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Category Archives: Geeky Science Stuff

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What We Are Reading November 13, 2014: U.S./China Carbon Emissions Agreement Edition

Posted in Clean Energy, Climate Change, Emerging Policy, Energy Conservation, Energy Policy, Geeky Science Stuff

There is so much that caught my eye this week that I couldn’t make it to Friday before putting this list up. First, on the energy policy front, I’d be remiss in not highlighting President Obama’s agreement with China with respect to carbon emissions. The internet and social media are awash in analysis and commentary… Continue Reading

What We Are Reading November 7, 2014: More Election Fallout, Peak Coal in China, and Salmon

Posted in Clean Energy, Emerging Policy, Geeky Science Stuff

This week’s “what we are reading” naturally has an election theme: First, I briefly touched on the threat the Republican takeover of the Senate poses to the President’s Clean Power Plan in my reaction to the elections on Tuesday. This article over at Scientific American (reprinted from Environment & Energy Publishing) goes into much more… Continue Reading

Ecology Releases Preliminary Draft Rule Adjusting Washington’s Water Quality Standards to Account for Higher Fish Consumption Rates

Posted in Clean Water Act, Emerging Policy, Fish Consumption, Geeky Science Stuff, Public Health Policy, Water Quality

As directed by Governor Inslee back in July, the Washington Department of Ecology released a preliminary draft rule that will ultimately lead to the amendment of Washington’s Water Quality Standards for toxics. This is the next step in a multi-year process under which Washington is adjusting its WQS to account for a higher fish consumption… Continue Reading

What We Are Reading, September 26: Climate Change, Fires, and the DJC’s Environmental Outlook

Posted in Climate Change, Geeky Science Stuff, Uncategorized

With this week being the week that world leaders met in New York for the United Nations Climate Summit 2014, our “what we are reading” update naturally focuses on climate issues. First, researchers here in Seattle published a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that concludes the ~0.5 to 1 degree… Continue Reading

What We Are Reading on Friday, August 29th: Elwha River Dam Removal, Science Advice to Governments, Coal Export Developments, and More

Posted in Emerging Policy, Energy Policy, Geeky Science Stuff, Ocean Acidification, Project Permitting

Here is a quick roundup of what has caught my eye this week. First, the last 30 feet of the Glines Canyon Dam on the Elwha River was removed in a spectacular blast at 4:12 pm on Tuesday. John Gussman, “Return of the River” filmmaker, documented the blast:

Friday Morning Link Roundup: Pebble Mine 404(c) Restrictions; Survey Shows Majority of Washingtonians Support Coal Exports and Oil by Rail; Sierra Club Petitions to Ban DOT-111 Rail Cars; Science Communication in the Media and Risk Assessment Explained

Posted in Emerging Policy, Energy Policy, Environmental Risk, Geeky Science Stuff, Public Health Policy

Here is the roundup of what has caught my eye over the past week: EPA’s Pebble Mine 404(c) Restrictions First, EPA released its Proposed Determination under Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act¬†(CWA) for the Pebble Deposit Area in Southwest Alaska this morning. The executive summary of the proposed determination is here. In brief, EPA… Continue Reading

What Can Washington Learn from Plastics in the Pacific and Mercury in the Midwest?

Posted in Clean Water Act, Emerging Policy, Environmental Risk, Fish Consumption, Geeky Science Stuff, Public Health Policy, Water Quality

Two different scientific papers caught my eye this past week. Neither involve research conducted in the Pacific Northwest, but both are worth reviewing in light of the fish consumption debate raging in Washington right now. The first is an upcoming article¬†by a group of Spanish researchers in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences… Continue Reading

Fact Check: Are Carbon Emissons Contributing to Acid Rain?

Posted in Clean Water Act, Emerging Policy, Geeky Science Stuff, Ocean Acidification, Water Quality

This morning’s twitter feed brought me the latest from Crosscut on Governor Inslee’s Carbon Emissions Reduction Taskforce. The most important part of the article was the announcement that the next Taskforce meeting (on July 29th) will include a rollout of a draft plan to meet the goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the state… Continue Reading

Guest Post from Integral Consulting: Integral Continues the Conversation Related to Doug’s Posts on Fish Consumption Rates

Posted in Clean Water Act, Emerging Policy, Environmental Risk, Fish Consumption, Geeky Science Stuff, Guest Posts, Water Quality

Note: This is the second guest post by Integral on this subject, it is also worth reviewing their prior post from February on this topic. In addition to the updated national recommended water quality criteria discussed by Doug on May 20, EPA has recently released another document with implications for selection of an appropriate fish… Continue Reading

What an Astronaut Can Teach Us about Risk Communication: Chris Hadfield’s TED Talk and Lessons for Assessing Environmental Risk

Posted in Emerging Policy, Geeky Science Stuff

I watched Commander Chis Hadfield’s TED talk this weekend. He is an astronaut that gave a very compelling talk on perception of risk and how humans respond to that risk, and how we can condition ourselves to change that response. If you haven’t seen it, it is absolutely worth 18 minutes of your life. He… Continue Reading

Particulate Emissions from Trains in Washington: A Cause for Concern?

