Ecosystems

Ebb and flow of the sea drives world's big extinction events
June 16, 2008 09:46 AM - University of Wisconsin-Madison

If you are curious about Earth's periodic mass extinction events such as the sudden demise of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, you might consider crashing asteroids and sky-darkening super volcanoes as culprits.

Iowans assess damage from deadly flood waters
June 16, 2008 09:17 AM - Reuters

Officials moved paintings, books and documents out of harm's way on Sunday as record flooding in parts of the U.S. Midwest partly submerged the University of Iowa campus in Iowa City. Fifteen campus buildings were flooded, including the Iowa Museum of Art, despite what university president Sally Mason termed "herculean efforts" to contain the rushing Iowa River.

If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around to hear it, does climate change?
June 13, 2008 10:32 AM - National Science Foundation

There are roughly 42 million square kilometers of forest on Earth, a swath that covers almost a third of the land surface, and those wooded environments play a key role in both mitigating and enhancing global warming. In a review paper appearing in this week's Forest Ecology special issue of Science, atmospheric scientist Gordon Bonan of the Natinoal Science Foundation's National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., presents the current state of understanding for how forests impact global climate.

Calif. gov declares water emergency in farm area
June 13, 2008 08:50 AM - Reuters

Following his declaration last week of a drought in California, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proclaimed on Thursday a state of emergency in nine counties in the state's farm-rich Central Valley. "Just last week, I said we would announce regional emergencies wherever the state's drought situation warrants them, and in the Central Valley an emergency proclamation is necessary to protect our economy and way of life," the Republican governor said in a statement.

Freshwater runoff from the Greenland Ice Sheet will more than double by the end of the century
June 12, 2008 09:28 AM - University of Alaska Fairbanks

The Greenland Ice Sheet is melting faster than previously calculated according to a recently released scientific paper by University of Alaska Fairbanks researcher Sebastian H. Mernild. The study, published in the journal Hydrological Processes, is based on models using data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, as well as satellite images and observations from on the ground in Greenland.

Environmental Skeptics Are Overwhelmingly Politicized, Study Says
June 12, 2008 09:15 AM - , Worldwatch Institute

A review of environmental skepticism literature from the past 30 years has found that the vast majority of skeptics, often identified as independent, are directly linked to politically oriented, conservative think tanks. The study, published in this month's issue of Environmental Politics, analyzed books written between 1972 and 2005 that deny the urgency of environmental protection. The researchers found that more than 92 percent of the skeptical authors were in some way affiliated to conservative think tanks - non-profit research and advocacy organizations that promote core conservative ideals.

Africa's deforestation twice world rate, says atlas
June 11, 2008 09:47 AM - Reuters

Africa is suffering deforestation at twice the world rate and the continent's few glaciers are shrinking fast, according to a U.N. atlas on Tuesday. Satellite pictures, often taken three decades apart, showed expanding cities, pollution, deforestation and climate change were damaging the African environment despite glimmers of improvement in some areas.

Gov. Sanford Asks President to Protect Deep Sea Corals Off South Carolina Coast
June 11, 2008 09:41 AM - Environmental Defense Fund

In a letter sent on May 21, 2008, Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina asked President George W. Bush to protect the unique deep sea coral reefs off the South Carolina coast by establishing the area as a marine national monument. These spectacular, but largely unexplored, reefs cover an area nearly the size of South Carolina and stretch from North Carolina to Florida.

Sea Ice Melt Could Thaw Permafrost, Too
June 11, 2008 09:02 AM - Science Now

Scientists tracking a dramatic shrinkage in Arctic sea ice over the past few years have come to a worrisome conclusion: If the trend continues, it could speed up the melting of Arctic permafrost as well. The environmental consequences of such a development are uncertain, but they could spell trouble for plants, animals, and humans in those regions that depend on solid ground underfoot.

Environmental Change Re-Draws Atlas of Africa
June 11, 2008 08:54 AM - United Nations Environment Programme

Johannesburg/Nairobi/London, 10 June 2008-Africa's rapidly changing environmental landscape, from the disappearance of glaciers in Uganda's Rwenzori Mountains to the loss of Cape Town's unique "fynbos" vegetation, is presented today to the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment(AMCEN).

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