Climate change

Monarch butterflies in the West have hit a record low, according to a conservation group that tracks their numbers.

Ken Kistler / Public Domain

Seven in ten Americans think global warming is happening. That's ten percent higher than what it was in 2015. But a significant number of Americans don't believe climate change is human caused—about 40 percent. And much of our region remains especially skeptical.

Hoggs555 / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY_SA-3.0

The surface temperature at a major reservoir in Colorado has risen 5 degrees over a 35 year period. That's according to a new study from researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder.

The ski industry is an important economic driver in our region, but it's facing a lot of changes. Climate change, for one, is transforming ski resort leaders into activists and lobbyists.

CASC Regions and Consortia
U.S. Geological Survey

The government shutdown is affecting federally-funded climate centers across the country, including here in our region. 

Department of the Interior

A new Executive Order posted Monday in the Federal Register is aimed at fire risk reduction. It prioritizes "active management" on about eight million acres of public lands. That's a catch-all phrase that includes logging.

Erik Neumann

2018 was an interesting year for our region. From elections and population growth to an evolving debate about public lands use, the Mountain West News Bureau tackled all kinds of stories. We took a look back.

Threshold S2E13: Try Harder

Dec 30, 2018
Amy Martin/Threshold

18 months of reporting. All eight Arctic countries. So many fascinating people. On the final episode of season two of Threshold, we pull back a little and try to see the big picture. Join us as we bust some myths, travel back in time in a Swedish forest, and search for roadmaps into the future.

Threshold S2E12: Here Be Dragons

Dec 23, 2018
Amy Martin/Threshold

The Greenland ice sheet is basically a giant ice cube the size of Alaska. What happens when it melts? We spent five days camping out on the ice with a team of scientists who are trying to find out.

Threshold S2E11: Life Is Too Hard Without Music

Dec 23, 2018
Nick Mott/Threshold

All across the Arctic, indigenous languages are on the decline. But in many communities, people are finding new ways to reclaim both language and culture. Join some Inuit rockers in northern Canada in the recording studio, singing in their own language and making their first new studio album in more than 30 years.

Threshold S2E10: Nickel For Your Thoughts

Dec 17, 2018
Amy Martin/Threshold

Half of the Arctic is in Russia, and half of Russia is in the Arctic. Oil, minerals, pollution -- it's a web of complicated environmental stories that need to be told. But in Russia, investigative journalists have become an endangered species. Spend some time around a nickel smelter and meet a veteran journalist fighting to do his job.

Threshold S2E9: Who Asked You?

Dec 17, 2018
Amy Martin/Threshold

Russia has more land in the Arctic than any other nation. It's also a regime that does not tolerate dissent. What does this mean for residents of Murmansk, the Arctic's largest city?

NPS Climate Change Response

As the urgency around climate change increases, here’s a look at how the West is reacting.

Parts of the Mountain West have been tangled up in long-term drought and it doesn’t look like it’s lifting anytime soon.


Threshold S2E8: Oil And Water

Dec 11, 2018
Amy Martin/Threshold

What happens when the thing you can't live without in the short term threatens your very existence in the long run? Meet two whalers in Utqiagvik, Alaska trying to answer that question.

Threshold S2E7: Hello Central

Dec 11, 2018
Amy Martin/Threshold

If there's one thing everybody's heard about the Arctic, it's that sea ice is melting, and that's bad news. But what's less well-known is that some people see opportunity in sea ice loss. This time, take a seat in the captain's chair of a Finnish icebreaker, sing along with a very musical Alaskan mayor, and find out what it means when the world gets a whole new ocean.

Roughly a third of Americans said climate change played into their voting decisions in the last four years. Other than Colorado, voters in the Mountain West are even less interested in the issue. Bernie Sanders is trying to change that. He hosted an online town hall on the topic Monday night.

Threshold S2E6: The Things I Can See On The Mountains

Dec 3, 2018
Amy Martin/Threshold

After thousands of years of tradition, a shifting climate is forcing changes in the way Sámi families herd reindeer. But some climate solutions are also threatening their way of life. This is the story of the Aleksandersens, a Sámi reindeer herding family in northern Norway.

Threshold S2E5: Just Decide

Dec 3, 2018
Amy Martin/Threshold

Everyone's heard of Vikings - their daring North Atlantic voyages, their mysterious runes. But there's another ancient culture in Arctic Scandinavia that's much older, and just as fascinating - the Sámi. While the Vikings have been celebrated, Sámi music, language and traditions were forced underground. Why?

nca2018.globalchange.gov

The federal government released a sweeping report on climate change last week that predicts more wildfires and catastrophic weather across the nation unless lawmakers act, but like most Republicans Wyoming's lawmakers don't take the document too seriously.

Fossil Fuel-Associated Emissions of Greenhouse Gases from Federal Lands
USGS

You may have missed it, but on Black Friday the federal government released a second climate-related report. The United States Geologic Survey (USGS) found nearly one-quarter of carbon dioxide emissions come from fossil fuels extracted on public lands - that's the average from 2005 to 2014. Not to mention over 7 percent of methane and 1.5 percent of nitrous oxide, on average during that same time period.

Threshold S2E4: Becoming Arctic, Becoming Human

Nov 26, 2018
Amy Martin/Threshold

An eight-ton concrete ball and a 32,000-year-old needle collection. What's all this got to do with the Arctic? Find out on this episode of Threshold.

Threshold S2E3: Impermafrost

Nov 26, 2018
Amy Martin/Threshold

All across the Arctic, frozen soil is thawing out. A lot of stuff is buried there — plants and animals that lived more than 10,000 years ago. What happens when a Paleolithic bison bone starts to decompose for the first time? And what does that have to do with climate change?

Threshold S2E2: Invisible Hands

Nov 19, 2018
Nick Mott/Threshold

When a major storm hit Shishmaref, Alaska in 2005, the town became a poster child for climate change in the Arctic. Dramatic pictures of houses falling into the sea showed up in news outlets around the world. But the story here starts way before that storm.

Threshold S2E1: The Water Is Wide

Nov 19, 2018
Nick Mott/Threshold

In Shishmaref, Alaska, no one's asking if climate change is real. What they want to know is how bad it has to get before the world decides to act.

Integrated Test Center Facebook Page

Democrats preparing to take over control of the U.S. House of Representatives in January are gunning for major battles on climate change and energy issues, which could hurt the economic gains witnessed in Wyoming this Trump-energy-era.

LUKE RUNYON / KUNC

The temperature is hovering right around 90 degrees the day Dale Ryden and I float down the Colorado River near Grand Junction, Colorado. The water looks so inviting, a cool reprieve from the heat, but if either of us jumped in we'd be electrocuted.

Tennessee Watson

Rising sea levels for some, and catastrophic droughts and wildfires for others, are imminent unless immediate action is taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new report from the United Nations. Yet in Wyoming only 60 percent of adults believe that global warming is actually happening. University of Cincinnati Anthropologist Daniel Murphy has studied how humans make decisions in the face environmental changes, from Mongolia to the Mountain West. He says the key to starting conversations about what to do about climate change is not to mention it all. Wyoming Public Radio's Tennessee Watson sat down with Murphy to find out more.


In the Mountain West, we love our rivers, our mountains, our forests, deserts and wildlife. They’re part of our economies, our lifestyles and our identity. But that very connection makes us vulnerable to a growing mental health problem -- climate anxiety.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert declared a state-wide drought emergency this week. It’s one of two states in our region that were especially hard-hit this year.

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