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Climate Change This Week: Drought, Tarmac Traps, and More

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Midwest Roasts Corn on the Stalk: A record heat wave created drought over half the country, shattering records for the number of continuous 100+ degree-days, reports Amy Hubbard at the LA Times. Hot air rising creates high pressure zones that keep out moist air, lengthening drought. The predicted cold front will bring heat relief but limited rain, and no drought relief, said the National Weather Service. Enjoy the prematurely popped corn, folks...

A Stitch in Time Saves US Trillions by 2070 says a new study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, reports Alex Kasdin at Climate Central. It estimated that flooding from global-warming-induced rising sea levels and storm surges could cost US ports over $5 trillion by then, and put nearly 8 million Americans at risk, but implementing climate change policies could prevent those costs. Such a deal!

Turning Tarmac Into Tar Traps Department: A string of unusually hot days at Reagan National Airport managed to soften the tarmac enough to immobilize a US Airways plane recently, reports Martin Weil at the Washington Post. A jetliner getting stuck on the tarmac was pretty rare, admitted airline spokeswoman Michelle Mohr, but so was the unusual heat that softened the tarmac. Of course, that might not be that rare under continuing climate change.

Hellish Heat Hurts Chicago: Intense heat buckled sidewalks, canceled summer school classes, and contributed to a derailment and a building collapse, reports Cynthia Dizikes and Lolly Boween at the Chicago Tribune. But the worse is the expected uptick in human heat exhaustion, say medical authorities as continued high heat taxes people's ability to continue to cool down naturally through sweating.

Going Green Will Make Green -- for UK: The low-carbon products and services sector, often referred to as green business, could contribute over $30 billion to Britain's economy by 2015, the country's leading business lobby said recently, reports Karolin Schaps at Reuters News. With the right policies in place, green business will be a major pillar of our future growth, said the head of the Confederation of British Energy.

Save Baby Arctic Chicks! Climate change has melted the ice pack food source of Arctic ice birds from 7 miles to 250 miles away from them and is even starting to melt the frozen core of their nesting habitat, Cooper Island, making it a prime target for hungry polar bears. These Arctic "penguins" and puffins need more bear-proof nesting boxes from humans to keep their chicks safe. Time is running out. The bears are coming in August. You can help here, and find out more about how dramatically climate change is changing their lives.

Every day is Earth Day, folks, as I was reminded when I photographed these cool insects not far from our research cabin. Making the U.S. a global clean energy leader will ensure a heck of a lot more jobs, and a clean, safe future. If you'd like to tell Congress that you're voting for candidates that will support clean energy, join the increasing numbers of people doing so here. For more detailed summaries of the above and other climate change items, audio podcasts and texts are freely available.

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