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climate change

Washington Governor Jay Inslee is preparing to take action on an issue that could secure his legacy -- or complicate his re-election chances.

EarthFix Photo/Courtney Flatt

High up in Washington’s Blue Mountains, behind trees and across the Touchet River, is what locals call the Weeping Wall.

Water seeps through the permeable basalt and can freeze on the cliff’s moss-covered face. When the conditions are right, that creates a curtain of ice that is irresistible for ice climbers.

KUOW Photo/Ashley Ahearn

Hot on the heels of President Obama’s latest State of the Union address, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell came home to Washington to meet with scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey and the National Park Service.

But this wasn’t your usual boardroom PowerPoint session.

From Wikipedia.

Marcie Sillman talks with David Roberts, writer for the Seattle-based environmental magazine Grist, about a new report on climate change from the National Research Council.

AP Photo/Nelson Salting

Last Friday one of the strongest storms in recorded history struck the Philippines. According to the United Nations more than 11 million people are believed to be affected by Typhoon Haiyan. Over 670,000 people have been displaced. Entire towns have been devastated leaving many without water, shelter or any way of contacting their families at home and abroad.

We hear from Yeb Sano, who is in Poland serving as the head of the Philippines' delegation at the UN climate talks, and Seattle resident Justice Beitzel, who has lost five family members to the storm thus far.

5 Unexpected Ways Climate Change Will Impact The Northwest

Nov 12, 2013
EarthFix Photo/Katie Campbell

The hairy woodpecker may need more living space. Sea levels are rising. And reduced snowpacks are storing less water for the hydropower dams on the Columbia River. 

Florida — especially South Florida — is very flat and very low, and in places like Miami Beach and Key West, buildings are just 3 feet above sea level. Scientists now say there may be a 3-foot rise in the world's oceans by the end of the century.

Steve Scher talks with David Roberts, energy and politics writer for Grist, about the ambitious new climate change agreement brokered by Washington Governor Jay Inslee along with the governors of California and Oregon and the Premier of British Columbia. However, the Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy has no legal value, leading critics to question its significance.

EarthFix Photo/Ashley Ahearn

UPDATE: 10/29/2013, 12 p.m. PT: 

The leaders of three West Coast states – including Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee – and the premier of British Columbia agreed on Monday in San Francisco to adopt and maintain low carbon fuel standards. Under the plan, Washington and Oregon commit to mirroring California and British Columbia’s existing clean fuel standards. 

Climate Change May Worsen Green Lake's Algae Blooms

Oct 25, 2013
Washington State Department of Ecology Photo

If you’re a Green Lake regular, you may have noticed the public health alerts on placards around the lake, warning you not to tread where neon green algae blooms have blossomed.

Historic gas pump
John Ryan

Investment advisors from across the country met on Friday in Seattle in hopes of cutting fossil fuels from the stock portfolios they manage.

The Melting Of Greenland

Oct 21, 2013
Gretel Ehrlich Photo

Rising tides signal an inarguable remaking of our physical world that is already underway and gaining momentum.

The US is especially vulnerable. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has listed the 20 most threatened coastal cities in the world, which include Miami, New York, New Orleans.

Photo courtesy of Jan Angel and Nathan Schlicher

A California billionaire has pumped $400,000 into the race for a single seat in the Washington state senate. Out-of-state businesses and political groups have poured tens of thousands into the election as well.

Courtesy of Nathan Myhrvold and the Cooking Lab Photography Team.

Nathan Myhrvold was the former chief technology officer at Microsoft when he took a leave to attend culinary school in France.

Now the CEO of Intellectual Ventures, a Bellevue company that buys and licenses patents, Myhrvold has taken food to a new level: photographing lentils under a microscope, shooting gelatin and eggs and blending wine, which he says takes the edge off a young wine.

Hotter Summers Mean More Health Risks In Urban Heat Islands

Oct 2, 2013
Cassandra Profita / Earthfix

PORTLAND – On hot summer days, 74-year-old HelenRuth Stephens doesn't dare leave her apartment. Not to get the mail or take out the trash.

Algal Blooms Becoming More Toxic With Warming Waters

Oct 1, 2013
Katie Campbell / Earthfix

SAMMAMISH, Wash. — A photograph displayed in Jacki and John Williford’s home commemorates a camping trip that would go down in family history.

Courtney Flatt / Earthfix

HOOD RIVER, Ore. — For 20 years, Victor Gonzales has traveled the West picking crops. In the Northwest that means pears, cherries and apples.

Right now, he’s working at a Hood River pear orchard. In the summer, temperatures here can reach 100 degrees. Gonzalez remembers one day when he’d been working really hard, sweating more than normal.

Gonzales felt like he was going to pass out. He was shaky and very sleepy, he says through a translator. Instead of sleeping, he went to the farmworker housing unit and drank a lot of water and rested until he recovered.

Wikimedia Commons

If you own stocks or have money in a retirement plan, your money may be more at risk than you’re being told.

The Seattle Times Photo/Steve Ringman

Rising levels of carbon dioxide are corroding the world's seas. It’s called ocean acidification, and it’s already threatening Northwest oyster beds.

Scientists think the impact of ocean acidification is happening much more rapidly than previously thought.

