Ecosystems

Tipping Points In Earth System, Not Always Smooth
September 7, 2007 03:05 PM - Timothy M. Lenton, U of East Anglia

University of East Anglia - The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its many excellent reports tends to portray climate change as a smooth transition. Although the projections are rarely straight lines the underlying system and its responses appear ”˜linear’ in mathematical terms. There are, of course, exceptions to this, notable ones being the possible collapse of the Atlantic thermohaline circulation or irreversible melt of the Greenland ice sheet, which both get significant attention in the latest IPCC report. These represent large scale ”˜non-linear’ components of the Earth system.

Tahoe Research Center Among 'Greenest' Buildings In World
September 7, 2007 02:06 PM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

LAKE TAHOE - One of only five such buildings in the world, the new home of the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center has received a Platinum LEED Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The center is located in Incline Village, Nev., on the north shore of the lake. The Tahoe Center is a 45,000-square-foot facility housing UC Davis's research laboratories, a public education center; Sierra Nevada College laboratories and classrooms; and office space for the Desert Research Institute and University of Nevada, Reno's Academy for the Environment. All of these functions are focused on understanding and preserving the unique ecology of the Lake Tahoe watershed.

Researchers Rewrite Origins Of Ancient Urban Sprawl
September 7, 2007 01:57 PM - University of Cambridge

University of Cambridge - A team of archaeologists, including scholars from the University of Cambridge, have unveiled new research that could rewrite the history of the world's earliest cities. Surveys at the ancient settlement of Tell Brak, in north-east Syria, have produced fresh evidence that indicates the first urban settlements were the result of natural migration, and not the artificial creations of those in power. Academics have traditionally believed that the growth of ancient cities resulted from the policies and demands of a centralized authority, such as a ruling monarch or religious institution.

New Research Identifies How One Storm Can Affect Another
September 7, 2007 01:48 PM - University of Leeds

Weather forecasting and climate modelling for the notoriously unpredictable Sahel region of Africa could be made easier in the future, thanks to new research results coming from the African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis study (AMMA). University of Leeds - A paper published in Geophysical Research Letters describes how the AMMA scientists gathered new atmospheric data by using satellite imagery to plot flight paths over areas where storms had produced very wet soils. Dropsondes (weather reconnaissance devices) were launched from a research aircraft above these wet areas to record data such as humidity, wind strength and temperature. The findings allowed the scientists to compare the atmospheric conditions above wet soils with those above adjacent dry soils.

Scientists Make Dire Forecast for Alaska
September 7, 2007 01:14 PM - Dan Joling, Associated Press

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Sept. 7) - An analysis of 20 years' worth of real-life observations supports recent U.N. computer predictions that by 2050, summer sea ice off Alaska's north coast will probably shrink to nearly half the area it covered in the 1980s, federal scientists say. The summer sea ice off Alaska's north coast will likely shrink considerably by 2050, said James Overland of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Here, a ship is seen 50 miles north of Point Barrow in 2002. Such a loss could have profound effects on mammals dependent on the sea ice, such as polar bears, now being considered for threatened species status because of changes in habitat due to global warming.

Global Rules Needed To Curb Ship Emissions
September 7, 2007 01:08 PM - Reuters

HELSINKI (Reuters) - The world's shipping industry needs global regulations that are consistently enforced by the United Nations if it is to cut emissions, the chairman of the International Chamber of Shipping said on Friday. Public pressure is building for ship owners to curb air pollution and take part in markets in permits to emit sulfur and greenhouse gases. Shipping accounts for about 10 percent of world sulfur dioxide emissions, a cause of acid rain, and large amounts of toxic nitrous oxide and particulates such as soot.

Pipeline Co. Pleads Guilty, Pays $1 Million for Fish Kill in Kansas
September 7, 2007 08:17 AM - EPA

Mid-America Pipeline Company, pleaded guilty yesterday to negligently releasing 200,000 gallons of ammonia into a Kansas creek, requiring the evacuation of nearby residents and killing 25,000 fish. The company agreed to pay a $1 million criminal penalty.

Carving Out a New Idea of the Past
September 7, 2007 07:15 AM - ucsd, Mario Aguilera

There was bad news and good news aboard the U.S. Coast Guard icebreaking vessel Healy during a voyage to the Arctic Ocean. The bad news was a disturbing lack of sea ice, which, combined with strong winds, prevented the vessel from maintaining a steady position in the Arctic's Chukchi Sea. But the good news was that the ice-free seas gave the researchers a rare opportunity to make intricately detailed maps of the region's seafloor.

NOAA study backs up predictions of sea ice loss
September 7, 2007 07:07 AM - Associated Press

Sea ice loss in regions of the Arctic is likely to exceed 40 percent by 2050 compared with the 1980s, according to an analysis of ice computer models by researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

New legislation could stop illegal wood imports to the U.S.
September 7, 2007 06:58 AM - Greenpeace.org

Have you ever wondered where the wood you’re buying comes from? Was it sustainably harvested, or was it illegally logged? Were animals displaced, did people lose their livelihoods so that you could buy a piece of furniture or lumber here in the U.S.? The truth is, we often don’t know where the wood we buy comes from, or the devastation it may have caused to reach our stores, and enter our homes.

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