Climate Change

SD Scientists Welcome Renewable Research Boost

Dec 7, 2015

World leaders are meeting in Paris to hash out a new agreement on the best way to deal with climate change.   As part of the effort President Barak Obama announced a doubling in funding for renewable energy research.   
This could have a direct impact on on-going research into new biofuels in South Dakota.
South Dakota School of Mines and Technology Professor Jim Stone is part of a team of scientists researching the potential for oil seeds as a renewable fuel crop.

Dakota Midday: Solarize South Dakota

Nov 17, 2015
Charles Michael Ray

In this segment SDPB’s Charles Michael Ray speaks with Don Kelly an advocate for more home based renewable energy.  He’s one of those behind an effort called Solarize South Dakota that is backed by the group Dakota Rural Action.   Kelly lives in an all solar home that is off the grid in the Black Hills.

Dakota Midday: BH Power VP On Clean Power Plan

Nov 10, 2015
Black Hills Power

We’re continuing a series of interviews on energy and the environment with a conversation with Vance Crocker Vice President of Operations for Black Hills Power.

Last week we heard from Dr. Bull Bennett  an author of the Third National Climate Assessment on the necessity to deal with global warming.

U.S. Department of Energy

Dr. Bull Bennett is one of the lead authors of the Third National Climate Assessment and a PhD graduate from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.  Bennett now runs Kiksapa Consulting LLC based in North Dakota.

A member of the Mi'kmaq Tribe of Maine, Bennett recently spoke at the School of Mines and Technology about the impact climate change has on indigenous nations and water resources.

Thune, Pope May Be At Odds Over Climate Change

Sep 9, 2015
John Thune

Pope Francis is set to give an historic address before a joint session of congress near the end of this month.   Given his recent statement on climate change and the environment it’s possible he will touch on this issue when speaking before lawmakers.  The pope says countries like the United States have to do more to reduce the impacts of climate change. He says too often the focus is on profit rather than protecting the environment.   


Over a 35 year period, the length of forest fire seasons worldwide increased by nearly nineteen percent. That’s according to a study co-authored by South Dakota State University professor and wildfire expert Mark Cochrane. He was part of a team that researched weather data from 1979 to 2013 to determine the impact changing climate has had on forest ecosystems.

Persistence Yields Fossils, Holds Mystery

Jun 19, 2015
Charles Michael Ray

Persistence Cave in Wind Cave National Park is yielding a trove of fossils that are shedding light on the distant past in the Black Hills.

The deeper parts of the cave may also contain large caverns yet to be explored.

But, anyone who wants to dig fossils inside Persistence Cave is going to get muddy.  

Four years ago researchers in Antarctica completed drilling a nearly 11,000 foot column of ice. It's the second deepest ice core ever drilled and the longest ever done by U.S. scientists. Some of the ice is up to 100,000 years old. Researchers have been studying the gas bubbles trapped in the ancient polar ice to get answers to key questions about past climate changes.

A report published last week in Science Advances predicts extended and severe drought for the American Southwest and central Great Plains. The analysis says the drought will be the worst in nearly 1,000 years with drying even more extreme than previously predicted. According to the study, the drought period is expected to begin between 2050 and 2100.

Photo by Victoria Wicks

On this changing planet, temperatures are rising along with the population. The result is a greater need

for resources at a time when availability of food, water, and land are shrinking.

School of Mines and Technology Professor P.V. Sundareshwar has been serving as climate change advisor with the Africa bureau of USAID.

Photo by Victoria Wicks

Discussions of climate change in the United States often turn focus on China and India, two developing countries whose huge populations require massive energy generation. But an atmospheric scientist tells SDPB’s Victoria Wicks that those countries are factoring climate change into their plans for progress, and the United States would be well served to do likewise.

A small Rapid City audience heard from a panel of scientists Monday night after watching a documentary on climate change activism. The film, Disruption, pushes for take-it-to-the-streets protest and drummed up advance interest in the global People’s Climate March that happened September 21st. But scientists tell SDPB’s Victoria Wicks that effective solutions have to be more concrete.

Climate Change

Apr 18, 2014

Dr. John Stamm with the United States Geological Survey in Rapid City spoke with Charles Michael Ray about his presentation at the annual Western South Dakota Hydrology Conference earlier this month about climate change. To view the final draft of the April 2014 IPCC report, go to:

Victoria Wicks

A family doctor from Bayside, California, is pedaling with her husband across the United States to call attention to the negative health effects of climate change. Wendy Ring stopped off in Rapid City to speak with a class to a couple of groups before continuing her journey that ends at Washington D.C. For today’s Dakota Digest, SDPB’s Victoria Wicks caught up with Ring at Oglala Lakota College’s Rapid City campus.
OUTTRO: A link for more information on Dr. Wendy Ring’s trip and to follow her journey


Obama's Climate Efforts In South Dakota

Jun 26, 2013

Federal officials are outlining efforts underway in each state to combat climate change.   Officials say South Dakota has seen direct impacts from the changing climate.   

The move follows President Barack Obama’s announcement on new efforts to curb global warming.   

SDPB’s Charles Michael Ray has more.

Victoria Wicks

The United States needs a strong national energy policy but nationally, we can’t seem to agree on whether it’s hot or cold. This constant bickering and nitpicking blocks the nation from taking meaningful action. Meanwhile, earlier this month, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere hit a level higher than it has for millions of years. For today’s Dakota Digest, SDPB’s Victoria Wicks listens to the noise of the national debate and brings it home with a couple of South Dakota voices.

Climate change, global warming, greenhouse effect—people can't even agree on the terminology. Whatever it’s called, conventional wisdom in the United States tells us it’s a liberal issue, that conservatives don’t believe human activity has much to do with it.

But it’s not all that simple, even here in the red state of South Dakota. A few conservative voices have emerged over the years to support taking action to prevent or mitigate the effects of human activity on the earth’s climate.

Corps Keeps River Releases In "Normal" Range For Now

Jan 3, 2013

The Missouri River is going from one extreme to another.

2012 State's Hottest Year On Record

Dec 8, 2012

2012 is on track to be the hottest year on record in South Dakota.  

Climatologists say this year is looking to be even hotter than the previous heat records set during the Dust Bowl of the 1930’s.

Listen here for more.

Extreme Weather Hits Insurance Companies

Oct 14, 2012

Does it seem like there has been more extreme weather lately?   The Insurance Industry says yes.  Industry regulators say the payout on claims for wind and hail damage to homes and businesses in South Dakota has increased in recent years – so much so that some premiums are going up.  SDPB’s Charles Michael Ray found out that the insurance industry is reevaluating its risks due to extreme weather.

Army Corps Records Record Low Month on Missouri River

Oct 4, 2012

The Mighty Mo is not immune to drought. This September showed the lowest inflow on record for the Missouri River. This record low follows last year’s record flooding. 

This year the corps is continuing normal fall releases out of the main stream dams to support the full eight-month season of barge traffic downstream. Jody Farhat is with the Army Corps of Engineers.  She says  the Corps is still prepared for a worst case scenario.