Posts Tagged ‘Climate Change’

Thursday, December 18, 2014

New Wood-Pellet Projects: Paul Smith’s College

Photos of Paul Smith's College  ©Paul Buckowski 2006Paul Smith’s College is installing a state-of-the-art wood-pellet boiler system, which will heat its three academic buildings.

This project is one of the first uses in New York State of a high-efficiency and low-emission wood pellet boiler heating system to heat multiple buildings.  Paul Smith’s is one of five new sites in the North Country planning to install the technology including the Olympic Regional Training Center in Lake Placid, North Country Community College’s Sparks Athletic Complex in Saranac Lake, the Indian Lake School and the North Country School in Lake Placid. High efficiency wood boilers were pioneered in the Adirondacks by The Wild Center in Tupper Lake. » Continue Reading.



Monday, December 15, 2014

New Report Considers Future Of Lake Trout

Spawning-Lake-troutSince the retreat of the glaciers, lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) have been the top native predator in Adirondack waters. These northern fish require true cold (less than 55°F) and move downward when surface waters warm in late spring and summer. Consequently, they are isolated to the largest and deepest Adirondack lakes – most of them deeper than 30 feet – where they stay in the dark chilly depths all summer and early fall. The species name namaycush is believed to be an Algonquin term for “dweller of the deep.”

This need for very cold, clean, high-oxygen water can bring to light otherwise invisible changes beneath the surface. Water quality in the Adirondack interior, where we don’t have much industry or farming, can be  abstract. You usually can’t see it, touch it or even taste it. But lake trout make the health of our coldest lakes real and tangible. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, November 25, 2014

1816: An Adirondack Year Without Summer

Caldera_Mt_Tambora_Sumbawa_IndonesiaLast week’s cold snap, news reports about the Polar Vortex, and a November snowfall of historic proportions in Buffalo and Watertown has some folks teasing that they could use a little global warming about now. Adding to the concern is a recent book by John L. Casey, former space shuttle engineer and NASA consultant. Casey claims that it is solar activity, namely sunspot eruptions – and not carbon emissions – that trigger climate changes here on earth. The recent diminished solar activity, he claims, will cause the earth to rapidity grow colder. Casey’s book Dark Winter predicts the worst of the cooling cycle will hit in the late 2020s and a shortened growing season will trigger food riots around the world. His thesis is sure to trigger heated responses (sorry, couldn’t resist) from global climatologists around the world, many of which have been measuring the loss of ice at the poles and warming global temperatures.

All of this has reminded me of a time two hundred years ago when the Adirondacks were, at least for a while, unusually cold. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, October 16, 2014

NY-21 Candidates Answer Climate Change Questions

voting boothProtect the Adirondacks sent a questionnaire to each of the three candidates running for Congress in New York’s 21st Congressional District, which includes the Adirondack Park and northern New York, about their positions on climate change issues.

The questionnaire included seven questions and was sent to Green Party candidate Matt Funicello, Republican Party candidate Elise Stefanik, and Democratic Party candidate Aaron Woolf.  The climate change questionnaire was sent to each campaign on September 25th. Woolf and Funicello submitted their answers, while the Stefanik campaign has been unresponsive despite repeated emails and phone calls. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, October 1, 2014

NYS Open Space Plan Considers Recreation, Climate

big dropThe public has until mid-December to comment on the newest draft of the state’s Open Space Conservation Plan.

Updated every five years, the plan guides the state’s decisions regarding land acquisitions and sets a strategy for land conservation. The plan is developed by the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Regional committees throughout the state provide additional input.

This plan listed four urgent priorities: promoting outdoor recreation; addressing climate change; ensuring clean water, air and land for a healthy economy; and protecting, using and conserving natural resources and cultural heritage.

In the outdoor recreation section, it specifically mentions promoting recreation for all types of users on both private and public lands, connecting children with nature, and connecting open space corridors. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, July 31, 2014

Weather Mysteries: Why Was Last Winter So Cold?

