KANW-FM

Christopher Joyce

Christopher Joyce is a correspondent on the science desk at NPR. His stories can be heard on all of NPR's news programs, including NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition.

Joyce seeks out stories in some of the world's most inaccessible places. He has reported from remote villages in the Amazon and Central American rainforests, Tibetan outposts in the mountains of western China, and the bottom of an abandoned copper mine in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Over the course of his career, Joyce has written stories about volcanoes, hurricanes, human evolution, tagging giant blue-fin tuna, climate change, wars in Kosovo and Iraq and the artificial insemination of an African elephant.

For several years, Joyce was an editor and correspondent for NPR's Radio Expeditions, a documentary program on natural history and disappearing cultures produced in collaboration with the National Geographic Society that was heard frequently on Morning Edition.

Joyce came to NPR in 1993 as a part-time editor while finishing a book about tropical rainforests and, as he says, "I just fell in love with radio." For two years, Joyce worked on NPR's national desk and was responsible for NPR's Western coverage. But his interest in science and technology soon launched him into parallel work on NPR's science desk.

In addition, Joyce has written two non-fiction books on scientific topics for the popular market: Witnesses from the Grave: The Stories Bones Tell (with co-author Eric Stover); and Earthly Goods: Medicine-Hunting in the Rainforest.

Before coming to NPR, Joyce worked for ten years as the U.S. correspondent and editor for the British weekly magazine New Scientist.

Joyce's stories on forensic investigations into the massacres in Kosovo and Bosnia were part of NPR's war coverage that won a 1999 Overseas Press Club award. He was part of the Radio Expeditions reporting and editing team that won the 2001 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University journalism award and the 2001 Sigma Delta Chi award from the Society of Professional Journalists. Joyce won the 2001 American Association for the Advancement of Science excellence in journalism award.

A single tornado can cause a lot of damage. But even worse are tornado outbreaks. Just this week, a cluster of at least 18 tornadoes struck the Southeast over two days . Scientists are seeing bigger clusters in recent years, and they're struggling to figure out what's happening. When weather conditions are just right — lots of rising heat and moisture, and vertical wind shear — sometimes you get more than just a tornado. Mathematician Michael Tippett at Columbia University, who tracks these...

Imagine you're passing a fast-food restaurant and you smell hamburger on the grill. You're hungry, so you pull in and eat one ... and the foam box it comes in. That's apparently what's happening with some oceanic birds. And now scientists think they know why. The fact that sea animals and birds eat floating plastic has long puzzled biologists. Their best guess was that it looks like food. But the new evidence suggests that for a lot of birds, plastic actually smells like food. It all comes...

During his campaign, Donald Trump called climate change a hoax. And he vowed to abandon the Paris climate agreement signed last year by President Obama and almost 200 countries. It probably wouldn't be hard for Trump to dump the climate deal. In Paris, the world's nations pledged to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases. But the pledges are voluntary. And Jason Bordoff, a former energy adviser to the White House and now with Columbia University, says that gives Trump an opening. "If a...

It's been a brutal forest fire season in California. But there's actually a greater threat to California's trees — the state's record-setting drought. The lack of water has killed at least 60 million trees in the past four years. Scientists are struggling to understand which trees are most vulnerable to drought and how to keep the survivors alive. To that end, they're sending human climbers and flying drones into the treetops, in a novel biological experiment. From a distance, the forests of...

