Environment

Climate Change
4:01 am
Tue September 24, 2013

How Many Scientists Does It Take To Write A Climate Report?

An iceberg floats through the water in Ilulissat, Greenland, in July. Researchers are studying how climate change and melting glaciers will affect the rest of the world.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 24, 2013 10:53 am

Scientists and government representatives are meeting in Stockholm this week to produce the latest high-level review of climate change. It's thousands of pages of material, and if it's done right, it should harbor very few surprises.

That's because it's supposed to compile what scientists know — and what they don't — about climate change. And that's left some scientists to wonder whether these intensive reviews are still the best way to go.

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Energy
8:13 am
Mon September 23, 2013

Two Clean Energy Projects Selected for Connecticut

Credit Oregon Department of Transportation

The state of Connecticut is choosing two clean energy projects to help diversify its energy portfolio. Governor Dannel Malloy announced Friday that a solar installation planned in Sprague and Lisbon, and a wind energy farm in Maine, have signed long-term contracts with electricity distributors Connecticut Light & Power and United Illuminating. The contracts require regulatory approval, and together will provide 3.5 percent of Connecticut’s total energy load.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
4:30 pm
Fri September 20, 2013

What Happens When Private Groups Save Public Parks?

Henry Hester is the Vice President of the Friends of Keney Park. He was also one of the founders of the group back in 1988.
Chion Wolf

New Havenites reclaiming a beautiful park in their city got us thinking about urban parks in general. Frederick Law Olmsted is the undisputed father of American city parks, including Central Park itself. He came from Hartford, and he is buried here.

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Oil Drilling Protest
4:25 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

Greenpeace Vessel Is Boarded By Russian Coast Guard

Greenpeace's ship the "Arctic Sunrise" in 2005.
Samuel Aranda AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 20, 2013 3:14 am

Greenpeace reports that its vessel, the Arctic Sunrise, has been boarded by the Russian Coast Guard after a protest against oil and gas drilling in the Russian Arctic.

The crew of the vessel tweeted throughout the drama. A tweet by Greenpeace HQ indicated that everyone was safe but that the crew was not "in control of the ship at this point."

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Mexico
7:09 am
Thu September 19, 2013

Death Toll At 80 And Likely To Rise As Storms Slam Mexico

Near the town of Petaquillas, Mexico, a man held on to a line Wednesday as he crossed a stream swollen by rain dumped by the storm Manuel.
Alejandrino Gonzalez AP

Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 8:54 am

  • On 'Morning Edition': Host Renee Montagne talks with the AP's Michael Weissenstein

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Fly Like an Eagle
1:09 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Put A Camera On An Eagle And What Do You Get? Soaring VIDEO

The eagle's view.
YouTube/Srachi

If this is a trick, it's a spectacular one.

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Ocean Life
7:52 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

Earwax From Whales Keeps Record Of Ocean Contaminants

A blue whale (and human diver) swimming off the coast of Trincomalee, Sri Lanka, in April 2011.
Amos Nachoun Barcroft Media/Landov

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 8:07 am

How often do whales clean their ears? Well, never. And so, year after year, their earwax builds up, layer upon layer. According to a study published Monday, these columns of earwax contain a record of chemical pollution in the oceans.

The study used the earwax extracted from the carcass of a blue whale that washed ashore on a California beach back in 2007. Scientists at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History collected the wax from inside the skull of the dead whale and preserved it. The column of wax was almost a foot long.

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Energy
5:55 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

Natural Gas May Be Easier On Climate Than Coal, Despite Methane Leaks

A rig drills a hydraulic fracturing well for natural gas outside Rifle, Colo., in March.
Brennan Linsley AP

Originally published on Mon September 16, 2013 7:11 pm

From the standpoint of global warming, burning natural gas can be better than burning coal, a study published this week suggests.

This is a contentious issue among people who are opposed to the natural gas drilling practice known as fracking. That technique involves injecting water, sand and chemicals into wells to release far more gas than conventional drilling can. Opponents of fracking have been concerned not only about local environmental issues, but also about the potential for methane leaks to make global warming worse.

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Hartford
4:55 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

Hartford High School Students Provide Electricity to a Nepalese School

Students and their teacher stand around one of five pallets that comprised the wind turbine/solar panel system that was ready to be shipped out by truck, plane, and helicopter to Saldang, Nepal. L to R: Akeem Brown, Derrick Cardona, Danilo Sena (UConn), Pravesh Mallik (Uconn), Jazzmin Mitchel, Orlando Nugent, Dave Mangus (teacher), Akwayne Wilson, Samuel King (seated).
Credit Dayl Walker / CBIA

A school in a remote village in Nepal is getting electricity, thanks to a group of Hartford High School students, the Associated Press reports. Fourteen students in the school's academy of Engineering and Green Technology designed and built a wind-powered turbine for a school in Saldang, which is in Nepal's Dolpa region, surrounded by the Himalayan mountains.

The school in Nepal has no power and is accessible only by yak. During the winter months when the region is covered with snow, it is not accessible at all.

