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Playlist: Consider for Climate Specials

Compiled By: Michael Marsolek

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Killer Heat in the United States

From Got Science | Part of the Got Science? series | 28:29

Climate scientist Dr. Kristy Dahl explains off-the-charts deadly heat, just how bad it could get, and what we can do to avert the worst-case scenario.

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In this episode Kristy talks about:

  • UCS' recently released report on extreme heat
  • How disruptive extreme heat will be
  • What we can do to have a fighting chance against the warming planet

Related content:

The Science of Forest Fires: Culture, Climate, and Combustion

From Got Science | Part of the Got Science? series | 30:00

Professor John Bailey, an expert on all things fire, tells us about controlled burning, silviculture and why Smokey the Bear had it all wrong.

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In this episode John Bailey talks about:

  • Topography and wildfires
  • What silviculture means, and why it's important
  • Why he sees an entire forest as fuel
  • What the four housemen of the apocalypse and Smokey the Bear got wrong about fire

Related content

Climate and Behavior: Warmer Means Worse

From Raw Data | Part of the Raw Data: Season 4 series | 27:25

Climate change is already reshaping the natural world, but how does it affect human behavior?

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Climate change is already reshaping the natural world, but how does it affect human behavior? Economist Marshall Burke is part of a growing field of scientists uncovering interactions between global warming and humanity. The connections are vast: wars, violent crime, suicide rates, and income inequality. The emerging research may have the power to help us adapt...if we choose to pay attention to it.

This Week in Water for October 6, 2019

From H2O Radio | Part of the This Week in Water series | 06:34

Toilets Could Be Impacted by Climate Change. That story and more on H2O Radio’s weekly news report about water.

H2o_logo_240_small Three environmental groups are asking a federal court to order the government to consider tearing down Glen Canyon Dam.

One in five households relies on septic systems and many of them could be impacted by climate change.

new gel-like fluid has been developed that might help prevent wildfires.

Scientists have developed a non-toxic water repellent for textiles.

If it's blue, it’s safe to swim. If it’s pink, think.

Whitebark Pine, Grizzlies, and an Ecosystem on the Brink

From Kristin Espeland Gourlay | 05:56

Whitebark pine trees, once a feature of the mountainous west, are under attack. Nearly two-thirds have died from beetle attacks and other causes, hastened by climate by change. Just recently considered candidates for endangered species protection, the pines' disappearance is affecting a chain of interdependent species, including Yellowstone's grizzly bears.

Cimg1143_small Just a few years ago, I accompanied a group of some of the finest entomologists and foresters into the heart of grizzly country for a first-hand look at the beetle damange to Yellowstone's whitebark pine trees. Trudging up the sides of mountains and, later, flying over ridge after ridge in a small plane, the extent of that damage became clear. More than two-thirds of the species, which ranges throughout the Rockies, has been destroyed. Mountainsides once evergreen have turned a rusty brown.

Now, whitebark pine trees are being considered for endangered species protection, primarly because of the continued threat of global warming to their survival. But without any intervention, their demise could tip the scales for an entire community of species that rely on the trees for surviving the winter.

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Yellowstone's grizzly bears rely on a single food more than any other to pack on the pounds before winter: whitebark pine tree nuts. They find them stockpiled in squirrel middens - storehouses for another species dependent on the nut in winter. The tree survives by being indispensible to one more species - a bird called the Clark's nutcracker, which survives the winter on buried nuts. Unlike other pines, whose seeds spread by fire, the whitebark pine needs a forgetful nutcracker.

But this tightly woven community of animals and trees faces a serious threat, made worse by global warming. Pine beetles that once focused on other species of trees have taken advantage of warmer temperatures and shorter winters to continue their attack at the higher altitudes where whitebark pine trees grow. The trouble is that whitebark pines haven't evolved the right defenses against this particular bug. So it's killing trees faster than they can bounce back--leaving few, if any, options for foresters.

Fewer whitebark pines means fewer whitebark pine nuts. And fewer nuts means bears, squirrels, and the nutcracker must scramble to find another source of calories - or starve.

It's the kind of story unfolding in ecosystems across the globe: warmer temperatures set off or speed up a chain of events with consequences nearly impossible to reverse.