Archives 2010

TRACKING CARBON DIOXIDE AND CLIMATE — IT’S ALL IN THE FAMILY

Climate scientist Ralph Keeling was born alongside the modern environmental movement. His father, geochemist Charles David Keeling, had just begun an ambitious project to measure carbon dioxide in the air at Hawaii’s Mauna Loa volcano. His initial results were the first to bring attention to rising levels of CO2 and, by 1960, he famously linked the greenhouse…

TOP CLIMATE SCIENTISTS WELCOME THEIR NEXT GENERATION

by Kristofor Husted Oct 22, 2010 Conversations about rising oceans, shifting monsoons, glacial quakes and climate change past and present animated the group gathered round a bonfire in the middle of the rolling hills of Wisconsin.   A three-piece string band softly plucked and strummed away in the late summer warmth. Pennsylvania State geoscientist Richard Alley joined…

THE FUNDAMENTAL PHYSICS OF CARBON DIOXIDE

Eric Skalac/MEDILL Scientists at the Comer Abrupt Climate Change Conference talk about the role of carbon dioxide in global warming. Geochemist Sidney Hemming of Columbia University kicks off the discussion of the fundamental physics you can use to make your own decision about climate change. The earth’s atmosphere, stunning from on high, is none-the-less collecting greenhouse gases that drive…

SMALL ORGANISMS PAINT BIG PICTURE

by Lauren Biron Dec 07, 2010 Humble diatoms, single-celled organisms that live in the water, help scientists piece together some of the mysteries of climate change. Researcher Anitra Ingalls, of the University of Washington, uses diatoms in a new method for dating sediment cores and finding layered traces of past climate epochs.  She reported her findings at…

SCIENCE, NOT POLITICS, BACKS THE ESCALATING RATE OF CLIMATE CHANGE

by Eric P. Skalac Oct 22, 2010 As glaciers and ice sheets melt at an ever-increasing rate, scientists accelerate their pace to piece together the climate change puzzle before the earth gets much warmer. The big picture that those pieces create gets clearer every year on a farm in the green, rolling hills of Wisconsin, a…

PREPARE NOW TO AVERT AN ‘ENORMOUS MESS’ DUE TO GLOBAL WARMING

Three titans of climate change science –  Wallace Broecker, Richard Alley and George Denton – warn that global warming is real and requires immediate action. The three scientists came together once again this fall in Wisconsin at the annual Comer Abrupt Climate Change Conference where dozens of researchers presented the latest findings on sea level rise,…

OBAMA’S TOP SCIENCE GUY TALKS CLIMATE IN A WARMING WORLD

by Fahiemah Al-Aliand Jennifer R. Luna May 24, 2010 There’s no escaping the hot topic of climate change. For the second time in less than a month, President Obama’s top science adviser, John P. Holdren, told Chicagoans that the Earth is getting hotter due to human activities. And he’s got the global thermometer record for…

GLACIAL QUAKES—HOW CLIMATE CHANGE SHAKES THE EARTH

by Lindsey Valich Oct 26, 2010 Earthquakes triggered as glaciers break apart in Greenland can be felt as far away as South Dakota.  Seismologist Meredith Nettles knows their force firsthand because she has measured them during field trips to Greenland’s melting ice castles.  Although no one can physically experience them shaking the ground of Sioux…

GEOLOGIST USES MUD TO CLARIFY ARCTIC WARMING

by Eric P. Skalac Nov 04, 2010 The Arctic is warming, and that’s not a good thing.  Yarrow Axford, a geologist at Northwestern University, is studying the temperature history of the Arctic using tools that may seem strange to us: the mud from beneath Arctic lakes, and the remains of non-biting midges contained within. When…

CALMING THE CLASH: ENERGY DEMAND AND CLIMATE CHANGE

by Chris Bentley Dec 12, 2010 Large-scale carbon capture could bridge the way to renewable energy sources, according to Columbia University geochemist Klaus Lackner. The technology could offset the greenhouse gas contributions of developing nations and growing global energy demands where fossil fuels still play a major role. Lackner helped successfully strip carbon dioxide pollution…

Green plans seek to turn down Chicago’s thermostat

by Tyler Smith Mar 18, 2010 Chicago may be slowly turning into Texas. Despite the long list of eco-friendly projects underway here, warming temperatures worldwide are expected to heat up Chicago weather and impact Midwest crops and wildlife. “Research shows us that, in Chicago, if we keep going at what’s called the business-as-usual scenario –…

Environmental law needs to get personal, Northwestern law professor

by Tyler Smith Mar 18, 2010 Environmental law needs to needs to move from traditional smokestack issues to take on consumers and lifestyles, said Northwestern University School of Law professor David Dana. In the past, environmental laws have focused on cleaning up major polluters. To have a bigger impact, Dana told about 30 people attending…

FROM ANCIENT MELTWATER TO COSMIC RAYS, PIECES OF THE CLIMATE PUZZLE FALL INTO PLACE

by Chris Bentley Oct 21, 2010 Earth’s last deep freeze gripped the Great Lakes about 13,000 years ago, but climate scientists need to explain how it happened as though it occurred last night. Scientists are in a race against time to figure out how Earth can shift abruptly from warm weather to glacial conditions and…

CALIFORNIA’S MONO LAKE MAY HOLD CLUES TO PREDICTING FUTURE CLIMATE

by Lauren Biron Oct 22, 2010 The alkali flies of Mono Lake are small and black and form a living curtain that parts before a visitor’s stride. Millions buzz along the shores, attempting to avoid the hungry California gulls or popping briefly underwater in bubbles of air – formed by their own hairs – to…

EARTH DAY TURNS 40 – PIONEERING ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVISTS PASS THE TORCH

by Brad Thompson Apr 29, 20 The 1970 student organizers of Project Survival returned “home” for an Earth Day panel at Northwestern University where they passed the torch of environmental activism to current students. The panelists, many of them now leaders in environmental sciences, promoted the power of student mobilization today. They addressed environmental issues and offered practical…

CLIMATE CHANGE POSES HEALTH HAZARDS FOR CHICAGO

by Tina Amirkiai, Tyler Smithand Todd Loesch Mar 18, 2010 Heat-related deaths, the spread of infectious diseases and the threat of natural disasters in Chicago could skyrocket in the coming decades unless greenhouse gas emissions are curbed, according to the U.S. Global Change Research Program. In the 2009 report, projections for Chicago suggest that the…

WITH GLOBAL WARMING, GLACIER NATIONAL PARK NEEDS A NEW NAME SOON

by Tyler Smith Feb 04, 2010 The small Eskimo community of Shishmaref Island, located off the coast of the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve in northern Alaska, is slowly sinking into the sea. Made mostly of fine sand and permafrost, Shishmaref Island is especially susceptible to erosion. And as temperatures rise with global warming, the…


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