The Sound of a Healthy Reef
August 29, 2016 03:18 PM - Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
A new study from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) will help researchers understand the ways that marine animal larvae use sound as a cue to settle on coral reefs. The study, published on August 23rd in the online journal Scientific Reports, has determined that sounds created by adult fish and invertebrates may not travel far enough for larvae —which hatch in open ocean—to hear them, meaning that the larvae might rely on other means to home in on a reef system.
UTA study finds air contamination near fracking sites result of operational inefficiencies
August 29, 2016 10:39 AM - University of Texas at Arlington via EurekAlert!
Chemists at the University of Texas at Arlington have published a new study that indicates that highly variable contamination events registered in and around unconventional oil and gas developments are the result of operational inefficiencies and not inherent to the extraction process itself.
The study, published today as "Point source attribution of ambient contamination events near unconventional oil and gas development" in Science of the Total Environment, found highly variable levels of ambient BTEX, or benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene, and xylene compounds, in and around fracking gas drilling sites in the Eagle Ford shale region in South Texas. BTEX compounds in high concentrations can be carcinogenic and have harmful effects on the nervous system.
Storms in Mexico Kill Millions of Monarchs
August 29, 2016 07:06 AM - Alicia Graef, Care2
While international efforts are under way to help keep dwindling populations of monarch butterflies from disappearing, scientists are raising concerns about how severe weather and a loss of forest habitat at their wintering grounds in Mexico are affecting them.
Every year, monarchs embark on an epic multigenerational migration that takes them thousands of miles from Canada and the U.S. in search of sites in California and in Mexico. The fir trees in the southern regions offer the shelter and warmth they need to survive the winter.
Unfortunately, these vital forests in Mexico have been threatened by illegal logging, and now storms have destroyed hundreds of acres of habitat, while severe weather is believed to have killed an estimated 6.2 million of these iconic butterflies.
How Elephant Seals Are Helping Scientists Study Climate Change
August 24, 2016 06:10 PM - Yale Environment 360
A group of southern elephant seals is helping scientists monitorhow climate change is impacting Antarctica by tracking water temperature, depth, and salinity as they swim and dive around the frozen continent.
Smoke Waves Are the Next Climate Change Problem
August 24, 2016 07:25 AM - s.e. smith, Care2
In the hills near Los Angeles, the Blue Cut Fire just ripped through 36,000 acres, taking dozens of homes along with it, spurring a major evacuation, and even requiring temporary highway closures. But the merciless flames of the Blue Cut Fire almost pale in comparison with the flood of wildfires across the Golden State, and the West at large, in an era when the wildfire season is growing longer and more aggressive every year. Climate change is the reason why, and researchers are discovering that the cost of wildfires may be bigger than we imagined: They’re tracking deadly “smoke waves” that sweep the landscape, causing serious respiratory health problems.
Nanofur for oil spill cleanup
August 23, 2016 10:51 AM - Karlsruher Institut Für Technologie (KIT) via EurekAlert!
Some water ferns can absorb large volumes of oil within a short time, because their leaves are strongly water-repellent and, at the same time, highly oil-absorbing. Researchers of KIT, together with colleagues of Bonn University, have found that the oil-binding capacity of the water plant results from the hairy microstructure of its leaves. It is now used as a model to further develop the new Nanofur material for the environmentally friendly cleanup of oil spills. (DOI: 10.1088/1748-3190/11/5/056003)
Damaged pipelines, oil tanker disasters, and accidents on oil drilling and production platforms may result in pollutions of water with crude or mineral oil. Conventional methods to clean up the oil spill are associated with specific drawbacks.
NASA Monitors the 'New Normal' of Sea Ice
August 23, 2016 07:33 AM - Maria-José Viñas and Kate Ramsauer, NASA
This year’s melt season in the Arctic Ocean and surrounding seas started with a bang, with a record low maximum extent in March and relatively rapid ice loss through May. The melt slowed down in June, however, making it highly unlikely that this year’s summertime sea ice minimum extent will set a new record.
Study measures methane release from Arctic permafrost
August 22, 2016 11:02 AM - University of Alaska Fairbanks via EurekAlert!
A University of Alaska Fairbanks-led research project has provided the first modern evidence of a landscape-level permafrost carbon feedback, in which thawing permafrost releases ancient carbon as climate-warming greenhouse gases.
The study was published today in the journal Nature Geoscience.
The project, led by UAF researcher Katey Walter Anthony, studied lakes in Alaska, Canada, Sweden and Siberia where permafrost thaw surrounding lakes led to lake shoreline expansion during the past 60 years. Using historical aerial photo analysis, soil and methane sampling, and radiocarbon dating, the project quantified for the first time the strength of the present-day permafrost carbon feedback to climate warming. Although a large permafrost carbon emission is expected to occur imminently, the results of this study show nearly no sign that it has begun.
Europe's oldest known living inhabitant
August 19, 2016 01:46 PM - Stockholm University via EurekAlert!
A Bosnian pine (Pinus heldreichii) growing in the highlands of northern Greece has been dendrocronologically dated to be more than 1075 years old. This makes it currently the oldest known living tree in Europe. The millenium old pine was discovered by scientists from Stockholm University (Sweden), the University of Mainz (Germany) and the University of Arizona (USA).
NASA spots strong convection in strengthening Tropical Storm Kay
August 19, 2016 11:53 AM - NASA/GODDARD Space Flight Center via EurekAlert!
NASA's Aqua satellite passed over tropical cyclone Kay as it was designated a depression in the Eastern Pacific and identified areas of strong convection. That strong uplift of air continued to generate more powerful storms in the system and on Aug. 19 it strengthened into a tropical storm.
The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder or AIRS instrument that flies aboard NASA's Aqua satellite analyzed Kay as it was classified as a depression on Aug. 18 at 4:53 p.m. EDT (2053 UTC).