Ecosystems

New data on what Greenland was like almost 3 million years ago
April 20, 2014 08:59 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

Glaciers and ice sheets are commonly thought to work like a belt sander. As they move over the land they scrape off everything — vegetation, soil and even the top layer of bedrock. So a team of university scientists and a NASA colleague were greatly surprised to discover an ancient tundra landscape preserved under the Greenland Ice Sheet, below two miles of ice. "We found organic soil that has been frozen to the bottom of the ice sheet for 2.7 million years," said University of Vermont geologist and lead author Paul Bierman. The finding provides strong evidence that the Greenland Ice Sheet has persisted much longer than previously known, enduring through many past periods of global warming.

The Atlantic Cup looks to raise awareness on Rhode Island’s increasingly polluted shorelines
April 18, 2014 11:32 AM - Guest Contributor, Jeff Pomeroy

The 2014 Atlantic Cup presented by 11th Hour Racing, now entering its fourth year as the United States premiere class 40 yacht race, continues to lead the way in clean sailing and increasing ecologically awareness in the sailing community. In 2012, the Atlantic Cup became the first carbon-neutral sailing race in the country by offsetting an estimated 23,030 pounds (10.45 metric tons) of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. Last year, in partnership with 11th Hour Racing and Green Mountain Energy Company, the Atlantic Cup was chosen as the first event to meet all the requirements to earn Sailors for the Sea Clean Regatta Platinum Level Status. The Atlantic Cup will once again maintain its commitment to being the most environmentally responsible sailing race in the U.S. by using biodiesel hydro generators, solar panels and fuel cells to limit the use of fuel during competition, recycling waste, and becoming a plastic water bottle free event.

Greenland was green
April 18, 2014 08:55 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

Greenland the second largest body of ice on Earth was actually green at one point in history. Researchers, including a scientist from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, have unearthed cryogenically frozen ancient dirt previously buried under nearly two miles of ice.

Scenario development yields environmental success story
April 17, 2014 03:37 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

With so much scenario modeling currently available, we are able to better predict our future and anticipate the outcomes of various habits and activities. While invaluable in the area of prediction, how has that information transformed our environmental status? Is our environmental future optimistic or dismal? Will we be able to celebrate Earth Day in the future knowing that we have responded appropriately to the bleak prophecies?

Climate Change Reshaping Urban Tree Populations
April 17, 2014 09:47 AM - Frank Carini, ecoRI News staff

Despite protecting us from the impacts of a changing climate, our region's trees are also threatened by wetter and warmer weather. The urban forests of today will look much different by the end of the century. By the end of this century, scientists predict southern New England's seas will rise some 3 feet, and without major cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, they say summers here will soon resemble Georgia's dog days.

Get Ready to Say Goodbye to Bananas
April 17, 2014 08:02 AM - Susan Bird, Care2

Who doesn't love a nice banana? They're tasty portable snacks, they make a great daiquiri, and they're wonderful additions to a green smoothie or bowl of oatmeal. Well, eat your fill now, because if history is any indicator, global banana production may soon be in serious jeopardy. The culprit is disease. Specifically, a strain of a tropical fungus is targeting the most popular form of banana, and there is currently no effective treatment.

Human Life Expectancy Linked to Extinctions
April 16, 2014 04:14 PM - Dominic Rowland, MONGABAY.COM

Since the arrival of Homo sapiens, other species have been going extinct at an unprecedented rate. Most scientists now agree that extinction rates are between 100 and 1000 times greater than before humans existed. Working out what is driving these extinctions is fiendishly complicated, but a new study by scientists from the University of California, Davis and the Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit suggests that human life expectancy may be partly to blame.

Weather throws a curve
April 16, 2014 07:14 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

Apparently the intense curve of the jet stream can predict the variability of an entire season and it is part of a 4,000 year pattern. Last winter's curvy jet stream in North America resulted in mild western temperatures and harsher cold temperatures in the east. University of Utah researchers reveal that a similar pattern became more pronounced 4,000 years ago, suggesting that it may worsen as Earth's climate warms.

Moth Study Reveals Hidden Climate Change Impacts
April 15, 2014 01:38 PM - Allison Winter, ENN

More and more studies are reporting climate change as the main culprit for not only species adaptation, but also for changes in population size. But a new study shows that population increases or decreases cannot only be attributed to increasingly warmer weather and that multiple factors play a role when it comes to species population.

IPCC concludes: Renewable energy shift is a must
April 15, 2014 10:34 AM - ENN Editor

Conclusions from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's are simple: rapid shifts to renewable energy are needed to avert catastrophic global warming. The IPCC's report was produced by 1250 international experts and approved by each major government in the world. The report documented increases in human-caused greenhouse gases, the source of those gases, and their climatic effect. The most significant conclusions resulting from IPPC report are: - Current efforts to reduce greenhouse gases are not enough. - Energy supply is not the only thing driving emission increases. - Big changes will be needed to avoid disaster scenarios.

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