Environment

The Two-Way
12:17 pm
Wed August 8, 2012

How Hot Was It? July Was Warmest Month On Record For U.S.

Only one color was needed to show where July ranks in terms of hottest months on record.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Originally published on Wed August 8, 2012 1:14 pm

Read more
Architecture
4:03 am
Wed August 8, 2012

Sky-High Design: How To Make A Bird-Friendly Building

Ayodha Ouditt NPR

Originally published on Thu August 9, 2012 10:44 am

Shiny glass buildings are a hallmark of modern architecture, but for birds, that shimmer can be deadly. Every year, an estimated 100 million to 1 billion birds die by flying into glass windows. By studying how birds interact with buildings, architects and ornithologists are trying to create special features designed to keep birds alive.

Below, click around to see architectural features that can make buildings safer for birds — or more deadly.

Read more
Environment
3:15 am
Wed August 8, 2012

A Clear And Present Danger: How Glass Kills Birds

Experts say glass buildings kill millions of birds every year. Scientists at Powdermill Avian Research Center are studying ways to help prevent this. Here, a volunteer tags a black hooded warbler in Rector, Pa., in May.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 12:05 pm

First of a two-part series. Read Part 2.

Modern architecture loves glass. Glass makes interiors brighter and adds sparkle to cityscapes. But glass also kills millions of birds every year when they collide with windows. Biologists say as more glass buildings go up, more birds are dying.

Read more
World
3:27 am
Tue August 7, 2012

Growing Pains: Nations Balance Growth, Power Needs

Muslim girls study by candlelight inside a religious school in Noida, near New Delhi, on July 31. The collapse of three regional power grids last week caused a massive power outage that blacked out more than half of India.
Parivatran Sharma Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed August 8, 2012 2:39 pm

It may take some time to pinpoint the exact cause of India's massive blackouts last week, but the underlying issue for India and many other parts of the developing world is that supply is struggling to keep up with the growing demand for power — an imbalance that can affect the reliability of electric grids.

Read more
Environment
5:07 pm
Mon August 6, 2012

Are Recent Heat Waves A Result Of Climate Change?

Cattle use a tree for shade as temperatures rose above 100 degrees in a pasture July 28, 2011, near Canadian, Texas.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Mon August 6, 2012 6:51 pm

The last couple of years have certainly felt unusually hot in many parts of the U.S., but are they really all that unusual?

Many people wonder whether a warming climate is turning up the temperature or whether it's all just part of the normal variation in the weather. Among scientists, there's a growing view that these latest heat waves are indeed a result of climate change.

Read more
Environment
4:39 pm
Mon August 6, 2012

Midwest Fish Kills Exacerbated By Record Heat

Originally published on Mon August 6, 2012 6:44 pm

This summer, extreme heat and drought have brought on larger than normal "fish kills" throughout the Midwest. Fish are dying by the tens of thousands. All Things Considered host Audie Cornish speaks with Aaron Woldt, Fisheries Program Supervisor for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Midwestern Region, about what's happening in these waters.

World
5:54 am
Sat August 4, 2012

No Space, Mate: Koalas' Habitat Under Threat

A male koala visits the female enclosure at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane, Australia. Koalas are dwindling in number as their habitat along Australia's east coast gives way to urban growth.
Stuart Cohen for NPR

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 11:43 am

Earlier this year, the Australian government added the koala to the country's list of endangered species. By some counts, only about 100,000 remain in the wild in a country that once boasted a population in the millions. But many conservationists say the listing doesn't go far enough.

Paul O'Donnell is one of the many volunteers at Friends of the Koala in the northern New South Wales town of Lismore.

"We go out every day for about an hour or so collecting leaf; usually we get about one bin per koala," O'Donnell says.

