Island on Fire (04:45): In 1783, a crack opened up in the Earth, began to spew out lava and ash and poisonous gases, and didn’t stop for eight months. The volcano was Laki, one of many volcanoes in Iceland, and the effects of the eruption went global. Laki’s story is one of geology, chemistry, atmospheric science, and biology. Co-host Beth Bartel talks with long-time science writers and co-authors Alexandra Witze and Jeff Kanipe about what we’ve learned from Laki and how we can apply the lessons of Laki today.
Volcanoes & the Atmosphere (start time 6:17): We’ve known for a long time that volcanic particles and gases can travel around the world, often affecting climate. The 1815 eruption of the Indonesian volcano Tambora chilled New England and Europe, resulting in what came to be known as “the year without a summer.” More recently, the 1991 eruption of Pinatubo in the Philippines cooled temperatures throughout the Northern Hemisphere by up to 0.6 degrees Celsius. Those were both sizable eruptions. Co-host Beth Bartel talks with Bill Randel, division director of the Atmospheric Chemistry Division at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, about what a mid-sized eruption in the horn of Africa can tell us about atmospheric circulation.
Traffic in Beijing (start time 15:13): A new study shows that China gets a gold medal for dramatically reducing carbon dioxide emissions during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Yes, that’s Beijing, one of the most polluted cities in the world. The new study shows that China severely restricted auto traffic in the city, leading to a major reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, it could be enough to make a dent in curbing climate change if similar efforts were to be made in cities around the world, and on a sustained basis. Co-host Susan Moran discuss the new paper and its implications with Helen Worden of the National Center of Atmospheric Research.
Hosts: Beth Bartel and Susan Moran Producer: Beth Bartel Engineer: Jim Pullen Additional contributions: Shelley Schlender Executive Producer: Susan Moran