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Climate change

New and Noteworthy
Summer 2013

New & noteworthy

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Planet Rock Doc: Nuggets from Explorations of the Natural World
WSU Press, 2012

The Whole Story of Climate: What Science Reveals about the Nature of Endless Change
Prometheus Books, 2012
by E. Kirsten Peters

The Harvard-trained geologist, columnist, and WSU employee compiles her syndicated science columns in a peripatetic, curiosity-fueled volume in Planet Rock Doc, and applies her knowledge of geological systems to climate change throughout Earth’s history in The Whole Story of Climate.

Blazing a Wagon Trail to Oregon: A Weekly Chronicle of the Great Migration of 1843
by Lloyd W. … » More …

Ethics of Climate change - warming globe
Winter 2012

The Ethics of Climate Change

In 2012 the Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service, in conjunction with the School of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs, began a new public symposia series that focuses on the ethical and public policy ramifications of new scientific innovations and knowledge. Each semester the symposia, which are open to the public, bring together WSU faculty with other internationally prominent scholars. The first in the series, “Ethics and Global Climate Change,” was held in April 2012, and brought to WSU’s campus Andrew Light, director of the Center for Global Ethics at George Mason University and a fellow at the Center for American … » More …

Orrin Pilkey ’57
Spring 2012

Orrin Pilkey ’57—A climate change provocateur

In August 1969, Hurricane Camille slammed into Mississippi with winds of nearly 200 miles an hour. The storm blew many things far and wide, including the career track of coastal geologist Orrin Pilkey ’57. Up to that point, Pilkey had worked quietly studying deep-sea sediments, becoming an expert on abyssal plains (the flat underwater surfaces found along the edges of continents). But when he visited his parents on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Pilkey found he was a lot more interested in what was happening to coastlines than on ocean floors far from shore. Pilkey and his father co-wrote a book, How to Live With an … » More …

Fall 2010

Too much of a good thing

Science has been predicting and measuring our warming planet for more than a century now. But it was only in the last two decades that most Americans came to believe the earth’s temperature was indeed rising and that the main culprit is the growing amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere.

Now scientists are giving a lot of thought to another culprit: nitrogen. Like carbon dioxide, it’s seemingly benign—colorless, odorless, tasteless, and a foundation of life on our planet. Left alone, it tightly binds to itself in inert, two-atom molecules, or N2. It’s ridiculously commonplace, making up four-fifths of our atmosphere. It’s also a modern … » More …

Summer 2010

Reply to letter from Herman Goetjen

Letter:

I really enjoyed the article on Bob Mierendorf’s work in the North Cascades National Park.

However, a couple of the photos raise some questions for me if you can pass them on to Bob for me. On page 29, the top two photos show a large culturally modified stone, in the left photo Bob has his hand on it, in the right hand photo it is next to his arm.

What I would like to know is: How did that stone become so modified? And what do you think its purpose was? There are no hints in the article or the caption for those … » More …

Winter 2009

The Rising Sea

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Orrin H. Pilkey ’57 and Rob Young
Island Press, 2009

The island nations of Tuvalu and the Maldives, the Inupiat Eskimo village of Shishmaref, and Soldado Island off the Colombian coast might be tough to find on a geography quiz. But all of these locations foretell a future of oceans overwhelming coastlines. In each of these remote places, residents are either moving or preparing to move to higher ground before their homes get swallowed by … » More …

Winter 2002

The sink's nearly full

Some climate change researchers have placed high hopes in forest and grassland soils and their ability to act as carbon “sinks.” These sinks store excess atmospheric carbon and thus partially offset the effect of increasing amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Unfortunately, a recent study by Washington State University environmental scientist Richard Gill and his colleagues indicate the sink may be reaching capacity.

Although carbon dioxide has been increasing in the atmosphere for the last 10,000 years, the increase has been especially rapid in the last 150 years because of the industrial revolution and the conversion of land to agricultural uses. The rate of … » More …

Winter 2007

Time will tell

Climate change is nothing new to our planet. But this time it's different. The carbon dioxide we are putting into the air through industry, vehicle emissions, and deforestation is changing the way our soil works. That in turn affects plant, animal, and eventually human life. Through their research Washington State University scientists are challenging the conventional view that more plants and forests will solve our CO2 problems. » More ...