climate change

JT, Flickr Creative Commons

If you have asthma or heart disease, you know the quality of the air you breathe is very important: airborne particles can have a big impact on human health. That’s why researchers at Washington State University are looking into how climate change might affect air quality.

 A fashion faux pas could be the worst consequence if you wear the wrong color for the season. But a new scientific paper finds much higher stakes when it comes to mismatched coat colors in the animal world.

Elaine Thompson / AP Images

Mayors from five West Coast cities announced a new alliance Thursday. The leaders of San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, and Eugene say they will collaborate on issues including climate change and reducing homelessness.

Courtney Flatt / Northwest Public Radio

This year’s hot summer and low river flows devastated Snake River sockeye.


The administration of Washington Governor Jay Inslee has officially begun a rulemaking to cap greenhouse gas pollution from large industrial sources. Inslee is flexing his executive powers to bypass the state legislature, which has repeatedly chosen not to put a price on carbon.

Rowan Moore Gerety / Northwest Public Radio

Salmon are a touchstone in the Northwest... in food, in nature, and now, in the damage wrought by the ongoing drought: less than half of returning Sockeye are expected to survive to the end of summer. But another important fish is dying in unprecedented numbers too: the massive white sturgeon native to the Columbia River.

The window of opportunity to prevent grave ecological damage to our oceans from climate change is closing. That's according to a paper appearing Friday in the journal Science.

Ken Balcomb / Center for Whale Research

It’s been a one-two punch of low snowpack last winter and not enough rain this spring for many Northwest rivers. Warm temperatures and low river flows are causing problems for salmon making the return migration.

All signs are pointing to a strong El Niño developing by this fall according to an update from the National Weather Service Thursday.

When you buy gas for your car, you're paying a flat, per-gallon tax. But Oregon is starting a new program July 1 that would change things.

Washington Department of Ecology

Water managers had hoped late snows or heavy spring rains would help fill reservoirs and streams after a largely snow-free winter in the Northwest. But that’s not how things turned out. New data shows precipitation levels in the Northwest were 40 percent below normal last month, with snowpack pretty much  disappeared.

From Wenatchee, Washington, to Bend, Oregon, whitewater rafting guides are preparing for a flood of business as school lets out. But this year’s low snowpack could mean less whitewater and more demand for trips.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee Friday significantly expanded a drought declaration due to dwindling snowpack.

louelke / Flickr

It was a warm winter in the Northwest this year. It certainly rained, and it was plenty gray, but there wasn’t much snow. And that means low snowpack. The Washington Department of Ecology says Washington snowpack is at 21 percent of normal levels.

Panda Poles / Flickr

The Northwest’s record-low snowfall has delivered a frustrating ski season this winter. And when summertime comes, the thin snowpack could make for low stream levels and tinder-dry forests.

But people who manage the Northwest’s biggest dams say they’re not worried.

"We’re doing just fine at the moment," Mike Hanson said.

Hanson is a spokesman for Bonneville Power Administration. It operates 31 federal dams on the Columbia and Snake Rivers, and provides about one-third of the electricity for the Northwest.

Portland Brewery Puts Low-Carbon Beer On Tap

Jan 27, 2015
Stephen Baboi / Oregon Public Broadcasting

It's opening night for a new beer at Migration Brewing in Portland.

"Can I get a couple tasters of the low-carbon beer," a customer says.

The new brew is called the Little Foot Red. That's because it has half the carbon footprint of the brewery's traditional red beer, the Blood, Sweat and Red. As it turns out, that traditional beer generates a fair amount of carbon emissions.

Leveretdreaming / Flickr

2014 was the hottest year on record. That was according to data released Friday by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

In the Northwest, temperatures also rose above normal.

After a warm summer and winter, last year was the second hottest on record for Oregon and the fifth hottest on record for Washington.

The hottest year for both states is still 1934, when the Dust Bowl plagued the West.

Karin Bumbaco is the assistant state climatologist in Washington.

Kevin Noone/Wiki Commons

A lack of snow in the Cascades this winter has forced Northwest ski teams to cancel their scheduled races – or move them to higher slopes. It's also generating concerns about climate change. 

So far, snowfall is about 70 percent below average. But it's not a lack of precipitation that's left mountain slopes so bare.  It's warm weather generating rain instead snow.

Katie Campbell

The city of Ashland passed a resolution Tuesday night supporting divestment from the fossil fuel industry. It joins Eugene as the only other Northwest city to take this kind of action to fight climate change.

The scope of the resolution is limited.

Patrick M / flickr

Changing wind patterns are to blame for warming temperatures in the Northwest, according to the study. Climatologist James Johnstone was the lead author, and he says, "Basically all of the warming in the Northeast Pacific ocean has been wind driven."

Amelia Templeton

Scientists say whitebark pines are one of the Northwest’s most iconic and ecologically important trees — the majority of which are found in rugged wilderness.

Steve Kroschel / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The wolverine is not going on the threatened species list after all. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that federal protected status for the fierce and rare carnivore is unwarranted at this time.

Oregon Military Department

Wildfires in the West are getting bigger, hotter – and more costly. A new report from a national science advocacy group says climate change is one major reason wildfires are getting worse.

And short-sighted development policies are a big reason they’re costing more. Jefferson Public Radio’s Liam Moriarty explains.

Josh O'Connor / Flickr

Fighting this summer's wildfires in eastern Washington has already cost more than $50 million. Washington state Governor Jay Inslee says we can expect even more expensive fires in the years ahead.

Martin D. Adamiker / Wikimedia

Today President Obama announced several initiatives to help prepare for a warming climate. He said wildfires, heat waves and rising sea levels brought on by climate change threaten public safety.