Ecosystems

Can Volcanic Eruptions Slow Global Warming?
November 21, 2014 02:34 PM - American Geophysical Union

Small volcanic eruptions might eject more of an atmosphere-cooling gas into Earth’s upper atmosphere than previously thought, potentially contributing to the recent slowdown in global warming, according to a new study.

Abrupt rise in greenhouse gases at end of last ice age may be because of permafrost
November 20, 2014 12:30 PM - Alfred Wegener Institute

One of the most abrupt rises in the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere at the end of the last ice age took place about 14,600 years ago. Ice core data show that the CO2 concentration at that time increased by more than 10 ppm (parts per million, unit of measure for the composition of gases) within 200 years. This CO2 increase, i.e. approx. 0.05 ppm per year, was significantly less than the current rise in atmospheric CO2 of 2-3 ppm in the last decade caused by fossil fuels. 

Climate history of western US is more complex than previously thought
November 19, 2014 10:54 AM - Southern Methodist University

The climate 150 million years ago of a large swath of the western United States was more complex than previously known, according to new research from Southern Methodist University, Dallas. It’s been held that the climate during the Jurassic was fairly dry in New Mexico, then gradually transitioned to a wetter climate northward to Montana. But based on new evidence, the theory of a gradual transition from a dry climate to a wetter one during the Jurassic doesn’t tell the whole story, says SMU paleontologist Timothy S. Myers, lead author on the study.

Report Estimates 2010 US Water Consumption is Lowest in Decades
November 13, 2014 08:14 AM - Editor, ENN

While it may seem that the US is one of the worst culprits when it comes to wasting resources, according to the US Geological Survey, our water consumption is improving. Water use in the United States in 2010 was estimated to be about 355 billion gallons per day (Bgal/d), which was 13 percent less than in 2005. Better yet, 2010 marks the lowest level of water use in the US since before 1970!

Groundwater affected by Climate Change
November 12, 2014 07:54 AM - Peter Ruegg, ETH Zurich

Global warming stops at nothing – not even the groundwater, as a new study by researchers from ETH Zurich and KIT reveals: the groundwater’s temperature profiles echo those of the atmosphere, albeit damped and delayed.

Fukushima Radioactivity Detected Off West Coast
November 11, 2014 08:32 AM - Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Monitoring efforts along the Pacific Coast of the U.S. and Canada have detected the presence of small amounts of radioactivity from the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant accident 100 miles (150 km) due west of Eureka, California. Scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) found the trace amounts of telltale radioactive compounds as part of their ongoing monitoring of natural and human sources of radioactivity in the ocean.

Study examines the role of the deep ocean in carbon dioxide storage
November 11, 2014 04:15 AM - Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research via ScienceDaily.

The Southern Ocean plays an important role in the exchange of carbon dioxide between the atmosphere and the ocean. One aspect of this is the growth of phytoplankton, which acts as a natural sponge for carbon dioxide, drawing the troublesome greenhouse gas from the atmosphere into the sea. When these plankton die they can sink to the bottom of the ocean and store some of the carbon dioxide they have absorbed, a process scientists call the "biological carbon pump."

Although many areas of the Southern Ocean are rich in nutrients, they often lack iron, which limits phytoplankton growth. An important idea in oceanography is that adding iron to the Southern Ocean could stimulate phytoplankton growth and the biological carbon pump. Some scientists believe that this process can partly explain cycles in atmospheric carbon dioxide over Earth's recent history and it has also been widely debated as a mitigation strategy for climate change.

New Mechanism Behind Arctic Warming Revealed
November 6, 2014 08:06 AM - Editor, ENN

We all know that greenhouse gases contribute to global warming, but new research identifies a new mechanism that could turn out to be a major contributor to melting sea ice, specifically in the Arctic region. Scientists from the US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have studied a long-wavelength region of the electromagnetic spectrum called far infrared. Far infrared is a region in the infrared spectrum of electromagnetic radiation. While it is invisible to our eyes, it accounts for about half the energy emitted by the Earth’s surface. 

Urban Farming proving successful in Wheeling, West Virginia
November 5, 2014 07:33 PM - Crystal Shepeard, Care2

In 2008, Danny Swan was a junior at Jesuit University in Wheeling, West Virginia. The town was a shadow of its former self as a thriving hub for the coal and steel industries. As America turned to more green energy and offshore production, jobs and people abandoned the town. Left behind were abandoned buildings, crime and a depressed community.

Danny Swan spent his time between classes gardening in the backyard of the university residence he lived in and volunteering at an after-school program for inner-city kids. He was in search of a way to expand the concrete urban world of the children he worked with. His solution was found right across the street from the chapel that housed the program, underneath a highway overpass.  

Gray Wolf Sighted at Grand Canyon, Offers Hope for Species
November 4, 2014 07:55 AM - Alicia Graef, Care2

Several recent sightings of what’s believed to be a gray wolf at the Grand Canyon in Arizona have wolf advocates hopeful that its presence, which marks the first time one has been seen in the state in 70 years, is yet another a sign of recovery for this iconic species. The lone wolf in question was first spotted in early October by visitors at the Kaibab National Forest north of the Grand Canyon National Park and described as a wolf-like animal, but photos made public by the Center for Biological Diversity – in an attempt to ensure it wasn’t mistaken for a coyote and killed – have led wildlife and park officials to believe it’s a gray wolf.

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