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In the Media: Research

Centre Daily Times
Sarah Rafacz
The wind was whipping at the General Aviation Terminal on Wednesday afternoon as a King Air B-200 landed for a pit stop. “We’ve been bounced around all day,” said Greg Slover, one of the aircraft’s two pilots. Dressed in a beige NASA jumpsuit, he greeted a group of Penn State scientists as crews refueled the plane after a two-and-a-half-hour flight. Also aboard the aircraft was Jim Plant, an instrument operator for NASA, who had to sit facing backward for a particularly bumpy ride. The aircraft traveled over Centre County on the sunshiny day as part of the Atmospheric Carbon and Transport-America project, a study funded by NASA and led by Penn State.
Science Newsline
Growing sustainable energy crops without increasing greenhouse gas emissions, may be possible on seasonally wet, environmentally sensitive landscapes, according to researchers who conducted a study on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land.
The Daily Collegian
Matt Katz
Climate change is one of the most discussed issues in the world today, but despite its prevalence, there is little discussion of how it is impacting wildlife. Researchers at Penn State have taken a unique approach to climate change studies by studying its effects on salamanders, specifically the red-backed salamander.
Jeff Mulhollem
“Food production must double by 2050 to feed the world’s growing population,” is a popular idea, but an inaccurate one, according to new research. Production likely will need to increase between 25 percent and 70 percent to meet 2050 food demand, a study in Bioscience suggests. The data don’t support the assertion that we need to double global crop and animal production by 2050, argues Mitch Hunter, a doctoral student in agronomy in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences. He says the analysis shows that production needs to keep increasing, but not as fast as many have claimed.
Kevin Sliman
A team of Penn State researchers is helping the National Park Service measure and improve its impact on people’s health. According to Derrick Taff, assistant professor of recreation, park, and tourism management (RPTM) in the College of Health and Human Development, although many people think parks provide health benefits, there is very little empirical evidence to support that notion.
Business Insider
Mike McRae
In our rapidly warming world, finding a cheap way to pull greenhouse gases from the atmosphere while satisfying our energy needs could be the key to our continued survival on Earth in the centuries to come. And new research has brought us one step closer by developing a rechargeable battery that runs on solutions of carbon dioxide and air. But what if we could use carbon dioxide in the production of batteries directly? Researchers have explored this possibility in the past, but most plans for generating electricity from our glut of atmospheric CO2 are prohibitively expensive, or don't produce much of a current. A team from Pennsylvania State University thinks their new invention finally bucks that trend.
Tafline Laylin
With so much excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, researchers from every corner of the globe are working on innovative ways to soak it up. Penn State University scientists have gone a step further with a powerful new battery that not only soaks up CO2, but also repurposes it to make more energy. Their pH-gradient flow cell battery is not the first of its kind, but it is the most powerful – take a closer look after the jump.
Jamie Rigg
Researchers at Penn State University have potentially come up with yet another way we could create energy from all that nasty carbon dioxide we pump into the atmosphere. They've developed an inexpensive flow cell battery that uses mostly water solutions containing either dissolved CO2 or dissolved normal air -- the technical name for the dissolving process is called sparging, just FYI. Because the liquids contain different concentrations of CO2, they have different pH levels, and it's this imbalance that generates electricity.
Los Angeles Times
Associated Press
The plunging cost of solar power is leading U.S. electric companies to capture more of the sun just when President Donald Trump is moving to boost coal and other fossil fuels. "Solar growth is so extensive and has so much momentum behind it that we're at the point where you can't put the genie back in the bottle," said Jeffrey R.S. Brownson, a Pennsylvania State University professor who studies solar adoption. "You either learn how to work with this new medium, solar energy, or you're going to face increasing conflicts."
The Guardian
Alison Moodie
The most widely used class of insecticides in the world is facing a slow death. Called neonicotinoids, or neonics, these bug killers have long been used to treat millions of acres of farmland in the US. Neonics, the nicotine-based pesticides, gained popularity because they are powerful killers. Introduced in the 1990s, sales of neonics-coated seeds took off in the US in the mid-2000s, and by 2011, at least a third of soybean acres and nearly 80% of corn acres were treated with these pesticides, according to researchers at Penn State University.
The Washington Post
Darryl Fears
Outside the government, scientists who’ve studied how 670 miles of walls and fences erected as part of the Secure Fence Act under former president George W. Bush in 2006 tell stories of animals stopping in their tracks, staring at barriers they couldn’t cross. “At the border wall, people have found large mammals confounded and not knowing what to do,” said Jesse Lasky, an assistant professor of biology at Penn State University. Deer, mountain lions, jaguar and ocelots are among the animals whose daily movement was disrupted, he said.
