LOS ANGELES, Oct. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- With reports and interviews from the beaches of southern Florida, the glacier fields of Greenland, the coastal wetlands of Louisiana and the streets of New York City, public radio's award-winning BURN: An Energy Journal takes an in-depth look at the potentially devastating impact of rising seas on two major American cities and the Gulf Coast's vulnerable marshlands and equally vulnerable oil-and-gas industry. It also captures the sights and sounds of Greenland's ice sheets, which are melting more rapidly than anyone had anticipated and unleashing huge quantities of fresh water into the North Atlantic. That, in turn, is driving sea rise in places like New York and Miami. In this one-hour special produced by SoundVision Productions®, host Alex Chadwick and his BURN colleagues do what public radio does best -- break down big, complex, controversial subjects into smaller, more personal, "human-scale" stories, offering powerful reporting and unique insights along the way. (See story descriptions below).
"Rising Seas" will be broadcast nationwide beginning on October 20, 2013, following closely on the release of the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's significant report compiled by hundreds of scientists worldwide. The IPCC's advance summary of the full report shows unequivocally that the ocean has warmed and sea levels are rising. The BURN special also is being aired in conjunction with what is known in south Florida as the "King Tide," an autumnal high tide that puts canals, rivers and coastal areas at risk of flooding. Check your local listings, or visit the BURN website to listen to the broadcast at any time. Some of the stories have been filed and are available on the website in advance of the broadcast date.
Also available online will be a wealth of additional content – exclusive photos, graphs and videos – that sheds more light on the global impact of rising seas. The website extras will include an essay by award-winning science journalist Dan Grossman who outlines current projections for sea level rise by 2100. BURN reporters will submit video "postcards" from the field, and filmmaker Josh Kurz, who specializes in blending science with comedy, will present several "explainer videos."
BURN is launching a new Tumblr blog called "100 Years Rising" and is inviting all listeners to imagine what life might be like in the future when more of the world is underwater -- and to share those written, photographic and video visions on the new blog. "100 Years Rising" is especially interested in hearing from local journalists – and high school and university students -- who live in threatened coastal areas about how their communities will be affected, and what they can do about it. BURN stories on energy and climate change also can be explored on BURN Facebook and followed on Twitter.
In the upcoming BURN special, Chadwick calls rising seas "the monster stepchild of climate change." The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development recently conducted a threat assessment and determined the 20 most vulnerable coastal cities in the world – Miami is first, New York City is third, and New Orleans is twelfth.
From Miami, Chadwick reports that parts of the city will permanently flood as soon as 15 years from now. Because the substrate for south Florida is porous limestone, there is basically no defense. He tells the story of Miami's impending struggle for survival through two local scientists who are deeply involved with sea level rise. Nicole Hernandez Hammer is Program Manager for the Climate Change Initiative, a project out of Florida Atlantic University that pulls together academics, public officials and agencies to study and prepare for climate change. Hammer tells Chadwick that she is "very concerned about what lies ahead for Florida in the next 30 years. It's going to be radically different." The other scientist compares "perceived and actual risk" for sea level rise in Florida. Her preliminary findings: many people who live miles from the coast are at high risk and don't know it.
BURN also sends two journalists to Greenland to record the story of its melting ice sheets: Gretel Ehrlich, author of The Future of Ice, first recipient of the PEN Writers Henry David Thoreau award for environmental writing, and longtime Greenland explorer and writer; and Neal Conan, former NPR host, reporter and producer. Ehrlich and Conan fly above Greenland to eyeball the ice melt and approach by sea the collapsing shoulders of Greenland's glaciers to better understand the enormous challenges we all face living on a warming planet. Check out Ehrlich's short video "Beautiful and Terrifying."
BURN Reporter Reid Frazier visits the lower Mississippi River in southern Louisiana, which is lined with oil refineries, petrochemical plants, and storage terminals. It's an increasingly risky place to conduct business because the waters of the Gulf of Mexico are rising, faster than most other places in the world. At the same time, Louisiana's wetlands -- which once served as a shield against hurricanes -- are sinking into the Gulf.
Hurricane Sandy was the shot across the bow for New York City, and Mayor Bloomberg responded to the storm with a $20-billion plan to make New York resilient -- to bounce back from the next storm. But there are scientists and engineers who argue that New York City should follow the lead of Amsterdam and other European cities, which are taking steps to protect themselves from encroaching tides with visionary engineering projects. BURN's Dean Olsher reports on an ambitious solution -- sea gates around New York Harbor -- that could potentially protect the city 400 years into the future.
BURN is produced by SoundVision Productions®, winner of numerous awards and most recently the prestigious AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, in partnership with APM's Marketplace with a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and additional support from the Edward W. Rose III Family Fund of The Dallas Foundation. The BURN radio specials are distributed nationwide by American Public Media, with individual stories airing monthly on Marketplace.
Media Contact: Scott Busby, The Busby Group, 310.475.2914, firstname.lastname@example.org
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