The Seattle Times has published a major print and online series on its impacts called "Sea Change: The Pacific’s Perilous Turn" by reporter Craig Welch and photographer Steve Ringman. Craig Welch talks with Ross Reynolds.

Flickr Photo/Wizetux

We take for granted the fact that we can predict long-term weather forecasts. Now scientists at the University of Washington are working on ways to forecast the changing conditions of the ocean. They hope these forecasts can help them better understand how those conditions affect Northwest fisheries. 

Samantha Siedlecki is a research scientist at the University of Washington Joint Institute of the Study of Atmosphere and Ocean; she helped develop the forecasting tools and explains the way they work.

You may know that on a hot, sunny day it’s better to be sitting in a white car than a black one. White reflects sunlight, while black absorbs more of it.

The same concept applies to researchers trying to figure out what effect wildfires have on climate change. And part of the answer is whether the smoke particles are dark or reflective.

EarthFix Photo/Ashley Ahearn

Maureen Ryan scales rocky trails at 5,000 feet elevation as nimbly as the mountain goats that wandered through camp earlier this morning.

The researcher of amphibians leads her team of scientists down off a ridge line in the Seven Lakes Basin of Olympic National Park to her “lab,” you might call it. It’s a series of pothole wetlands cupped in the folds of these green, snow-studded mountains: a perfect habitat for Cascades frogs (Rana cascadae).

Ryan, a researcher with the University of Washington, is an expert on alpine amphibians. She’s also part of a group of scientists from around the region, coordinated by the Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative at the USGS, who are trying to understand and project how the warming climate will affect these frogs’ ability to feed, mate, and ultimately, survive.

Wind energy
Flickr Photo/Alex Abian

MLB Suspensions
Major League Baseball has handed down lengthy suspensions to more than a dozen players for using performance enhancing drugs, among them: former Seattle Mariner (and current New York Yankee) Alex Rodriguez. He was suspended for the remainder of this season and all of next season. A player in the Mariners’ minor league system was also suspended: Tacoma Rainiers catcher Jesus Montero. What do these suspensions say about the state of drug use in baseball?

Technology-Enabled Sexual Landscape
Technology has changed when and how kids are exposed to sexual activity.  Gone are the dirty magazines under the mattress.  On average, kids are exposed to full action, hardcore sexual activity by age 10.  How is this changing the behavior and expectations of teenagers?  How can you help your kids navigate a technology-enabled sexual landscape?

Climate Change And The Republican Party  
Former head of the Environmental Protection Agency and former co-chair of the Puget Sound Partnership, William Ruckelsaus explains why the Republican Party needs to take action on climate change.

The Weather and Hike of the Week
Michael Fagin suggests a hike that matches the week’s weather forecast.
 

Bill Kibben's book "The End of Nature"

In 1989, Bill McKibben wrote what is considered the first book on climate change for a general audience. More than two decades after “The End of Nature,” McKibben is still advocating for the environment. He’s been a main player in the fight to stop the Keystone Pipeline and he focuses this talk on climate change and the Northwest.

He spoke at the Queen Anne United Methodist Church on April 28 as part of The Well lecture series.

The viability of carbon capture and storage can spark lively debate among climate scientists, activists and industry. This week, technicians in southeast Washington continue a field test to show how carbon dioxide could be injected and trapped deep underground.

It's an experiment led by the Pacific Northwest National Lab. Injection of fifty tanker truck loads of CO2 will take about four weeks. Then comes about a year and a half of monitoring to see if the global warming gas stays locked away forever beneath ancient lava flows.

Environmental Debt With Amy Larkin

Jul 18, 2013
Flickr Photo/rlpporch

Environmental debt — global warming, extreme weather, pollution — is weakening the global economy. Amy Larkin, formerly of Greenpeace, discusses how the natural world and business can coexist. She spoke at the Elliott Bay Book Company on July 1.

Song For A Warming Planet

Jul 10, 2013
NASA

As a student at University of Minnesota, Daniel Crawford was exposed to the latest science on climate change. He learned that the planet was warming rapidly. Scientists have struggled to communicate the gravity of that discovery with others, and so, as a planet we've failed to make changes that would slow the warming trend.

But Daniel has a tool unavailable to most scientists. He plays the cello. By translating NASA's collection of historic temperature data into notes, he tells the story of Earth's climate change with a song. It's an unpleasant song. But it's also a song whose melody can't be easily forgotten.

Full list of stories on KUOW Presents, July 10:

The loss of 19 firefighters in Arizona is sending a chill through the firefighting community in the Northwest. Fire season is about to begin here -- ushered in by a heat wave sweeping the region.

Word spread fast among wildland firefighters in the Northwest. “We are saddened but [must] honor our fallen by continuing with the job at hand,” wrote the hotshot crew out of Union, Ore., on Facebook.

Annalee Newitz's book "Scatter, Adapt, and Remember."

We’re long overdue for a catastrophic disaster based on studies of Earth’s past. Scary? It probably should be, considering that during our most recent disasters, more than 75 percent of the planet’s species died out. 

Annalee Newitz is a journalist and editor of the science website i09.com. She’s also the author of “Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction.” Annalee Newitz talks about how, even though catastrophe may be inevitable, humanity's chances for survival are better now than ever. She spoke at Seattle’s Town Hall on May 22.

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