April 4, 2012 Tiny particles from power plants and fires help create new clouds, which shade the oceans from the sun. This means changes in sea-surface temperatures. And that has profound effects on weather, influencing the time and amount of rainfall in West Africa, and even the number, strength and path of hurricanes.
March 12, 2012 Grid operators constantly match what power plants are producing with what people and their TVs, microwaves and air conditioners need. But when the electricity comes from unpredictable sources, like wind or solar power, balancing the grid is a challenge, a new study finds.
March 11, 2012 All of Japan's nuclear power plants will be offline by April and might never restart. That's forcing the country to increase its reliance on coal, oil and natural gas. This could cost the country an extra $100 million per day and significantly increase carbon dioxide emissions.
February 22, 2012 Peter Gleick is an outspoken proponent of scientific evidence that humans are responsible for climate change. This week, the MacArthur "genius" grant recipient shocked the scientific community by admitting to lying to obtain internal documents from the Heartland Institute, a group skeptical of climate change.
February 10, 2012 Southern Co. will build the reactors at its Vogtle site in Georgia. An industry-backed group hopes it's the first wave of new reactors, but a coalition of groups plans to sue to stop the project. Among its arguments: Engineers are still figuring out what went wrong at the Fukushima meltdown in Japan last year.
January 30, 2012 Burmese pythons have been slithering around south Florida for decades, but scientists now say the invasive constrictors are so bad, they're eating their way through the swamps. The snakes have decimated populations of mammals like raccoons, possums and white-tailed deer.
January 26, 2012 Community opposition helped sink plans for a nuclear waste repository in Nevada's Yucca Mountain. Meanwhile, thousands of tons of radioactive waste are piling up at temporary storage sites around the country. As the U.S. once again looks for a new permanent storage site, an expert panel says local buy in will be key.
January 25, 2012 Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, was once a small part of the natural gas industry. Then the technology improved and the production rush started. Now, there's so much gas on the market that the prices are at a 10-year low and producers are scaling back.
January 19, 2012 U.S.-based solar panel manufacturers say inexpensive panels from China are hurting their business and want a tariff slapped on the imports. But other parts of the industry, such as installers, say the cheaper panels are driving a solar power boom in the U.S.
January 12, 2012 While carbon dioxide is indisputably a significant factor in the planet's changing climate, scientists and policy experts have faced major troubles in limiting production of the greenhouse gas. Now, some are focusing on other things that warm the planet, especially ozone and black carbon. And the tools to fight them are familiar.
January 5, 2012 Small earthquakes in Ohio and Arkansas associated with hydraulic fracturing for natural gas have taken many people by surprise. Gas industry executives say there's no hard evidence that their activities are causing these quakes. But some scientists say it's certainly possible; in fact, people have been causing quakes for years.
January 2, 2012 Researchers presented a group of professional violinists with a set of violins and asked them to play and then determine — based on sound alone — which were made by the famed Italian violin-maker Stradivari and Guarneri. The results surprised everyone, including the pros themselves.