Weather stations that provide critical climate data are threatened by unstable funding

Read the full story from Illinois Newsroom.

Accurate weather information is important for farmers, emergency responders and researchers managing extreme conditions. But many monitoring networks are limited by unstable, patchwork funding.

PFAS rule sets up sprawling legal war

Read the full story at GreenWire.

EPA’s historic move to regulate “forever chemicals” in drinking water has set the stage for a multi-pronged courtroom slugfest among the agency, water utilities that must comply with the rule and multinational conglomerates that have flooded the environment with the toxicants linked to a long list of health problems, including cancer.

Although lawsuits cannot be filed until EPA finalizes its PFAS proposal, interested parties will spend the coming months filling the regulatory docket with comments that will eventually inform the final rule or shape opponents’ future legal challenges against the agency — and one another.

Case law on the topic is limited: EPA’s proposal marks the agency’s first enforceable standard of its kind for PFAS and its first effort to regulate a drinking water contaminant in over 25 years.

One state generates much, much more renewable energy than any other—and it’s not California

Read the full story at Inside Climate News.

Here’s a state-by-state tally of the leaders and laggards for wind, solar and other renewable energy in 2022.

Exxon’s Texas plant is likely the last major US refinery project

Read the full story from Yahoo Finance.

When Exxon Mobil Corp.’s newest addition to its southeast Texas refinery ramps up to full production in the next few weeks, it’ll be the first major expansion of US fuel-making capacity in at least a decade. And probably the last.

The 15 foods I most frequently freeze

Read the full story at Treehugger.

Since March is National Frozen Food Month, it’s as good a time as any to sing the praises of my freezer. Sure, I like my refrigerator, but I like-like my freezer. It is a magical box that stops time and keeps naturally decaying food in a state of delicious suspended animation. While some items don’t enjoy the process—say, salad greens and delicate sauces—most foods take pretty kindly to life at zero degrees. Here are the ones that I freeze the most.

As millions of solar panels age out, recyclers hope to cash in

Read the full story at e360.

Solar panels have a lifespan of 25 to 30 years, but they contain valuable metals, including silver and copper. With a surge of expired panels expected soon, companies are emerging that seek to recycle the reusable materials and keep the panels out of landfills.

Night skies are getting 9.6% brighter every year as light pollution erases stars for everyone

All human development, from large cities to small towns, shines light into the night sky. Benny Ang/Flickr, CC BY

by Chris Impey, University of Arizona and Connie Walker, National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory

For most of human history, the stars blazed in an otherwise dark night sky. But starting around the Industrial Revolution, as artificial light increasingly lit cities and towns at night, the stars began to disappear.

We are two astronomers who depend on dark night skies to do our research. For decades, astronomers have been building telescopes in the darkest places on Earth to avoid light pollution.

Today, most people live in cities or suburbs that needlessly shine light into the sky at night, dramatically reducing the visibility of stars. Satellite data suggests that light pollution over North America and Europe has remained constant or has slightly decreased over the last decade, while increasing in other parts of the world, such as Africa, Asia and South America. However, satellites miss the blue light of LEDs, which are commonly used for outdoor lighting – resulting in an underestimate of light pollution.


An international citizen science project called Globe at Night aims to measure how everyday people’s view of the sky is changing.

A number of panels showing different numbers of stars.
The Globe at Night survey asks users to select which panel – each representing different levels of light pollution – best matches the sky above them. The Globe at Night, CC BY

Measuring light pollution over time

Relying on citizen scientists makes it much easier to take multiple measurements of the night sky over time from many different places.

To provide data to the project, volunteers enter the date and time, their location and local weather conditions into an online reporting page anytime an hour or more after sunset on certain nights each month. The page then shows eight panels, each displaying a constellation visible at that time of year – like Orion in January and February, for example. The first panel, representing a light-polluted night sky, only shows the few brightest stars. Each panel shows progressively more and fainter stars, representing darker and darker skies. The participant then matches what they see in the sky with one of the panels.

The Globe at Night team launched the report page as an online app in 2011, just at the beginning of widespread adoption of LEDs. In the recent paper, the team filtered out data points taken during twilight, when the Moon was out, when it was cloudy or when the data was unreliable for any other reason. This left around 51,000 data points, mostly taken in North America and Europe.

