Climate

Light-Based Method Improves Practicality and Quality of Remote Wind Measurements
September 21, 2017 04:42 PM - The Optical Society

Researchers have developed a new remote sensing instrument based on light detection and ranging (LIDAR) that could offer a simple and robust way to accurately measure wind speed. The detailed, real-time wind measurements could help scientists to better understand how hurricanes form and provide information that meteorologists can use to pinpoint landfall earlier, giving people more time to prepare and evacuate.

“As hurricane Harvey approached the U.S., hurricane hunters flew directly into the storm and dropped sensors to measure wind speed,” said Xiankang Dou, leader of the research team at the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC). “Our Doppler LIDAR instrument can be used from a plane to remotely measure a hurricane’s wind with high spatial and temporal resolutions. In the future, it could even make these measurements from aboard satellites.”

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New Method for Identifying Carbon Compounds Derived from Fossil Fuels
September 15, 2017 01:54 PM - National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a laboratory instrument that can measure how much of the carbon in many carbon-containing materials was derived from fossil fuels. This will open the way for new methods in the biofuels and bioplastics industries, in scientific research, and environmental monitoring. Among other things, it will allow scientists to measure how much of the carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere came from burning fossil fuels, and to estimate fossil fuel emissions in an area as small as a city or as large as a continent.

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SPOTLIGHT

Want To Slow Global Warming? Researchers Look To Family Planning

Tori Whitley, NPR

We've all heard of ways to reduce our carbon footprint: biking to work, eating less meat, recycling.

But there's another way to help the climate. A recent study from Lund University in Sweden shows that the biggest way to reduce climate change is to have fewer children.

"I knew this was a sensitive topic to bring up," says study co-author Kimberly Nicholas on NPR's Morning Edition. "Certainly it's not my place as a scientist to dictate choices for other people. But I do think it is my place to do the analysis and report it fairly."

The study concludes that four high-impact ways to reduce CO2 gas emissions include having fewer children, living without a car, avoiding airplane travel and eating a vegetarian diet.

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