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Climate

Antarctic Ice Shelves found to be thinning from the top AND the bottom
May 13, 2015 06:57 AM - British Antarctic Survey

A decade-long scientific debate about what’s causing the thinning of one of Antarctica’s largest ice shelves is settled this week (Wednesday 13 May) with the publication of an international study in the journal The Cryosphere.

The Larsen C Ice Shelf — whose neighbours Larsen A and B, collapsed in 1995 and 2002 — is thinning from both its surface and beneath. For years scientists have been unable to determine whether it is warming air temperatures or warmer ocean currents that were causing the Antarctic Peninsula’s floating ice shelves to lose volume and become more vulnerable to collapse. This new study takes an important step forward in assessing Antarctica’s likely contribution to future sea-level rise.

Cycling vs. Car Transportation
May 12, 2015 01:19 PM - ENN Editor

What's more expensive? Owning a car or a bicycle? Answer seems obvious doesn't it? But how much more expensive are cars compared to bicycles? First, we need to consider not only the actual cost of the vehicle, but the hidden costs which can be related to air pollution, climate change, travel routes, noise, road wear, health, congestion, and time. Lucky for us, researchers have compared the costs and according to a Lund University study, traveling by car is six times more expensive for society and individuals.

No Sunscreen Needed
May 12, 2015 08:47 AM - ENN Editor

With summer sun right around the corner, it is important to be prepared and protect our skin from those potentially harmful rays. Whether you use sunscreen or set up an umbrella for shade at the beach, we should be proactive so we don't get sun-burn.

For us, we take precautions, but how do the rest of the animal kingdom fare? How can animal species spend their whole lives outdoors with no apparent concern about high levels of solar exposure?

According to researchers from Oregon State University, animals make their own sunscreen.

The findings, published in the journal eLife, found that many fish, amphibians, reptiles, and birds can naturally produce a compound called gadusol, which among other biologic activities provides protection from the ultraviolet, or sun-burning component of sunlight.

The researchers also believe that this ability may have been obtained through some prehistoric, natural genetic engineering.

California Resident Poll Expresses Wide Concern Over Drought
May 7, 2015 09:13 AM - Chris Sosa, Care2

A recent Care2 poll has found that slightly over 90 percent of respondents express major concern over the current drought engulfing the state, despite the fact that only 60 percent of respondents consider themselves strong environmentalists. Fewer than 1 percent expressed no concern about the drought. Nearly 75 percent of respondents cited fears about the fate of wildlife. Concern for humans came in second at 71 percent and agriculture at 61 percent.

Mysterious "Internal Waves" yield more of their mysteries
May 6, 2015 03:47 PM - Oregon State University

Once a day, a wave as tall as the Empire State Building and as much as a hundred miles wide forms in the waters between Taiwan and the Philippines and rolls across the South China Sea – but on the surface, it is hardly noticed.

These daily monstrosities are called “internal waves” because they are beneath the ocean surface and though scientists have known about them for years, they weren’t really sure how significant they were because they had never been fully tracked from cradle to grave.

But a new study, published this week in Nature Research Letter, documents what happens to internal waves at the end of their journey and outlines their critical role in global climate. The international research project was funded by the Office of Naval Research and the Taiwan National Science Council.

How Pollen Can Play a Role in Affecting Climate
May 5, 2015 12:45 PM - University of Michigan

The main job of pollen is to help seed the next generation of trees and plants, but a new study from the University of Michigan and Texas A&M shows that the grains might also seed clouds. The unexpected findings demonstrate that these wind-carried capsules of genetic material might have an effect on the planet's climate. And they highlight a new link between plants and the atmosphere.

Carbon storage in permafrost may be released with warming climate
May 5, 2015 09:13 AM - University of Georgia

While climatologists are carefully watching carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, another group of scientists is exploring a massive storehouse of carbon that has the potential to significantly affect the climate change picture. University of Georgia Skidaway Institute of Oceanography researcher Aron Stubbins is part of a team investigating how ancient carbon, locked away in Arctic permafrost for thousands of years, is now being transformed into carbon dioxide and released into the atmosphere.

Germany is key market for the Tesla Home Battery system
May 5, 2015 06:24 AM - EurActiv

Electric car pioneer Tesla unveiled a "home battery" last week which its founder Elon Musk said would help change the "entire energy infrastructure of the world". Environmentally-conscious German customers are targeted as potential buyers of the product.

The Tesla Powerwall, unveiled on Thursday (30 April), can store power from solar panels, from the electricity grid at night when it is typically cheaper, and provide a secure backup in the case of a power outage.

In theory the device, which typically would fit on the wall of a garage or inside a house, could make solar-powered homes completely independent of the traditional energy grid.

"Living shoreline" can enhance coastal resilience
May 4, 2015 12:09 PM - NOAA Newsroom

The resilience of U.S. coastal communities to storms, flooding, erosion and other threats can be strengthened when they are protected by natural infrastructure such as marshes, reefs, and beaches, or with hybrid approaches, such as a “living shoreline” — a combination of natural habitat and built infrastructure, according to a new NOAA study.

Solar power in Scotland is not a little enterprise
May 4, 2015 07:25 AM - ClickGreen staff, ClickGreen

The call by WWF Scotland follows the publication of new figures revealing that there was enough sunshine in April to have met more than 100% of the electricity needs of an average home in Scotland or 99% or more of an average household’s hot water needs.

Wind turbines in Scotland also generated enough electricity on average to supply the electrical needs of 69% of Scottish households - 1.66 million homes.

Last month, it was announced that work on Scotland’s largest solar park will start later this year in Angus.

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