environment

Climate Change
7:45 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Arctic Is Warming Twice As Fast As World Average

A lone polar bear poses on a block of arctic sea ice in Russia's Franz Josef Land.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 12:36 pm

The latest word from scientists studying the Arctic is that the polar region is warming twice as fast as the average rise on the rest of the planet. And researchers say the trend isn't letting up. That's the latest from the 2014 Arctic Report Card — a compilation of recent research from more than 60 scientists in 13 countries. The report was released Wednesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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State Parks
11:59 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Architect Seeks Ideas for Waterford's Seaside

Victor Solanoy Creative Commons

Around 100 people attended a meeting in Waterford on Monday night to discuss ideas for a proposed new state park. 

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Environmental Law
11:57 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Strengthening Connecticut Environmental Law to Target First-Time Offenders

The state is inspecting gas stations more frequently, leading to more frequent environmental violations.
John Phelan Creative Commons

Should state regulators be more aggressive in punishing first time violators of environmental law? That's a question the Council on Environmental Quality hopes lawmakers wrestle with in the upcoming legislative session. 

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State Parks
2:53 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

State Seeks Ideas for Waterford's Seaside

Seaside sits on prime coastal land.
Artondra Hall Creative Commons

The team that will work to develop a new state park at the former Seaside Regional Center in Waterford will be introduced on Monday evening.

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Continental Shelf
1:39 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Denmark Claims Part Of The Arctic, Including The North Pole

A map of the area Denmark is claiming.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Denmark

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 2:51 pm

Denmark, together with Greenland, today will claim around 350,000 square miles of the continental shelf in the Arctic Ocean, in an area around the North Pole that is slightly larger than the size of Texas and Oklahoma combined.

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Wildlife
5:39 pm
Sun December 14, 2014

More Than Just Cute, Sea Otters Are Superheroes Of The Marsh

This sea otter, about to eat a crab in the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, is cute, sure. But more importantly, it's indirectly combating some harmful effects of agricultural runoff and protecting the underwater ecosystem.
Rob Eby AP

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 11:28 am

On the roof of the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, Calif., in a large plastic tank, a sea otter mother named Abby floats with her adopted pup, known as 671.

For up to nine months, Abby will raise her little adoptee, and when 671 is ready, she will be released into a protected inland salt marsh called Elkhorn Slough, just off Monterey Bay.

That's where 671 will set to work to preserve the estuary, says Tim Tinker, who tracks otters for the U.S. Geological Survey.

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Sky-Watching
11:24 am
Sun December 14, 2014

Geminid Meteor Showers Light Up Both Hemispheres

The Geminid meteor shower above Skopje, Macedonia, on Saturday.
Robert AtanasovskiI AFP/Getty Images

The annual Geminid meteor shower dazzled Earthlings around the world late Saturday and early Sunday.

Pieces of gravel and dust from a "rock comet" called 3200 Phaethon shot across the sky and lit up discussion boards from NASA.gov to Twitter — for those who could tear their eyes away long enough to type.

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Sunken Ships
2:36 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

NOAA Team Finds Shipwreck Of The 'Titanic Of The Golden Gate'

A sonar profile view of SS City of Rio de Janeiro above a painting of the steamer.
Coda Octopus (top) and painting of SS City of Rio De Janeiro NOAA (top); Mystic Seaport (bottom)

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 5:49 pm

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says it has found the remains of a 19th century passenger steamer that sank near the present-day Golden Gate Bridge at the entrance to San Francisco Bay, killing 128 people, mostly immigrants from China and Japan.

Inbound from Hong Kong, the City of Rio de Janeiro, which came to be known as the "Titanic of the Golden Gate," went down in dense fog after hitting submerged rocks early on the morning of Feb. 22, 1901.

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United Nations
9:27 am
Fri December 12, 2014

Climate Sticking Point: Who Cuts And By How Much?

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry delivers a speech Thursday at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru. A major sticking point remains over how to divide greenhouse emissions targets.
Rodrigo Abd AP

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 2:37 pm

U.N. talks on global warming are wrapping up in Peru, but a divide between rich and poor countries and how to divvy up targets to reduce greenhouse gases is a key sticking point that has remained unresolved.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has acknowledged that the issue is "hard fought and ... complex," but he says it is crucial that the targets be agreed on before next year's summit in Paris. The talks in Peru end today.

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Science Publishing
1:40 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

Is Nature’s Move to "Free" Publishing a Step Toward Open Access?

Annthea Lewis
Nature

The journal Nature announced last week it will offer free access to a number of its articles online.

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Climate Change
6:09 am
Tue December 9, 2014

How 3.6 Degrees Became a Global Warming Tipping Point

A team of scientists in 2012 from the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, Rhode Island, explores the waters near the Helheim Glacier in Greenland before using an autonomous undersea vehicle to study glacial ice melt.
U.S. Navy

As the United Nations climate change talks in Lima enter into their second week, one measurement that's coming up a lot is 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. 

