Craig Richer 23, Jul 3 mins
3 mins
The Ritz Herald
Three Air National Guard C-130s await launch orders July 14, 2021, at CAL FIRE Air Tanker Base, McClellan Park, CA. © Senior Master Sgt. Paula Macomber
The Nevada Air National Guard's participation in the wildland firefighting mission in the West has been extended at the request of the National Interagency Fire Center.

The Nevada Air National Guard’s participation in the wildland firefighting mission in the West has been extended to Aug. 26 at the request of the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC).

Two additional C-130 aircraft and aircrew were added to the mission – one from the Wyoming Air National Guard and the other from the Air Force Reserve in Colorado – for a total of five military C-130 aircraft activated.

“The request for additional support shows just how challenging this fire season is and how critical our MAFFS aircraft, aircrews and maintenance personnel are to supporting NIFC,” said Col. Jeremy Ford, 152nd Airlift Wing commander. “These Airmen are dedicated to fighting these wildfires in order to protect and save lives and property of communities from the local area to multiple regional states.”

The Air Force C-130 aircraft assigned to units in California, Colorado, Nevada and Wyoming are capable of dropping fire retardant using U.S. Forest Service Modular Airborne Fire Fighting (MAFFS) equipped aircraft. Aircrews, maintenance crews and support personnel undergo special NIFC training and certification to perform these missions each year.

The 152nd Airlift Wing has two aircraft assisting and the California Air National Guard has one.

Since activating June 26, the Reno unit amassed 141 sorties, dropping 388,766 gallons totaling over 3.4 million pounds of retardant on fires throughout the West. The California Air National Guard’s planes have flown 64 sorties, dispensing 170,322 gallons or nearly 1.5 million pounds of retardant. Both units have helped fight 11 fires in Northern California.

All MAFFS units are requested by the commander of U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) to support the NIFC in wildland firefighting operations in the United States. First Air Force (Air Forces…






Removal of Barred Owls Slows Decline of Iconic Spotted Owls in Pacific Northwest
The Ritz Herald

A 17-year study in Oregon, Washington and California found that removal of invasive barred owls arrested the population decline of the northern spotted owl, a native species threatened by invading barred owls and the loss of old-forest habitats.

The conservation and management of northern spotted owls became one of the…

Team at Northern Arizona University Awarded $2M NSF Grant to Teach Virtual Explorers About Permafrost and Arctic Climate Change
The Ritz Herald

Scientists at Northern Arizona University, Arizona State University, the Arizona Geological Survey at the University of Arizona and the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado Boulder have been awarded almost $2 million from the National Science Foundation to develop a virtual reality teaching tool…

Wildfire Smoke Exposure Linked to Increased Risk of Contracting COVID-19
The Ritz Herald

Wildfire smoke may greatly increase susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, according to new research from the Center for Genomic Medicine at the Desert Research Institute (DRI), Washoe County Health District (WCHD), and Renown Health (Renown) in Reno, Nev.

In a study published earlier…

Nearly 20 Percent of Globally Important Intact Forest Landscapes Overlap With Concessions for Extractive Industries
The Ritz Herald

A new study from WCS and WWF reveals that nearly 20 percent of tropical Intact Forest Landscapes (IFLs) overlap with concessions for extractive industries such as mining, oil and gas. The total area of overlap is 376,449 square miles (975,000 square kilometers), about the size of Egypt. Mining concessions…

3 mins
© U.S. Department of Energy
The Ritz Herald
Argonne earned eight Technology Commercialization Fund awards, including multiple related to nuclear science and engineering projects

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced over $30 million in federal funding, matched by over $35 million in private sector funds, for 68 projects that will accelerate the commercialization of promising energy technologies — ranging from clean energy and advanced manufacturing, to building efficiency and next-generation materials.

DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory was awarded $4.15 million in federal funds, cost-shared by industry partners in California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Argonne’s eight projects include: processing materials for energy storage, processes to convert carbon dioxide to chemicals, improved simulation of industrial processes for increased safety and efficiency, and materials processing to produce fast-reactor fuel alloys.

The awards are supported by the Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF), which is managed by DOE’s Office of Technology Transitions.

