Climate change

Left - Mellimage/Shutterstock.com, center - Montree Hanlue/Shutterstock.com, right - NASA

A new study finds that liberals and conservatives not only hold different beliefs about climate change, but they also pay attention to different aspects of it.

Last week, the Biden administration unveiled its budget plan for managing federal public lands, and it contains big funding increases that reflect the administration's priorities around conservation and climate change.

Tom Koerner, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The time between precipitation events in the West is increasing. That could have negative effects on ecosystems and wildfires.

Madi Crawford

Wide open spaces, like much of Wyoming, are known to be strongholds for pollinators like butterflies. They often contain critical habitat and food resources, far away from the disturbance of human civilization. But it turns out even those areas are under threat.

New research published in the journal Nature Climate Change finds that snow is melting earlier – often in the winter. That’s a bad sign for the Mountain West. 


Heat waves induced by climate change will threaten future agricultural crops at a faster rate than gradual global warming, according to a new study published in the Journal of the European Economic Association. Steve Miller, a UC Boulder assistant professor of environmental studies, was a lead researcher in the study.

Sims Cattle Company

It's no secret that Wyoming produces a lot of beef. After all, agriculture is Wyoming's third-largest industry. But producing anything in this state requires a lot of resources, especially water.

Many oil, gas and coal-dependent communities around the Mountain West are concerned about the Biden administration's aggressive stance on climate change. But a recent survey of hundreds of economists around the world suggests that reducing emissions now will save us financially in the long run. 

Robert H. Mohlenbrock / U.S. Department of Agriculture

Plants use carbon dioxide to create energy through a process called photosynthesis. But a new study finds that increased amounts of the gas aren't necessarily beneficial for grasslands in Wyoming.

katiebordner via CC BY 2.0

After noting that certain regions appear to be responding to climate change differently than others, Amato Evan, an associate professor of climate science at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, decided to try to tease out the cause.

He looked at snowmelt, which seemed to be an obvious casualty of a heating climate. But his research shows that snow in certain areas of the western United States is likely to stay put.

Jeff Victor


As energy companies look to build more wind farms in southeast Wyoming, the issue of wind development has bitterly divided residents of Albany County.

Yet another study is showing an alarming decline in butterflies across the warming American West.

Keith Cuddeback via Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

High altitude peatlands in Wyoming's mountains have been shown to sequester large amounts of carbon. Peatlands are a type of wetland also known as bogs, fens, and mires. The name refers to both the peat soil and the wetland habitat on the surface.

 
Deb Haaland's road to lead the Department of the Interior has been rocky, with some members of Congress using her confirmation process to air grievances with President Joe Biden's climate change agenda.
 

On Tuesday, Montana Sen. Steve Daines and Wyoming Sen. Cynthia Lummis, both Republicans, placed a procedural hold on her nomination, citing concerns about her positions on oil and gas development.

 

June 2021 Preliminary Sale Parcels posted by BLM; the oil and gas lease sale scheduled for March was postponed due to the pause on oil and gas leasing on federal lands
Bureau of Land Management


Wyoming's U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney envisions a dark future for her home state under President Joe Biden.

If the new administration extends its pause on new oil and gas drilling on public land, it would endanger Wyoming's economy, kill 18,000 jobs and cause the energy state to lose out on critical education, infrastructure, and healthcare funding. Biden would be "cutting off a major lifeline that Americans have relied on to survive during this time," she has said.

Dangerous conditions in the backcountry this winter highlight a potential cause that scientists continue to study: the connection between avalanches and the climate crisis.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center counts at least 33 avalanche deaths across the country so far this season. That number eclipses the 23 fatalities for the entire winter the year before – and several years prior.

A recent snowstorm that blew through the Mountain West was a welcome sight for states facing extreme drought. But across the southern half of the region, it may not have been as beneficial as it looks. 


Cloud Peak in the Bighorn Mountains.
National Park Service

Scientists at the University of Wyoming have used a new method to measure past climate in the state.

South-facing slope covered in cheat grass near medicine bow forest
Cooper McKim

The Colorado College State of the Rockies survey has been polling eight interior Western states for the past 11 years, including Wyoming. The poll asks questions on a range of issues affecting land, water, air and wildlife.

Dry conditions are the worst they’ve been in almost 20 years across the Colorado River watershed, which acts as the drinking and irrigation water supply for 40 million people in the American Southwest.

As the latest round of federal forecasts for the river’s flow shows, it’s plausible, maybe even likely, that the situation could get much worse this year.

The U.S. Federal Reserve has created its first committee to research the financial risks posed by climate change.


A preliminary BLM map of June 2021 parcels available for a Q2 Lease Sale in Wyoming
Bureau of Land Management

In an effort to address climate change, the Biden Administration handed down a series of executive actions including one that will pause onshore and offshore leasing of federal oil and gas. The majority of both oil and gas production in Wyoming occurs on federal land.

Shane Murphy

Wildfire research has become increasingly important in recent years as climate change has caused fires to become more common and more intense. But wildfire smoke could be having a bigger effect on the climate than previously thought. Wyoming Public Radio's Ivy Engel spoke to Shane Murphy, a University of Wyoming researcher who studied the smoke from inside the plumes.

Jupiter Oxygen

Jupiter Oxygen Corporation has plans to set up shop right here in Wyoming.

"We looked at Texas. We looked at North Dakota. We looked at Colorado, New Mexico... We homed in on Wyoming for a number of, I think, right reasons," said Steve Krimsky, senior vice President of operations for Jupiter Oxygen.

NPS / J. Tobiason

Climate change may make snowpack in the coming years smaller and force it to melt earlier in the year.

chascar via CC-By-2.0

New research suggests the Teton Glacier in the Teton Range is much older than originally thought.

Shane Murphy

As wildfires become more common and intense, it's becoming critical to understand how they affect the climate. And according to newly accepted data from University of Wyoming (UW) researchers, climate models that have been used for years likely had some key things wrong with them.

Governors across the West are asking for federal support to ensure that wildfire restoration becomes a priority, just like wildfire suppression and mitigation efforts.

Shaul Hurwitz

Old Faithful geyser is one of the most popular areas in Yellowstone National Park. But a major climate event nearly 800 years ago made the geyser a little less faithful. Wyoming Public Radio's Ivy Engel had a conversation with U.S. Geological Survey research geologist Shaul Hurwitz, who studied this strange period.

Diego Delso

Researchers at the University of Wyoming are studying how moose cool themselves down.

UW researcher Tana Verzuh said the moose population in the Snowy Range is declining and that rising temperatures may be a cause.

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