Anthropogenic Origins of Cirrus Clouds
May 10, 2013 03:57 PM - Allison Winter, ENN
"Cirrus" is Latin for a curling lock of hair so it is fitting that thin, wispy clouds that we often see in the atmosphere are called cirrus clouds. These clouds form when water vapor undergoes deposition at high altitudes and therefore are found at higher elevations and appear more delicate compared to the other types of clouds. Cirrus clouds cover as much as one-third of the Earth and play an important role in global climate. Depending on altitude and the number and size of ice crystals, cirrus clouds can cool the planet by reflecting incoming solar radiation — or warm it by trapping outgoing heat.
Let's Celebrate the 5th Annual National Public Gardens Day!
May 10, 2013 08:28 AM - Editor, ENN
The annual tradition of celebrating public gardens on the Friday preceding Mother's Day weekend will continue this year on May 10, 2013 as communities throughout the United States celebrate National Public Gardens Day. Presented in partnership between the American Public Gardens Association (APGA) and irrigation product and service provider, Rain Bird, the annual day of awareness invites communities nationwide to explore the diverse beauty of their local green spaces and to take advantage of the conservation, education and environmental preservation resources public gardens provide.
May 9, 2013 04:06 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Plants and animals adapt to their world so when the climate changes they either change, move, or die. For plants and animals forced to tough out harsh winter weather, the coverlet of snow that blankets the north country is a refuge, a place beneath-the-snow that gives an essential respite from biting winds and subzero temperatures. But in a warming world, winter and spring snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere is in decline, putting at risk many plants and animals that depend on the time beneath the snow to survive the chill of winter. Snow, in this case, is like a warm blanket.
Light-Scattering Properties are Risk Factor for Coral Reef Survival
May 9, 2013 12:58 PM - Allison Winter, ENN
Coral reefs have been gaining a lot of attention by conservation groups as environmental and human stresses are causing irreparable damage to these reefs. Stresses such as warming oceans and climate change are going to serve as future obstacles for these coral populations. However, the study of dying corals is complex, and researchers have found that some corals die while others do not, even when exposed to the same environmental conditions. In order to figure out this conundrum, a research team from Northwestern University and The Field Museum of Natural History found that corals themselves play a role in their susceptibility to deadly coral bleaching due to the light-scattering properties of their skeletons.
The Regional Centre for Climate Change and Decision-Making
May 9, 2013 06:53 AM - Daniela Hirschfeld, SciDevNet
South America has got its first think-tank aimed at providing climate change knowledge to decision-makers to help them design tools tailored to local needs. The Regional Centre for Climate Change and Decision-Making was launched earlier this year (19 March) in Montevideo, Uruguay, where it will have its headquarters and where it is organising its first training event for policymakers. The centre is a joint initiative by the Panama-based Avina Foundation, which promotes sustainable development in Latin America, and UNESCO (the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).
Poachers seen at unique elephant habitat
May 8, 2013 12:48 PM - WWF
Poachers have entered one of Africa's most unique elephant habitats this week, threatening to cause one of the biggest elephant massacres in the region since poachers killed at least 300 elephants for their ivory in Cameroon's Bouba N'Djida National Park in February 2012. According to WWF sources, a group of 17 armed individuals on Monday entered the Dzanga-Ndoki National Park and headed for the Dzanga Bai, locally known as the "village of elephants", a large clearing where between 50 and 200 elephants congregate every day to drink mineral salts present in the sands.
Ground Water Flow Rate
May 8, 2013 09:16 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
Ground water flow rates can be a slow process. USGS hydrologic researchers, for example, have found that the movement of nitrate through groundwater to streams can take decades to occur. This long lag time means that changes in the use of nitrogen-based fertilizer (the typical source of nitrate) — whether the change is initiation, adjustment, or cessation — may take decades to be fully observed in their effect on streams, according to a recent study published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology. Water quality experts have been noting in recent years that nitrate trends in streams and rivers do not match their expectations based on reduced regional use of nitrogen-based fertilizer. The long travel times of groundwater discharge, like those documented in this study, is the likely cause.
Illegal Fishing Linked to Seafood Fraud in New Report
May 8, 2013 06:07 AM - Editor, Oceana
Today, as the nation's top leaders in fishery management come together at the 2013 Managing Our Nation's Fisheries Conference in Washington, D.C. to discuss science and sustainability, Oceana released a new report finding that illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing leads to seafood fraud and threatens fishing economies, seafood consumers and vulnerable marine species on a global scale. According to recent estimates, IUU fishing accounts for 20 percent of the global catch and contributes to economic losses of $10-23 billion, while also threatening 260 million jobs that depend on marine fisheries around the world. "Similar to the illegal ivory trade, pirate fishing is decimating the ocean's most vulnerable and valuable wildlife - we are losing the elephants of the sea to poachers," said Oceana campaign director and senior scientist Margot Stiles. "By fishing illegally, including in national parks, and targeting endangered species with destructive gear, poachers provoke economic losses in the billions of dollars every year, undermining decades of conservation by more responsible fishermen."
Black Sea Changes and Reponses
May 7, 2013 04:10 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
When Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) marine paleoecologist Marco Coolen was mining through vast amounts of genetic data from the Black Sea sediment record, he was amazed about the variety of past plankton species that had left behind their genetic makeup as a sign of their environmental responses. The semi-isolated Black Sea is highly sensitive to climate driven environmental changes, and the underlying sediments represent high-resolution archives of past continental climate and concurrent hydrologic changes in the basin. The brackish Black Sea is currently receiving salty Mediterranean waters via the narrow Strait of Bosphorus as well as freshwater from rivers and via precipitation. In the past the Black Sea was more of a freshwater lake than a salty sea. Over the centuries the Black Sea has changed back and forth due to the ever changing climatic conditions of the world.
Unconventional swine: how invasive pigs are helping preserve biodiversity in the Pantanal
May 6, 2013 12:38 PM - Erica Santana , MONGABAY.COM
Ordinarily, invasive and exotic species are a grave threat to native wildlife: outcompeting local species, introducing parasites and disease, and disturbing local ecological regimes. A unique case in the Brazilian Pantanal, however, has turned the tables; here, an introduced mammal has actually aided the conservation of native wildlife. The impact of feral pigs (Sus scrofa) is a serious threat to biodiversity in many ecosystems around the globe. Their destructive rooting behavior and voracious appetite are often severely damaging to populations of plants and small animals, not to mention they serve as a reservoir for a host of zoonotic diseases. In the Pantanal, however, introduced feral pigs have had a positive impact on wildlife communities and the local culture. The Pantanal region of South America, which extends beyond Brazil into Bolivia and Paraguay, is one of the largest freshwater wetlands on the planet and boasts a diversity of unique wildlife- but this hasn't always been the case.