2/7/2024: Climate extremes stress world’s roads and rails

Road damage following flooding. Credit: USFWS

AGU News

Press registration open for Ocean Sciences Meeting
Browse nearly 5,000 abstracts for #OSM24, held 18-23 February in New Orleans. [OSM24 scientific program][OSM24 press registration][press release]

Register to attend the Triennial Earth-Sun Summit during the eclipse!
The Triennial Earth-Sun Summit (TESS) will be held 7-12 April in Dallas, Texas, in the path of totality. Scientific programming begins on 9 April, the day after the eclipse. To register, simply email us at [email protected]. Scientific sessions are on-site only. AGU’s housing is full. [TESS website][scientific program]

Research roundup: Atmospheric rivers
As California is hit with yet another atmospheric river, check out the latest research on this increasingly important phenomenon. [intensity scale for atmospheric rivers][ARs in the western US tend to come in clusters][600 years of atmospheric rivers in western US][atmospheric river “super-sequences” challenge California’s infrastructure][wetter than your average storm, yet not great for groundwater recharge][climate model predicts more frequent, intense, long-lasting atmospheric rivers]

Featured Research

Climate extremes stress world’s roads and rails
Heavy rains, extreme temperatures, and more freeze-thaw events can lead to damaging wear-and-tear on road and rail infrastructure. Risks are highest in places like south and east Asia, west and central Europe, and eastern North America because of the density of roads and railways there. [Earth’s Future research]

Europe’s rainiest days are getting worse
Climate change is causing precipitation extremes, leading to deadly flooding and other hazards. In Europe, just 22 to 34 rainy days are responsible for half of the year’s precipitation, a significant increase from the mid-1900s. [Geophysical Research Letters research]

Drought-to-flood whiplash events increasing in China
Sudden switches from drought conditions to heavy precipitation and flooding are hazardous and becoming more common in many parts of the world, including China. Since 1961, there have been nearly three more drought-to-flood events per decade in the country, with northern China being hardest-hit. [JGR Atmospheres research]

Seasonal water scarcity tied to conflict in northwest Africa
Climate change is expected to increase the occurrence of violent conflicts related to water scarcity, but regional outlooks depend on localized water predictions. A new study of the Sahel and Lake Chad Basin finds water conflicts have been driven by soil moisture deficits and use rates in different seasons. The clearer picture of water scarcity may help improve water management, decreasing the likelihood of conflict. [Earth’s Future research]

High water levels cause problems for Mississippi shipping, too
High water levels can make barges difficult to maneuver and overwhelm locks. Those conditions have become more common in recent decades. [Eos research spotlight][Geophysical Research Letters research]

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