Whiteface ObservatoryIn partnership with SUNY Albany’s Atmospheric Sciences Research Center at the Whiteface Mountain Observatory, The Wild Center will host North Country Climatology: Global Weather Patterns and Impacts on Tuesday, August 5 at 7 pm in the Flammer Theater as part of the Falconer Lecture Series.

Two Meterologists from NOAA’s National Weather Service in Burlington, Vermont, Conor Lahiff and Brooke Taber, will unravel the mysteries of weather in the North Country. Why was last winter so cold? How are Adirondack weather patterns connected to more global weather events and to climate change? What kind of weather predictions are being made for the coming years? This event is free and open to the public. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, July 1, 2014

EPA’s Judith Enck To Discuss Climate Change At Sagamore

judith-enck-photoJudith Enck, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 2 Administrator, will make a public presentation “Climate Change: The Challenge of Our Time” which features details about recent federal actions to reduce greenhouse gas and C02 emissions and what they mean for New York and the northeastern U.S.

Enck’s presentation will start at 11:00 AM, July 6th, at Great Camp Sagamore as part of Protect the Adirondacks’ annual meeting. The presentation is open to the public.

“Climate Change: The Challenge of Our Time” will focus on the EPA’s recent release of new draft greenhouse gas emission reduction regulations for over 1,000 existing power plants. EPA estimates that 83% of greenhouse gas emissions are from carbon dioxide (C02) released into the atmosphere. As a group these coal-fired power plants are the single largest sources of C02 pollution in the U.S., producing nearly 25%. These new rules expect to produce a 20% reduction in C02 emissions by 2020 and 30% by 2030 (based on 2005 levels). The new program is partly modeled after the success of the 1990 Clean Air Act (CAA) amendments, which successfully inaugurated the cap-and-trade program for reducing national emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, the two substances that cause acid rain. » Continue Reading.



Monday, June 16, 2014

Giant Swallowtail Butterflies Moving North

Giant_SwallowtailIt’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a …? In September of 2012, I spied something fluttering wildly on the lavender phlox in front of my house. At first I thought it was a hummingbird, but as I moved closer I discovered it was a huge butterfly – the largest I’d ever seen, with a wingspan of about six inches. I rushed into the house to get my camera.

The butterfly was a challenge to photograph, its wings a blur as it hovered and darted from flower to flower, sipping nectar with its long tongue. The upper side of its wings were black, with a band of yellow spots from wingtip to wingtip. Another yellow band led diagonally from each wingtip to each wing “tail.” The tails were long, with yellow spots edged in black. On the underside, the coloration was similar to a tiger swallowtail – pale yellow with thin black stripes. I consulted my butterfly guides and determined the fabulous creature was a giant swallowtail, a cousin to our common Canadian tiger swallowtail. » Continue Reading.



Monday, June 2, 2014

EPA Takes Historic Action on Climate Change

380px-Carbon_Dioxide_400kyrToday’s announcement that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released draft greenhouse gas emission reduction regulations for over 1,000 existing power plants is a major landmark in environmental history. EPA estimates that 83% of greenhouse gas emissions are from carbon dioxide (C02) released into the atmosphere.

As a group these coal-fired power plants are the single largest sources of C02 pollution in the U.S., producing nearly 25%. These new rules expect to produce a 20% reduction in C02 emissions at these plants by 2020 and 30% by 2030 (based on 2005 levels). » Continue Reading.



Thursday, May 8, 2014

Climate Change: Woolf Evasive On Keystone XL

Aaron Woolf and Bill Owns April 2014If the existential issue of our time is climate change, the Keystone XL pipeline project is the decisive political issue of the day. As Bill McKibben has said, “If we’re trying to do something about climate change, which theoretically all our governments are committed to doing, then (Keystone) is a very big deal. It’s the equivalent of adding six million new cars to the road.”

