Science and Innovation

Randall Babb / Arizona Game and Fish Department

The US Fish and Wildlife Service has downlisted a Colorado River fish from endangered to threatened. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports, the agency says the humpback chub is on its way to recovery.

Indigenous nations are at the frontlines of climate change, but they’re also leaders in how to adapt to changing weather conditions and transition to renewable energy. That’s the conclusion of a new report published by the Institute of Tribal Environmental Professionals at Northern Arizona University. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny spoke with two of the report’s authors, Nikki Cooley and Kelsey Morales.

NASA Johnson Space Center

Astronomers at Northern Arizona University are searching for a special kind of asteroid, and they want the public to help. “Active asteroids” are strange space rocks with tails, and they may hold clues about the origin of water on Earth. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny spoke with project lead Colin Orion Chandler about how citizens around the world are speeding up the process of finding these rare objects.

U.S. Forest Service, Coconino National Forest

More than five and a half million acres have burned in the U.S. this year. Wildfires have grown larger and more intense over the last few decades, in part because of the warmer temperatures brought on by global climate change. Residents in forest cities like Flagstaff increasingly have to prepare for evacuations, smoky days, and post-fire floods. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports, all that takes a toll on mental health.

University of Nevada-Las Vegas

The Colorado River Basin is enduring two decades of drought, and water shortages are on the horizon. But scientists say this isn’t the worst-case scenario. The region has undergone longer, deeper droughts in the past. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny spoke with paleoclimatologist Matt Lachniet of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas about how knowing the past can help us plan for a warmer, drier future.

University of Colorado-Boulder

A new study tackles the mystery of the missing rocks at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Scientists call this feature the Great Unconformity. It’s a billion-year-chunk of history that somehow eroded away, and now, scientists think they know why. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny spoke with geologist Barra Peak at the University of Colorado-Boulder about her findings.

Bridgestone Tires

Arizona will lose 18 percent of its Colorado River water allotment next year because of a shortage declared this week. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports, some Arizonans are looking ahead with concern to deeper cuts projected for the future as the river’s reservoirs continue to shrink.

U.S. Geological Survey

The astronomy community has lost a pioneer. Famed Flagstaff astronomer Carolyn Shoemaker passed away Friday at the age of ninety-two. She discovered more than thirty comets in her lifetime, and blazed a path for women in the sciences. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny spoke with her in 2017 about her unconventional journey into astronomy, and brings us this remembrance. 

National Park Service

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has declared a shortage on the Colorado River that will take effect at the start of next year. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports, the news comes as the river’s major reservoirs drop to historically low levels. 

Mike Elson/USFS Coconino National Forest

An above-average monsoon season has brought unpredictable storms and flash floods to parts of Northern Arizona. It’s difficult to forecast exactly when and where these storms will occur, but scientists at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University want to change that. They’re launching fleets of drones and weather balloons into newly forming storms in the Black Hills between Prescott and Sedona. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny spoke with earth scientist Ronny Schroeder about what he hopes to learn.