Antarctica's ice has been melting, most likely because of a warming climate. Now, newly published research shows the rate of melting appears to be accelerating. Antarctica is bigger than the U.S. and Mexico combined, and it's covered in deep ice — more than a mile deep in some places. Most of the ice sits on bedrock, but it slowly flows off the continent's edges. Along the western edge, giant glaciers creep down toward the sea. Where they meet the ocean, they form ice shelves. The shelves are...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPkBpaPtDuA A stone tool found in the sand has always been considered the handiwork of early humans and their ancestors. But a remarkable discovery in a Brazilian forest suggests that might not be so. Scientists saw a group of capuchin monkeys making stone flakes, an important type of early tool. It's not clear the monkeys knew what they were making, but nonetheless, it might prompt researchers to be more cautious when they come across ancient sites where...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. DAVID GREENE, HOST: Methane is what many people use to cook with. It is also what rises from landfills and also from the stomachs of cows. Unfortunately, when methane gas reaches the atmosphere, it warms the planet. As NPR's Christopher Joyce reports, research out today reveals new details about how much methane is coming and from where. CHRISTOPHER JOYCE, BYLINE: Methane, pound for pound, is one of the most powerful greenhouse gases...

The floods that hit Louisiana last month were caused by rainfall that was unlike anything seen there in centuries. Most of the southern part of the state was drenched with up to 2 or 3 inches in an hour. A total of 31 inches fell just northeast of Baton Rouge in about three days; 20 parishes were declared federal disaster areas. Climate scientists and flood managers suspect there could more like that to come — in Louisiana and in other parts of the country. There have always been...

Tropical Storm Colin ripped across the Gulf of Mexico in June and hit the coast of southwest Florida with 60-mile-an-hour winds. Before it arrived, a team from the U.S. Geological Survey used a new computer model to predict how far inland the waves would invade. When the storm hit, the USGS sent Joe Long out to film it. Long is an oceanographer with the USGS. His video shows waves rushing up the beach to the foot of a sand dune. "So water levels are reaching that high," he says as we watch...

When scientists tallied the temperature readings from around the world last month, this is what they discovered: "July, 2016 was the warmest month we have observed in our period of record that dates back to 1880," says Jake Crouch, a climate scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. And July wasn't a freak occurrence, he notes. The past 10 years have seen numerous high temperature records. The temperature record for July is an average for the planet, Crouch explains....

A study of drinking water supplies throughout the U.S. shows that numerous sources are contaminated with firefighting chemicals. A team of scientists examined government data from thousands of public drinking water supplies. The water samples had been collected by the federal Environmental Protection Agency. The scientists were looking for several types of chemicals from a class of fluorinated substances used commonly in firefighting foam. They found significant amounts of one chemical in 66...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Ujx_pND9wg Buried below the ice sheet that covers most of Greenland, there's an abandoned U.S. Army base. Camp Century had trucks, tunnels, even a nuclear reactor. Advertised as a research station, it was also a test site for deploying nuclear missiles. The camp was abandoned almost 50 years ago, completely buried below the surface. But serious pollutants were left behind. Now a team of scientists says that as climate warming melts the ice sheet, those...

If you think it's been hot this year, you're right. The latest temperature numbers from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say the first six months of 2016 were the hottest on record around the planet. Let's look at June. Scientists took temperatures from around the world and got a June average. What they found was a world that was 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than the average June in the 20th Century. How about January? Hottest ever. Same with February, March,...

Frigatebirds, seagoing fliers with a 6-foot wingspan, can stay aloft for weeks at a time, a new study has found. The results paint an astonishing picture of the bird's life, much of which is spent soaring inside the clouds. Frigatebirds are unique among aquatic birds. Their feathers are not waterproof, so they can't rest on the waves. Males sport a vivid red pouch along their throats that they inflate when trying to attract females. They're known for stealing food from other seabirds. Since...

A team of archaeologists diving near the Greek island of Antikythera have reported a startling new discovery from a previously explored 2,000-year-old shipwreck. The find — a very heavy, metal cylinder — offers new insights into the maritime warfare of ancient times, the scientists say. "Of the 40 or 50 shipwrecks all around the Mediterranean, "there's nothing like the Antikythera," says Brendan Foley , an archaeologist from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. He's only recently...

