Archives 2017

A POST-INDUSTRIAL VISION BRINGS NEW BUSINESSES TO BACK OF THE YARDS

By Molly Glick April 9,2018 – Jim Gonksa left his home in Chicago’s Back of the Yards over 45 years ago when his father’s meatpacking job relocated to Bradley, Illinois, where land and rents were more affordable. Today, the majority of the neighborhood’s once-thriving meat processing plants have disappeared. The former Peer Foods factory site on…

RAPID GREENLAND ICE MELT THREATENS 25 FEET OF SEA LEVEL RISE

By Adam Cohen, Jan. 30, 2018 – It’s as if there’s a new apocalyptic blockbuster in theaters, and Joerg Schaefer has a front-row seat. Some of the world’s foremost climate scientists shared their latest field research reports at the annual Comer Climate Conference this past fall in southwestern Wisconsin. None was as jarring as Schaefer’s talk on…

SCIENTISTS REBUILD THE PAST TO MEET CURRENT CLIMATE CHANGE THREAT

By Austin Keating, Video by Tiffany Chen and Austin Keating, Nov. 22, 2017 – Scientists take to the field to study rapid warming and cooling events in Earth’s past. They find clues in ice and rock, lakes and sediment across the globe. Rebuilding climate change patterns from the past enhances predictions for the future as human use of fossil fuels…

REDUCED SNOWPACK DUE TO CLIMATE CHANGE MEANS MORE WATER WOES FOR CALIFORNIA

By Morgan Levey, Dec. 11, 2017 – For Californians reeling from the deadly fires in Northern California and the Oroville Dam crisis that displaced thousands, the record-breaking precipitation levels last year may seem like a silver lining after more than five years of drought. Yet it’s precisely these massive swings, from prolonged dry periods to…

SCIENTISTS CALL FOR ACTION TO FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE NOW

By Tiffany Chen, Dec. 11, 2017 – Climate change is an urgent threat linked to floods, drought and increasing heat waves.  While carbon dioxide emissions continue to rise, President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord meant to cap emissions and the temperature rise due to them. Scientists gathered at the Comer…

OCEANS SOAK UP CO2 AND BUFFER THE PACE OF GLOBAL WARMING

By Tiffany Chen The oceans have always held carbon dioxide (CO2) in their vast blue depths during glacial and warm periods throughout Earth’s history, breathing it in and out as the climate warmed or cooled. Scientists are now fishing for clues from the floor of the sea to reconstruct past climate events via ocean chemistry…

MAPPING THE RETREAT OF THE ICE AGES – A FAMILY BUSINESS

By Morgan Levey, Dec. 16, 2017 – We think of rising fossil fuel use and the resulting carbon dioxide emissions as key catalysts of climate change in today’s warming world. And changes in climate throughout Earth’s history had many drivers, including geological forces, orbital cycles, ocean circulation and a litany of planetary mechanisms that happen…

GEOSCIENTIST RICHARD ALLEY’S CLIMATE CRUSADE

By Adam Cohen, October 31, 2017 – Richard Alley smiled widely, beer in hand, as he welcomed a group of student journalists to the annual Comer Climate Conference this fall. “I bet you all have a cell phone on you,” he said. “Don’t throw it on the ground!” The students exchanged sideways glances. “It might…

PROTECTING THE GREAT LAKES – BIOLOGISTS TURN OUT FOR ASIAN CARP-CATCHING TOURNAMENT

Carp caught at the event will provide data to develop water jets that can keep the invasive fish from moving upstream to the Great Lakes By Austin Keating, Aug 31, 2017 – Photo at top: Some of the carp caught at Redneck Fishing provide research that can prevent the invasive species from entering the Great Lakes.…

AS HALF THE WORLD SUFFERS FROM WATER SHORTAGES, RESEARCHERS GATHER TO MEET THE THREAT

By Samantha Yadron, Aug. 29,2017 –  Four billion people—more than half the world’s population—face severe water scarcity for drinking, crops, sanitary needs and other uses during part of each year. As climate change accelerates this problem, cross-disciplinary researchers and policymakers met at the Household Water Insecurity Experiences (HWISE) conference at Northwestern University this August. Northwestern…

ASSESSING WATER SHORTAGES – HEALTH, CROPS AND GLOBAL ECONOMIES AT STAKE

By Tiffany Chen –  Drought and crop faiure in the Midwest. (Abigail Foerstner/Medill) Water is a scarce resource to 1.1 billion people worldwide who lack access to water, according to World Wildlife Fund. And some 4 billion people suffer from water shortages for part of the year. Though water covers 70 percent of the planet’s…

SENSORS GIVE A DEEPER GLIMPSE INTO ILLINOIS PRAIRIE HEALTH AND HUMAN IMPACT

By Morgan Levey – “You can ask the question, well do you expect this to look like the city or do you expect it to look like pristine prairie? And the answer is it’s going to be somewhere in between,” says Aaron Packman, professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Northwestern University…

PRAIRIE PLAYS KEY ROLE IN CHICAGO’S FLOOD MANAGEMENT

By Morgan Levey, Aug. 10, 2017 – “You could get lost out here,” laughed Vivien Rivera. Big bluestem grass growing nearly 10 feet high towered over Rivera’s head as she walked through Markham Prairie North, part of Indian Boundary Prairies near Markham. The dense, prairie landscape is filled with sweet blackeyed susan, bergamot, blue vervain,…

SCIENTISTS MEET IN TAIPEI AS GLOBAL WARMING DRIVES INCREASED WATER SHORTAGES

 By Adam Cohen, August 4, 2017 –  If you ask Chicagoans to draw a map of their city, the first line on the page will likely be a slightly angled north-south axis. Everything west of the line is urban territory. Everything east of it is fresh water. Lake Michigan and the Great Lakes contain one-fifth…

GLOBAL RESEARCH COLLABORATION SEEKS WATER SHORTAGE SOLUTIONS

By Maia Welbel, Aug. 4, 2017 – Taiwan has faced water shortages for decades – and the Chicago area may face them within the next 20 years as aquifer levels for well water drop while Great Lakes water use is limited by by an interstate compact. As drought conditions worsen worldwide due to global warming,…


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