climate change

John Sonntag / NASA

A few degrees of planetary warming may not sound alarming but it is. A few microseconds of error don't sound like much but they can mean the difference between navigating a spacecraft successfully to Mars, or not.



In this episode Dave talks to Drew Shindell about a web article called "A Degree of Concern: Why Global Temperatures Matter." Written by NASA Media Specialist Alan Buis, Shindell, a Duke University Atmospheric Physicist was the scientific collaborator on the project which explains how just a degree or two of average planetary warming can and most definitely will have dramatic consequences on ecosystems and the human civilization that depends on them.

Marc Albert

Restrooms around the clock, local moves battling climate change and cold weather shelter were among the issues before the Chico City Council Tuesday night. 

Many of the issues were old and many of the points rehashed, but with new faces on the council following last autumn’s election, last night’s results were certainly different. 


"The discussion about climate change can seem a little bit abstract sometimes. My question is: are there observable phenomena in our area that scientists can confidently attribute to climate change?" - Ken, Chico 

That’s a great question and one that perhaps is harder to answer definitively than at first glance. Science has a pretty high bar for declarative statements. That’s pretty much why gravity and evolution are often referred to as theories.

Now, we obviously lack polar ice caps or sea levels here in interior Northern California — the items typically measured, mentioned and argued over — but there are plenty of natural systems locally, and people keeping tabs.

Agriculture is huge in the North State, as are rain, snow and migrating wildlife, not to mention temperature records dating back to the late 19th century.

Gross Science

On today's Blue Dot (Matt's last one), Bill Patzert, NASA Oceanographer and climatologist gives us the scoop on the state of our warming oceans, and what it's doing to our climate. We're also rolling out two new recurring features.

The first is "Science on the Tube," wherein Dave and his correspondents speak with folks making science videos on the Internet. This week it's Anna Rothschild of the PBS Digital Studios show Gross Science.

You'll also hear the first installment of "Blue Dot Goes to the Cinema." When a movie comes out that piques the interest of science geeks everywhere, Dave will give his critique and rating — out of four Blue Dots.


This week, we look at the ice sheets of Antarctica. Like so much of the world's ice, a lot of it is melting away and shrinking. But there are certain places in Antarctica that the ice is actually increasing. How? Why? Better ask a scientist.  

Or how about three? Son Nghiem, Eric Larour and Ala Khazendar give us the scoop on how scientists gather this crucial data, and what it's telling them about our changing climate.