Climate

Reforesting Kilimanjaro could ease East Africa's severe water shortages
October 19, 2016 04:09 PM - United Nations News Centre

There is a need to reforest Africa’s highest mountain to help protect vital water supplies that are under threat across large parts of East Africa, a UN Environment report urged today.

The loss of Mount Kilimanjaro’s forests could trigger water crisis as rivers begin to dry up, notes the report, entitled Sustainable Mountain Development in East Africa in a Changing Climate, which was launched at the World Mountain Forum in Uganda today.

MIT to neutralize 17 percent of carbon emissions through purchase of solar energy
October 19, 2016 03:14 PM - David L. Chandler via Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MIT, Boston Medical Center, and Post Office Square Redevelopment Corporation have formed an alliance to buy electricity from a large new solar power installation, adding carbon-free energy to the grid and demonstrating a partnership model for other organizations in climate-change mitigation efforts.

The agreement will enable the construction of a roughly 650-acre, 60-megawatt solar farm on farmland in North Carolina. Called Summit Farms, the facility, the largest renewable-energy project ever built in the U.S. through an alliance of diverse buyers, is expected to be completed and to begin delivering power into the grid by the end of this year.

Researchers use 'robomussels' to monitor climate change
October 18, 2016 07:07 AM - Northeastern University

Tiny robots have been helping researchers study how cli­mate change affects bio­di­ver­sity. Devel­oped by North­eastern Uni­ver­sity sci­en­tist Brian Hel­muth, the “robo­mus­sels” have the shape, size, and color of actual mus­sels, with minia­ture built-in sen­sors that track tem­per­a­tures inside the mussel beds.

Modeling Floods That Formed Canyons on Earth and Mars
October 17, 2016 07:05 AM - University of Massachusetts Amherst

Geomorphologists who study Earth’s surface features and the processes that formed them have long been interested in how floods, in particular catastrophic outbursts that occur when a glacial lake ice dam bursts, for example, can change a planet’s surface, not only on Earth but on Mars. Now geoscience researchers Isaac Larsen at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Michael Lamb at the California Institute of Technology have proposed and tested a new model of canyon-forming floods which suggests that deep canyons can be formed in bedrock by significantly less water than previously thought.

Salty snow could affect air pollution in the Arctic
October 13, 2016 08:03 PM - American Chemical Society

In pictures, the Arctic appears pristine and timeless with its barren lands and icy landscape. In reality, the area is rapidly changing.  Scientists are working to understand the chemistry behind these changes to better predict what could happen to the region in the future. One team reports in ACS’ Journal of Physical Chemistry A that sea salt could play a larger role in the formation of local atmospheric pollutants than previously thought.

Scientists creating super grass to cut methane emissions from cows
October 13, 2016 02:02 PM - Yale Environment 360

Danish scientists are developing a grass that will cut down how often cows burp and pass gas — reducing the amount of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, they release into the atmosphere.

Stanford researchers capture Central Asia's 'de-greening' over millions of years into a modern-day desert
October 13, 2016 11:43 AM - Adam Hadhazy

A new study chronicles how central Asia dried out over the last 23 million years into one of the most arid regions on the planet. The findings illustrate the dramatic climatic shifts wrought by the ponderous rise of new mountain ranges over geologic time.

Researchers have long cited the uplift of the Tibetan Plateau and the Himalayan Mountains around 50 million years ago for blocking rain clouds’ entry into central Asia from the south, killing off much of the region’s plant life.

While global methane emissions are up, study says fossil fuels not the culprit
October 12, 2016 01:26 PM - Susan Phillips

A new study from NOAA, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, puts a new twist on a tricky question about the impact of increased oil and gas production on greenhouse gas emissions. Scientists have detected increased rates of methane emissions globally since 2007. That uptick corresponds to the rapid boom in U.S. shale gas and shale oil production, and some hypothesized that the two could be connected. But it turns out that the correlation may not necessarily be a cause.

Climate Change Has Doubled Western U.S. Forest Fires
October 11, 2016 06:38 AM - Columbia University Earth Institute

A new study says that human-induced climate change has doubled the area affected by forest fires in the U.S. West over the last 30 years. According to the study, since 1984 heightened temperatures and resulting aridity have caused fires to spread across an additional 16,000 square miles than they otherwise would have—an area larger than the states of Massachusetts and Connecticut combined. The authors warn that further warming will increase fire exponentially in coming decades. 

NASA Sees Hurricane Matthew Regain Category 4 Status
October 6, 2016 03:56 PM - NASA

A visible image showing powerful Hurricane Matthew and Nicole on Oct. 6 at 1 p.m. EDT was captured by NOAA's GOES-East satellite. The image shows large Hurricane Matthew's clouds stretching from eastern Cuba and Hispaniola, over the Bahamas and extending to Florida. Matthew is west of the much smaller Tropical Storm Nicole. The image was created at the NASA/NOAA GOES Project at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. 

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