2020 Science Reporting – In-Depth - Silver

In three stories from their "2°C: Beyond the Limit” series, the Washington Post team reported that climate change is real and already is occurring globally. They noted that a 2-degree Celsius average temperature rise has emerged among scientists and policymakers as a global benchmark for extreme climate change. They took a closer look at some of the major climate change hot spots in the United States and elsewhere. By analyzing more than a century of NOAA temperature data, the team located several U.S. areas that are nearing or have already crossed the 2-degree Celsius mark. “More than 1 in 10 Americans — 34 million people — are living in rapidly heating regions, including New York City and Los Angeles,” they reported. “Seventy-one counties have already hit the 2-degree Celsius mark.” Seamless graphics and powerful photography from hot spots put a sobering face on climate change’s looming catastrophe. Deborah Nelson, associate professor of investigative reporting at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism called the stories “a potent mix of scientific analysis and shoe-leather reporting that reveals the here-and-now harm from extreme global warming in dramatic numbers and unforgettable imagery from around the world.” Speaking for the team, Chris Mooney said: “We were inspired to look closely at how certain parts of the globe with outsized levels of warming were faring. It began with a few anecdotes and as it developed, became a vast data project as we realized that these hot spots were early warning signs of what everyone else will experience soon enough. We are thrilled by the recognition