Brian Kahn, Climate Central
When it comes to climate change, the facts are clear. The world had its hottest year ever recorded in 2016, the third year in a row that mark has been set. Arctic sea ice has been decimated by repeated heat waves, seas continue to rise and researchers have warned of instability driven by climate shocks. The cause is human's pouring carbon pollution into the atmosphere. Yet despite knowing all of that, scientists have stressed that world is not doing enough to put humanity on course to avoid catastrophic climate change. David Titley, a professor at Penn State and one of the authors of the new doomsday clock report, said that while the Paris Agreement represents a positive step, the climate talks in Morocco late last year didn't move the ball forward enough.
Hannah Hickey
A dramatic pattern in our planet’s climate history involves paroxysms in Arctic temperatures. During the last ice age, tens of thousands of years ago, Greenland repeatedly warmed by about 10 degrees Celsius over just a few decades and then gradually cooled. Meanwhile the Southern Hemisphere climate stayed fairly stable, with only weak and long-delayed echoes of the temperature chaos up north. But new research shows the fierce winds circling Antarctica—an important lever on the global climate—shifted quickly in response to the Northern Hemisphere temperature spikes.
American Geophysical Union
Richard B. Alley was awarded the 2016 Climate Communication Prize at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, held on 14 December 2016 in San Francisco, Calif. The Climate Communication Prize is funded by Nature's Own, a purveyor of fossils, minerals, and handcrafted jewelry in Boulder, Colo. The prize honors an AGU member-scientist "for the communication of climate science" and "highlights the importance of promoting scientific literacy, clarity of message, and efforts to foster respect and understanding of science-based values as they relate to the implications of climate change."
Jesse Westbrook
Penn State professor is researching the trickle-down effects that melting tropical glaciers have on food security and biodiversity, and what regional communities, like Cusco and Huaraz in Peru, can do about it.
The Times Herald
Elizabeth Dell
Thanks to Congresswoman Candice Miller for showing leadership on climate change solutions during her last days in office. Miller became the 16th Republican to co-sponsor House Resolution 424, a non-binding resolution recognizing the impacts of climate change and calling for Congress to work on solutions to reduce future risk. While the resolution expired with the end of the last Congress, it is expected to be reintroduced by another Republican sponsor. When it is, constituents of the 10th District should encourage Congressman Paul Mitchell to follow Miller’s lead. This resolution takes seriously the almost 100 percent consensus among scientists that our planet is warming at an unprecedented rate. It outlines numerous climate change impacts including extreme weather, wildfires, pollution related health problems, agricultural disruption, and finally, national security concerns. The latter were highlighted for me last fall, when I had the opportunity to spend time with Rear Adm. David Titley, U.S. Navy (ret.) when he visited Michigan to present about the national security risks of a changing climate. Titley, now director of the Penn State Center for Solutions to Weather and Climate Risk, said it’s fundamentally about people, water and change.
Julia Franz
2016 is a wrap — and with it, likely the hottest year ever recorded. Temperatures weren’t the only anomaly: Louisiana, for instance, saw floods so severe they should only happen every 1,000 years. According to Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Penn State University, the two events are related: “The bottom line here is that the atmosphere is warmer than it was, [meaning it] holds more moisture than it used to,” he says. “When conditions are conducive to rainfall, you’re going to get more of it.” But the heat can be drying, too. Just talk to ranchers in Texas or Oklahoma who recently suffered through the worst drought on record, Mann says, or look to the drought currently baking California: “For all those people, catastrophic climate change has already arrived.”
The Durango Herald
Seth Borenstein
With steamy nights, sticky days and torrential downpours, last year went down as one of the warmest and wildest weather years on record in the United States. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Monday that 2016 was the second hottest year in the U.S. as Alaska warmed dramatically and nighttime temperatures set a record. “The fact that the U.S. has seen the two warmest years (2012 and 2016) within the past five years cannot be explained by chance. It bears the fingerprint of human-caused climate change,” Pennsylvania State University climate scientist Michael Mann said in an email.
Lebanon Daily News
Merriell Moyer
- "Honey bees are in trouble," a pamphlet at the Pennsylvania State Beekeepers Association (PSBA) booth at the 2017 state farm show proclaimed. A former PSBA president reinforced that proclamation. The PSBA is also working with researchers on finding new nutritional sources for honey bees. "We are encouraging more pollinator gardens and crops, and Penn State's Center for Pollinator Research is doing a good job finding those things, and is trying to identify more of them," Vorisek said.