought can’t be reversed and will increase if temperatures continue to warm, but different policies dealing with how to manage land vulnerable to wildfires can help reduce the risk, says Noah Diffenbaugh.
"The fact that the influence of global warming can now be seen in the daily weather around the world ... is another clear sign of how strong the signal of climate change has become," says Noah Diffenbaugh.
“Even without knowing what the current level of greenhouse gas concentrations would be, the climate models predicted the evolution of global temperature quite well,” says Noah Diffenbaugh. “We have one planet Earth, so we can’t conduct controlled experiments on the actual climate system."
“We have a clear understanding, based on the fundamental physics of Planet Earth, that stabilizing the global climate system at any global mean temperature – including the UN Paris target – will require reaching net zero global emissions,” said Noah Diffenbaugh.
A hundred years ago, some California droughts were “hot” or “cool." There’s been a dramatic shift in the past couple of decades, though, as demonstrated in research led by Stanford Earth's Noah Diffenbaugh.
Alumna Deepti Singh, ESS PhD '15, an assistant professor at Washington State University, has been named to the 2019 Grist 50! for her innovative solutions to the biggest challenges that face our globe.
Computing a precise social cost of carbon could help us decide how much to invest and which problems to tackle first. Research led by Marshall Burke on the dollar value of limiting warming to 1.5 °C is cited.
It's been well-documented that low-income communities bear the brunt of many climate change-related horrors. Now research from Stanford shows which countries win and which lose out as a result of global warming.
"Researchers and policy makers have been saying for many years that the greatest, most acute impacts of global warming are falling on populations least responsible for creating that global warming," says Noah Diffenbaugh. "We have quantified the effect."
Stanford Earth researchers have quantified the economic impact of climate change over half a century, revealing the extent to which global warming has made poor countries poorer and rich countries richer.
Global warming has already created winners and losers across the world, with poorer, tropical nations suffering the most even though they contributed far less to the problem, a study from Stanford Earth finds.
Numerous studies have predicted that poor nations will suffer the greatest devastation from climate change. A new analysis by Noah Diffenbaugh and Marshall Burke finds it’s already been happening for decades.
The gap between the economic output of the world’s richest and poorest countries is 25 percent larger today than it would have been without global warming, according to new research from Stanford University.
What will life be like after we've solved climate change? Stanford Earth's Noah Diffenbaugh and Chris Field comment. "Every single proposed solution will simultaneously improve life and decrease carbon emissions."
Scientists have long predicted that warmer temperatures caused by climate change will have the biggest impact on the world’s poorest, most vulnerable people. New research indicates that’s already happened.
Stanford researchers say warmer temperatures are widening the chasm separating richer and poorer countries, effectively boosting the economies of many wealthy polluters while dampening growth in much of the developing world.
Climate change creates winners and losers. Norway is among the winners; Nigeria among the losers. Those are the stark findings of a peer-reviewed paper by Stanford professors Marshall Burke and Noah Diffenbaugh.
"With respect to tornadoes, we have limitations both in the observational record and in our modeling capabilities," says Noah Diffenbaugh. Researchers are now closing those gaps, thanks to radar observations of tornadoes over the past couple decades.
Climate change has already altered California's climate, says Noah Diffenbaugh. "The state needs to address questions about an aging water infrastructure built for snow ... instead of the rain we will see in the future."
“I don’t see a sufficient reduction of winds to override the wildfire risks from warming,” says Stanford Earth's Noah Diffenbaugh. “It’s clear that the warming itself has already substantially increased wildfire risk.”
Recent droughts across the West have squeezed hydroelectric facilities and hampered efforts to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, according to a new study from Stanford Earth's Noah Diffenbaugh and Julio Herrera-Estrada.
One of the main ways California is experiencing the effects of climate change is through severe droughts. Now new research from Stanford Earth suggests those droughts are also contributing to climate change.
Research from Noah Diffenbaugh and Julio Herrera-Estrada finds drought-driven emissions accounted for around 10 percent of CO2 output from the power sector in several Western states between 2001 and 2015.
Low river flows in the western U.S. drastically hampered the amount of carbon-free electricity that could be produced by the thousands of hydroelectric power plants across the West, a study from Stanford Earth shows.
Odds are rising that warm, dry conditions – the kind that can hurt crop yields, destabilize food prices and exacerbate wildfires – will strike multiple regions at once. A new Stanford study shows just how much the risk is increasing.
A new Stanford study says hot and dry conditions will increasingly hit multiple regions at the same time – shrinking crop yields, destabilizing food prices and laying the groundwork for large wildfires.
California’s wildfires have destroyed homes and communities, and even people hundreds of miles away are feeling the effects of smoke. Stanford faculty weigh in on the health effects and increasing frequency of fires.
Stanford Earth's Noah Diffenbaugh describes his research showing that, relative to the eventual economic damage of not acting aggressively enough to protect the planet in the future, it would cost much less to make changes now.
Earth System Science professor Noah Diffenbaugh comments on his research on temperatures across North America, where upward swings in winter temperatures in the west correspond with icy drops to the east.