environment

EarthFix Reports
9:33 am
Mon February 24, 2014

What Does Climate Change Mean For Ice Climbing?

Whitman College freshman Laura Rey makes her way up the Weeping Wall, outside Dayton, Wash. This was Rey's first ice climbing trip.
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.

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EarthFix Reports
4:50 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Navy Looks To Renew Permits For Bombing And Sonar Exercises In The Northwest

The U.S. Navy's aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis transits the Pacific Ocean alongside the oiler USNS Yukon.
Official U.S. Navy Imagery/Specialist 3rd Class Kenneth Abbate

The Navy is pursuing permits to continue conducting sonar and explosives exercises in a large area of the Pacific Ocean — and that’s putting marine mammal advocates on high alert.

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Utilities
3:09 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Garbage Collection Advice From Oregon: 'Go For It'

Tacoma, Olympia and Portland, Ore., have all moved to garbage collection every other week.
Flickr Photo/Kevin Harber (CC BY-NC-ND)

David Hyde talks with Michael Armstrong, senior sustainability manager for the City of Portland, about Portland's biweekly trash program. Seattle is currently considering a proposal to reduce garbage collection to every other week.

Snow Dump
7:52 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Washington Snowpack Building Toward Normal

Lake Mowich with Mount Rainier in the background had little snow in the beginning of the winter season. February is helping the Cascade Mountain range catch up with its snowpack.
Credit KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

On a clear day in Seattle, Nick Bond can size up the mountain snowpack on his bike ride to work at the University of Washington. However, in his role as the state’s climatologist, Bond crunches the data to get a much more precise picture. That’s because a lot of people care about snowpack.

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Winter Weather
9:09 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Avalanche Deaths Highlight Unstable Backcountry Conditions

A deep slab avalanche, seen from above.
Janet Kellam/Sawtooth Avalanche Center

The avalanche center in Idaho's Sun Valley area is urging people to consider cancelling their plans in the backcountry.

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EarthFix Reports
8:38 am
Wed February 19, 2014

How Northwest's Natural Resource Policy-Making Could Change

The Northwest is in for a shakeup when it comes to natural resources policy. That's because the region is losing Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Doc Hastings, two key chairman of congressional committees that set policy on forests, rivers, mining and energy.

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 2:36 pm

The natural resource arena is losing two influential policymakers from the Northwest.

Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., recently announced he would not seek reelection after representing central Washington for 20 years. Hastings has served on the House Committee on Natural Resources since 1995 and as its chair since 2011.

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EarthFix Reports
10:41 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Volcanic Eruptions Could Be More Rare Than You Think

Researchers may soon be able to better predict when a volcano will erupt because of findings that show magma under the surface may not be as hot as previously thought.
Eric Klemetti, Denison University

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 1:00 am

Right before a volcano erupts, molten rock, known as magma, is moving around underneath the surface. New research suggests this liquid magma is very rare. That’s an important finding for researchers trying to predict when a volcano may erupt.

Geologists from University of Califonia, Davis, and Oregon State University studied Mount Hood and have found that magma is often too cold to move around so much. And cold, here, is a relative term.

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EarthFix Reports
8:35 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Is Fukushima Radiation Causing Pacific Starfish Die-Offs?

Scientists in Washington state are conducting lab-based infectiousnesss experiments to understand how the epidemic is spreading.
Credit EarthFix Photo/Katie Campbell

Scientists seeking the answer to why starfish are dying off along parts of the west coast are almost certain that they can cross radiation from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster off the list of causes.

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EarthFix Reports
8:32 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Crude Oil Terminal Planned In NW Portland

A Google Earth image of the Paramount Petroleum asphalt plant, recently sold to a an investment firm and leased to Arc Logistics Partners LP for use as a crude oil terminal.
Google Earth http://google.com/

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 4:15 pm

PORTLAND -- A national fuel storage company has plans to turn an asphalt plant near the Willamette River into a rail and marine terminal for crude oil.

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Paleontology
10:56 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Make It A Grande: Mammoth Tusk Find Likely Seattle's Largest

Plumber apprentice Joe Wells touching what Burke Museum officials believe is the largest, most intact mammoth tusk, ever found in the region.
Uncredited AP

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 10:11 am

The tusk from a mammoth that lived 16,000 years ago in the Seattle area unearthed earlier this week appears to be the largest, most intact ever found in the region.

It's thought to be from a Columbian mammoth, a subgroup of woolly mammoths, and is considered to be a pretty rare find. Construction workers stumbled on it as they were digging the foundation for an apartment complex in the city's South Lake Union neighborhood.

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Winter Weather
9:14 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Next Chapter In Northwest Weather Expected To Be Flooding, Landslides

A landslide carried boulders onto I-84 near Hood River, Ore., on Wednesday.
Oregon State Police

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 5:57 pm

The National Weather Service says the recent snowfall combined with rain over the next few days has set the stage for flooding in parts of the Northwest.

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Evacuation Of Java
7:32 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Massive Volcanic Eruption In Indonesia Blankets Region In Ash

A residential area is covered with ash from the Mount Kelud volcano, in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, on Friday.
Bimo Satrio EPA/Landov

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 11:06 am

The second major volcanic eruption in as many weeks in Indonesia has killed at least three people and forced the evacuation of tens of thousands on the island of Java, as Mount Kelud spewed ash and debris 12 miles into the sky.

Thursday night's eruption of the volcano, located 50 miles southwest of the country's second-largest city of Surabaya, could be heard up to 125 miles away, Indonesia's disaster agency says, according to The Associated Press.

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Environment
2:45 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Hood Canal Oil Spill: 'No Evidence Of Harm To Wildlife, Environment'

Flickr Photo/EcologyWA (CC BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks with Lisa Copeland, communications manager for the Washington State Department of Ecology, about the cleanup efforts of the 2,000 gallons of oil that spilled in Hood Canal on Monday.

EarthFix Reports
9:17 am
Thu February 13, 2014

Navy Says Failed Pump Led To Oily Wastewater Spill In Puget Sound

The view from an airplane window of the sheen on Hood Canal in Puget Sound following Monday's Naval Base Kitsap Bangor.
Washington Department of Ecology

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 2:08 pm

The Navy is blaming a failed pump for its spill of nearly 2,000 gallons of oily wastewater into Puget Sound.

Tom Danaher, spokesman for Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, said the Navy was using a pumping system on one of its piers to remove oily bilge water from a ship late Monday.

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Snow Safety
8:50 am
Thu February 13, 2014

What To Do If You're Caught In An Avalanche

The recent heavy snow in the region means the risk of avalanche is higher.
Scientif38 Wikimedia

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 4:44 pm

As snow continues to pound the region's ski resorts, plenty of skiers  are expected to hit the slopes. But with the increased snowpack comes the risk of avalanches.

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