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The City Below
9:14 am
Sun September 15, 2013

New York Underground: Exploring City Caves And Catacombs

Originally published on Sat September 14, 2013 6:15 pm

Urban explorer Steve Duncan goes underground, examining the hidden infrastructure of major cities all over the world: their tunnels, subways and sewers. Late in 2010, NPR's Jacki Lyden joined Duncan and a group of subterranean adventurers in New York. (This story originally aired on All Things Considered on Jan. 2, 2011.)

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Climate Change
9:14 am
Sun September 15, 2013

Remote Antarctic Trek Reveals A Glacier Melting From Below

The surface tower at a drill site, under construction during blistering Antarctic winds. Data from instruments, deployed through 450 meters of ice, is transmitted from the tower by satellite back to the Naval Postgraduate School.
Image courtesy of Tim Stanton

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 8:50 am

Scientists watching Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier from space have noticed with some alarm that it has been surging toward the sea.

If it were to melt entirely, global sea levels would rise by several feet.

The glacier is really, really remote. It's 1,800 miles from McMurdo, the U.S. base station in Antarctica, so just getting there is a challenge. Scientists have rarely been able to get out to the glacier to make direct measurements.

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Weather
6:04 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

Spy Drones Turning Up New Data About Hurricanes And Weather

A Global Hawk unmanned aircraft comes in for a landing at the Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Va., on Sept. 7, 2012, after studying Hurricane Leslie. The remotely controlled planes can stay in the air for as long as 28 hours and fly over hurricanes at altitudes of more than 60,000 feet.
NASA

Originally published on Fri September 13, 2013 6:57 pm

For several weeks now, two unmanned spy planes have been flying over the Atlantic on an unusual mission: gathering intelligence about tropical storms and hurricanes.

The two Global Hawk drones are a central part of NASA's five-year HS3 (Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel) Mission investigating why certain weather patterns become hurricanes, and why some hurricanes grow into monster storms.

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Jersey Shore
5:39 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

Fire Sweeps Through Businesses Along Jersey's Seaside Boardwalk

Firefighters battle a raging fire on boardwalk in Seaside Park, N.J., on Thursday.
Fox 29/AP

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 7:36 pm

A fire that started in an ice cream shop is spreading elsewhere along New Jersey's famous boardwalk in Seaside Park.

News video shows the boardwalk — located in an area that had just been rebuilt after it was destroyed by Superstorm Sandy nearly a year ago — clouded by thick smoke.

Seaside Heights Police Chief Thomas Boyd tells The Star-Ledger the fire spread to adjacent structures around 2:30 p.m.

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Environment
9:28 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Saving Plum Island From Development

Looking Toward the Eastern Tip of Plum Island
Save the Sound

The town of Southold New York has approved new zoning measures that will protect much of Plum Island from development.

For years, the 840 acre island in Long Island Sound has been home to a government laboratory that studies animal diseases. It's also served as an unofficial wildlife sanctuary for dozens of species, some of them endangered.

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Energy
5:29 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

Vt. Nuclear Plant Shutdown A Sign Of Changing Energy Market

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 6:31 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

After years of litigation and political jousting, Vermont is set to close its only nuclear power plant by the end of next year. As John Dillon of Vermont Public Radio reports, the plant's closure is a sign of how much the country's energy market is changing.

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Long Island Sound
3:31 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

No Catching Lobster in Long Island Sound

Courtesy of Flickr CC by Indirect Heat

Most likely the lobster you've eaten in Connecticut this summer isn't local. The number of lobsters has declined severely in Long Island Sound over the last decade. Now local fisherman are pulling traps in preparation of a mandatory closed season in the weeks ahead.

The decision by the Atlantic States Fisheries Commission impacts all of Long Island Sound. This means lobstermen in Connecticut and New York won't be able to catch lobster from September 8 thru November 28.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
4:18 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

Eels Are The New Lobster

Credit Flickr Creative Commons, mr bolonga

Eels are hailed as monster-seducers by New Zealand's Maori and are the only fish that spawn in the middle of the ocean, but spend their lives in freshwater. Chad Johnson uses them to get the ladies. They've inspired Internet memes. And in Maine, where eels sell for upwards of $2,000 per pound, this misunderstood fish is providing a modern gold rush for struggling fisherman.

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Connecticut History
3:10 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

From Fish Factory to Bathing Beach

It’s almost September and families are flocking to the beaches to get in their last days of summer sunshine. One of Connecticut’s most popular summer spots is Rocky Neck State Park in Niantic.

The stretch of beach was not always a designated area for sunbathing, swimming, or hiking. In the 1800s, long before beachgoers were able to enjoy the park, the 710-acre property was used as a stone quarry and dairy farm. A railroad track and pier were installed in the 1850s to help transport stone from the quarry by both land and water.

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Where We Live
11:31 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Warming Waters: The New Normal

pinay06 (Wikimedia Commons)

We’ve talked about warming waters before on Where We Live. Now warm waters are in the news again. There are new climate change studies that provide more proof of the human causes of warming temperatures. The next big UN report on climate change contains some scary predictions...that sea levels could rise more than three feet by the end of the century.