The data shows that the night sky got, on average, 9.6% brighter every year. For many people, the night sky today is twice as bright as it was eight years ago. The brighter the sky, the fewer stars you can see.

If this trend continues, a child born today in a place where 250 stars are visible now would only be able to see 100 stars on their 18th birthday.

Causes, impacts and solutions

The main culprits driving increasing brightness of the night sky are urbanization and the growing use of LEDs for outdoor lighting.

Two pictures of the constellation Orion with one showing many times more stars.
The more light pollution there is, the fewer stars a person can see when looking at the same part of the night sky. The image on the left depicts the constellation Orion in a dark sky, while the image on the right is taken near the city of Orem, Utah, a city of about 100,000 people. jpstanley/Flickr, CC BY

The loss of dark skies, both from light pollution and also from increasing numbers of satellites orbiting Earth, threatens our ability as astronomers to do good science. But everyday people feel this loss too, as the degradation of dark skies is also a loss of human cultural heritage. Starry night skies have inspired artists, writers, musicians and philosophers for thousands of years. For many, a star-filled sky provides an irreplaceable sense of awe.

Light pollution also interferes with the daily cycle of light and dark that plants and animals use to regulate sleep, nourishment and reproduction. Two-thirds of the world’s key biodiversity areas are affected by light pollution.

Individuals and their communities can make simple changes to reduce light pollution. The secret is using the right amount of light, in the right place and at the right time. Shielding outdoor light fixtures so they shine downward, using bulbs that emit more yellow-colored light instead of white light and putting lights on timers or motion sensors can all help reduce light pollution.

The next time you are far away from a major city or another source of light pollution, look up at the night sky. A view of the roughly 2,500 stars you can see with the naked eye in a truly dark sky might convince you that dark skies are a resource worth saving.

Chris Impey, University Distinguished Professor of Astronomy, University of Arizona and Connie Walker, Scientist, National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

​​Climate Change Adaptation Checklist for Climate Smart Projects: A Tool for Natural Resource Agencies

This tool is designed to help you determine if given climate change your project will continue to deliver intended benefits.

The Checklist supports your ability to:

  • Explicitly evaluate the implications of future conditions on project function, longevity and impact
  • Build climate consideration directly into funding, permitting and planning phases
  • Reduce liabilities or avoid actions that will be ineffective under future conditions

Step 1: Climate Quick Check

Identify how the project may be impacted by climate change over its lifetime by considering a range of indicators

Step 2: Evaluation of Climate Impact on a Project

Explore potential of climate risk factors by answering specific questions and considering relevant, available data

Step 3: Synopsis & Adaptation Options

For each identified vulnerability in Step 2, develop adaptation options to avoid, minimize or mitigate future negative impacts, while delivering intended benefits. Use adaptation support resources to find potential options.

National Water Dashboard / Tablero de Recursos Hídricos Nacionales

The National Water Dashboard shows provisional real-time water data collected at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) observation stations in context with weather-related data from other public sources.

The dashboard provides access to water-resources data collected at approximately 1.9 million sites in all 50 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

The data and dashboard are available in English and Spanish.

DOE awards $2M to Ohio University to develop products for energy storage and motors from coal waste

Read the full story at Green Car Congress.

The Department of Energy (DOE) is funding six research and development projects that will repurpose domestic coal resources for high-value graphitic products and carbon-metal composites that can be employed in clean energy technologies. (Earlier post.)

Ohio University’s Institute for Sustainable Energy and the Environment was awarded two of the six awards, one that explores how coal waste can be reimagined as energy storage and the second aims to develop ultra-conductive carbon metal composite wire for electric motors.

The DOE awarded $999,976 to support the first project, which will focus on developing electrochemical processes to convert coal-based materials to two-dimensional carbon materials for supercapacitor applications. The project is led by principal investigator John Staser, associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering.

Additionally, OHIO faculty members Jason Trembly, professor of mechanical engineering and director of the Institute for Sustainable Energy and the Environment, and Damilola Daramola, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, will support this project, alongside industry partners CFOAM LLC and Capacitech Energy.