Read more
Around the Nation
5:51 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Soaked In Drought: Lessons From The Dust Bowl

Scorched pastures are spreading across central Illinois and the rest of the Midwest. Technology and techniques developed from previous droughts like the Dust Bowl are helping to save some of today's crops, but there's no substitute for water.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 11:43 am

This summer's drought continues to wilt and bake crops from Ohio to the Great Plains and beyond. Under a baking, late-afternoon sun just outside of the tiny east-central Illinois town of Thawville, John Hildenbrand walks down his dusty, gravel driveway toward one of his corn fields.

"You can see on the outer edge, these are a lot better-looking ears on the outside rows. Of course, it's not near as hot as it is inside the field," he says.

Read more
Environment
1:30 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Changing Views About A Changing Climate

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 2:29 pm

What is the role of humans in climate change? "Call me a converted skeptic," physicist Richard Muller wrote in an Op-Ed in the New York Times this week, describing his analysis of data from the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project. Though Muller was once a notable skeptic regarding studies connecting human activity to climate change, he has now concluded that "humans are almost entirely the cause" of global warming.

NPR Story
1:28 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Spending The Holidays At A Toxic Waste Site

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 2:29 pm

To avoid the crowds at Niagara Falls, why not sail the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, or ogle oil refineries in Port Arthur, Texas? In Visit Sunny Chernobyl: And Other Adventures In The World's Most Polluted Places, Andrew Blackwell describes traveling to the world's most contaminated destinations.

Participation Nation
7:03 am
Fri August 3, 2012

The Pick Of The Litter In Taos, N.M.

Bruce Boyd helps clean up his community by gathering the litter that collects on the highway.
Linton Weeks

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 10:23 am

This month we are collecting your stories about the good things Americans are doing to make their community a better place. Some of your contributions will become blog posts and the project will end with a story that weaves together submissions to make a story of Americans by Americans for Americans.

Read more
Participation Nation
12:35 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

Every Day Is Earth Day In Seattle, Wash.

EarthCorps volunteers help restore the Seattle countryside.
Courtesy of EarthCorps

This month we are collecting your stories about the good things Americans are doing to make their community a better place. Some of your contributions will become blog posts and the project will end with a story that weaves together submissions to make a story of Americans by Americans for Americans.

Near their headquarters in a converted WWII naval building, EarthCorps members — brought in from all over the world — do morning yoga before departing to restore parks and creeks in and around Seattle.

Read more
The Salt
10:35 am
Thu August 2, 2012

How Climate Change Is Changing The Oyster Business

Scientists blame higher levels of carbon dioxide in Pacific Ocean waters caused by global warming for the failure of oyster seeds to thrive in hatcheries.
Eric Risberg AP

Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 11:30 am

Austin Docter has worked at a shellfish plant in Shelton, Wash., for 18 years and has a lot of words to describe what he calls the flavor profiles of oysters: Minerally. Metallic-y. Sweet. Buttery.

"Wherever oysters are grown, they take on the characteristics of the algae and water that they grow up in," Docter says. "It's a lot like French wine."

Read more
The Picture Show
11:42 am
Wed August 1, 2012

Likes Long Walks On The Beach, Collecting ... Plastic?

Judith and Richard Lang create art from plastic they find washed up on Kehoe Beach in California.
Courtesy of Judith and Richard Lang

Originally published on Wed August 1, 2012 3:32 pm

After talking to artists Judith and Richard Lang I couldn't stop thinking about the plastic in my life. I looked around my kitchen — at the dish soap bottle, the food storage containers, my kiddo's toys — and realized this stuff might be around for a long, long time.

Read more
Around the Nation
4:53 pm
Tue July 31, 2012

America's 'Most Polluted' Lake Finally Comes Clean

Participants in a fishing derby cast lines from a pier near Onondaga Lake's outflow in Syracuse, N.Y.
David Chanatry for NPR

Originally published on Tue July 31, 2012 11:41 pm

Onondaga Lake in Syracuse, N.Y., has often been called the most polluted lake in America. It was hammered by a one-two punch: raw and partially treated sewage from the city and its suburbs, and a century's worth of industrial dumping. But now the final stage in a $1 billion cleanup is about to begin.

