Toxic Fog: Known Unknowns

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Planet Tracker’s Toxic Footprints report revealed the investors behind petrochemical toxicity in the US Gulf states of Louisiana and Texas. When assessing the petrochemicals and plastics industry, toxic emissions are often either ignored or forgotten by the financial markets. This follow-up research paper reveals the known unknowns of toxic releases, those issues hidden from the public’s and investors’ view and which the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is not permitted to reveal. We also highlight how the data could be made more user-friendly. Financial institutions should demand transparency for toxic emissions so that they can conduct a thorough risk assessment of their investments.

Climate Mapping for Resilience and Adaptation

Climate Mapping for Resilience and Adaptation (CMRA) integrates information from across the federal government to help people consider their local exposure to climate-related hazards. View climate-related hazards in real time and use information on past, present, and future conditions to understand exposure in your area in order to plan and build more resilient community infrastructure.

People working in community organizations or for local, Tribal, state, or Federal governments can use the site to help them develop equitable climate resilience plans to protect people, property, and infrastructure. The site also points users to Federal grant funds for climate resilience projects, including those available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Big data in agriculture: Land O’Lakes’ Teddy Bekele

Read the transcript and listen to the podcast episode from MIT Sloan Management Review.

You might have seen Land O’Lakes’ dairy products on store shelves without giving much thought to how they got there, but that’s something CTO Teddy Bekele thinks about every day. While the farmers and agricultural retailers of Land O’Lakes work to produce the cooperative’s products, starting from the seeds used to grow animal feed, Teddy Bekele is focused on supporting agriculture’s “fourth revolution” — one that’s embracing technologies like artificial intelligence. On this episode of the Me, Myself, and AI podcast, Teddy explains how Land O’Lakes uses predictive analytics and AI to help farmers and other agricultural producers be more productive and make better decisions about the business of farming.

GriddingMachine: A new database and software for sharing global datasets

Read the full story from the Climate Modeling Alliance.

GriddingMachine aims to minimize the effort involved in reusing data by

  • Collecting data from various sources,
  • Processing the data to a uniform format (NetCDF),
  • Storing the reprocessed data on public servers, and
  • Providing APIs to automatically download, manage, and read the data in multiple programming languages.

Each dataset is labeled with a unique tag that describes

  • Type of the dataset (e.g., leaf area index, biomass, etc.),
  • Spatial resolution (e.g., 5X means 0.2° × 0.2° grid),
  • Temporal resolution (e.g., 1Y means 1 year, 1M means 1 month),
  • Year of the data, and
  • Version of the data (from different publications).

Users can look up available dataset tags (and suggest new datasets) through our Github repository.

Connecticut’s shellfish population gets a boost with state’s first restoration guide

Read the full story from Pew.

The Connecticut Shellfish Restoration Guide provides science-based, well-tested techniques to help oyster farmers, state and local officials, academic institutions, and others involved in restoration efforts increase shellfish and fish populations, improve water quality, strengthen coastal habitats, and stabilize shorelines.

One component of the guide is the CT Shellfish Restoration Map Viewer, an online, interactive mapping tool released in 2021. Previously, without a central, comprehensive habitat map to work from, oyster restoration practitioners had insufficient information from which to choose sites effectively, and state and local agencies had a hard time properly evaluating shellfish restoration projects. That led to approval and permit delays, among other problems. The viewer helps users identify the best locations for siting shellfish restoration projects.

Lithium and the Future of Electrification

DOE’s new Lithium StoryMap lays out the relationship between geothermal energy and lithium while exploring why the DOE is investing in technologies supporting lithium extraction from geothermal brines. Using an easily digestible format, visitors can scroll through the role of lithium in renewable energy today, how the critical material is currently obtained, and why the Salton Sea region of California may prove to be a key domestic source—with a little help from geothermal energy. As lithium demand continues to grow, geothermal energy may soon play a greater role in our lives and in the green economy.

Sustainability requires new thinking

Read the full story at Utility Dive.

As we build tenfold the number of solar, wind, and clean storage facilities, we must not cause unintended consequences. We cannot negatively impact vulnerable communities or the environment. We must protect clean water supplies, vegetated wetlands, and valuable vistas for future generations.

To ensure we plan correctly and don’t make the same mistakes we did in the past, planners use a concept called Geodesign.

17% of people live near toxic release facilities—here’s how it breaks down by state

Read the full story at Stacker.

Stacker analyzed data from the EPA Toxic Release Inventory and the U.S. Census Bureau’s five-year American Community Survey to identify the percent of each state’s population living in census tracts with toxic release sites, as well as the corporations and facilities responsible for emitting the highest amounts of toxins annually. These results reflect the last full year of data, 2020, from the 2020 National Analysis Dataset released in October 2021.

Boeing unveils model to show best routes to zero carbon future

Read the full story at Environment + Energy Leader.

As the commercial aviation industry maps a path to net zero emissions, Boeing has unveiled a new data modeling tool to show the most effective scenarios for reaching the destination by 2050. The model includes consultation with leading universities and will continue to be used with key stakeholders. The company also shared illustrative hydrogen and electric concepts that could power the future of flight.

Researchers race to understand what lies beneath the Great Lakes

Read the full story at Bridge Michigan.

Scientists say we have more robust data about the surface of Mars than the floor of the Great Lakes. A new effort spearheaded by academics and government aims to map the entire Great Lakes lakebed. Experts say the data is crucial to understanding the lakes, particularly as climate change and other threats bring rapid changes.