Saharan Sun Power
June 21, 2010 01:52 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

There is plenty of sun in deserts and the Sahara is one of the biggest deserts in the world. Europe intends to import its first solar generated electricity from North Africa within the next five years, European Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger said in an interview on Sunday. The European Union is backing projects to turn the plentiful sunlight in the Sahara desert into electricity for Europe, a scheme it hopes will help meet its target of deriving 20% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.

Breaking the Cost Barrier on Algae-based Biofuels
June 18, 2010 09:57 AM - Jeff Siegel

It's been a hot topic for a few years now. And certainly the potential for incorporating algae as a key feedstock for future biofuel production is massive. But the sobering fact is that we're at least a good eight to ten years from seeing any kind of real, commercially-ready product… At least at the volumes that could allow for meaningful market penetration. So where does that leave us in the meantime?

Antarctic Sea Ice Paradoxically Growing
June 18, 2010 09:50 AM - Molika Ashford, Live Science

While Arctic sea ice continues to shrink as the world warms, the ice around Antarctica is actually growing, thanks to the influence of the ozone hole over the southernmost continent, scientists have reported. But the south polar growth won't be permanent, they warn.

The Oddness of Water and Ice
June 17, 2010 04:53 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Water is vital for life and how it freezes is very important. For years water (ice) has been known to exist in 15 phases. Subjected to higher pressures and varying temperatures, ice can form in fifteen separate known phases. With care all these types can be recovered at ambient pressure. The types are differentiated by their crystalline structure, ordering and density. There are also two metastable phases of ice under pressure, both fully hydrogen-disordered; these are IV and XII. Ice XII was discovered in 1996. In 2006, XIII and XIV were discovered. Ices XI, XIII, and XIV are hydrogen-ordered forms of ices Ih, V, and XII respectively. In 2009 ice XV was found at extremely high pressures and −143 degrees celsius. Now there is another variation.

Oceanic Volcanos
June 17, 2010 07:10 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

Though unseen the ocean floor is a volcanic hot bed where the tectonic plates collide and spread apart. New research reveals that when two parts of the Earth's crust break apart, this does not always cause massive volcanic eruptions. The study, published today in the journal Nature, explains why some parts of the world saw massive volcanic eruptions millions of years ago and others did not. The Earth's crust is broken into plates that are in constant motion over timescales of millions of years. Plates occasionally collide and fuse, or they can break apart to form new ones. When the latter plates break apart, a plume of hot rock can rise from deep within the Earth's interior, which can cause massive volcanic activity on the surface (sort of like blood from a skin cut).

Monitoring the Sequestration of Carbon Dioxide in the Earth
June 16, 2010 11:28 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

Global Warming is caused by several factors such as the release of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. One solution to the problem is to capture the carbon dioxide before it enters the atmosphere, and instead, deposit the CO2 into the ground. However, up to this point, scientists have been unable to effectively track how it might move underground. The desire is to get the CO2 in place and not have it move elsewhere and potentially cause problems. Now, with the advent of Electric Resistance Tomography (ERT), developed at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), tested by the Southeast Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (SECARB), and funded by the Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory, sequestration of greenhouse gases may expand.

Strange and Curious Clouds
June 15, 2010 02:47 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

It is always nice to lie back and look up into the sky and watch the drifting patterns of clouds. However, some clouds are odder or weirder than others. Some were made by nature and some were made accidentally by the actions of man. As turboprop and jet aircraft climb or descend under certain atmospheric conditions, they can inadvertently seed mid-level clouds and cause narrow bands of snow or rain to develop and fall to the ground, new research finds. Through this seeding process, they leave behind odd shaped holes or channels in the clouds, which tend to be fascinating to see.

Indonesia's plan to save its rainforests
June 15, 2010 12:40 PM - Rhett A. Butler

Late last year Indonesia made global headlines with a bold pledge to reduce deforestation, which claimed nearly 28 million hectares (108,000 square miles) of forest between 1990 and 2005 and is the source of about 80 percent of the country's greenhouse gas emissions. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said Indonesia would voluntarily cut emissions 26 percent — and up to 41 percent with sufficient international support — from a projected baseline by 2020.

Painting a Wild Picture of North America
June 14, 2010 06:55 PM - Theodora Lamb,

"Do something small to save something big". That's The Big Wild's motto. In the world of wilderness conservation, connecting people to their ecological footprint is a big, wild challenge. The Big Wild is a conservation organization founded by Canada’s Mountain Equipment Co-op and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society. We represent conservation campaigns across the country that have reached their tipping point and need public input to help call on political representatives to protect Canada’s wilderness. We connect communities to conservation efforts across the country. What better way to measure how “wild” North America is than with an infographic?

Sunny with Some Spots
June 14, 2010 02:38 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

When observing the Sun, the most obvious visible features are usually its sunspots, which are well defined surface areas that appear darker than their surroundings because of lower temperatures. Sunspots are regions of intense magnetic activity where convection is inhibited by strong magnetic fields, reducing energy transport from the hot interior to the surface. The magnetic field causes strong heating in the corona, forming active regions that are the source of intense solar flares and coronal mass ejections. the number of such spots varies over time generally in a 11 year cycle. Right now the spots are mostly gone for about 2 years which is highly unusual and may portend dramatic solar events to come which will affect the whole earth.

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