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In the Media

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.”
Reading Eagle
Marylouise Sholly
If you've ever wondered if a turtle has ears, Matt Marsden would be your go-to guy. Marsden is an environmental educator with the Shaver's Creek Environmental Center of Penn State University. Educators from the center are presenting programs every day at the Pennsylvania Farm Show to explain the center's goals and programs, and, hopefully, foster a greater appreciation of the natural world. The Center will hold a program at 2 p.m. Saturday on the Main Floor.
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.
Caroline Newman
Amid uncertainty about how President-elect Donald Trump's administration will address climate change and the Paris Agreement struck last spring, many of those concerned about climate change are debating how to move forward, both within and outside the political arena. Thomas Bateman, a professor of management in the University of Virginia's McIntire School of Commerce, offers insight into leadership strategies that are not only effective, but required when facing big, complex issues like climate change. Bateman, who directs the Commerce School's leadership minor, studies proactivity and what it takes to accomplish extremely long-term goals – those that may take decades or even a century to reach. Along with former UVA environmental science professor Michael Mann, now Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science and director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University, he co-wrote a paper, "The Supply of Climate Leaders Must Grow," recently published in the academic journal Nature Climate Change.
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.
SF Gate
Brian King, Pennsylvania State University
The potential withdrawal of the United States from the Paris climate agreement has broad implications for society and the environment. While much attention has concentrated upon melting glaciers, rising sea levels and conflicts over scarce resources, another area represents a major cause for concern: human health. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), global climate change has direct health impacts tied to changes in the frequency of extreme weather events including heat, drought and intense rain. Additionally, increasing temperatures alter ecosystem dynamics, making it easier for mosquitoes and other organisms to come into contact with human populations and spread infectious disease (Smith et al. 2014).
The Guardian
Laura Secorun
Tall, spindly and grey, croton trees grow everywhere in Kenya. Although they tend to be used for little more than firewood or shade, their nuts turn out to be an excellent source of biofuel. This overlooked plant could be the answer to Africa’s growing demand for cheap, low-carbon energy. Kenya currently imports all of its oil and, while some rural communities can barely afford to buy diesel for their water pumps, car exhausts in the capital Nairobi are causing dangerous levels of air pollution. “Croton has a lot of potential as a sustainable fuel,” says Michael Jacobson, chair of the forest ecosystem management programme at Penn State University.
The New York Times
Kenneth Chang
In a few years, you could be eating the next generation of genetically altered foods — potatoes that do not turn brown or soybeans with a healthier mix of fatty acids. And you may have no idea that something is different, because there may be no mention on the labeling even after a law passed by Congress last year to disclose genetically modified ingredients takes effect. A new generation of crops known as gene-edited rather than genetically modified is coming to the market. Created through new tools that snip and tweak DNA at precise locations, they, at least for now, largely fall outside of current regulations. Other companies also developing gene-edited crops including DuPont Pioneer, which has used the technology for a new variety of waxy corn, used most commonly not for food but for starch in adhesives. Scientists at Pennsylvania State University have used Crispr to create mushrooms that do not turn brown as quickly.
Lancaster Farming
Virginia Ishler
The summer and fall of 2016 will go down as one of the driest and hottest stretches on record for some parts of Pennsylvania. Many dairy producers had their lowest crop yields in decades, and I have heard of homeowners whose springs or wells dried up. Some dairy farmers will have to purchase hay for the first time while others had to harvest all of their corn as silage.
EDM Digest
Glynn Cosker
From climate-change contrarians to the mostly highly regarded scientists, most agree that humans don’t have a precise understanding of how global warming will impact everyday living in the next few decades. President-elect Donald Trump’s nomination for secretary of state, ExxonMobil chief executive Rex Tillerson, is among the high-profile voices who have espoused the idea that climate change will be manageable. They downplay scientists who warn of catastrophic effects from Earth’s rising temperatures, insisting that new technologies and good planning are better than what they see as unreasonable laws based on less than rock-solid long-term projections from climate researchers. “The real scientific debate at this point is not about if but about where, when and how bad,” said Michael Mann, co-author of the report and director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University.