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Bottles, Bottles, Everywhere
8:25 am
Tue December 2, 2014

"Washed Ashore" Exhibit at Mystic Aquarium Features Ocean Trash

An exhibition features ocean creatures sculpted from collected beach refuse.
Mystic Aquarium

A new exhibition at Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut is using trash from the ocean to create art. It's an effort to highlight the importance of recycling plastic.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon December 1, 2014

What It's Like to Be Detained in Russia; Public Confidence in Local Hospitals

Greenpeace's Arctic Sunrise.
Apples and oranges Creative Commons

It’s been just over a year since Russian authorities arrested 30 activists aboard Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior III -- a ship protesting Russia’s controversial oil rig in the Arctic. Among those arrested was the ship’s captain, Peter Willcox, a Greenpeace veteran and resident of Norwalk, Connecticut. 

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Emissions
3:12 pm
Wed November 26, 2014

EPA Proposes New Rules To Curb Ozone Levels

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy testifies at an oversight hearing of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington on July 23.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed November 26, 2014 1:49 pm

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency unveiled new rules today to reduce emission levels for smog-causing ozone, which is linked to asthma and other health problems.

The draft measure calls for lowering the threshold for ozone from 75 parts per billion to between 65 ppb and 70 ppb. The agency said it would take comments on an ozone level as low as 60 ppb.

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Look Up
1:48 pm
Tue November 25, 2014

Yale Recruits the Crowd in the Hunt for New Planets

This section of the Milky Way captures Kepler's field of view.
Carter Roberts NASA

If you're looking for life elsewhere in the universe, there's a lot to look at, and computers are pretty good at it. At least, they're good at analyzing the stuff you tell them -- for example, the brightness of stars in our sky.

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Long Island Sound
9:56 am
Mon November 24, 2014

Grants of $1.3 Million to Benefit Long Island Sound Environment

A tidal creek on Long Island Sound impacted by Hurricane Sandy.
UConn

Federal and state environmental officials say grants of more than $1.3 million have been awarded to local government and community groups in Connecticut and New York to improve the health of Long Island Sound. 

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:05 am
Wed November 19, 2014

Bring Back the Beaver!

Beaver are one of few animals capable of engineering the ecosystem
Credit Finchlake 2000 / Creative Commons

I first realized that beavers were awesome back in the 1980's on a beaver observation tour led by an Acadia National Park ranger who looked in the most attractive way possible - like a beaver. 

This is a theory of mine that I will not be bringing up to my guests on the show today. A high percentage of people who devote their lives to studying beavers resemble beavers. They have very nice overbites and they even fall into the habit of slapping their thighs with their hands the way a beaver slaps the water with his tail. 

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Beetle Invasion
7:45 am
Tue November 18, 2014

Changes Are Coming to Connecticut's Emerald Ash Borer Quarantine

Beginning Dec. 5, Connecticut will join a federal quarantine zone restricting the movement of ash firewood.
USDAgov Flickr Creative Commons

It looks like the Emerald Ash Borer has won. Since 2012, the tiny invasive green beetle has spread to dozens of towns, posing a deadly risk to ash trees and resulting in six counties falling under wood quarantines. Now, with winter just around the corner, the state has announced it will modify those rules to make it easier for consumers to transport firewood around the state. 

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Philae Lander
2:46 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

Comet Lander's Big Bounce Caught On Camera

The Rosetta spacecraft, which orbits the comet, captured this series of images of the Philae lander bounding off the surface. The precise spot the lander came to a stop remains unknown.
Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

Originally published on Mon November 17, 2014 7:41 pm

Updated at 3:45PM ET

It was the first ever landing on a comet, and it was perfect.

Unfortunately, that wasn't the end of the journey for the European Space Agency's unmanned Philae lander. After touching down on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, the lander bounced off the surface and flew a kilometer back up into space.

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Difficult Operations
8:12 am
Sat November 15, 2014

Comet Lander, Firefighters Execute Dazzling Feats Above The Earth

Onlookers take cell phone pictures of stranded window washers hanging from scaffolding on the side of One World Trade Center.
Timothy A. Clary AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat November 15, 2014 10:21 am

Everyone has days in which we wonder if much of anything works. Websites crash. Screens blink, go blank, or taunt: I'm sorry. Try later. We have an unusually high volume of calls. Download to update. Click here if you've forgotten your password.

But for a couple of hours on an afternoon this week, people got glimpses of excellence.

