Climate change

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.

BlackRockSolar

  

Environmental groups are hoping to see action on climate, energy, and environmental justice when President-elect Joe Biden takes office in January.

Screetshot of initial court document in a case that's been ongoing for four years
Court Listener

Last March, a federal court ordered the U.S. Department of Interior's Bureau of Land Management to provide better analysis of the climate impacts of oil and gas leasing on public land. After receiving that analysis, the judge rules it's not enough.

Researchers have found that it’s not just forests on the landscape that can help mitigate climate change. Meadows also provide an efficient way to keep carbon out of the atmosphere.

The U.S. is now officially out of the Paris climate accord

Climate policy is mixed around the Mountain West, but many states are seeing action and a transition to renewable energy regardless of federal leadership. 

Michael Dillon

Climate change is forcing insects to move to higher elevations.

Dulcinea Groff

A researcher at the University of Wyoming studied the history of seabirds in the Falkland Islands, off the tip of Argentina. The goal was to learn how climate change affected the ecosystem in the past.

Mike Goad via Pixabay License

Old Faithful is known for being, well, faithful. But it wasn't always that way. In fact, according to new research published in Geophysical Research Letters, it once stopped erupting for nearly 100 years.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Researchers at the University of Wyoming are developing and testing a computer model that predicts wildfire growth.

Drought, wildfire and record-breaking heat are all part of the current climate landscape in the Mountain West. 

It’s a triple whammy that’s expected to continue into the coming months. 

In June of 2002, nearly half a million acres burned in the Arizona high country. At the time, the Rodeo-Chediski Fire was the largest wildfire in the state’s history. There was too much fuel in the forest, a buildup that began more than a century ago. Enough people saw the record-breaking fire and agreed that something needed to be done to prevent the next big fire.

On the side of a rocky hill in Sheridan County in northern Wyoming, Brain Mealor is showing off all of his weeds.

“Here, let me grab a cheatgrass so you can see it, too,” he said, plucking a wispy sprig from among the grasses. “They all kind of look the same this time of year.”

Mealor is the director of the University of Wyoming’s Research and Extension Center in Sheridan. He’s performing experiments on how to manage and kill invasive annual grasses, like cheatgrass, ventenata and medusa head, with herbicides.

For many communities in the West, the water that flows out of kitchen faucets and bathroom showerheads starts high up in the mountains, as snowpack tucked under canopies of spruce and pine trees.

This summer’s record-breaking wildfires have reduced some of those headwater forests to burnt trees and heaps of ash. In high alpine ecosystems, climate change has tipped the scales toward drier forests, lessened snowpack, hotter summers and extended fire seasons.

Major wildfires have burned through the Western U.S. in 2020, breaking records for their scale and damage. As firefighters tamp down their immediate effects, those who live nearby are coming to grips with the lingering danger of wildfires. Even long after the flames are gone, residents face a serious increase in the threat of flooding.

National Park Service hydrologist Erin White likes to call Yellowstone “America’s first water park.”

It’s home to the headwaters of multiple major rivers and hundreds of waterfalls. Thousands of geysers, mudpots, and hot springs—heated by an underground supervolcano—gush, bubble, and boil in the national park’s 2.2 million acres, too.

William F. Wood via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license

Environmental groups have issued an intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service if the agency does not put the proposal to put wolverines under Endangered Species Act protections back on the table.

A recent report card on climate change education in public middle and high schools across the U.S. ranked Wyoming at the top of the class with a solid A. The rest of the Mountain West was mixed.

Drought.gov

A $48 million project will fund climate monitoring stations across the Upper Missouri River Basin in five states, including Wyoming.

Chip Redmond

Every four years there's a near universal complaint that western issues get passed over in presidential elections. Not this year, which is mostly because large swaths of the West have been burning.

Firefighters have long studied how fires behave to figure out where they’re going and how to keep people safe. But wildfires are becoming more unpredictable.


On a frosty early August morning, Jordan Harrison and Corey Anco packed for a day of off-trail hiking in the Beartooth Mountains. Anco is the Draper Natural History Museum assistant curator and Harrison is a field biologist for WEST, Inc.

Large numbers of migratory birds have reportedly dropped dead in New Mexico and Colorado.

There’s still confusion over the deaths, like how many died and what exactly killed them. However, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service believes the bird deaths in Colorado and New Mexico were caused by an unusual cold front.


The Mountain West has seen plenty of wildfires this year, but nothing like the catastrophic large fires still burning along the West Coast. That's largely thanks to a relatively wet spring.

Pages