Standing in his office amid stacks of reports, scientist Steve Effler glances at an old front-page headline of the Syracuse Herald-Journal: "Divers find goo in Onondaga Lake."

Read more
The Salt
9:40 am
Tue July 31, 2012

Thank The Simple Wasp For That Complex Glass Of Wine

The European hornet, or vespa crabro, helps make wine by kickstarting the fermentation process while the grapes are still on the vine.
Otto Hahn Getty Images/Picture Press RM

Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 11:33 am

The next time you take a sip of your favorite wine, you might want to make your first toast to hornets. Or, more precisely, European hornets and paper wasps.

Read more
NPR Story
1:26 pm
Fri July 27, 2012

"Resilience" Looks At How Things Bounce Back

Originally published on Fri July 27, 2012 1:56 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow.

FLORA LICHTMAN, HOST:

And I'm Flora Lichtman. In 2007, thousands of people in Mexico took to the streets, protesting the price of tortillas. In three months, the price of corn had gone up 400 percent. Why? According to my first guest, it all started with a spike in oil prices triggered by Hurricane Katrina. That led to increased demand for ethanol, and U.S. farmers who grow a lot of the corn that Mexicans eat planted less corn for eating and more corn to make ethanol.

Read more
Economy
7:34 am
Thu July 26, 2012

Drought Threatens Small Town's Big Boat Race

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 10:35 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The drought is threatening a major event important to one small lake town. For more than 25 years, DePue, Illinois has hosted the American Powerboat Association's national championships. This year, officials discovered the water level in the lake was too low. And so, they embarked on an unusual effort to bring in more water.

Mike Moen of member station WNIJ reports.

(SOUNDBITE OF A MOTORBOAT)

Read more
Environment
7:28 am
Thu July 26, 2012

In Drought-Stricken Midwest, It's Fodder Vs. Fuel

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 10:35 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

And I'm Linda Wertheimer.

In the Midwest, the drought is doing a number on the nation's biggest agricultural crop, corn. The USDA says half of the country's cornfields are in poor or very poor condition, and the short supply is driving up the price. Now, a fight between livestock farmers and ethanol producers over the high priced corn crop. Farmers say ethanol factories have an unfair advantage.

NPR's Dan Charles reports.

Read more
Environment
5:28 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

Greenland Ice Sheet Melts At Abnormal Blazing Speed

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 7:29 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Each summer, about half of the surface of the Greenland ice sheet melts. That's on average, but this month, in just four days, an estimated 97 percent of the ice sheet's surface has already melted. That rate is abnormally fast and it comes just a week after a huge iceberg broke off a glacier in Greenland.

For more now, I'm joined by Tom Wagner. He's a scientist at NASA. Hi there, Tom.

TOM WAGNER: Hello.

CORNISH: Now, to start, how'd this come to NASA's attention?

Read more
Environment
3:40 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

Massive Ice Melt In Greenland Worries Scientists

Images released Tuesday show the extent of surface melt on Greenland's ice sheet on July 8 (left) and July 12 (right). Measurements from three satellites showed that on July 8, about 40 percent of the ice sheet had undergone thawing at or near the surface. By July 12, 97 percent of the ice sheet surface had thawed.
AFP/Getty Images/NASA

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 4:53 pm

A pair of NASA satellite images taken just four days apart tells a potentially worrying story of melting ice in the polar summer.

The first, snapped from orbit on July 8, shows about 40 percent of the Greenland ice sheet shaded in pink or red to illustrate probable or confirmed surface melting. The second photo, taken on July 12, shows nearly the entire land mass — 97 percent — blotched in a red hue.

