Lauren Sommer Lauren Sommer covers climate change for NPR's Science Desk.
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Lauren Sommer

Lauren Sommer

Correspondent, Science Desk

Lauren Sommer covers climate change for NPR's Science Desk, from the scientists on the front lines of documenting the warming climate to the way those changes are reshaping communities and ecosystems around the world.

Prior to joining NPR, Sommer spent more than a decade covering climate and environment for KQED Public Radio in San Francisco. During her time there, she delved into the impacts of California's historic drought during dry years and reported on destructive floods during wet years, and covered how communities responded to record-breaking wildfires.

Sommer has also examined California's ambitious effort to cut carbon emissions across its economy and investigated the legacy of its oil industry. On the lighter side, she ran from charging elephant seals and searched for frogs in Sierra Nevada lakes.

She was also host of KQED's macrophotography nature series Deep Look, which searched for universal truths in tiny organisms like black-widow spiders and parasites. Sommer has received a national Edward R. Murrow for use of sound, as well as awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Society of Environmental Journalists.

Based at NPR's San Francisco bureau, Sommer grew up in the West, minus a stint on the East Coast to attend Cornell University.

Story Archive

Wildfires are causing billions in damage every year and yet many homebuyers have little idea whether their house is at risk. Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

Is your house at risk of a wildfire? This online tool could tell you

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Solar and wind power projects have been booming in California, like the Pine Tree Wind Farm and Solar Power Plant in the Tehachapi Mountains, but that doesn't mean fossil fuels are fading away quickly. Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times via Getty Imag hide caption

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Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times via Getty Imag

California just ran on 100% renewable energy, but fossil fuels aren't fading away yet

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In Iceland, a Climeworks project is absorbing carbon dioxide emissions directly from the air and storing it underground. The energy-intensive process is powered by geothermal energy. Arnaldur Halldorsson/Bloomberg via Getty Images hide caption

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Arnaldur Halldorsson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Is sucking carbon from the air the key to stop climate change? Some scientists say so

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Climate change has already made storms more intense, flooding cities with more rainfall than they were built to handle. Josh Edelson/AP hide caption

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Josh Edelson/AP

Green infrastructure helps cities with climate change. So why isn't there more of it?

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The report finds the world's energy supply needs to shift to renewable sources, like this solar farm in Karnataka, India, but it's not happening fast enough. Abhishek Chinnappa/Getty Images hide caption

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Abhishek Chinnappa/Getty Images

It's not too late to stave off the climate crisis, U.N. report finds. Here's how

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Australia's Great Barrier Reef has experienced four mass bleaching events in the last seven years, like this one in 2017. Scientists warn repeated bleaching makes it tough for corals to recover. Brett Monroe Garner/Getty Images hide caption

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Brett Monroe Garner/Getty Images

A massive bleaching event is taking place in Australia's Great Barrier Reef

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Lauren Sommer/NPR

With flattened faces, wrinkles and short airways, bulldogs are prone to health problems. A court in Norway banned the breeding of bulldogs unless it's to improve the breed's health. Sarah Stier/Getty Images hide caption

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Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Is breeding bulldogs cruel? Animal groups debate how to make them healthier

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Allergies to pollen are often worse in spring, and could get even worse as temperatures rise. Many people are allergic to the fine and powdery pollen shed by trees, including willows. Ashley Cooper/Getty Images hide caption

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Ashley Cooper/Getty Images

Rising temperatures prolong pollen season and could worsen allergies

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With all of their health problems, should bulldogs continue to be bred?

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In this Jan. 18, 2014, file photo, a female orca leaps from the water while breaching in Puget Sound west of Seattle, Wash. AP hide caption

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AP

Ecologist Elizabeth Clare collects DNA from the air. Elizabeth Clare hide caption

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Elizabeth Clare

Vacuuming DNA Out Of The Air

A few years ago, ecologist Elizabeth Clare had an idea--what if she could study rare or endangered animals in the wild without ever having to see or capture them? What if she could learn about them by only pulling data out of thin air? It turns out, the air's not so thin. There are bits of DNA floating around us, and Elizabeth figured out how to collect it. She talks to guest host Lauren Sommer about testing her collection method in a zoo, how another science team simultaneous came up with and tested the same idea and how DNA taken from the environment could revolutionize the field of ecology.

Vacuuming DNA Out Of The Air

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