The Science and Values in Climate Risk Management webinar series, invites speakers from across the STEM–humanities spectrum to present research that integrates the scientific and ethical sides of climate change research, policy analysis, and the management of climate risks.
The social cost of methane — a greenhouse gas that is 30 times as potent as carbon dioxide in its ability to trap heat — varies by as much as an order of magnitude between industrialized and developing regions of the world, according to researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), UC Berkeley and Penn State. Policy makers use the “social costs of methane” to approximate the impacts of climate-warming gases like methane — which may be felt for years in rising sea levels, changes in agricultural productivity, or more extreme droughts, floods and heat waves.
People who live in areas designated as river flood zones often seek to raise their homes. “Many houses located along rivers in Pennsylvania are in danger of being flooded,” said Klaus Keller, professor of geosciences. “Some houses are elevated high, some to intermediate levels, and some not at all. Why is this?” Penn State researchers investigated if they might improve on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)’s suggested elevation given uncertainties surrounding, for example, future flooding, the future value of money and the vulnerability of a house to flooding.
Fluctuations in the weather can have a significant impact on melting Antarctic ice, and models that do not include this factor can underestimate the global impact of sea level rise, according to CLIMA researchers. “We know ice sheets are melting as global temperatures increase, but uncertainties remain about how much and how fast that will happen,” said Chris Forest, professor of climate dynamics at Penn State. “Our findings shed new light on one area of uncertainty, suggesting climate variability has a significant impact on melting ice sheets and sea level rise.”