Satellite imaging shows that spring thaws in the northern latitudes are happening almost a day earlier each year. Environmental scientists worry that faster melts could accelerate global warming. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Corbin Sullivan explains:
Satellite imaging shows that spring thaws in the northern latitudes are
happening almost a day earlier each year. Environmental scientists worry
that faster melts could accelerate global warming. The Great Lakes Radio
Consortium’s Corbin Sullivan explains:
The satellite readings show that the spring thaw in
the Alaskan tundra and northern forests is coming
more than a week earlier than it did in 1988.
John Kimball co-authored a study of the NASA
images. He says the greenhouse effect is responsible
for earlier melting. And he warns that faster thaws
could lead to more greenhouse gases in the
“The potential here is that this warming will
actually reinforce that greenhouse related warming
trend that we’re seeing. That would occur at a much
Kimball says microorganisms in the arctic soil are
the reason for the increase in heat-trapping gases.
He says the organisms become active when the soil
thaws, breaking down carbon in the soil and
releasing methane and carbon dioxide.
Kimball says an earlier thaw means more
greenhouse gases will be produced each year. That’s
in addition to the gases produced by human sources
like automobiles and power plants.
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Corbin
Scientists are talking about a new way to address global warming. Their idea is to take carbon dioxide from coal-burning power plants and inject it deep into the earth. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Annie MacDowell explains:
Scientists are talking about a new way to address global warming. Their idea is to take carbon
dioxide from coal-burning power plants and inject it deep into the earth. The Great Lakes Radio
Consortium’s Annie Macdowell explains:
It’s called carbon sequestration. The idea is to use a chemical process to remove carbon dioxide
from power plant emissions and pressurize it into a liquid form. The liquid would then be injected
into saline aquifers up to ten thousand feet below the ground.
The government wants to create 4 to 10 regional partnerships to study the possibility of carbon
sequestration. One of the potential sites is in the Illinois Basin. The basin extends throughout three
quarters of Illinois, into Western Indiana and Western Kentucky.
Robert Finley is the director of the Center for Energy and Earth Resources at the Illinois State
Geological Survey. He says carbon sequestration could be a good transition for the country as it
moves away from using fossil fuels.
“It would allow us to use coal in a more environmentally responsible way while we look toward the
future with additional use of renewables and ultimately, perhaps, going to a hydrogen economy.”
Finley says at this point, sequestration doesn’t work with other pollutants found in power plant
emissions, such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and mercury.
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Annie MacDowell.
The invention of electric lights at the end of the 19th Century ended the ancient tyranny of darkness over our lives. Turning on the lights at night has allowed us to make every hour count. But while nighttime lighting has given us unprecedented security and uncountable opportunities, we may be reaching the point where we have too much of a good thing. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Ed Janus reports on two people involved in an international effort to turn the lights down a little and take back the night:
Chicago is the first major city in the U.S. to commit to a carbon emissions trading system. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Lester Graham reports:
Chicago is the first major city in the U.S. to commit to a carbon emissions trading system. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Lester Graham reports.
Chicago Mayor Richard Daley has announced that the municipality would join two-dozen private companies that have signed on with the Chicago Climate Exchange. The exchange will create a market in carbon dioxide emissions futures. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Daley is recommending the city take a new approach to energy; replacing the bulbs in traffic signals with new longer-lasting, brighter, but more energy efficient bulbs. He also wants the city to put in more energy efficient boilers, and increase the use of cleaner-burning alternative fuels in the city’s fleet of cars and equipment. The city will be able to trade any savings in carbon emissions for shares in carbon futures, supplementing city coffers. The mayor admonished business leaders to find creative solutions to energy and environmental problems, such as the Chicago Climate Exchange. Although the city government buildings and cars make up only a small fraction of the city’s pollution sources, the mayor’s initiative is expected to be an example for the private sector. For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Lester Graham.
Some unusual clouds were spotted over parts of the western United States
this summer. Those who have seen them say they’re strangely beautiful;
they’re visible only at night, and appear silvery-white and luminous.
They’re called noctilucent (knock-til-loo-cent) clouds. But as the Great
Lakes Radio Consortium’s Wendy Nelson reports, the clouds may be a sign that
all’s not well in the upper atmosphere:
Researchers in Wisconsin have identified a species of dragonfly never
seen in the state before. They’ll be watching it as a possible
indicator of global climate change. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s
Stephanie Hemphill reports:
The effects of climate change are being felt around the world. And asGreat Lakes Radio Consortium’s Commentator Suzanne Elston hasdiscovered, even the greatest of our national landmarks cannot escapethe impact of human activity:
President Clinton has said this summer’s record breaking heat is evidence of global warming, and he blasted congress for ignoring the problem. Most scientists are firmly convinced that global warming is already underway, but there is still some scientific uncertainty about what effects it might have. Around the world, scientists are looking for answers. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Stephanie Hemphill reports on one research project now underway: