Archives 2015

COMER CONFERENCE EXPLORES NEW FRONTIERS OF CLIMATE CHANGE CAUSES AND IMPACTS

By Bryce Gray, Sarah Kramer, Neil Murthy, Danielle Prieur, Kevin Stark and Jia You – As the leaves turn gold in southwest Wisconsin each fall, climate scientists from around the world gather there to share their latest findings on the causes and impacts of abrupt climate change. This Comer Family Foundation’s annual conference on abrupt climate…

HOW HOT WILL IT GET? 18,000-YEAR-OLD MYSTERY COULD GIVE TODAY’S ANSWER

By Kevin Stark – A mystery from some 18,000 years ago directly impacts how scientists understand the threat of climate change today. The Earth, shivering though the end of an ice age, rapidly warmed in the Southern Hemisphere, just like it is warming globally today. At the Comer Conference on abrupt climate change, climatologist Jeff…

FIXING CLIMATE – GOOD FOR THE ECONOMY, SAYS VETERAN SCIENTIST

By Jia You – Richard Alley works at the forefront of climate research, interpreting the time machine of climate past locked in ice cores he collected in some of the coldest places on Earth. The University of Pennsylvania geoscientist has spent more than 10 field seasons in Antarctica, Greenland and Alaska collecting clues from the…

ALASKA’S 2015 FIRE SEASON CONSUMES 5.1 MILLION ACRES OF FOREST

By Lizz Giordano – Low snowfall and a dry spring prompted an early start to making 2015 the second most widespread fire season on record in Alaska. In 2004, the worst season on record, fires consumed 6.6 million acres of forest. This year, more than 5.1 million acres burned in 770 fires across the tundras…

SCIENTISTS EXPLORE BETTER WAYS TO TELL THE GLOBAL WARMING STORY

By Kevin Stark – Throngs of demonstrators frustrated with government inaction on climate change filled the streets of Manhattan in fall. They wore cardboard cutout life preservers that said “preserve our communities.” They carried a giant sunflower, nearly the width of a city street. Colorful signs, young and old, a cross-section of America. And there…

HIGH TEMPERATURES ADD NEW COMPLEXITY TO DROUGHT IN THE WEST

By Bryce Gray – The nearly five-year drought afflicting California and Nevada has restricted water usage, emptied reservoirs to historic low levels, and even caused the land to sink in areas of extreme groundwater depletion. As Ben Hatchett will tell you, the ordeal has left climate scientists with many of the same questions as everybody…

Capturing carbon dioxide: How scientists are grabbing greenhouse gas emissions

By Neil Murthy – That may look like a solar panel on the rooftop near Tucson, Arizona. But think again. It a carbon dioxide collector and we may be seeing a lot more just like it in the future. A prototype collector invented by Klaus Lackner, director of the Center for Negative Carbon Emissions at…

ANSWERS IN THE ANDES: LOOKING TO ANCIENT LAKES TO PREDICT CLIMATE

By Neil Murthy – Christine Chen is a scientist on a mission. Thousands of miles away from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she is a third-year doctoral student, Chen reached one of the most remote regions on Earth equipped with a knapsack, a rudimentary rock hammer and a burning question—can ancient lakes in the…

CALIFORNIA’S PAST LAKE LEVELS GIVE CLUES TO CURRENT DROUGHT

By Danielle Prieur – Climatologist Sidney Hemming of Columbia University first came to the Mono Lake Basin in California to assist her husband, Gary Hemming, with his research but found important links between prehistoric lake levels and current drought conditions. “I first went out there to collect water samples with my husband who was interested in…

Greenland caves reveal climate drivers beyond temperature

By Danielle Prieur – Paleoclimatologist Gina Moseley found an old Kodak film box when she entered a cave in northeast Greenland last year? It gave her the clue that few people had stopped there since the 1960s. An American scientist left behind a note in the 1960s film box and it was untouched when Moseley and…

GREENLAND CAVES COULD HOLD CLUES FOR CLIMATE CHANGE

By Bryce Gray – Clues unearthed from the northernmost caves on the planet could help plug a 10,000-year gap in Greenland’s ice core record, providing essential information about where the climate may be heading now. But perhaps spelunking climatologist Gina Moseley’s most shocking discovery from this past summer’s expedition was the abandoned army rations that expired 60 years ago…

RESEARCHERS ZERO IN ON ICE AGE CLIMATE CHANGE AT NEW SITES

By Jia You – The Ice Ages created some of the most profound climate changes that Earth underwent over the past 2.5 million years. Now, geologists have uncovered new sites in Patagonia that reveal how climate changed during the most recent cold snap. The discovery could help scientists better understand how the climate system works and to better predict our…

UNDER ONE ROOF: A NEW APPROACH TO HEALTH CARE IN NICARAGUA

By Sarah Kramer On a hill overlooking a steep mountain valley dappled with tropical greens and dry scrub brush, wire fences and a small dirt footpath lead to the main road and the town center of Boaco. Above all this sits the home of Milagro Solano Lira, 29, and her 4-year-old daughter, Yosmiling. She is…

FROM GRANITE TO GLACIER: RECREATING ANTARCTICA’S ICE AGE PAST

By Jia You – Palisades, New York — They rest side by side on a dark bench table, two coarse linen bags labeled with big, round numbers and letters. Mike Kaplan carefully unties the bag labeled “JRI-14-33” and reaches inside. “That’s a really nice granite,” the 46-year-old geologist exclaims as soon as he sees the…

Rauner administration mum on energy agenda

By Bryce Gray Illinois energy priorities remain vague as Republican governor Bruce Rauner begins his term. Although Rauner occasionally hinted at his energy agenda while campaigning, he has not yet tipped his hand on statewide issues such as alternative fuels, carbon emissions or nuclear power since taking office. “There’s more that we don’t know than…


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