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Food Waste
1:01 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

Massachusetts DEP Commissioner To View Red Lion Inn's Composting Process

Originally published on Thu November 13, 2014 4:14 pm

With America Recycles Day Saturday, Massachusetts environmental officials are celebrating the Commonwealth’s new commercial food waste ban – the first statewide ban in the nation. The state’s Commissioner of Environmental Protection will visit the Red Lion Inn to see how the renowned hotel is shipping its food waste to a nearby farm.

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Philae
9:59 am
Fri November 14, 2014

Comet Lander Deploys Drill, But Could Lose Power Tonight

Engineers at the European Space Agency fear that they won't be able to communicate with the Philae lander after Friday. Here, lander manager Stefan Ulamec (left, in foreground) watches as data confirming the comet landing arrived Wednesday.
European Space Agency

Originally published on Fri November 14, 2014 12:38 pm

Philae, the lander currently on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, may not be able to perform its extended mission — scientists at the European Space Agency worry that the probe may have landed in a spot too shadowy for solar panels to recharge its batteries. The ESA says it may not be able to contact the craft after Friday night.

Worries over the robotic lander's power supply prompted engineers to take the risky step of activating its drill, an operation that had been shelved out of fears that it would sap the remaining charge.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri November 14, 2014

Connecticut Was Built By Rock (and Roll), Glaciers, and Lava

Chion Wolf WNPR

We take certain things for granted. Like the mountains, rivers and rocks around us.

So what made Connecticut look the way it looks today? As you kayak on the Connecticut River, drive over Talcott Mountain, or swim in Long Island Sound...there are millions of years of history underneath you.

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Space
3:27 am
Fri November 14, 2014

Neil DeGrasse Tyson Separates Fact From Fiction In 'Interstellar'

Matthew McConaughey plays an astronaut explorer in Christopher Nolan's Interstellar.
Paramount Pictures Melinda Sue Gordon

Originally published on Fri November 14, 2014 9:42 am

As you may be aware, there's a hot new space movie now in theaters — Interstellar. Here's the premise: It's just a little bit in the future, conditions have become pretty horrible on Earth and some astronauts head out in search of a new planet for humans to inhabit.

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Architecture
8:42 am
Thu November 13, 2014

For Greener Skyscrapers, Basic Building Materials Are Being Reinvented

The world's tallest timber residential tower, 10 stories, in currently in Melbourne, Australia, though a 14-story Norwegian project may top it in 2015.
Courtesy of Lend Lease

Originally published on Wed November 12, 2014 11:48 pm

In a head-spinning step, a handful of researchers from Cambridge, England, are experimenting with one of man's oldest building materials — the kind from trees — instead of steel as the primary structure for big buildings. And they're aiming really, really high.

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Climate Change
4:05 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

U.S. and China Announce Historic Climate Change Agreement

Flickr Creative Commons / why 137

A new agreement between China and the United States to reduce carbon emissions will send strong signals to the global community, according to a Wesleyan professor who has studied climate change for the Obama administration.

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Exploration
11:54 am
Wed November 12, 2014

For First Time in Human History, Spacecraft Lands on Comet

This image was captured when the Philae lander was just 3km from the surface of the comet.

The European Space Agency made history on Wednesday morning, landing the first man-made object on the surface of a comet. 

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Fishing Industry
4:17 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Regulators Ban Cod Fishing In Gulf Of Maine As Stocks Dwindle

Fishermen Ed Stewart (left) and Tannis Goodsen mend groundfishing nets on Merrill Wharf, in Portland, Maine, last November.
Robert F. Bukaty AP

Originally published on Wed November 12, 2014 2:13 pm

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is shutting down cod fishing, from Provincetown, Mass., up to the Canadian border, in an effort to reverse plummeting numbers of the iconic fish in the Gulf of Maine.

Starting Thursday, no fishermen — commercial or recreational — may trawl or use certain large nets that might catch cod for the next six months. Local cod fishermen, who now face an uncertain future, say the government hasn't done enough to maintain cod populations, and they challenge NOAA's cod counts.

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That's Cold, Man
3:22 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Those Fall Shivers in Connecticut Aren't From the "Polar Vortex"

A typical polar vortex from November 2013.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Polar vortex is a phrase you've probably heard a lot, but what does it actually mean?

"I think, sometimes, people sort of misunderstand the polar vortex and they think it's this giant amoeba of cold that sits over the North Pole that just gets dislodged and heads right over Chicago," said Ryan Hanrahan, meteorologist at NBC Connecticut. "That's not really what happens."

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Space
3:30 am
Tue November 11, 2014

Researchers To Attempt Robotic Landing On Comet's Surface

Europe's Rosetta spacecraft is about to send a lander to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
ESA/Rosetta/NavCam

Originally published on Tue November 11, 2014 10:12 am

Humans have never landed anything on a comet's surface. That may change tomorrow.

The European Space Agency's Rosetta mission is poised to send out a small probe to land on a comet known as 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Rosetta spent 10 years chasing the comet before arriving in August.

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