It's easy to think that evolution led inevitably to modern humans, the cleverest of apes. But there were some strange excursions along the way. Take, for example, the Hobbits. That's the nickname for a 3-foot-tall human relative that once lived in what is now Indonesia. A new discovery suggests that it was island life that created this dainty creature. Anthropologists first found the bones of the Hobbits in 2004 on the Indonesian island of Flores. Their scientific name is Homo floresiensis ....

Here's a mystery found in a French cave. It appears that a group of Neanderthals walked into that cave about 176,000 years ago and started building something. Neanderthals were our closest living relatives but they weren't known as builders or cave explorers. Scientists identify the forms as "constructions," but they can't figure out what they were for. It was in 1990 when a French archaeologist first ventured deep into Bruniquel Cave in southwestern France. Spelunkers had just broken through...

The Florida Everglades is a swampy wilderness the size of Delaware. In some places along the road in southern Florida, it looks like tall saw grass to the horizon, a prairie punctuated with a few twisted cypress trees. The sky is the palest blue. But beneath the surface a different story is unfolding. Because of climate change and sea level rise, the ocean is starting to seep into the swampland. If the invasion grows worse, it could drastically change the Everglades, and a way of life for...

A man moves to a city in Florida and decides he wants to be mayor. He wins the election. He's happy. Then he's told his city is slowly going underwater. Not financially. Literally. James Cason had settled in Coral Gables, a seaside town near Miami, six years ago. He ran for mayor on the Republican ticket and, soon after he won, heard the lecture by scientists about sea level rise and South Florida that left him flabbergasted. "You know, I'd read some articles here and there," he recalls, "but...

On Friday, most of the world's governments are set to sign the most sweeping climate agreement in history. Their signatures will codify promises they made in Paris last December to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. The two largest sources of those gases are the U.S. and China. Whether they keep their promises will in large part determine whether the Paris deal succeeds. And it is by no means clear that they'll be able to keep their promises. The Paris climate meeting was the culmination...

When a whooping crane stands up, you notice. At 5 feet in height, it's America's tallest bird. Its wingspan is more than 7 feet, its body snowy white, its wingtips jet black. By the 1940s, the birds had nearly gone extinct . Biologists have worked hard to bring them back, by breeding whoopers in captivity and releasing them in the wild. There are now several small wild populations in the U.S. Perhaps the most remarkable is the eastern group . For 15 years, biologists have been teaching some...

You might expect the middle of the Pacific Ocean to be a pretty quiet place, especially a thousand feet down. But it turns out that huge parts of the ocean are humming . Scientists have puzzled over the source of the sound for several years. Now, a marine biologist reporting Monday at a meeting of ocean scientists in New Orleans says she thinks her team may have figured it out. The discovery started with hydrophones. Marine scientists listen to the deep ocean by dropping these underwater...

If you've ever seen what a Neanderthal is supposed to have looked like, it might be hard to imagine mating with one. But modern humans did. We know because, a few years ago, scientists found stretches of Neanderthal DNA in living humans. And now there's evidence, from a study published Thursday in Science, that some of that DNA might help shape our health. If you look at a Neanderthal skeleton next to a modern human skeleton, the Neanderthal looks stocky, barrel-chested, and rather brutish....

The international trade in exotic animal parts includes rhino horn, seahorses, and bear gall bladders. But perhaps none is as strange as the swim bladder from a giant Mexican fish called the totoaba. The totoaba can grow to the size of a football player. It lives only in the Gulf of California in Mexico, along with the world's smallest and rarest mammal — a type of porpoise called the vaquita . Now the new and lucrative bladder trade threatens to wipe out both animals. "People in Asian...

Scientists still can't predict an earthquake. The U.S. government, however, has a warning system in the works that it hopes could quickly send out a widespread alarm before most people feel a rumble — and save lives when seconds count. The recently upgraded network of seismometers and computers, known as ShakeAlert , is advancing through the prototype-testing stage, Sally Jewell , secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, said at a news conference Tuesday. When fully operational, she...

Pages