We came back with a boatload of video from 2 types of drone UAV platforms – fixed wing and helo designs.

The fixed wing was very successful in performing look-down measurements of reflectivity following a grid over experimental plots where different types of microbial growth were being observed by biologist Dr. Marek Stibal, and flying “transects” along east and west lines from camp.

The copter was the choice for low level, low wind conditions, especially for following streams and investigating moulins where safety concerns made human eyeballing impossible.

Here are some examples of the different characteristics of the drones. I’m sure to be working these into more fully produced videos in coming months, but I know many readers will appreciate the immediacy of the raw videos.



Yeah, it’s an Apple ad. Pretty informative, and inspiring one, though.

Description from PBS Newshour:

When holes opened up in the earth recently in Siberia, a wave of speculation was set off as to their cause. Scientists are now pinpointing a dramatic increase in arctic thawing, which may have released methane once trapped below the frozen ground. For a better understanding, Judy Woodruff talks to Tom Wagner of NASA.

I’m very proud of my association with Yale Climate Connections – formerly the Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media – so this week’s good news has me stoked.

The organization has launched a 5-day-per-week, 90 second radio spot on 38 NPR stations, featuring the voicing of Tony Leiserowitz and stories from the various Yale contributors.  I haven’t had time to help out much yet due to this summer’s commitments, but hope to be pitching in in coming weeks.

Here’s an example of the first week’s offerings, above, and the web story associated with it. They decided to lead with a “solutions” story, which I think was a good choice.

Yale Climate Connections:

Environmentalists and Tea Partiers are frequently at odds with each other, but in Georgia, they sometimes dance to the same tune. For example, the Sierra Club and the Atlanta Tea Party recently joined forces to fight for the right of homeowners with rooftop solar to sell their homegrown electricity to the Georgia Power Company. The Sierra Club supports solar energy because it’s good for the environment. For Debbie Dooley, co-founder of the Atlanta Tea Party, it’s about the free market and consumer choice.

DOOLEY: “Decentralized energy empowers the people. So we began to work together.”

The two groups partnered again when the utility proposed charging people with solar panels more to access the electrical grid. And, by working together, they won again.

DOOLEY: “We’ve had a great working relationship…it forces people to actually stop and think…if these groups from opposite ends of the spectrum believe the same way, then we believe it has some merit.”

It takes two to tango. In Georgia, the Sierra Club and the Tea Party worked together to empower individual Georgia consumers and advance the clean energy economy. Their partnership was so successful that they’ve since formed “The Green Tea Coalition.” I’m Anthony Leiserowitz.

Climate Connections is produced by the Yale Center for Environmental Communication. Learn more at http://www.YaleClimateConnections.org.

Reporting credits: Bud Ward and ChavoBart Digital Media.
Photo: Debbie Dooley


Some groups have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars using helicopters and gyrostabilized cameras, to peer into the inner maw of Greenland’s mysterious Moulins, places where surface water plunges deep within the ice cap.

The Dark Snow Project, lacking those resources, made due with a scrap aluminum pole,  an improvised drone vehicle, and a couple of GoPros.

Jason Box on DarkSnow.org:

We managed 26 UAV missions that fill the intermediate scale between our point measurements and that from satellite. Marek delivered a heavy box of ice samples to Copenhagen. On camp for most days, Karen developed a regular 2 day routine that has delivered for example 2,262 spectral reflectance point measurements as part of 29 surveys. The count of microbiological cell counts is staggering.
Coptering over moulins produced some video useful in communicating a video we call “follow the water” I presented at the AGU in 2013 and that will appear soon as a from Peter Sinclair. Several videos are in production to be shared in coming days, weeks, months.


In stark contrast to their party’s public stance on Capitol Hill, many Republicans privately acknowledge the scientific consensus that human activity is at least partially responsible for climate change and recognize the need to address the problem.

However, they see little political benefit to speaking out on the issue, since congressional action is probably years away, according to former congressmen, former congressional aides and other sources.

In Bloomberg BNA interviews with several dozen former senior congressional aides, nongovernmental organizations, lobbyists and others conducted over a period of several months, the sources cited fears of attracting an electoral primary challenger as one of the main reasons many Republicans choose not to speak out.

Most say the reluctance to publicly support efforts to address climate change has grown discernibly since the 2010 congressional elections, when Tea Party-backed candidates helped the Republican Party win control of the House, in part by targeting vulnerable Democrats for their support of legislation establishing a national emissions cap-and-trade system.

“Climate change needs to be in the mix of all of our other discussions,” former Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-Ohio), who represented his Ohio district from 1995 through 2013 in the House and is now president of McDonald Hopkins Government Strategies, told Bloomberg BNA. “I do think privately—and some not so privately—Republicans are coming to the point where this has been an issue that’s been pretty much settled with regard to the science. A lot of it has to do with people calming down and saying let’s have a conversation.”

Former House and Senate aides faulted both the Tea Party and environmental groups for making it nearly impossible for thoughtful Republicans to speak out on climate change.

Several former senior committee aides, who did not want to be identified so that they could speak freely, said the environmental movement has become partisan since the 1980s, and Republicans receive little support from groups if they take pro-environment positions.

“Republicans don’t gain votes or positive recognition from environmentalists but [they] do alienate their base when they vote green,” one former Republican Senate aide said. “So, it’s not surprising that most Republicans don’t spend a lot of time talking about climate change.”

Sunlight Foundation:

The Environmental Defense Action Fund, a politically-active nonprofit, has made waves this cycle fortrashing Republican Senate challengers in sharply-worded ads. Now, the group is wading into a much-watched congressional race in New York’s 19th District on behalf of Republican incumbentChris Gibson. EDF’s latest ad praises Gibson for “fighting to stop climate change by preserving common sense limits on air pollution.”

The ad cites four Gibson votes on environmental legislation this year, including one in which the two-term lawmaker was the only member of his party to oppose a measure aimed at barring the Energy Department from studying climate change. Gibson was also the lone Republican House member to oppose a measure to block the Environmental Protection Agency from imposing tougher restrictions on carbon emissions.

Ad documents collected by Political Ad Sleuth show the group has bought $25,000 worth of air time at broadcast stations in Binghamton and Utica. EDAF will run ads there from Thursday through Aug. 20.

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More from my interview with Brewster MacCracken of Austin’s Pecan Street Project.