Ecosystems

Greece Buries Fire Victims, Hopes For Autumn Rain
September 2, 2007 02:52 PM - Michele Kambas, Reuters

ARTEMIDA, Greece - Sobbing villagers on Sunday buried a Greek mother and her four children who died in destructive forest fires, as the first autumn rains raised hopes of dousing the flames that have killed 64 people. Storms in northern Greece flooded two villages as firefighters continued to battle blazes in the southern Peloponnese region. Rains were expected across Greece from Sunday night. "The burnt forests contributed to the floods, which swept cars into the sea," said fire brigade officer Giorgos Minos in the northern Halkidiki peninsula.

Pope Urges, Save The Planet Before It's Too Late
September 2, 2007 02:29 PM - Philip Pullella, Reuters

LORETO, Italy (Reuters) - Pope Benedict, leading the Catholic Church's first 'eco-friendly' youth rally, on Sunday told up to half a million people that world leaders must make courageous decisions to save the planet "before it is too late". "A decisive 'yes' is needed in decisions to safeguard creation as well as a strong commitment to reverse tendencies that risk leading to irreversible situations of degradation," the 80-year-old Pope said. Wearing green vestments, he spoke to a crowd of mostly young people sprawled over a hillside near the Adriatic city of Loreto on the day Italy's Catholic Church marks it annual Save Creation Day.

Study: Fireproofing Homes Dramatically Reduces the Spread of Forest Fires
September 1, 2007 06:59 PM - UCLA

Los Angeles - Why do some forest fires spread rapidly over large areas, destroying and damaging many homes, while others are contained with minimal damage? New research shows a major factor is whether homes are fireproofed — not just yours, but those of your neighbors as well. "There is actually more flammable material in a house per square yard than in a forest," said Michael Ghil, UCLA distinguished professor of climate dynamics and geosciences and co-author of the research, which will be published in the Sept. 4 print edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and is currently available online.

Pope Leads Church's First Eco-Friendly Rally
September 1, 2007 06:28 PM - Philip Pullella, Reuters

LORETO, Italy - Pope Benedict on Saturday led the Catholic Church's first eco-friendly youth rally -- where nearly everything used was biodegradable or recyclable -- and urged his young listeners to shun "disposable love." The 80-year-old Pope told the young people, estimated by organizers at some 300,000, to dare to change the world and search for lasting, meaningful relationships.

California Limits Water Supply To Protect Endangered Animals
September 1, 2007 05:04 PM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A U.S. District Court has ordered a massive reduction in water supplies from the state's two largest water delivery systems to protect an endangered fish species, the Delta smelt. The reduction is anticipated to last while federal agencies develop a revised federal biological opinion for Delta smelt that will ensure the projects' compliance with Endangered Species Act requirements.

Biosensors To Probe The Metals Menace
September 1, 2007 12:06 PM - CRC CARE

If the pond life goes star-shaped, you’d be wise not to drink the water. Researchers from CRC CARE are pioneering a world-first technology to warn people if their local water or air is contaminated with dangerous levels of toxic heavy metals and metal-like substances.

Looking for Life in and Under Antarctic Ice
September 1, 2007 11:55 AM - LSU

If confirmed, "immortal cells" could prove potential for life on Mars and Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons; Antarctica is home to the largest body of ice on Earth. Prior to approximately 10 years ago, no one thought that life could exist beneath the Antarctic ice sheets, which can be more than two miles thick in places, because conditions were believed to be too extreme. However, Brent Christner, assistant professor of biological sciences at LSU, has spent a great deal of time in one of the world’s most hostile environments conducting research that proves otherwise.

ENN Focus: Bottom Trawling.
September 1, 2007 07:54 AM - ENN -Lawrence Norton

Today's trawlers are capable of fishing deep-sea canyons and rough seafloor that was once avoided for fear of damaging nets. To capture one or two target commercial species, deep-sea bottom trawl fishing vessels drag huge nets armed with steel plates and heavy rollers across the seabed, plowing up and pulverizing everything in their path. For a few commercial target species, thousands of tons of coral are hauled up only to be thrown back dead or dying, along with huge quantities of unwanted bycatch. In a matter of a few weeks or months, bottom trawl fishing can destroy what took many thousands of years to create.

Scientists At MIT Unraveling The Secrets Of Red Tide
August 31, 2007 06:49 PM - Anne Trafton, MIT

Cambridge, Mass. - In work that could one day help prevent millions of dollars in economic losses for seaside communities, MIT chemists have demonstrated how tiny marine organisms likely produce the red tide toxin that periodically shuts down U.S. beaches and shellfish beds. In the Aug. 31 cover story of Science, the MIT team describes an elegant method for synthesizing the lethal components of red tides. The researchers believe their method approximates the synthesis used by algae, a reaction that chemists have tried for decades to replicate, without success.

NASA Study: Stronger But Fewer Storms
August 31, 2007 06:36 PM - NASA

WASHINGTON - NASA scientists have developed a new climate model that indicates that the most violent severe storms and tornadoes may become more common as Earth's climate warms. Previous climate model studies have shown that heavy rainstorms will be more common in a warmer climate, but few global models have attempted to simulate the strength of updrafts in these storms. The model developed at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies is the first to successfully simulate the observed difference in strength between land and ocean storms and is the first to estimate how the strength will change in a warming climate, including "severe thunderstorms" that also occur with significant wind shear and produce damaging winds at the ground.

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