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      Increasing levels of humidity are here to make heat waves even worse / ArsTechnica · Friday, 28 July, 2023 - 11:30 · 1 minute

    A tourist refreshes at a vapor barrier in Budapest, Hungary, on July 16, 2023.

    Enlarge / A tourist refreshes at a vapor barrier in Budapest, Hungary, on July 16, 2023. (credit: Arpad Kurucz/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images )

    Because you’re a smooth-skinned mammal, no weather feels quite as oppressive as a humid heat wave. The more water vapor in the air, the less efficiently your sweat can evaporate and carry excess heat away from your skin. That’s why 90° Fahrenheit in humid Miami can feel as bad as 110° in arid Phoenix .

    Climate change has supercharged this summer’s exceptionally brutal heat all around the world —heat waves are generally getting more frequent, more intense, and longer. But they are also getting more humid in some regions, which helps extend high temperatures through daytime peaks and into the night. Such relentless, sticky heat is not just uncomfortable, but sometimes deadly, especially for folks with health conditions like cardiovascular disease.


    One of the more counterintuitive effects of climate change is that a warmer atmosphere can hold more water vapor than a colder one. A lot of it, in fact: Each 1.8° Fahrenheit bump of warming adds 7 percent more moisture to the air. Overall, atmospheric water vapor is increasing by 1 to 2 percent per decade . That additional wetness is why we’re already seeing supersize downpours, like the flooding that devastated Vermont earlier this month .

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      Facebook’s climate science portal probably won’t stem flood of denialism

      Kate Cox · / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 16 September, 2020 - 15:06

    This is fine.

    Enlarge / This is fine. (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty Images)

    Facebook this week implemented yet another new initiative meant to combat rampant, dangerous disinformation on the platform—this time, relating to the climate crisis. Unfortunately this initiative, like countless others before it, seems likely to generate positive headlines for about a week before disappearing unremarked into obscurity, solving exactly zero of Facebook's deeper problems along the way.

    "One of the biggest lessons we have learned from the COVID-19 pandemic is how powerful Facebook can be for connecting people to accurate, expert advice and information during a global crisis," Facebook wrote in a corporate blog post . To that end, Facebook is launching a new "Climate Change Information Center" module and landing page that will, in theory, connect users to up-to-date, fact-based information grounded in reality.

    Users in the US and a small handful of other countries may already have seen a notification about the new climate information center appear in their newsfeeds this week, either on desktop or on mobile. The green box implores you by name to "see how our climate is changing."

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      Trump admin. finally kills off Obama-era rule limiting methane emissions

      Kate Cox · / ArsTechnica · Friday, 14 August, 2020 - 18:44

    A natural gas flare from an offshore oil drilling rig in Cook Inlet, Alaska.

    Enlarge / A natural gas flare from an offshore oil drilling rig in Cook Inlet, Alaska. (credit: Paul Souders | Getty Images )

    The Environmental Protection Agency this week finalized a rule that kills off Obama-era limitations on how much methane, a potent greenhouse gas, oil and natural gas producers are allowed to emit into the atmosphere—even though industry leaders didn't want the changes.

    The changes to the rules, known as the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS), remove some segments of the industry from being covered under the existing standards at all, and these changes also lift the methane caps on other segments, the EPA announced on Thursday.

    The oil and gas industry basically splits into three big buckets of activity: upstream, meaning the actual drilling for oil or gas; midstream, which is the world of storage and pipelines; and downstream, that last mile where products are refined and sold. The current changes apply to the downstream and midstream segments, as the EPA broke down in a graphic ( PDF ).

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