International study: Where there’s smoke or smog, there’s climate change

January 15, 2013

In addition to causing smoggy skies and chronic coughs, soot – or black carbon – turns out to be the number two contributor to global warming. It’s second only to carbon dioxide, according to a four-year assessment by an international panel.

The new study concludes that black carbon, the soot particles in smoke and smog, contributes about twice as much to global warming as previously estimated, even by the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Salmon runs boom, go bust over centuries

Salmon runs are notoriously variable: strong one year, and weak the next. New research shows that the same may be true from one century to the next.

Scientists in the past 20 years have recognized that salmon stocks vary not only year to year, but also on decades-long time cycles. One example is the 30-year to 80-year booms and busts in salmon runs in Alaska and on the West Coast driven by the climate pattern known as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.

Op-ed: Climate change poses a public-health threat

HERE’S a riddle: What do the Oklahoma dust bowl, smoke in Wenatchee, mold on Long Island and Washington’s oyster industry have in common?

And why would a doctor, like me, care?

The common link is climate change. We must act now to stop it.

Ken Burns’s PBS documentary, “The Dust Bowl,” recounts how reckless land management, combined with severe heat waves and drought during the 1930s, triggered a catastrophe — loss of soil, destruction of farms, displacement of people.

Op-ed: Maintain state’s transportation network with a carbon tax

WE have a transportation problem. The governor’s Connecting Washington report identified a maintenance shortfall of almost $800 million per year over the next 10 years just to keep roads, bridges and ferries in safe working order.

We have a climate problem. Carbon concentrations in the atmosphere continue to rise, and the scientific consensus about the risks of global warming continues to build.

With climate change, winter isn't what it used to be

At 3:12 a.m. Friday, winter arrived in Seattle.

The winter solstice marks the season of rest and renewal, a quiet, dark time in which nature catches its breath.

Scientists are only now realizing, though, how climate change unleashes a cascade of effects on this season.

Here, and elsewhere around the country, while winter weather can still be ferocious — witness the storm hammering the Midwest — the long-term trend, or climate, shows winter isn't what it used to be. And more change is ahead.

Arts Roundup: Medieval music and ‘Plastics Unwrapped’ at the Burke

December 13, 2012

“Plastics Unwrapped,” Dec. 20-May 27, 2013. Humans existed without plastics for centuries, but now we rely on them to meet our basic needs. They help us stay healthy, yet they linger, in landfills for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years. The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture takes a look at our relationship with plastics, past and present. “In order to counter the impact of plastic waste, we need to rethink our relationship with plastics,” advance notes for the exhibit say. “Discover how, at ‘Plastics Unwrapped.’”