Environment

1:35am

Thu April 5, 2012
Environment

Shake It Off: Earth's Wobble May Have Ended Ice Age

Originally published on Thu April 5, 2012 7:25 am

A wobbling of the Earth on its axis about 20,000 years ago may have kicked off a beginning to the end of the last ice age. Glaciers in the Arctic and Greenland began to melt, which resulted in a warming of the Earth, a new study says. Above, Greenland's Russell Glacier, seen in 1990.
Veronique Durruty Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images

The last big ice age ended about 11,000 years ago, and not a moment too soon — it made a lot more of the world livable, at least for humans.

But exactly what caused the big thaw isn't clear, and new research suggests that a wobble in the Earth kicked off a complicated process that changed the whole planet.

Ice tells the history of the Earth's climate: Air bubbles in ice reveal what the atmosphere was like and what the temperature was. And scientists can read this ice, even if it's been buried for thousands of years.

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3:25pm

Wed April 4, 2012
Environment

Pollution Playing A Major Role In Sea Temperatures

Originally published on Wed April 4, 2012 4:20 pm

This NASA map shows the size of aerosol particles in the atmosphere. Green areas indicate larger, more naturally occurring particles like dust. Red areas indicate smaller aerosol particles, which can come from fossil fuels and fires. Yellow areas indicate a mix of large and small particles.
NASA Earth Observations

The Atlantic Ocean, especially the North Atlantic, is peculiar: Every few decades, the average temperature of surface water there changes dramatically.

Scientists want to know why that is, especially because these temperature shifts affect the weather. New research suggests that human activity is part of the cause.

Scientists originally thought that maybe some mysterious pattern in deep-ocean currents, such as an invisible hand stirring a giant bathtub, created this temperature see-saw.

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1:07pm

Wed April 4, 2012
Environment

Crowd Expected at Windsor 'Fracking' Forum

Windsor is one of several cities and towns along the Front Range that’s experiencing a surge in oil and gas drilling and the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing, and some residents worried about the impacts of the boom are planning to gather at a public forum there Wednesday night.

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1:47pm

Tue April 3, 2012
Environment

Colorado Water Utilities Bracing for Prolonged Drought

The drought-plagued San Luis Valley in southern Colorado
Photo by Kirk Siegler

Climatologists at Colorado State University are warning that 98% of the state is under drought conditions. This poses all kinds of concerns for the state’s recreation economy, and for water managers, whose job it is to secure water for five million people in a mostly arid state.

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5:00am

Tue April 3, 2012
Environment

State Climatologist: Warm & Dry Conditions Expected to Continue in April

Grace Hood

March’s hot and dry weather has put 98 percent of the state in varying levels of drought. Some of the worst areas right now are in the Arkansas Basin—central and south Colorado—in addition to the northwestern part of the state. KUNC’s Grace Hood sat down with state climatologist Nolan Doesken to find out how we got here, and where the state might be headed in April.

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