Diane Hope

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Earth Notes
4:45 am
Wed June 3, 2015

Earth Notes: Criollo Cattle

When most of us hear the word “cattle” we think of an animal that came to the Southwest in the late 1800s. But one breed arrived here long before most other settlers.

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Earth Notes
12:34 pm
Wed May 27, 2015

Earth Notes: Grand Canyon's Manmade Wonder

Trans-Canyon Pipeline in the Grand Canyon
Credit National Park Service

If asked what's impressive about the Grand Canyon, most visitors probably won't mention a water pipeline. But one of this national park's great engineering feats is the Trans-Canyon Pipeline, which carries half a million gallons of water every day from Roaring Springs down Bright Angel Canyon, past Phantom Ranch and across Silver Bridge.

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Earth Notes
3:11 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Earth Notes: Climb On!

Credit National Park Service

  “The most weird, wonderful, magical place on earth” is how author Edward Abbey described the colorful wilderness of gorges, mesas, and buttes that is Canyonlands National Park, one of the last relatively undisturbed parts of the Colorado Plateau. That landscape also represents a special place of emotional healing and rejuvenation for returned combat veteran Michael Cummings. Haunted by traumatic memories after two tours of duty in Iraq, Cummings was struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, survivor’s guilt, alcohol abuse and thoughts of suicide.

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Earth Notes
10:33 am
Wed December 24, 2014

Earth Notes: Photographing Climate Change

The historical photo collection at Northern Arizona University’s Cline Library will be a key tool in answering a very modern question over the coming months. Dating back to the late 1800s, the images will be used like a visual time machine to reveal the effects of changing climate – and land management – on northern Arizona’s plant communities.

Principal investigator Professor Tom Whitham says that comparing historical and contemporary photos will allow us to literally see how vegetation has changed over time.

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Earth Notes
2:33 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Earth Notes: Pacific Fall Hurricanes Affect Arizona’s Ecosystems

Credit NASA/NOAA GOES Project

It’s unusual for the southwestern states to be affected by hurricanes. Most years, predominant wind patterns in the Eastern Pacific Ocean steer storms away from the region. But about once every five years – like this year – the ocean winds change direction.

And those shifting winds steer hurricanes closer to northwestern Mexico, making them more likely to head northwards and track across the southwestern U.S.

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Earth Notes
3:40 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

Earth Notes: A Sad Obituary for an Ancient Tree

Credit Grant Harley

Reporter John Fleck wrote an unusual obituary in the Albuquerque Journal in September – on the death of a 650-year old Douglas-fir.

Known as “Yoda,” the tree was an icon for climate scientists. Growing out of a lava flow at El Malpais National Monument and measuring barely 7 feet high, Yoda was tiny for a Douglas-fir—which can grow 150 feet tall in moist southwestern canyons. But despite its diminutive size, an annual growth ring count showed that the tree had been alive since at least 1406.

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Earth Notes
9:02 am
Wed September 24, 2014

Earth Notes: Monitoring One of North America’s Rarest Mammals

Every fall Arizona Game and Fish conducts a spotlighting event where rare black-footed ferrets are located counted, measured, tagged and vaccinated against bubonic plague near Seligman.

Arizona’s Aubrey Valley just west of Seligman is home to an animal until recently considered one of the most endangered mammals in the world.

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Earth Notes
7:33 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Measures of Drought

A scene of Southwestern drought
Credit University of Arizona Climate Assessment of the Southwest

Drought is a universally understood phenomenon — especially here in the arid Southwest. But what does drought really mean? To help define the term, and the concept, scientists use several commonly used drought indices. Each summarizes thousands of data points on rainfall and other information into a single handy number.

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Earth Notes
5:03 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Earth Notes: Protecting The Plateau's Ancient Walls

Far View House, Mesa Verde National Park

In the latest installment of KNAU's environmental series, Earth Notes, we hear about some of the best practices for preserving ancient rock buildings on the Colorado Plateau.

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Earth Notes
5:00 am
Wed November 14, 2012

Earth Notes: The Crown Fire - Carbon Connection

Credit BigDogGraphics

Forests constitute an important part of the “Carbon World Bank.” The organic matter in their leaves, wood, roots and soil stores a great deal of carbon absorbed from the atmosphere.

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