Chicago Copes With Global Warming

After receiving advice from climate scientists, Chicago's city planners are preparing for a warmer future by engineering more adaptable infrastructure and planting warmer-climate trees. 

What's the Latest Development?


Aaron N. Durnbaugh, deputy commissioner of Chicago’s Department of Environment, said: "Cities adapt or they go away." To this end, Chicago is beginning to make changes in how it maintains its city. "Public alleyways are being repaved with materials that are permeable to water. The white oak, the state tree of Illinois, has been banned from city planting lists, and swamp oaks and sweet gum trees from the South have been given new priority. Thermal radar is being used to map the city’s hottest spots, which are then targets for pavement removal and the addition of vegetation to roofs."

What's the Big Idea?

Global warming hasn't gone away, just out of the public eye. "Climate change is happening in both real and dramatic ways, but also in slow, pervasive ways," said commissioner Durbaugh. "We can handle it, but we do need to acknowledge it. We are on a 50-year cycle, but we need to get going." Chicago, typically considered second fiddle to New York, is ahead of the Big Apple when it comes to climate adaptation. According to scientists, it is especially vulnerable to changing weather patterns: "If world carbon emissions continued apace, the scientists said, Chicago would have summers like the Deep South..."

A dark matter hurricane is crashing into Earth

Giving our solar system a "slap in the face."

Surprising Science
  • A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
  • It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
  • Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
Keep reading Show less

We are heading for a New Cretaceous, not for a new normal

The climate change we're witnessing is more dramatic than we might think.

Image credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center from Greenbelt, MD, USA
Surprising Science

A lazy buzz phrase – 'Is this the new normal?' – has been doing the rounds as extreme climate events have been piling up over the past year. To which the riposte should be: it's worse than that – we're on the road to even more frequent, more extreme events than we saw this year.

Keep reading Show less

New study reveals what time we burn the most calories

Once again, our circadian rhythm points the way.

Photo: Victor Freitas / Unsplash
Surprising Science
  • Seven individuals were locked inside a windowless, internetless room for 37 days.
  • While at rest, they burned 130 more calories at 5 p.m. than at 5 a.m.
  • Morning time again shown not to be the best time to eat.
Keep reading Show less