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Science News
3:08 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Leaked UN Report Increases Certainty On Climate Change

An iceberg in Greenland is pictured in May 2012. (Ian Joughin)

In a leaked climate report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) — a United Nations scientific body that makes definitive assessments on climate change — has determined with 95 percent certainty that humans are responsible for global warming.

The report also increased its estimate for sea level rise, as a result of the warming planet.

The final report is due to come out in September. A draft was leaked over the weekend.

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Sustainability
12:56 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

UConn Named Greenest College

Lynn Gardner Creative Commons

From slashing its water use by 15 percent to hundreds of classes that feature sustainability, UConn climbed from fifth-place to the top of this year's list of green colleges. "This year, our editorial focus was a little bit more on academic stuff that it usually is and UConn really, really was a standout in that realm," said Avital Andrews, lifestyle editor for Sierra Magazine, which has been ranking schools for seven years. 

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Environment
7:34 am
Thu August 15, 2013

Trying Times For Connecticut's Shellfish Industry

U.S. Army photo/Pamela Spaugy

It's been a rough summer for Connecticut's shellfish industry. 

A recent Connecticut law states that Connecticut oysters must be at least three inches long when harvested. The state's shellfish industry supported the bill, despite neighboring states allowing smaller sized oysters to be harvested in their waters.

Now a recent inspection by the State Department of Agriculture revealed that 20 of 24 randomly chosen samples by 11 harvesters had oysters smaller than three inches. Steven Reviczky is the commissioner of the Department of Agriculture.

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Oysters
2:36 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

Trying Times for Connecticut's Shellfish Industry

U.S. Army photo/Pamela Spaugy

It's been a rough summer for Connecticut's shellfish industry.

A recent Connecticut law states that Connecticut oysters must be at least three inches long when harvested. The state's shellfish industry supported the bill, despite neighboring states allowing smaller sized oysters to be harvested in their waters.

Now a recent inspection by the State Department of Agriculture revealed that 20 of 24 randomly chosen samples by 11 harvesters had oysters smaller than three inches. Steven Reviczky is the commissioner of the Department of Agriculture.

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Nickel and Diming
1:23 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

Anyone Remember the Bottle Bill?

The state Supreme Court has overturned a $6 million award to beer and soda distributors who sued the state.

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Urban Forest
12:36 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

Hartford to Plant 1,000 Trees

The city of Hartford loses a few hundred trees each year. But now, in a partnership with a local non-profit, the city is poised to plant 1,000 new trees this fall. The goal is to plant 20,000 trees over the next ten years.  It's an ambitious program that began last year with the first 1,000 trees planted.  Now, the city wants to spend $425,000 to keep things going.

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Streets
1:59 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

Hartford Wants to Improve Downtown Traffic

If you've ever gotten stuck in traffic in downtown Hartford, you'll like this story. The city is applying for a grant that will allow it to upgrade traffic signals in the central business district. The plan is to reduce congestion.

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Environmental Sustainability
12:33 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

Connecticut College Sustainability Office Seeks to Solve Problems in Holistic Way

Social History of Art, Flickr Creative Commons

Connecticut College's new Office of Sustainability allows students and staff to think about sustainability in an original way. The office looks at sustainability in three connected parts: environmental, economic, and social.

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Animal Behavior
4:50 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Dolphins Recognize The Calls Of Long-Lost Friends

Kai, seen here at age 16 at the Texas State Aquarium, recognized the whistle of another dolphin, Hastings, who he'd shared a tank with for years before the experiment. Kai is now 20.
Courtesy of Jason Bruck

Originally published on Wed August 7, 2013 5:48 pm

Scientists have known for years that dolphins recognize each other by the sound of each animal's signature whistle. But it wasn't known for just how long dolphins could remember these whistle calls.

The individually specific whistle that each dolphin generates before its first birthday "for them functions like a name," says Jason Bruck, who studies animal behavior at the Institute for Mind and Biology at the University of Chicago.

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9:59 am
Wed August 7, 2013

Connecticut Shellfish Beds Closed Due to Bacteria Outbreak

Lead in text: 
A trend of warming waters may be to blame for an outbreak of the Vibrio parahaemolyticus bacteria, related to cholera, in 22 shellfish beds that were recently closed by the state agriculture department.
In the wake of five reported illnesses, the state agriculture department has shut 22 shellfish beds in Norwalk and Westport and instituted a so far voluntary recall of oysters and clams harvested since July 3. The culprit is Vibrio parahaemolyticus, naturally occurring bacteria that is generally seen more on the west coast.
News
5:12 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

Earth Scientists Pin Climate Change Squarely On 'Humanity'

Pedersen Glacier, 1917
Louis H. Pedersen climate.gov/National Snow and Ice Data Center

Originally published on Tue August 6, 2013 8:12 pm

The weather is one of those topics that is fairly easy for people to agree on. Climate, however, is something else.

Most of the scientists who study the Earth say our climate is changing and humans are part of what's making that happen. But to a lot of nonscientists it's still murky. This week, two of the nation's most venerable scientific institutions tried to explain it better.

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