Climate Science for Everyone: How scientists measure the carbon dioxide in 800,000 year old air

Update: To read other articles in this series, click here.

Climate scientists who study the history of the Earth’s climate (also known as paleoclimatologists) know that modern carbon dioxide levels are at their highest level in the last 800,000 years. They tell us this because they’ve been able to measure the carbon dioxide in air that is actually 800,000 years old. So how do they do that?

Scientists know how much carbon dioxide was in the air hundreds of thousands of years ago because they actually have small samples of ancient air stored in glacial ice. To get a feel for how this works, consider the following examples. Continue reading

Nota Bene #119: Think! It Ain't Illegal Yet

“My wife and I were happy for twenty years. Then we met.” Who said it? Continue reading

The winter jacket brrr-den

by Christopher Michel

If there’s one thing about Western New York winters I’ve found, it’s that the frigid season doesn’t just arrive all at once. Usually, winter takes a few false starts. For every one day of cold and a light snowfall there are several days of partly sunny skies and mild temperatures.

That kind of weather that makes for a difficult transition to winter mode.

For me, the switch to winter mode is marked by digging out the arctic attire from the back of the closet — the standard hat, gloves and jacket suited for -40 degree weather. Once the winter gear is in my outerwear circulation, it isn’t going anywhere for at least six months. Continue reading