Climate change

A new report from the United Nations says mankind must act fast to slow global warming, a message that is particularly urgent in Utah and throughout a scorched Mountain West that saw a devastating fire season and patches of severe drought.

http://climatecommunication.yale.edu/visualizations-data/ycom-us-2018/?est=happening&type=value&geo=state

A new report from a United Nations' committee predicts climate change will wreak major havoc if action isn't taken by 2030. To ward off the catastrophic wildfires, severe weather and the displacement of millions of people, the report calls for an immediate reduction in the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

In recent years, President Trump has dismissed climate change as a hoax.

“I think it’s a big scam for a lot of people to make a lot of money,” he said on Fox News in 2015.

But a recent report by the U.S. Department of Transportation predicts global temperature will rise seven degrees by 2100. That’s catastrophic.

Public Domain / Max Pixel

Yellowstone is showing signs of the effects of climate change, according to a "Vital Signs" report by the Yellowstone Center for Resources. Greater Yellowstone Network Program Manager Kristin Legg said the Lamar Valley is now seeing an increase in the invasive species cheatgrass, even though most scientists didn’t think it would invade that high in elevation. Legg said this could lead to more fires in higher elevations. And she said years with more rain and snow isn’t necessarily helping.

The sun is just a dim red dot. The nearby Canadian Rockies are shrouded in thick wildfire smoke.

Bob Gray knows we probably shouldn’t be hiking up a mountain right now.

“I have a scratchy throat,” he says. “Physically it effects my breathing. I probably shouldn’t spend a lot of time in it.”

Cooper McKim

Scientists know very little about a species of stonefly that can only be found in the alpine streams of the Grand Teton Mountain Range: the Lednia tetonica.

Courtesy Garrett Fisher


With rising global temperatures, glaciers are shrinking. Garrett Fisher is a pilot and photographer, and he recently set out to capture all of the glaciers in the Rocky Mountains while flying his plane, a two-seater built in 1949. His new book Glaciers of the Rockies is the result of the effort, and he told Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard that there is something different about seeing the world from above.

Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia

Warmer temperatures across the region from climate change are making insect pests hungrier. That’s according to a new study published in the journal Science.

Colorado is called “the mother of  rivers” for a reason: it’s one of the most popular states for river rafting in the country.  But like the rest of our region, unprecedented growth, a changing climate, drought, and wildfires are taking their toll on this multi-million-dollar industry.

Utah officials are praising a Draper firefighter who was killed while battling California's biggest wildfire, the first fatality of the massive Mendocino Complex Fire. 

Scorching temperatures are hitting our region’s biggest tourist attractions. On Friday, temperatures at Glacier National Park hit triple digits for the first time in recorded history.

A couple days later, the Howe Ridge fire blew up.

Lodgers and campers awoke late Sunday night to officials telling them to get out as soon as possible.


Order delivered July 31st, 2018 from the US District Court For the District of Montana Great Falls Division
US District Court For the District of Montana Great Falls Division

A federal court is ordering the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to reanalyze environmental and climate impacts of coal and oil and gas leasing in two field offices by fall of 2019. 

A new study shows air pollution like soot, dust and smoke is down around the country with one exception: wildfire prone areas like the Mountain West.  

Record-breaking wildfires in California have prompted tweets from President Trump and U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. They blame the fires on “bad environmental laws,” too many dead or dying trees, and not enough logging.

Lauren Jaeger

Climate change is causing temperatures to rise, fanning the flames of wildfires across the region. But when it comes to extreme weather in the region, there’s a new kid on the block — tornados.  

Melodie Edwards

In the last few years, researchers have discovered the earth is literally filled with microbes, those little single-celled critters we sometimes call germs. They’ve even been found living as deep as the earth’s core. And they say these microbes could help us gain access to thousands of years of knowledge. Now scientists at the University of Wyoming want to use those layers of ancient history to help us recover from wildfires as the climate warms up.

The Modern West 36: Unexpected Migration

Jul 20, 2018
Moosejaw Bravo Photography

As climate change warms the West, birds of prey are moving north. What happens when an apex predator leaves its native hunting grounds?

Melodie S. Edwards / Wyoming Public Radio

It’s year two in a major project to catalog the microbes of Wyoming, and now University of Wyoming scientists have a robot to help them do the job.

Four U.S. Senators are objecting to a program that teaches TV weathercasters about the science of climate change. As the Mountain West region deals with record high temperatures, that’s left meteorologists here figuring out how to report on the science of the weather.   

Record-breaking temperatures are scorching the United States with parts of our region seeing all-time highs. A number of heat-related deaths are already being reported in the U.S.

There is a moment as heatstroke sets in when the body, no longer able to cool itself, stops sweating. Joey Azuela remembers it well.

"My body felt hot, like, in a different way," he says. "It was like a 'I'm cooking' hot."

Three summers ago, Azuela, then 14, and his father were hiking a trail in one of Phoenix's rugged desert preserves. It was not an unusually hot day for Phoenix, and they had gotten a later start than usual. By the time they reached the top, Azuela was weak and nauseous. They had run out of water.

A new study published in Science magazine found that many of the world’s trout species are facing extinction due to climate change, overfishing and pollution.

Climate change is expected to exacerbate wildfires, drought and flooding throughout the Mountain West. Some cities are looking at how these changes will affect their town and how they can prepare.

The National Park Service has released a report on how sea level rise could impact its sites. The publication was delayed by about a year, and as we’ve reported, there were concerns over possible censorship in earlier drafts.

Maria Caffrey worked for years with the National Park Service researching and writing the report, only to wait for months for its actual release.

Tom Koerner, USFWS

Early one spring evening, I meet University of Wyoming Biodiversity Institute’s Zoe Nelson at a rest area between Gillette and Buffalo. Shadows grow long on red bluffs and green sagebrush prairie. It’s that time of night when all the birds are going bonkers. We’re out here as part of a program to get regular folks like me and my husband, Ken—he’s tonight’s driver—to help keep track of short-eared owls. The program is called WAFLS or Western Asio Flammeus Landscape Study.

President Trump just dismantled policies requiring federal agencies reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions and meet other environmental targets.


Coastal communities across the country are suing oil companies for contributing to climate change. Now, a lawsuit in the landlocked interior joins the list.

At the heart of the lawsuit is this realization: Climate change is expensive. Just look at worsening wildfires and floods nationally. 

If you’re sneezing a bit more this year, well you’re in good company. At least 50 million Americans suffer from allergies every year. But that number is climbing, and it may be related to climate change.  

Democrats on Capitol Hill are calling for an investigation into the National Park Service, pointing to a report they say follows a "pattern" of censoring scientists who study climate change. So I checked in with the scientist who wrote the latest report and is now worried about her future.

The dry and arid climate of the Western U.S. is marching eastward, thanks to climate change.

That’s the conclusion of a set of studies from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Institute. 


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