Read more
The Two-Way
7:19 am
Wed July 25, 2012

'Heat Dome' Linked To Greenland's Biggest Melt In 30 Years

In these illustrations NASA produced from satellite data, the melt in Greenland on July 8 (at left) and July 12 are shown. According to NASA, "the areas classified as 'probable melt' (light pink) correspond to those sites where at least one satellite detected surface melting. The areas classified as 'melt' (dark pink) correspond to sites where two or three satellites detected surface melting."
NASA

Last week there were the pictures of an iceberg twice the size of Manhattan breaking off Greenland's Petermann Glacier.

Now there are NASA images showing that in four days earlier this month, "Greenland's surface ice cover melted over a larger area than at any time in more than 30 years of satellite observations."

Read more
Joe's Big Idea
4:55 am
Wed July 25, 2012

Summer Science: Clothes Keep You Cool, More Or Less

United States runner Kam Conley sheds layers to train for the Olympics in England on Monday. Less clothing means more evaporation, keeping athletes cooler.
Hussein Malla AP

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 10:05 am

The cool weather in London is good news for the Olympic athletes because their bodies won't need to put as much energy into cooling off.

But most of us aren't lucky enough to be headed to London, and we could use some help keeping cool.

When you get hot you sweat — but it's not enough to just sweat. To cool off, you need that sweat to evaporate. It's evaporation that drains the heat from your body.

Read more
Business
6:39 am
Mon July 23, 2012

Rifts Emerge Amid 'Frac Sand' Rush In Wisconsin

Originally published on Tue July 24, 2012 2:52 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

In this country, there's an ingredient that's key to the success of new oil and gas technologies. That crucial ingredient is ordinary and plentiful, but only found in a few places and obtaining it almost always causes friction.

From Wisconsin, Laurie Sterns dent us this report.

Read more
Environment
1:56 pm
Fri July 20, 2012

Its Budget Sunk, Undersea Lab May Have To Surface

Florida's Aquarius Reef Base is the only working undersea lab left today. But now that federal funds have dried up, it may be forced to surface. Oceanographer Sylvia Earle joins Science Friday from inside Aquarius, 60 feet underwater, to talk about sponges, corals and other life she's observed on the reef.

Environment
1:55 pm
Fri July 20, 2012

Melting The World's Biggest Ice Cube

Antarctica has 90 percent of the world's ice--and it's melting. Ice sheet guru Bob Bindschadler talks about climate change in Antarctica, and rising sea levels across the globe. Plus, biologist Diana Wall talks about hidden life in the barren Dry Valleys, and microbe hunter John Priscu talks about "bugs in the ice."

Environment
4:39 pm
Thu July 19, 2012

Warmer Water Culprit In Greenland Glacier Break

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 6:38 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

This week, a NASA satellite spotted a new iceberg broken from an ice sheet in Greenland known as the Petermann Glacier. The iceberg is twice the size of Manhattan, 46 square miles, and it's the second time in the last few years that an island sized chunk of ice has calved from the glacier.

Read more
Around the Nation
1:59 pm
Thu July 19, 2012

Effects Of Midwest Drought Spread Across Nation

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 2:15 pm

The U.S. Drought Monitor reports that more than 80 percent of the continental U.S. is either in a drought or considered "abnormally dry". Farmers and ranchers in the corn and soybean belt are feeling the effects, and the impact is rippling through other economic sectors as well.

The Picture Show
10:20 am
Thu July 19, 2012

This Is Not A Composite Photo

Palindromo Meszaros

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 11:20 am

This photo looks like two images stitched together; above is a normal forest, and below, a strange, Martian one. But it's a single image from a single place and time — the hills of western Hungary, six months after a devastating industrial accident.

Read more
Environment
6:28 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Interactive: Mapping The U.S. Drought

More than half the country is experiencing drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
NPR/U.S. Drought Monitor

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 3:40 pm

Texas experienced its worst drought on record last year. Now that the state is seeing some relief, drought conditions have consumed more than half the United States. Use this interactive map and chart to see how conditions have changed over time. Related story: 1,200 counties affected.

Read more

Pages