Other analysts say the impacts would be even greater over an extended period of time – the equivalent of 1 billion vehicles or 1,400 coal-fired power plants in greenhouse gas emissions. Legislators’ position on the Keystone project, which would extract oil from Canadian tar sands and pipe it through midwestern states to the Gulf Coast, is then, an indication of how seriously they take the threat of climate change to the communities they represent. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, April 17, 2014

Facing the Storm: Preparing for Increased Extreme Weather

View from Bridge of HopeI attended a recent forum in Albany, Facing the Storm: Preparing for Increased Extreme Weather in Upstate New York, and wanted to pass along some of what I heard, or thought I heard. The event was sponsored by the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government.

For a forum concerning the impacts of a changing climate the audience was unusually diverse in terms of backgrounds and professions. As a staff member for Adirondack Wild, I was sitting next to a firefighter from a village in Montgomery County. At the next table were other firefighters and emergency personnel in uniform.  Across from me were several members of the League of Women Voters.  Initially we all wondered if we were in the right meeting. I think by the end we realized what we all have in common. » Continue Reading.



Monday, March 24, 2014

Lake Champlain Climate Change Adaptation Workshops

image004(1)The Lake Champlain Basin Program will host two workshops focused on climate change adaptation on March 25-26, 2014 in Burlington, VT. The March 25th workshop will focus on stormwater management.

The March 26th workshop, held concurrently with the New England Association of Environmental Biologists (NEAEB) Annual Meeting, will focus on ecosystem impacts and aquatic invasive species threats to Lake Champlain. » Continue Reading.



Monday, March 17, 2014

The Boreal Baker’s Dozen:
Northern Birds in Adirondack Wetlands

A Gray Jay by Simon Pierre BarretteImagine that you are walking on a path through a forest in the Adirondacks and suddenly, you see an opening in the trees ahead. Moving closer, you gaze out on a vast opening covered in a mosaic of leafy shrubs and dotted with spiky conifers. You take a step further and feel the “squish” as your boot sinks into a wet, dense mat of bright green moss. From the top of a nearby snag, you hear the distinctive “quick-three-beers” song of an Olive-sided Flycatcher followed by the complex, jumbled, slightly metallic sound of a Lincoln’s Sparrow. Looking down again, you notice the pale, delicate flowers of a white-fringed orchid. All the sights and sounds are conclusive: you have entered the Adirondack boreal.

The term “boreal” is used to describe cold, wet areas in northern latitudes. For the most part, people think of northern Canada and Eurasia, with vast spruce-fir forests, extensive wetland complexes, and frigid winter conditions. Though much of the Adirondack Park is within the temperate deciduous bioclimatic zone, we can also find low-elevation boreal pockets containing bog rosemary, pod-grass, tamarack and other boreal plants. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, March 13, 2014

Students Exploring Local Climate Change Impacts

climate_class_at_TWCAs climate change comes to the Adirondacks, how will it change our lives?  A $50,000 grant from the National Science Foundation and a Pennsylvania-based science-education center will help Paul Smith’s College and The Wild Center answer that question by putting it to groups and individuals likely to see the change first.

Prof. Curt Stager of Paul Smith’s and Rob Carr of The Wild Center are collaborating on a new class this spring, Communicating Climate Science, that will ask members of fish and game clubs, medical experts, musicians and other North Country residents to project what current and future changes in local climate may mean to their communities. By the end of the project, students in the class will use that input to suggest how climate change may be most relevant to each group – the effort hopes to provide the tools to make informed decisions about handling climate changes. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, March 6, 2014

Adirondack Insects: Extreme Cold And Climate Change

100_1407Weather anomalies impact the lives of most creatures, including humans, and this year’s protracted winter season is slowly taking its toll on people that dislike the snow and cold, as well as on various members of our wildlife community. While all animals native to the Adirondacks have evolved the ability to survive the rigors of a harsh and prolonged winter, some of the recent arrivals to the region may not be faring as well in this unrelenting, sub-arctic weather siege.