President Biden is serious about making sure America corners the clean-energy market — and that means we need to work with our nation’s savviest entrepreneurs to fast-track solutions from DOE’s National Labs into commercial-ready technologies,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. ​These projects will help us deploy game-changing innovations that position us to win the clean-energy race, while creating jobs and opportunity across every pocket of the country.”

Argonne researchers whose projects…

5 mins
© Eddie Suh
The Ritz Herald
UCI study: Higher heat will limit ecosystem’s role in removing atmospheric CO2

To meet an ambitious goal of carbon neutrality by 2045, California’s policymakers are relying in part on forests and shrublands to remove CO2 from the atmosphere, but researchers at the University of California, Irvine warn that future climate change may limit the ecosystem’s ability to perform this service.

In a paper published in the American Geophysical Union journal AGU Advances, the UCI Earth system scientists stressed that rising temperatures and uncertain precipitation will cause a decrease in California’s natural carbon storage capacity of as much as 16 percent under an extreme climate projection and of nearly 9 percent under a more moderate scenario.

“This work highlights the conundrum that climate change poses to the state of California,” said lead author Shane Coffield, a UCI Ph.D. candidate in Earth system science. “We need our forests and other plant-covered areas to provide a ‘natural climate solution’ of removing carbon dioxide from the air, but heat and drought caused by the very problem we’re trying to solve could make it more difficult to achieve our objectives.”

Trees and plants draw CO2 from the atmosphere when they photosynthesize, and some of the carbon ends up stored in their biomass or the soil. California’s climate strategy depends…

New Argonne Study Puts Charge Into Drive for Sustainable Lithium Production
The Ritz Herald

An important new study by researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory has yielded critical fresh insights into the lithium production process and how it relates to long-term environmental sustainability, particularly in the area of transportation with batteries and electric vehicles.

The paper, “Energy, Greenhouse Gas,…

Pfister Energy Opens Regional Office in Colorado
The Ritz Herald

After nearly 20 years of developing, engineering, and constructing solar projects throughout the Northeast, Pfister Energy, a leading turnkey commercial, industrial, and utility-scale solar energy firm, is announcing the opening of a regional office in Denver, Colorado. This expansion will allow Pfister Energy to work directly with clients to…

ASPCA to Build Two New Animal Recovery Facilities for Victims of Cruelty and Neglect
The Ritz Herald

The ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) announces the development of two new animal rehabilitation and recovery centers to add to its current facilities providing much-needed care for abused and neglected cats and dogs. The facilities, which will open in Columbus, Ohio, and Pawling,…

Shark Week 2021: How Large Marine Predators Use the Twilight Zone to Thrive, and Survive
The Ritz Herald

Sharks are some of the largest fish in the ocean, known as apex predators, that steal the show in films, television and of course – shark week! For decades, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has studied the ways large marine predators (LMPs), like sharks, use the mesopelagic zone or…

6 mins
The Ritz Herald
A foreign tourist and a child wearing protection masks walk through Tiananmen Square in Beijing. © Andy Wong
A first-of-its-kind study that combines assessments of the risks of toxic and nontoxic emissions, and people’s vulnerability to them
By / Staff Writer

For more than 30 years, scientists on the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have focused on human-induced climate change. Their fifth assessment report led to the Paris Agreement in 2015 and, shortly after, a special report on the danger of global warming exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The Nobel Prize-winning team stressed that mitigating global warming “would make it markedly easier to achieve many aspects of sustainable development, with greater potential to eradicate poverty and reduce inequalities.”

In a first-of-its-kind study that combines assessments of the risks of toxic emissions (e.g., fine particulate matter), nontoxic emissions (e.g., greenhouse gases) and people’s vulnerability to them, University of Notre Dame postdoctoral research associate Drew (Richard) Marcantonio, doctoral student Sean Field (anthropology), Associate Professor of Political Science Debra Javeline and Princeton’s Agustin Fuentes (formerly of Notre Dame) found a strong and statistically significant relationship between the spatial distribution of global climate risk and toxic pollution. In other words, countries that are most at risk of the impacts of climate change are most often also the countries facing the highest risks of toxic pollution.

