New York Times - (Near Cochiti Canyon, New Mexico) The hills here are beautiful, a rolling, green landscape of grasses and shrubs under a late-summer sky. But it is starkly different from what was here before: vast forests of ponderosa pine. The repeated blazes that devastated the trees were caused by simple things: an improperly extinguished campfire in 1996, a tree falling on a power line in 2011. What happened after the fire, however — or, more accurately, what has not happened — was a departure from the normal course of events. “We are in the middle of this 30,000-acre, near-treeless hole,” said Craig D. Allen, a research ecologist with the United States Geological Survey. If historical patterns had held, the remaining pines would by now be preparing seeds to drop and start the cycle of regrowth.
Washington Post - The climate science sphere has been wrapped up in a major debate for the past several years: over the global warming “pause.” But now, a growing body of research has some scientists saying that the case may, in fact, be closed. They’re arguing that the pause never existed. The notion of a global warming pause, or “climate hiatus,” suggests that the rising of global surface temperatures has significantly slowed or even stopped during the past 15 years. The idea, which experts believe cropped up sometime in 2013, has been seized upon by many climate skeptics, but also has managed to cause unexpected controversy within the scientific community. Since then, a flurry of scientific studies have emerged attempting to explain why such a pause might be occurring, pointing to natural climatic factors such as volcanic eruptions or changes in oceanic patterns.
Washington Post - In ads, Volkswagen touted its popular Jetta and Beetle diesels as paragons of clean-fuel technology: Buyers were promised a car that was “clean, fuel efficient, and powerful,” according to one 2013 testimonial. In reality, the claims were based in part on a clever ruse, U.S. officials alleged on Friday. For at least five years, Volkswagen officials illegally rigged their vehicles’ pollution-control systems so they would run cleanly only during emissions tests, while spewing higher levels of pollutants on the highway, the Environmental Protection Agency said. The EPA joined California state officials in accusing the German automaker of deliberately circumventing air-pollution laws with the use of a software “defeat device” installed on nearly 500,000 Volkswagen and Audi diesel models sold in the United States since 2008. If substantiated, the violation could lead to billions of dollars in penalties and repair costs, agency officials said.
Wall Street Journal - Oil prices kicked off the week in the black on signs that crude’s yearlong rout is affecting production capacity in the U.S. On Friday, oil-services company Baker Hughes Inc. reported a drop in the number of rigs drilling for oil in the U.S., the third straight weekly decline. That demonstrates how producers are making more efforts to cut back supply following the downturn in prices. “The incipient decline of production in the U.S. in particular will herald in a long-term and fundamental bottoming out process on the oil market,” analysts at Commerzbank wrote in a report.
Washington Post - The eight Ohio-class submarines berthed here are the biggest in the U.S. fleet, with steel hulls nearly 600 feet long to accommodate up to 24 nuclear missiles. But soon they will share quarters with something far bigger: a field of solar panels so vast that 500 of the gargantuan subs could hide in its shadow. By late next year, if all goes according to plan, some 136,000 of the glass panels will be installed on an empty corner of the Navy base, 35 miles north of Jacksonville. The solar farm will cover an area the size of 280 football fields. And yet, by the time it’s completed, it will not be the Navy’s largest solar array. It may not even be the military’s biggest solar facility in Georgia.
Miami Herald - Gov. Rick Scott and other backers of the Deep Dredge at PortMiami celebrated the project’s completion Friday even as federal officials continue to argue over environmental damage done by the $205 million project. At a ribbon cutting attended by several hundred port workers and officials, Scott repeatedly touted the 33,000 jobs he said the three-year-long expansion would produce. “The most important thing we can be doing is creating jobs,” said Scott, who chipped in $77 million from the state to kickstart the long-delayed project.
Gainesville Times - A draft of the Army Corps of Engineers’ long-expected water management update governing the tri-state basin including Lake Lanier is still due out this month, with public meetings planned in October and November. As for the meetings, Pat Robbins, spokesman for the corps’ Mobile (Ala.) District, said he doesn’t know “if locations have been locked in yet.” Afterward, though, “public input will be analyzed,” he said, adding that the final approval and implementation of the master manual for the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river basin are still expected in March 2017.
Alaska Dispatch News - Until recently, climate models, which predict everything from sea level rise to temperature increase, have largely ignored or glossed over permafrost, one of the largest stores of carbon on the planet. That’s because data on the temperature of permafrost and the thickness of the active layer of soil that lies above the frozen ground were neither centralized nor available in a format modelers use. That's about to change. Heeding a long-standing call from fellow climate scientists, a global team of permafrost researchers last week announced a new comprehensive database on ground temperatures and thawing. “The climate modeling community has always been pushing us, 'when, when, when,’” said the head of the Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost -- and University of Alaska Fairbanks professor -- Vladimir Romanovsky, following the release of an article in the Earth System Science Data portal detailing the new initiative.
Bluffton Today - South Carolina's ports are embarking on an ambitious five-year plan that will see the Charleston shipping channel deepened, a new container ship terminal come on line, a new rail transfer terminal begin operating and continued planning for a massive new container terminal the state will operate with Georgia. The agenda for the ninth-largest container port in the nation was outlined this month in the latest State of the Port message by Jim Newsome, the chairman and chief executive officer of the South Carolina Ports Authority.
Peninsula Clarion - With rubber boots up to his knees and only a gray sweatshirt to protect him from the cool drizzle, Dan Sterchi crashed through waist-high weeds to the base of a muddy bluff to peer up through the trees. “See that culvert?” He pointed up the steep side of the bluff toward a small, corrugated metal pipe peering between the trees. “During breakup, that thing spews water clear down to here.” He indicated the metal sea walls that edged up to his property, just to the north of where the pipe pointed out toward Cook Inlet. He and his neighbor built the sea walls to protect their homes from erosion, he said, because when high water courses through the Kalifornsky Beach area, the ground becomes marshy with groundwater. During an earthquake, the bluff “turns to soup,” he said. Added to the more than two feet of erosion from Cook Inlet every year, the sea walls that line the entire bluff make sense.
Daily Comet - Scientists working to prevent south Louisiana from becoming the next Atlantis are offering a somber warning: some communities can not be saved. The latest in a years-long string of such pronouncements came last week in a story by The Lens, an independent news organization in New Orleans, and reprinted in The Courier and Daily Comet. The story examines the three winning proposals from coastal engineering experts from around the world who took part in Changing Course, a state-sponsored design competition.
3D Print - You probably don’t think about oysters very often, even if you happen to enjoy eating them. It turns out that the oyster isn’t single animal, but rather a common name for a wide variety of bivalve mollusks, a type of mollusk with a flat body enclosed by two matching, hinged shells. Some of the more popular species are used for food of course, but there are also varieties that are harvested for their decorative shells, and of course for the pearls that many oysters can create inside of their shells. If there is one thing mankind if good at, it’s destroying nature, so naturally the reefs and natural habitats of this family of mollusks is finding itself being destroyed by overfishing and man made climate change.
My Palm Beach Post - More than a year ago, U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel told a top federal official to withhold funding for the Port of Palm Beach’s proposed dredging and expansion project unless and until there’s a community consensus of approval. Thursday, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Deputy District Engineer Tim Murphy told the port commission that funding hold still stands until the port and other parties agree on a plan that is acceptable to all. Port commissioners questioned how that can happen because the opposition is a diverse group that includes everyone from Town of Palm Beach residents to snorkelers, divers, fishermen and environmentalists. Commission Chairman Blair Ciklin asked, “Can any member of Congress put a stop on a project of this magnitude?”