Most of the Perpetual Notion Machine’s listeners probably know that Earth Day, April 22, has come and gone with very little fanfare. But the purpose of Earth Day is no different now than when it was first created by Wisconsin’s own Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1970, to raise awareness of the threats to our natural environment. Back then, the threats were such things as mass pollution and air quality due to smog. Today, the biggest threat is probably climate change. PNM reporter Kai Brito wanted to learn how today’s ecologists study the impacts on today’s environment. His guest tonight is Ankur Desai from UW-Madison’s Dept. of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, who studies the interrelationship between the environment and the atmosphere under the pressure of climate change. Ankur leads a team of scientists in the Ecometeorology Lab, which continuously monitors specific sections of land over time and compares that, through computer modeling, with past historical data. Of several projects managed by the lab, Kai and Ankur discuss Project CHEESEHEAD19, a diverse variety of ecosystems in northern Wisconsin.
As far as Earth Day is concerned and despite a somewhat indifferent attitude from the public, Ankur is encouraged by a growing number of grassroots organizing to not only provide information on climate change, but also what actions to take. One such group from California that Ankur recommends to check out is Project Drawdown.
Also on tonight’s show PNM’ers Kelly Schwartz and Kevin Lauterjung present and discuss the latest science news.