Climate

Midwestern ethanol plants use much less water than western plants, U of Minnesota study says

Ethanol production in Minnesota and Iowa uses far less water overall than similar processes in states where water is less plentiful, a new University of Minnesota study shows. The study, which will be published in the April 15 edition of the journal Environmental Science and Technology, is the first to compare water use in corn-ethanol production on a state-by-state basis. The authors used agricultural and geologic data from 2006-2008 to develop a ratio showing how much irrigated water was used to grow and harvest the corn and to process it at ethanol plants. Among the major ethanol-producing states, Iowa uses the least water, with about six gallons of water used for each gallon of ethanol. Minnesota, which in 2007 produced roughly a third as much ethanol as Iowa, uses about 19 gallons of water per ethanol gallon.

EPA Publishes Annual U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report
April 15, 2009 03:15 PM - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released the national greenhouse gas inventory, which finds that overall emissions during 2007 increased by 1.4 percent from the previous year. The report, Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2007, is the latest annual report that the United States has submitted to the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which sets an overall framework for intergovernmental efforts to tackle the challenge posed by climate change.

EPA Evaluates Ocean Acidification as a Threat to Water Quality Under Clean Water Act

The United States Environmental Protection Agency announced steps to protect U.S. waters from the threat of ocean acidification under the Clean Water Act. Today, EPA issued a notice of data availability to be published in the Federal Register that calls for information and data on ocean acidification that the agency will use to evaluate water-quality criteria under the Clean Water Act. The notice responded to a formal petition and threatened litigation from the Center for Biological Diversity that sought to compel the agency to impose stricter pH criteria for ocean water quality and publish guidance to help states protect American waters from ocean acidification. EPA's notice marks the first time that the Clean Water Act will be invoked by the agency to address ocean acidification.

World will not meet 2C warming target, climate change experts agree
April 14, 2009 09:23 AM - David Adam, gaurdian.co.uk

Guardian poll reveals almost nine out of 10 climate experts do not believe current political efforts will keep warming below 2C

The Dire Fate of Forests in a Warmer World
April 14, 2009 06:27 AM - Bryan Walsh, TIME

It's not easy to kill a full-grown tree — especially one like the piñon pine. The hardy evergreen is adapted to life in the hot, parched American Southwest, so it takes more than a little dry spell to affect it. In fact, it requires a once-in-a-century event like the extended drought of the 1950s, which scientists now believe led to widespread tree mortality in the Four Corners area of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. So, when another drought hit the area around 2002, researchers were surprised to see up to 10% of the piñon pines die off, even though that dry spell was much milder than the one before. The difference in 2002 was the five decades of global warming that had transpired since the drought in the 1950s.

NASA experiment stirs up hope for forecasting deadliest cyclones

NASA satellite data and a new modeling approach could improve weather forecasting and save more lives when future cyclones develop. About 15 percent of the world's tropical cyclones occur in the northern Indian Ocean, but because of high population densities along low-lying coastlines, the storms have caused nearly 80 percent of cyclone-related deaths around the world. Incomplete atmospheric data for the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea make it difficult for regional forecasters to provide enough warning for mass evacuations. In the wake of last year's Cyclone Nargis -- one of the most catastrophic cyclones on record -- a team of NASA researchers re-examined the storm as a test case for a new data integration and mathematical modeling approach. They compiled satellite data from the days leading up to the May 2 landfall of the storm and successfully "hindcasted" Nargis' path and landfall in Burma.

San Francisco Pilots Cisco’s Carbon-Tracking Tool
April 13, 2009 04:05 PM - by Zaher Karp, Matter Network

Networking company Cisco is spearheading efforts to develop technology that can manage energy conservation and carbon footprints by collecting and processing field data. The company uses wireless networking to monitor the changing environment to track emissions from the threatened Brazilian rainforest to the Golden Gate Bridge.

For Alaska's Inupiat, Climate Change and Culture Shock
April 13, 2009 03:34 PM - Emily Sohn, Discovery News

For the Inupiat people of northern Alaska, whales are a way of life. These people eat the animals. They worship them. They organize their calendars around them. And on and on. It's been that way for thousands of years. Now, however, climate change is pushing the whales further north, making it harder for the Inupiat to catch them. That environmental shift is threatening the culture's fundamental roots.

Debate erupts over effects of climate change on disease
April 13, 2009 08:37 AM - Katherine Nightingale, SciDevNet

The commonly-held view that climate change can only increase the burden of infectious diseases has been challenged — provoking a debate that could ripple out to health professionals, conservationists and policymakers.

Antarctica's tumultuous past revealed
April 13, 2009 08:06 AM - New Scientist

Antarctic Geological Drilling project, or Andrill, are working day and night near the surface of McMurdo Sound extracting cores of stone to provide them with a record peering 19 million years into Antarctica's history. Andrill's results reveal a breathtaking picture.

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