KUNM

Drought's Impact On The Air We Breath

Sep 15, 2014

Credit andrea zeppilli via Flickr

Fri. 7/4 8a: The National Climate Assessment is out and, no surprise here, the US is still headed for disaster without major policy changes: “Summers are longer and hotter, and extended periods of unusual heat last longer while Winters are generally shorter and warmer.” Significantly, conditions in the Southwest, including New Mexico, are expected to progressively worsen. But what exactly does this mean for us and where do we stand with alternative energy sources?  Two Los Alamos scientists have been studying these very questions and join host Stephen Spitz with the answers. Dr. Nate McDowell is the lead experimenter on how drought and a warmer climate affect plants, particularly trees native to New Mexico. We know intense heat and lack of water kills trees, but which ones die first, how long does this take, and what will be the impact on overall plant life and agriculture?  Dr. Jose Olivares is perhaps the world’s leading expert on algae (pond scum) and will explain how climate change is expected to effect this plant’s production of the very air we breath as well as the major investment now underway into algae as a renewal bio-fuel. Produced with the assistance of Jefferson White.