Brenda Ekwurzel

Senior climate scientist

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Brenda Ekwurzel is a senior climate scientist and the director of climate science at UCS. She has expertise on many aspects of climate variability, including the Arctic Ocean and sea ice, wildfires, groundwater, and coastal erosion. She holds a Ph.D. in isotope geochemistry from Columbia University (Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory). See Brenda's full bio.

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Photo: Bob Dass/Flickr

Winds and Wildfires in California: 4 Factors to Watch that Increase Danger

Santa Ana influenced fires, which occur between October and April, are different from the warm and dry season fires, that typically occur between June and September. Scientists have found the main reasons why Santa Ana influenced fires contribute the vast majority of cumulative economic losses in California compared to other wildfires that typically occur in the summer.  From 1990-2009, Santa Ana influenced fires spread three times faster, occurred closer to urban areas, and burned into areas with greater housing values. Over the same years, other fires often occurred in higher elevation forests, were more sensitive to how old the vegetation was, lasted for extended periods, and accounted for 70% of total suppression costs.  In other words, other fires burned in remote forests, often with plenty of mature vegetation or ‘fuel’ for long-lasting wildfires. Whereas Santa Ana influenced fires scorched with greater speed through areas that were typically closer to more people. Read more >

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Photo: Brenda Ekwurzel

Yes, ExxonMobil and Chevron are Still Distorting Climate Science

If you look at headlines from the last year, ExxonMobil, Chevron and other major fossil fuel companies have seemingly turned a new page on climate change. But, as I and my colleagues have analyzed, this “support” is a PR distraction when these companies are keeping up business-as-usual. Today UCS released a scorecard,which analyzed what eight major fossil fuel companies are saying they’re doing about climate change, and just how much these companies are doing to drastically lower their emissions. Read more >

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View of Denali. Credit: NPS Photo / Ken Conger

Pathways to 1.5C: Carbon Budget in the IPCC Special Report

The historic Paris Climate Agreement generated a request of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to prepare a Special Report on 1.5 degrees Celsius increase above pre-industrial temperatures. Scientists and government representatives are in the final stretch assessing that every word of the summary for policymakers (SPM) accurately conveys evidence presented in the report.  Policymakers, business leaders, and energy system planners will be paying close attention to what the SPM says about the carbon budget remaining to stay below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

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IPCC AR5 WG1 Technical Summary
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New House Bill Cuts Critical Climate Research. The Senate Could Stop it

We are keeping close track of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) budget for fiscal year 2019 because President Trump’s budget proposal, released in February, put much of NOAA’s life-saving research on the chopping block. The U.S. House Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations subcommittee recently passed a bill with numbers that we can compare to the president’s proposal (Figure 1)—and not in a good way. Read more >

data provided by the NOAA 2019 budget summary and the U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee report.
NOAA NESDIS
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Hundreds of Leading Scientists Stand Up for Science Integrity and Plead for Climate Action

Scientists have been justifiably alarmed since the early days of the Trump administration.  Many have voiced concerns on the removal of climate change information from websites, disregard of science on pesticides and air quality and more.  Enter the latest salvo: Yesterday, hundreds of members of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) signed a letter calling for the administration to reverse its decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement and to restore scientific integrity to decision making. Read more >

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