'Waterpod' Turns Desert Well-Water Clean
April 4, 2013 10:51 AM - Allison Winter, ENN
Ever since the construction of a hydro-electric dam in the Draa Valley nearly 40 years ago, Sahara nomads have faced further desertification of the region, taking a heavy toll on water supplies. More than 330 million people in sub-Saharan Africa, or around 40 percent of the population, do not have access to clean drinking water, according to a report published by British NGO WaterAid. While there are wells throughout the region, they often contain undrinkable brackish water that is inundated with salt.
Tropical Rainfall Patterns
April 3, 2013 03:24 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
One often ignored consequence of global climate change is that the Northern Hemisphere is becoming warmer than the Southern Hemisphere, which could significantly alter tropical precipitation patterns, according to a new study by climatologists from the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Washington. What this means, over time, is that rain that falls in one place may shift to another place. What is desert now may become green while other lands languish.
Seasonal allergies may be worse than usual this year
April 3, 2013 01:46 PM - Allison Winter, ENN
Break out those tissues and symptom relief pills, allergy season is upon us. And unfortunately, experts are saying that as the weather warms this spring, allergy sufferers are likely to be more affected than in past years. Seasonal allergies occur when outdoor molds release their spores or when trees, grasses, and weeds release pollen into the air in an effort to fertilize other plants. When we inhale this air, our bodies work to fight off these airborne invaders, which according to the US Food and Drug Administration leads to nearly 36 million Americans suffering each year from these seasonal allergies.
Not All Ice Melts
April 2, 2013 05:13 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Global warming means melting of polar ice and rising seas. Well not always it seems. Melting may not be the destroyer of all ice. Melting ice shelves may actually spur the growth of sea ice in Antarctica. While Arctic sea ice has dwindled, the extent of Antarctic sea ice has expanded by nearly 2 percent per decade since 1985. As the oceans have warmed in the same time period, deep ocean currents have carried heat to the deep waters surrounding Antarctica. The warmth may be melting the base of ice shelves which then crack and break off. On the surface it will look like the Antarctica ice is expanding.
April 2, 2013 09:58 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
NOx. such as nitric oxide, comes from many sources. It is a misconception that it is only the result of combustion devices. There are natural sources such as thunderstorms and ordinary plant life. Changes in agricultural practices could reduce soil emissions of the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide and the atmospheric pollutant nitric oxide, according to a new study by scientists at the University of California, Davis. "Agriculture is the main source of nitrous oxide globally, so this study is a starting point to help us understand how to manage and control it," said UC Davis professor of soil biogeochemistry William Horwath, whose lab conducted the study.
Using 'Biochar' To Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions
April 1, 2013 08:32 AM - Allison Winter, ENN
'Biochar' is the name for charcoal when it is used as a soil amendment. People add charcoal to land in order to increase soil fertility and agricultural productivity. In addition to these benefits, researchers are now saying that biochar has potential to mitigate climate change as it can help sequester carbon and thus cut our greenhouse gas emissions.
Is Hemp Farming the next Green Job growth industry
March 31, 2013 08:00 AM - Nikolas Kozloff, Guest Contributor, MONGABAY.COM
Though Obama has frequently spoken of the need for more "green jobs," he has failed to acknowledge the inherent environmental advantages associated with a curious plant called hemp. One of the earliest domesticated crops, hemp is incredibly versatile and can be utilized for everything from food, clothing, rope, paper and plastic to even car parts. In an era of high unemployment, hemp could provide welcome relief to the states and help to spur the transition from antiquated and polluting manufacturing jobs to the new green economy. What is more, in lieu of our warming world and climate change, the need for environmentally sustainable industries like hemp has never been greater. Given all of these benefits, why have Obama and the political establishment chosen to remain silent? The explanation has to do with retrograde and backward beliefs which have been hindering environmental progress for a generation. A biological cousin of marijuana, hemp contains minute amounts of THC or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive chemical. Even though advocates say one would have to smoke huge amounts of hemp to get high, the plant occupies a highly dubious legal status in the U.S. During the 1970s, Congress declared hemp a "Schedule I" drug under the Controlled Substances Act, ridiculously lopping the plant in the same category as heroin. Though the authorities allow farmers to petition the federal government to grow hemp, the Drug Enforcement Administration or D.E.A. has proven incredibly resistant to such licenses and for all intents and purposes the crop has remained illegal [ironically enough, however, the U.S. imports many hemp-related products from abroad].
Giant landslides identified by seismic fingerprints
March 29, 2013 10:05 AM - James Dacey, SciDevNet
A new technique that can identify catastrophic landslides based on their seismic signals could one day lead to a global system for identifying regions at particular risk from this hazard. Giant landslides involve millions of tonnes of rock and debris moving downslope at speeds often above 110 miles per hour. Such events are rare, but, when they occur, the loss of life and damage to property can be enormous.
Rising up to prepare for sea level rise
March 29, 2013 08:56 AM - Nancy Schneider, EarthPeople
Situated among the trees and mountains along the scenic Hudson River, Kingston, New York seems far away from the salty blue waves of the Atlantic. Yet, just 100 miles inland from the World Trade Center, at the southern tip of Manhattan where New York meets the Atlantic, the Tidal Waterfront Flooding Task Force of the Kingston Conservation Advisory Council (CAC) has begun to plan a strategy to manage the inevitable effects of a rising sea. This volunteer advisory board, residents, community advocates, city officials, grassroots organizations, and State experts met with Catalysis Adaptation Partners to determine the impacts of storm surges and Sea Level Rise (SRL) on this historic town, the former capital of New York State.
Scientists link frozen spring to dramatic Arctic sea ice loss
March 28, 2013 09:17 AM - John Vidal, The Ecologist
Climate scientists have linked the massive snowstorms and bitter spring weather now being experienced across Britain and large parts of Europe and North America to the dramatic loss of Arctic sea ice. Both the extent and the volume of the sea ice that forms and melts each year in the Arctic Ocean fell to an historic low last autumn, and satellite records published on Monday by the National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado, show the ice extent is close to the minimum recorded for this time of year.