Jeffrey Allen
On Dec. 8, 2016, 23 fourth-year architecture students of Pennsylvania State University met with representatives of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, Lycoming County, and officials and citizens of the Borough of Muncy, Pennsylvania.
Tech Times
Ted Ranosa
A fungal disease known to kill millions of bats in North America can now be tracked using a newly identified fungus-infecting virus. In a study featured in the journal PLOS Pathogens, researchers from Pennsylvania State University discussed how they were able to identify a virus harbored by the Pseudogymnoascus destructans fungus.
Centre Daily Times
Sarah Rafacz
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced federal funding Wednesday for 88 high-impact projects across the country, and some of that money is coming to central Pennsylvania. The funding is part of the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program, according to the USDA’s website. In Pennsylvania, money will go toward improving soil health and reducing water pollution on farms in Clinton, Centre and Lycoming counties, according to a press release from Chesapeake Bay Foundation in Pennsylvania. CBF will collaborate with Penn State, the Pennsylvania No-Till Alliance, Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture, conservation districts in the three counties and other partners, according to the release.
Andrew Freeman
Right now, a team of about 30 researchers are sailing through the turbulent waters of the Southern Ocean aboard an Australian research vessel named the "Aurora Australis," hoping to collect vital intelligence on East Antarctic glaciers. Their work on prior missions has already revealed some unsettling results. The information these scientists gathered during the Antarctic summer of 2014 and 2015 makes clear that glaciers and ice shelves in East Antarctica are vulnerable to some of the same forces that appear to have set into motion an irreversible melt of parts of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet in the Amundsen Sea. Richard Alley, an ice sheet expert at Penn State University who was not involved with the new study, said the research confirmed the predictions and hypotheses from the researchers. "[It's] worth pointing out that this is real science," he said in an email, "with predictions/hypotheses and confirmation."
Pittsburgh Business Times
Lydia Nuzum
Thomas Bartnik has been named director of the The Penn State Center Pittsburgh, succeeding retiring Deno DeCiantis effective Jan. 1. Bartnik most recently served as executive director at Pittsburgh Green Innovators. A certified urban planner and LEED accredited professional, Bartnik also served as director of planning and design at the Community Design Center of Pittsburgh.
Maria Gallucci
U.S. climate scientists say they worry the incoming Trump administration might do more than cut off their research funding. Some also fear they could receive personal attacks and death threats simply for doing their jobs. Michael Mann, a climate researcher at Penn State University, said he knows exactly what that's like.
The Washington Post
Michael Mann
My Penn State colleagues looked with horror at the police tape across my office door. I had been opening mail at my desk that afternoon in August 2010 when a dusting of white powder fell from the folds of a letter. I dropped the letter, held my breath and slipped out the door as swiftly as I could, shutting it behind me. First I went to the bathroom to scrub my hands. Then I called the police.
Public Opinion
Jim Hook
A Penn State researcher has verified volunteer efforts by Pennsylvania farmers to clean up the Chesapeake Bay. "They have put a lot of their dollars and resources into conservation, so they should get credit for that," said Matthew Royer, director of the Penn State Agriculture and Environment Center, who oversaw the survey project.
A new concept in energy harvesting could capture energy that is currently mostly wasted due to its characteristic low frequency and use it to power next-generation electronic devices. In a project funded by electronics giant Samsung, a team of Penn State materials scientists and electrical engineers has designed a mechanical energy transducer based on flexible organic ionic diodes that points toward a new direction in scalable energy harvesting of unused mechanical energy in the environment, including wind, ocean waves and human motion.
Centre Daily Times
Michael Mann
My Penn State colleagues looked with horror at the police tape across my office door. I had been opening mail at my desk that afternoon in August 2010 when a dusting of white powder fell from the folds of a letter. I dropped the letter, held my breath and slipped out the door as swiftly as I could, shutting it behind me. First I went to the bathroom to scrub my hands. Then I called the police.