Posted in Clean Air Act, Emerging Policy, Environmental Risk, Geeky Science Stuff

Last week, Dan Jaffe’s atmospheric research group at the University of Washington released the results of a study of particulate emissions associated with rail traffic here in Seattle and along the Columbia River. That study was motivated by the controversy over coal exports, and was funded by contributions from the Sierra Club and through crowdfunding…. Continue Reading

Guest Post: Integral Consulting’s Perspective on Washington’s Current Water Quality Standard Rulemaking Efforts

Posted in Clean Water Act, Emerging Policy, Environmental Risk, Geeky Science Stuff, Guest Posts, Water Quality

Note from Doug Steding: This post came about when Randi Wexler from Integral Consulting Inc. sent me an email saying they were working on a comment to one of my previous fish consumption posts. Integral has been tracking this issue closely for a number of years, and I was excited to be able to offer… Continue Reading

Elwha Dam Removal Update, February 2014: What Remains of the Dams?

Posted in Emerging Policy, Endangered/Threatened Species, Geeky Science Stuff, Natural Resources and Environment

It has been a while since my last dam removal update, and there is a lot to report. At the one year mark (September 2012), the lower dam had already been removed. Since that time, the area surrounding the dam has continued to be re-vegetated and the difference between September 2011 and September 2013 is… Continue Reading

(Almost) Live Blogging: Ecology’s Delegates Table Meeting on Water Quality Criteria Revisions to Account for Higher Fish Consumption Rates

Posted in Clean Water Act, Emerging Policy, Fish Consumption, Geeky Science Stuff, Water Quality

I spent much of this morning listening in on the Department of Ecology’s latest Delegates’ Table meeting regarding the ongoing efforts to revise Washington’s Water Quality Standards to account for higher fish consumption rates. The meeting included an update on where Ecology is in the process, Ecology’s current thinking on where the rule making may… Continue Reading

Recent Developments in Acoustic Telemetry Studies of Salmonid Migration–Geeky Science Stuff Friday

Posted in Emerging Policy, Endangered/Threatened Species, Geeky Science Stuff, Project Permitting, SEPA

I’ve read a couple fascinating studies applying acoustic telemetry to salmonid migration here in the Pacific Northwest, and thought those would be good to share for a Friday morning link dump: First, and filed under geeky science stuff, ecologists from the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have published a paper detailing their work… Continue Reading

More on Ocean Acidification: My Summary of the IGBP, IOC, and SCOR’s Summary for Policymakers and Implications for the Pacific Northwest

Posted in Climate Change, Emerging Policy, Energy Policy, Geeky Science Stuff, Ocean Acidification, Shellfish Industry, Sustainability

The International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC-UNESCO), and the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR) released their paper summarizing the results of its Third Symposium on the Ocean in a High-CO2 World this week. This document summarizes the results of a conference held in Monterey, California in September 2012, is aimed at… Continue Reading

Ocean Acidification and Science Communication: The Seattle Time’s “Sea Change” Series and Cliff Mass’s Critique

Posted in Climate Change, Emerging Policy, Geeky Science Stuff, Ocean Acidification, Shellfish Industry, Water Quality

If you follow the Seattle Times, or ocean acidification as an emerging issue, you’ve likely seen Craig Welch’s “Sea Change” series published last month, a series that is impressive in terms of scope and depth of coverage of the issue of ocean acidification, with its possible impacts on marine life and our economy. I’ve been… Continue Reading

Link Roundup: Ocean Acidification Update, Robotic Buoys to Help the Shellfish Industry, Plastic Cleanup in the North Pacific

Posted in Emerging Policy, Geeky Science Stuff, Ocean Acidification, Shellfish Industry, Water Quality

My Wednesday afternoon update has a strong focus on oceans: First, Craig Welch at the Seattle Times had a great piece out last week that summarizes the evolving understanding of ocean acidification and the impacts to the shellfish industry, along with one Willapa Bay oyster grower’s efforts to mitigate those impacts. For those of you… Continue Reading

The Value of Remote Sensing: Bird Migrations, Coal Combustion Cooling, and Wildfires (Monday Morning Link Dump)

Posted in Geeky Science Stuff

Here is my Monday morning link dump. File all of this under geeky science stuff: First, Cliff Mass, our local weather guru, does annual posts around this time of year on using weather radar to track bird migrations. This year’s post is particularly interesting because he discusses some of the weather dynamics we’ve had lately… Continue Reading