Climate

Mild winters may shift spread of mosquito-borne illness
March 16, 2012 04:11 PM - Susan Milius, Science News

Mild winters appear to speed annual menu changes for disease-carrying mosquitoes. And the revised biting patterns might play an overlooked role in worsening the risk of brain infections in people and horses.

Spring Flooding 2012
March 16, 2012 09:36 AM - Editor, ENN

Spring floods are a common situation. This is due to winter snowfall melting from where it had accumulated and adding to the normally higher spring rain storms. Last winter was fairly warm and snowfall did not accumulate, For the first time in four years, no area of the country faces a high risk of major to record spring flooding, largely due to the limited winter snowfall, according to the NOAA’s annual Spring Outlook, which forecasts the potential for flooding from April to June.

Study: Climate Change will Exacerbate Respiratory Diseases
March 15, 2012 01:58 PM - David A Gabel, ENN

A new study highlights the growing danger of respiratory disease as the Earth gets warmer. Higher temperatures, in and of itself, do not make a person more likely to come down with something like asthma, allergies, infections and the like. The danger will come from the increase in ground level ozone in urban areas, higher particulate matter in drought-stricken areas, and the ranges of communicable diseases expanding into the higher latitudes. Incidences of respiratory diseases may likely balloon during climate-change related events such as heat waves, bad air pollution days, and other extreme weather. It is during these moments that vulnerable populations will need the most support.

Brazil's Growth Offers Wealth and Worry in The Northeast
March 13, 2012 09:57 AM - Leon Kaye, Triple Pundit

Two years ago I predicted this would be the Brazilian Decade, and so far Brazil's stunning success has proven me correct. It is not just about the large international events like the World Cup and Olympics that are on the calendar in 2014 and 2016. Brazil has become a creditor nation; once a net food importer, it now feeds much of the world; and recently it surpassed the United Kingdom to become the world's sixth largest economy. For decades much of the growth was centered around São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, then stretched south towards the border with Uruguay. Industries such as aircraft, petrochemicals and automobiles anchored Latin America's largest economy. But now Brazil's economic might has extended to regions of the country that had long underperformed compared to the wealthy south.

Records from Henry David Thoreau Reveal New Evidence of Climate Change
March 13, 2012 09:44 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

Henry David Thoreau was a famed naturalist, philosopher, and author who resided in Eastern Massachusetts from 1817 to 1862. He was also a leading abolitionist and advocator of civil disobedience in defiance of an unjust state. He is perhaps best known for his views on simple living uncluttered by overdevelopment embodied in his famous book Walden; or, Life in the Woods. As a naturalist, he made records for the flowering dates of a number of common plant species. Now, 150 years later, a team of biologists from Boston University (BU) have compared those flowering records with those of today. They found that the flowering date for 43 common species had moved up by an average of seven days since the time of Thoreau.

Tar sands emit more carbon than previously estimated
March 13, 2012 07:02 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM

Environmentalists have targeted the oil-producing tar sands in Canada in part because its crude comes with heftier carbon emissions than conventional sources. Now, a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) has found an additional source of carbon that has been unaccounted for: peatlands. Mining the oil in the tar sands, dubbed "oil sands" by the industry, will require the wholesale destruction of nearly 30,000 hectares of peatlands, emitting between 11.4 and 47.3 million metric tons of additional carbon.

The Light in the Sky is NASA
March 12, 2012 04:23 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

There are many strange and ordinary lights in the sky. There are the stars, moon, planets and the Aurora Borealis for example. High in the sky, 60 to 65 miles above Earth's surface, winds rush through a little understood region of Earth's atmosphere at speeds of 200 to 300 miles per hour. Lower than a typical satellite's orbit, higher than where most planes fly, this upper atmosphere jet stream makes a perfect target for a particular kind of scientific experiment: the sounding rocket. Some 35 to 40 feet long, sounding rockets shoot up into the sky for short journeys of eight to ten minutes, allowing scientists to probe difficult-to-reach layers of the atmosphere. When they go up, they will release materials that will be visible milky white clouds which will make the jet stream velocity and direction trackable. There will be a new light in the sky just off the US Atlantic coast.

White Roofs reduce urban heat island effect
March 11, 2012 07:30 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

Black roofs have been the norm for commercial buildings for decades since early roofs used a tar-coated paper material and tar based coatings to provide water proofing. Black roofs also add heat which in the winter, is not a bad thing for the building. It turns out that black roofs contribute to the urban heat island effect. This effect, caused not only by black roofs, creates warmer temperatures in urban areas compared to the surrounding suburbs. A study by Stuart Gaffin of Columbia University in New York looked at the effect of roof color on temperatures. On the hottest day of the New York City summer in 2011, a white roof covering was measured at 42 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than the traditional black roof it was being compared to, according to a study including NASA scientists that details the first scientific results from the city's unprecedented effort to brighten rooftops and reduce its "urban heat island" effect.

Reflecting on the Winter that Never Was
March 9, 2012 09:22 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

In a couple weeks, the northern hemisphere will be entering the spring season, and now is a good time to reflect on this winter. For some, it feels like spring has already been here, and soon summer will be approaching. That is because for many Americans, it was the winter that never was. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), it was not the warmest winter in recent history, but it does rank pretty high. Furthermore, this winter will be marked for its amazing lack of snowfall, especially when compared with last year. The following are some highlights from around the nation.

NASCAR: Safe Driving is Green Driving
March 9, 2012 07:08 AM - Tina Casey, Triple Pundit

NASCAR, best known for pushing the speed envelope, has launched a new traffic safety campaign with a sustainable twist. Rather than focusing narrowly on strategies to help drivers to look out for their own lives, the campaign deploys a broad message of taking responsibility for the safety of others. According to a press release launch, the campaign's mission goes far beyond road safety to encourage "personal responsibility for our planet and its people, especially teens."

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