Climate

Mauritania plants trees to hold back desert
August 22, 2010 10:23 AM - Reuters

Mauritania has launched a tree-planting program aimed at protecting its capital from the advancing desert and coastal erosion, a project that could eventually extend thousands of kilometers across Africa. President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz on Saturday planted the first of some 2 million trees that are meant to form a "green belt" around the capital, Nouakchott, and curb erosion elsewhere in the desert nation that straddles black and Arab Africa.

Ocean pH
August 20, 2010 11:32 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

Ocean acidification is the name given to the ongoing decrease in the pH of the Earth's oceans, caused by their uptake of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Between 1751 and 1994 surface ocean pH is estimated to have decreased from approximately 8.18 to 8.1. PH is a measure of the acidity or basicity of a solution. It approximates but is not equal to concentration of hydrogen ions expressed on a logarithmic scale. A low pH indicates a high concentration of hydrogen ions, while a high pH indicates a low concentration. A strong acid would be less than 1 on this scale. A recent study indicates the relative impact on future ocean acidification of different aspects of global climate change mitigation policies such as the year that global emissions peak.

Indonesia Coral - Impacts of hotter water temperatures
August 19, 2010 06:15 AM - EurekaAlert, Wildlife Conservation Society, Low Impact Living

The Wildlife Conservation Society today released initial field observations that indicate that a dramatic rise in the surface temperature in Indonesian waters has resulted in a large-scale bleaching event that has devastated coral populations. WCS's Indonesia Program "Rapid Response Unit" of marine biologists was dispatched to investigate coral bleaching reported in May in Aceh–a province of Indonesia–located on the northern tip of the island of Sumatra. The initial survey carried out by the team revealed that over 60 percent of corals were bleached. "Bleaching"– a whitening of corals that occurs when algae living within coral tissues are expelled – is an indication of stress caused by environmental triggers such as sea surface temperature fluctuations. Depending on many factors, bleached coral may recover over time or die. Subsequent monitoring conducted by marine ecologists from WCS, James Cook University (Australia), and Syiah Kuala University (Indonesia) were completed in early August and revealed one of the most rapid and severe coral mortality events ever recorded. The scientists found that 80 percent of some species have died since the initial assessment and more colonies are expected to die within the next few months.

New Ways to Mass Travel
August 18, 2010 10:50 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

Not everyone can drive to work in their own vehicle. Planners must find ways to blend individual vehicles with hte needs of mass transportation. Building train stations or subways is highly capital intensive and involves years of construction and related dealys due ot construction. Adding buses adds to traffic. Furthermore mass transist needs to be safe, clean and inexpensive. The straddling bus, first exhibited on the 13th Beijing International High-tech Expo in May this year, maybe one answer. In the near future, the model is to be put into pilot use in Beijing’s Mentougou District.

Trees May Have Killed Off the Mammoth
August 18, 2010 06:33 AM - Science Daily

A massive reduction in grasslands and the spread of forests may have been the primary cause of the decline of mammals such as the woolly mammoth, woolly rhino and cave lion, according to Durham University scientists. The findings of the new study challenge the theory that human beings were the primary cause of the extinction of mammals through hunting, competition for land and increased pressure on habitats. The research is part of the most comprehensive study to date of Northern Hemisphere climate and vegetation during and after the height of the last Ice Age, 21,000 years ago.

Oregon Dead Zone
August 17, 2010 10:26 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

Dead zones are hypoxic (low-oxygen) areas in the world's oceans, the observed incidences of which have been increasing since oceanographers began noting them in the 1970s. These occur near inhabited coastlines, where aquatic life is most concentrated. Every summer for the past nine years, water with lethally low concentrations of oxygen has appeared off the Oregon coast. The cause is not clear and it does not fit the pattern of several other dead zones associated with man made run off issues. Some other causes have been recently implicated in a research study by Oregon State University.

Icebergs
August 16, 2010 10:36 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

An iceberg is a large piece of ice formed from freshwater that has broken off from a glacier or ice shelf and is floating in open water. It may subsequently become frozen into pack ice. Alternatively, it may come to rest on the seabed in shallower water, causing ice gouging in the land underneath or becoming an ice island. Because the density of pure ice is less than sea water an iceberg will float in sea water with about one-ninth of the volume of an iceberg above water. The shape of the underwater portion can be difficult to judge by looking at the portion above the surface. This has led to the expression "tip of the iceberg", for a problem or difficulty that is only a small manifestation of a larger problem.

Tanzania’s Serengeti Highway plan could destroy major carbon sink
August 15, 2010 07:39 AM - Editor, Ecologist

Environmentalists are dismayed at plans by the Tanzanian government to build a major commercial highway through Serengeti National Park The Tanzanian President has vowed to go ahead with controversial plans to construct a major road through the Serengeti, despite fierce opposition from environmentalists and the tourism industry. The 480-kilometre road will link the Lake Victoria area with eastern Tanzania and, according to the Tanzanian government, bring essential economic development to the region - linking remote communities to the major road network, allowing transport of people and goods and connecting farmers with markets.

The New Breeds of Cars
August 13, 2010 02:31 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Decades ago the only type of car was the internal combustion (gasoline)type. Other varieties have arrived such as Hybrid and electric. With the new choices are other decisions such as which one reduces most the carbon footprint (or is the most green)and which one is the most cost effective. No more is "the miles per gallon" a standard that can be applied across the board as a specification.

'Cheap' solar geoengineering plans may have unintended consequences
August 13, 2010 08:46 AM - , Ecologist

Researchers warn that individual countries looking to go it alone with 'cheap' solutions to regional climate change could inflict negative impacts on the rest of world. Large-scale 'geoengineering' interventions to alter the climate, such as increasing cloud cover to deflect solar radiation, may not work on a global scale, a new study has warned.

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