Energy & Green Tech

Helping Pacific Island communities build energy resilience

The inhabitants of the Pacific Islands are locked in an ongoing battle against rising sea levels and tropical cyclones which ravage their homes and their energy infrastructure with devastating regularity.

Energy & Green Tech

An ironclad future for solar arrays

Solar energy plays an important role in the fight against climate change as a substitute for fossil fuels. Dye-sensitized solar cells promise to be a low-cost supplement to the photovoltaic systems we know today. Their key ...

Energy & Green Tech

Passive solar could furnish a third of home heating needs

Skylights are an aesthetically pleasing design choice, but they're also an underappreciated source of sustainable heat energy for buildings, according to a new study from UO researchers.

Energy & Green Tech

Is it green, or forever toxic? Nuclear rift at climate talks

Deep in a French forest of oaks, birches and pines, a steady stream of trucks carries a silent reminder of nuclear energy's often invisible cost: canisters of radioactive waste, heading into storage for the next 300 years.

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Climate

Climate encompasses the statistics of temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, rainfall, atmospheric particle count and numerous other meteorological elements in a given region over long periods of time. Climate can be contrasted to weather, which is the present condition of these same elements over periods up to two weeks.

The climate of a location is affected by its latitude, terrain, altitude, ice or snow cover, as well as nearby water bodies and their currents. Climates can be classified according to the average and typical ranges of different variables, most commonly temperature and rainfall. The most commonly used classification scheme is the one originally developed by Wladimir Köppen. The Thornthwaite system, in use since 1948, incorporates evapotranspiration in addition to temperature and precipitation information and is used in studying animal species diversity and potential impacts of climate changes. The Bergeron and Spatial Synoptic Classification systems focus on the origin of air masses defining the climate for certain areas.

Paleoclimatology is the study and description of ancient climates. Since direct observations of climate are not available before the 19th century, paleoclimates are inferred from proxy variables that include non-biotic evidence such as sediments found in lake beds and ice cores, and biotic evidence such as tree rings and coral. Climate models are mathematical models of past, present and future climates.

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