Observations traveling to Washington D.C.

Last week I traveled to Washington D.C. and have several observations to share:

  • The first carbon neutral airport in the U.S., where I connected flights, is at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) that purchases wind power, runs buses on natural gas, operates advanced cooling systems, and employs many more innovations.
  • Since 2010, Washington D.C. charges five cents for one plastic shopping bag to reduce use of plastic and benefit watershed projects called "Skip the Bag, Save the River."
  • Riding the Metro or driving from the suburbs to work downtown you might feel like being packed into a sardine can during peak hours. Ridesharing is very popular through traditional carpools and casual free rides called Slugging
  • The weather in D.C. was unusually cool and wet for June and we heard about recent heavy rains and floods. The Eastern U.S. is experiencing the opposite of the extreme drought conditions in the Western U.S.
  • News broke this week that the Antarctic Ice Sheet is melting three times faster than a decade ago! Here is the abstract from the journal Nature:

"The Antarctic Ice Sheet is an important indicator of climate change and driver of sea-level rise. Here we combine satellite observations of its changing volume, flow and gravitational attraction with modelling of its surface mass balance to show that it lost 2,720 ± 1,390 billion tonnes of ice between 1992 and 2017, which corresponds to an increase in mean sea level of 7.6 ± 3.9 millimetres (errors are one standard deviation). Over this period, ocean-driven melting has caused rates of ice loss from West Antarctica to increase from 53 ± 29 billion to 159 ± 26 billion tonnes per year; ice-shelf collapse has increased the rate of ice loss from the Antarctic Peninsula from 7 ± 13 billion to 33 ± 16 billion tonnes per year. We find large variations in and among model estimates of surface mass balance and glacial isostatic adjustment for East Antarctica, with its average rate of mass gain over the period 1992–2017 (5 ± 46 billion tonnes per year) being the least certain."