Climate

climate

Crystal Ball EARTH: Policy: A tale of two years

In U.S. policy, the past year was dominated by discussions of energy and climate change issues, at least in the earth sciences realm. In the first year of his administration, President Barack Obama focused on his top campaign priorities — but between discussions of healthcare reform, trying to rejuvenate the economy and setting up his cabinet, he still found time to discuss the sciences.

11 Dec 2009

Why red leaves remain elusive in Europe

As leaves change color every fall, the North American landscape transforms from a rolling verdure to a collage of vibrant yellows, oranges and reds. The autumn foliage in Europe, however, is rather bland, composed of mostly yellow leaves with red-leafed trees few and far between. Why this is the case has remained a mystery for years. But discovering why Europe’s leaves don’t turn red is only half of the battle; determining why the trees’ leaves turn yellow in the first place is the other.

03 Nov 2009

Raindrop study splashes old assumptions

Predicting the weather has been central to human civilization since the Babylonians started studying cloud patterns in 650 B.C. The key to weather predictions is making correct assumptions. Today, instruments like Doppler radar that measure rainfall work under the assumption that raindrops fall at their terminal velocity. A new study, however, shows that some raindrops fall faster than they should, indicating rainfall instruments — and by extension, weather forecasts — may need some tweaking.

23 Jul 2009

Earth: The movie (not the magazine)

Blogging on EARTH (the magazine)

Earth Day is over. But you don’t have to wait until next year to celebrate the planet. Disney’s new movie “Earth,” which opened Apr. 22, offers some spectacular views of the planet and its inhabitants.

23 Apr 2009

Capturing carbon from coal plants: Is it feasible?

On a remote patch of rolling plain in western North Dakota lies a massive labyrinth of buildings, tanks, towers, pipes and conveyors. This industrial behemoth — the Great Plains Synfuels Plant — is designed to turn the vast deposits of lignite coal that lie in the ground into substitute natural gas.

16 Apr 2009

Iron fertilization foiled by "shrimp"

The argument over whether ocean iron fertilization is a good way to sequester carbon dioxide may be coming to an end. Last month, a group of researchers seeded 300 square kilometers of the southwestern Atlantic Ocean with six metric tons of dissolved iron. Just as researchers hoped, algae bloomed, doubling in biomass within the first two weeks of the fertilization. But then, an unexpected guest showed up: tiny shrimp-like crustaceans that dined on the algae.

01 Apr 2009

Hot enough for ya? Investigating climate change in "Heat"

In FRONTLINE's urgent, ambitious new special "Heat," producer and reporter Martin Smith takes on a sweeping canvas of climate change, journeying from the disappearing glaciers of the Himalayas to the cement factories of India to the coal mines of the United States. There's a revealing look into the U.S.' role in the climate change conference in Bali last December, as well as into the plans of China's largest car company.

21 Oct 2008

Watch out Houston, Ike is coming

As residents of Galveston, Texas, scramble to evacuate before Hurricane Ike makes landfall tonight, most Houston residents have been told to stay put. But even Houston — about 130 kilometers (80 miles) to the northeast — is in for some extreme weather tomorrow.

12 Sep 2008

Swapping one greenhouse gas for another

There are no miracle cures, it would seem. Nitrogen trifluoride is a colorless, nontoxic gas that has helped make the semiconductor industry greener by replacing a well-known greenhouse gas threat. But nitrogen trifluoride is a powerful greenhouse gas in its own right, with a potential impact on climate 17,000 times greater than carbon dioxide — and it is currently unregulated.

28 Aug 2008

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