climate change

USGSBMIL Team

 MANHATTAN, Kansas — Ellen Welti has a Ph.D. in, essentially, grasshoppers.

And yet she was still mystified about why the number of grasshoppers in a long-protected and much-studied patch of Kansas prairie was dropping. Steadily. For 25 years.

After all, the grass that the springy bugs feast on had actually grown more robustly as it absorbed mounting levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

So why were the grasshoppers faring increasingly worse?

Kansas Highway Patrol Air Support Unit

WICHITA, Kansas — Utility companies in Kansas will soon have a new accounting tool that could speed the closure of coal-fired power plants — and save customers money.

The financial tool is known as securitization. It’s not a new idea, but it is complex. The Kansas Legislature passed a bill approving the use of the tool after more than two years of discussion.

Brian Grimmett / Kansas News Service

WICHITA, Kansas — Wind now cranks up more kilowatts than any other power source in the state.

Brian Grimmett / Kansas News Service

OVERLAND PARK, Kansas — Nearly 70 years ago in a newly formed suburb of Kansas City, Kansas City Power & Light Co. built what it thought was a vision of the future — an all-electric home full of the latest technology.

“It was advertised as the lazy man’s paradise,” said Johnson County Museum curator Andrew Gustafson.

Yale Program on Climate Change Communication

Climate change is at the root of this year’s extreme weather events, from the wild swings between flooding and drought in Kansas to larger hurricanes and some of the worst wildfires the West has seen.

And the majority of Americans are starting to take notice, according to the latest survey from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.

John Monteverdi via National Weather Service website

WICHITA, Kansas — Tornadoes aren’t forming at the same pace as usual this year, creating one of Kansas’ quietest storm seasons in recent memory.

Brian Grimmett / Kansas News Service

WICHITA, Kansas — As global carbon dioxide emissions break records, Kansas is headed in the opposite direction — reducing emissions for 10 straight years.

Kansas’ decline is largely due to the rapid adoption of wind energy and a slow move away from coal powered electricity. That is to say: Kansas produces less carbon dioxide, or CO2, the powerful greenhouse gas that’s released into the atmosphere when we burn fossil fuels and is a major driver of climate change.

Brian Grimmett / Kansas News Service

ST. JOHN, Kansas — Water — who gets to use it, when and how — sparks fights all over the world.

The latest battleground is in south-central Kansas, near the federally operated Quivira National Wildlife Refuge.

In its simplest form, it’s a clash between the refuge, which isn’t getting its legal share of water, and the local farmers who may be forced to cut back on how much water they use on their crops.

Chris Neal / For the Kansas News Service

The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism stands to lose millions of dollars after record spring rains led to park closures, property damage and washed-out roads.

Brian Grimmett / Kansas News Service

WICHITA, Kansas — This city’s buses all run on diesel.

They navigate Wichita streets with the distinctive rumble of their time-tested engines, belching the distinctive smell of diesel and a concoction of carbon monoxide, particulate matter and nitrogen oxides.

That exhaust clouds the air locally and adds to the greenhouse gases steadily transforming the climate globally.

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