Over the past decade or two, the climate in the Adirondacks has slowly warmed enough to allow numerous forms of life to creep northward and expand their geographic range into our lowlands and valleys. For example, several birds, like the tufted titmouse and wild turkey are appearing more, as are some mammals like the gray squirrel and in the very southern realm of the Park, the opossum. However, the greatest influx of new residents probably lie in the vast array of invertebrates that exist in every ecological setting throughout the Park. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, February 26, 2014

$1M Campaign to Endow Paul Smith’s College Position

Paul Smiths CollegeA $1 million campaign to endow a position for an internationally recognized climate expert at Paul Smith’s College has been staked with a major matching gift according to an announcement made by the college Monday.

Caroline Lussi, a 1960 graduate of Paul Smith’s and a former college trustee, has offered a matching challenge of up to $500,000 to establish the college’s first Endowed Chair in Lake Ecology and Paleocology. The first recipient will be Curt Stager, a press release said.

Lussi has pledged $500,000 if the college can raise an additional $500,000. More than $250,000 has been contributed so far officials of the college said. Both Paul Smith’s College and the Adirondack Foundation are accepting donations. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Adirondack Wildlife Programs Planned in Whallonsburgh

Bobcat025_Portrait of Snowy FaceA series of natural history programs about Adirondack wildlife will be held at the Whallonsburg Grange in Essex, NY.  The series begins with naturalist and photographer Susan Morse speaking on Friday, February 21.   Morse’s lecture, entitled “Animals of the North:  What Will Climate Change Mean for Them” will be held at 7:00 p.m.  Suggested donation is $8.

Morse, Founder and Director of Keeping Track, Inc., describes says the program is not about climate change itself, or even how it will affect us; rather, it’s designed to educate audiences about ways in which northern wildlife species are already being affected, with more serious challenges ahead. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, January 30, 2014

Thoughts on Climate Change Denial in 2014

global-warming-socialist-scamIn 2014, global climate change denial not only persists, but is politically powerful and has effectively prevented the large-scale changes we need to start now to drastically reduce use and reliance on fossil fuels such as oil, natural gas and coal. We need to make this transition to avoid enormous negative changes that will make living conditions much more difficult in the decades ahead on a warmer planet.

Recently, Donald Trump, who tweets to about 2.5 million twitter followers, sent a message about the “global warming hoax” after he watched an NBC News report about the wave of current subzero temperatures in the northeast U.S.

There are a couple of things to note in this episode. First, Trump tweets to 2.5 million people, while climate change activist and author Bill Mckibben tweets to 111,000. Second, Trump distorts reality in a lazy self-referential way without looking at any evidence. Had he bothered to look at any easily accessible long-term temperature data, he would have found that in the past decade far more records (they ran 2-1 in fact) were set across the U.S. for all-time-high temperatures rather than all-time-lows. » Continue Reading.



Monday, January 6, 2014

Lake Trout Research At Follensby Pond

2013 Lake PLacid Lake Trout Survey (Mary Thill Photo)Can well-managed lakes in the Adirondacks provide important refuges for lake trout in the face of climate change?

That’s the focus of a new intensive research effort being conducted at Follensby Pond, a 1,000-acre lake purchased by The Nature Conservancy in 2008.

The pond offers the perfect opportunity to research lake trout at the southern end of their range, to determine how these large and ecologically important fish could best be managed and protected given rising temperatures and other environmental changes. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Random Notes on Climate Change in 2013

namgnld_season22013 was another watershed year in climate change news. The reality of life on a warmer planet was seen in a variety of ways. The reality of the inability of U.S. and international efforts to reduce reliance on fossil fuels was also stark as use continues to rise. Here are some new data points about life on a warming planet.

The year’s biggest news was made last summer when scientists at a Hawaii research station measured 400 ppm (parts per million) of carbon in the earth’s atmosphere. NASA climate scientist James Hansen has famously called the 350 ppm carbon mark the safe zone for avoiding the worst of climate change impacts. Some terrific charts in The Guardian (probably the best news site for tracking climate issues) provides important context to carbon loading to the earth’s atmosphere. » Continue Reading.



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