They also measured other variables, including the correlation of the spatial distribution of toxic environments, total mortality due to pollution and climate risk, and they found a strong interconnection. They write in their in their forthcoming PLOS paper, “Global distribution and coincidence of pollution, climate impacts, and health risk in the Anthropocene”: “Deaths resulting from toxic…


Actions in Coming Decade Will Determine Whether Coral Reefs Survive
An international group of researchers representing thousands of coral scientists
Marvel Hero Genesis Butler Says: Don’t Bulldoze LA’s Ballona Wetlands!
Marvel’s new superhero, 14-year-old Genesis Butler, great grandniece of civil
Removal of Barred Owls Slows Decline of Iconic Spotted Owls in Pacific Northwest
A 17-year study in Oregon, Washington and California found that
Hurricane Hunters Wrap Up Tropical Storm Elsa Reconnaissance
The Ritz Herald

The Air Force Reserve’s 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron Hurricane Hunters wrapped up their aerial reconnaissance efforts for Tropical Storm Elsa, July 7, after the storm made landfall on the northwest coast of Florida.

The 53rd WRS, which is assigned to the 403rd Wing, is the only…

Field Biologists and NASA Planes to Map Biodiversity in South Africa’s Greater Cape Floristic Region
The Ritz Herald

Scientists from the U.S. and South Africa are launching a campaign to map marine, freshwater, and terrestrial species and ecosystems in one of Earth’s biodiversity hotspots: the Greater Cape Floristic Region at the southwestern edge of South Africa.

NASA will fly planes over the area for six weeks in 2023…

Study Finds an Oil Spill in the Canadian Arctic Could Be Devastating for the Environment and Indigenous Peoples
The Ritz Herald

The growing rate of ice melt in the Arctic due to rising global temperatures has opened up the Northwest Passage (NWP) to more ship traffic, increasing the potential risk of an oil spill and other environmental disasters. A new study published in the journal Risk…

8 mins
© Francesco Ungaro
The Ritz Herald
Biodiversity, climate change and the fate of coral reefs

An international group of researchers representing thousands of coral scientists across the globe is calling for new commitments and actions by the world’s policymakers to protect and restore coral reefs.

In a paper presented at the International Coral Reef Symposium, the scientists said that the coming decade will likely offer the last chance for policymakers at all levels to prevent coral reefs “from heading towards world-wide collapse.”

The paper, developed by the International Coral Reef Society, pushes for three strategies to save the reefs: addressing climate change, improving local conditions and actively restoring coral.

“The model projections show that up to 30% of coral reefs will persist through this century if we limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius,” said Andréa Grottoli, distinguished professor of earth sciences at The Ohio State University, society president and a contributing author of the paper.

“But if we are to limit warming to 1.5 degrees, we have to do it now: The science and the models show that we have only a few years left to reduce carbon dioxide emissions that put us on that path. It has to happen this decade, or we won’t make that target.”




Marvel Hero Genesis Butler Says: Don’t Bulldoze LA’s Ballona Wetlands!

Di Angelis / RH
Marvel’s new superhero, 14-year-old Genesis Butler, great grandniece of civil rights activist Cesar Chavez, is speaking up for thousands of LA’s wild animals, at the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve, threatened
The Salvation Army Prepares to Serve as 2021 Hurricane Season Begins
The Ritz Herald

The Salvation Army is prepared to help survivors and first responders in vulnerable areas of the United States as the 2021 hurricane season becomes increasingly active. At this moment in Florida and other states along the East Coast, Tropical Storm Elsa threatens to bring localized flooding, high winds, and…

Report Details American Humane’s Global Efforts in Protecting World’s Animals During Pandemic Year
The Ritz Herald

American Humane, the country’s first national humane organization, has released its annual Impact Report, detailing major accomplishments made over the past 12 months in furthering its 144-year-old work in ensuring the safety, welfare and well-being of animals, as well as promoting and nurturing the life-changing, life-saving bonds between animals…

Earth’s Cryosphere Shrinking by 87,000 Square Kilometers Per Year
The Ritz Herald

The global cryosphere–all of the areas with frozen water on Earth–shrank by about 87,000 square kilometers (about 33,000 square miles), an area about the size of Lake Superior, per year on average, between 1979 and 2016 as a result of climate change, according to a new study. This research is…