Earth Getting Wetter and Stickier, Researchers Say
October 11, 2007 08:39 AM - Reuters
Greenhouse gases are making the earth's atmosphere wetter and stickier, which may lead to more powerful hurricanes, hotter temperatures and heavier rainfall in tropical regions, British researchers reported on Wednesday.
The findings, published in the journal Nature, are some of the first to show how human-produced greenhouse gases have affected global humidity levels in recent decades and could offer clues on future climate change, the researchers said.
China moves to protect ecology of Three Gorges
October 11, 2007 08:22 AM - Reuters
China is to relocate at least 4 million more people from the Three Gorges Dam reservoir area in the next 10 to 15 years to protect its "ecological safety," Xinhua news agency said on Thursday.
The $25 billion dam near Chongqing, in southwest China, is the world's largest hydropower project, but even senior officials who have defended the project as an engineering wonder now warn that areas around the dam are paying a heavy environmental cost.
Deep Rocks Yield First Look Inside San Andreas Fault
October 10, 2007 06:09 PM - Louis Bergeron
Washington - For the first time, geologists have extracted intact rock samples from 2 miles beneath the surface of the San Andreas Fault, the infamous rupture that runs 800 miles along the length of California.
Never before have scientists had available for study rock samples from deep inside one of the actively moving tectonic plate-bounding faults responsible for the world's most damaging earthquakes. Now, with this newly recovered material, scientists hope to answer long-standing questions about the fault's composition and properties.
Mixed Atlantic hurricane season puzzles experts
October 10, 2007 05:18 PM - Michael Christie, Reuters
MIAMI (Reuters) - Judge the 2007 Atlantic hurricane season by the 13 storms so far, and it looks like a relatively busy year. But look at the number of days a hurricane has swirled in the Atlantic, or use other measures of a storm season's ferocity, and 2007 has been surprisingly benign.
Hurricane experts had predicted the season to be above-average because of warm Atlantic sea surface temperatures, the continuance of a decades-long natural period of increased storm activity, and the development of La Nina weather conditions in the Pacific.
Many tropical waves, often a precursor of a tropical storm, developed in the Atlantic over the busiest weeks of the season between September and early October, and eight named tropical storms formed in September -- matching a record for the month.
U.S. ethanol rush may harm water supplies: report
October 10, 2007 02:01 PM - Timothy Gardner, Reuters
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. ethanol rush could drain drinking water supplies in parts of the country because corn -- a key source of the country's alternative fuel -- requires vast quantities of water for irrigation, the National Research Council reported on Wednesday.
U.S. President George W. Bush has called for production of 35 billion gallons per year of alternative motor fuels including ethanol by 2017, as part of an effort to wean the country from foreign oil. U.S. capacity to make the fuel, believed to emit low levels of greenhouse gases, has spiked about 28 percent this year to nearly 7 billion gallons.
But the use of more corn to make ethanol could drain water supplies like the Ogallala, or High Plains, aquifer, which extends from west Texas up into South Dakota and Wyoming.
U.N. urges preparedness for more frequent disasters
October 9, 2007 09:01 PM -
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Amid a dramatic increase in climate-related disasters, international relief agencies are calling on countries to increase their commitment to disaster risk reduction, the United Nations said on Tuesday.
"Climate change is already driving an increase in the frequency and intensity of heat waves, floods, droughts and tropical cyclones. We believe that more needs to be done to contain these natural disasters at the outset," said U.N. Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes.
"Disaster risk reduction is a key part of the global response to climate change."
Mauritius Scientists Fear Tourism Impact On Coral
October 9, 2007 08:17 AM - Reuters
BLUE BAY, Mauritius - Scientists in Mauritius are warning the Indian Ocean island's ambitious tourism targets will place too much strain on remaining coral. Facing the threats of trade liberalization to its sugar and textile sectors, Mauritius is boosting tourism with a goal of two million tourists per year from an anticipated 900,000 in 2007. But scientists are nervous about that target. "Too many tourists will bring it to an unsustainable level," oceanographer Vassen Kauppaymuthoo told Reuters.
Greenpeace Urges Indonesia to Stop Forest Destruction
October 9, 2007 07:20 AM - Reuters
JAKARTA - Indonesia must stop the destruction of its rainforests and commit to a moratorium on conversion of peat swamp forests into farmland, Greenpeace said on Tuesday. Indonesia had the fastest pace of deforestation in the world between 2000-2005, destroying an area of forest the size of 300 soccer pitches every hour, according to the environment group. The Greenpeace appeal came ahead of a U.N. climate change summit in December, where participants from 189 countries are expected to gather in Bali to discuss a new deal to fight global warming. The existing pact, the Kyoto Protocol, runs out in 2012.
Indonesia seeks payout to save forests
October 8, 2007 05:19 PM - Telly Nathalia, Reuters
JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia wants to be paid $5-$20 per hectare not to destroy its remaining forests, the environment minister said on Monday, for the first time giving an actual figure that he wants the world's rich countries to pay.
Participants from 189 countries are expected to gather in Bali for global climate talks at a U.N.-led summit in December.
They will hear a report on Reduced Emissions from Deforestation (RED) -- a new scheme that aims to make emission cuts from forest areas eligible for global carbon trading.
But apart from carbon trading, Indonesia also wants big emitters such as the United States and the European Union to pay the country to preserve its pristine rainforests.
Why Do Males and Females Frequently Differ in Body Size and Structure?
October 8, 2007 03:58 PM - Paul Schaefer, ENN
RIVERSIDE, Calif. - Males and females frequently differ in body size, form and structure. But how did these differences develop? Despite decades of study by evolutionary biologists - the answer isn't clear.A new book called Sex, Size & Gender Roles: Evolutionary Studies of Sexual Size Dimorphism (Oxford University Press, 2007). brings together the latest research findings in evolutionary biology to help explain gender differences in a variety of organisms, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects, spiders and flowering plants. The book was edited in part by a UC Riverside biology professor Daphne Fairbairn.