Ecosystems

Methane release could cause abrupt, far-reaching climate change
May 29, 2008 09:33 AM - National Science Foundation

An abrupt release of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, from ice sheets that extended to Earth's low latitudes some 635 million years ago caused a dramatic shift in climate, scientists funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) report in this week's issue of the journal Nature. The shift triggered events that resulted in global warming and an ending of the last "snowball" ice age.

Water shortages and drought are the next scourge, warns US group
May 29, 2008 08:45 AM - The Guardian

The next scourge to afflict the global economy after soaring oil and food prices will be a surge in the cost of water brought on by growing scarcity, one of the world's biggest companies warned yesterday. General Electric, the US industrial group, said it would cut its own use of water by 20% by 2012 and export water-saving and recycling technology to countries - often emerging economies - hit by shortages.

New Zealand moves to protect rare dolphins
May 29, 2008 02:33 AM - Reuters

New Zealand plans to ban commercial fishing near its coast and set up marine reserves to protect the rare Hector's dolphins, a government minister said on Thursday The Hector's dolphin is estimated to number around 7,400 from 29,000 in the late 1970s. However, one of its sub-species, the Maui dolphin, is said to be the rarest in the world and facing extinction with as few as 111 animals left.

Warming seen depleting Great Lakes even more
May 29, 2008 01:08 AM - Reuters

Global warming will likely drain more water from the Great Lakes and pose added pollution threats to the region's vulnerable ecosystem, environmental groups said in a report issued on Wednesday. Climate change could further reduce scant ice cover observed in recent winters, increasing evaporation rates and dropping water levels in the five lakes that collectively make up 20 percent of the world's surface fresh water.

Human well-being better in a better protected environment
May 28, 2008 10:12 AM - WWF

Well planned and managed protected areas can play a key role in reducing poverty, with the relationship strengthened when well-being is measured as more than just income, according to a new analysis by WWF. SafetyNet:protected areas and poverty reduction, prepared with the assistance of the environmental research group Equilibrium, uses new tools to analyse what works and what doesn't in improving both human well-being and environmental quality, finding that community involvement, benefit sharing and consideration of protected areas in overall landscapes are crucial factors to consider.

Remote controlled planes to explore hurricanes
May 27, 2008 08:11 AM - Reuters

MIAMI (Reuters) - U.S. researchers are ramping up their use of unmanned, remote-controlled airplanes this year to penetrate the heart of Atlantic hurricanes in the hope of learning more about what makes the giant storms tick.

Ocean Acidification And Its Impact On Ecosystems
May 27, 2008 07:29 AM - CNRS

Emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) through human activities have a well known impact on the Earth's climate. What is not so well known is that the absorption of this CO2 by the oceans is causing inexorable acidification of sea water. But what impact is this phenomenon having on marine organisms and ecosystems? This is a question to which researchers have few answers as yet.

China works around the clock to drain quake lake
May 27, 2008 07:24 AM - Reuters

China has put the death toll from the earthquake that struck Sichuan province on May 12 at 65,080, with the figure certain to rise as searchers account for 23,150 missing. A total of 360,058 people were injured.

Honey Bee Losses Continue To Rise In U.S.
May 26, 2008 09:44 AM - Penn State

Colony Collapse Disorder, diseases, parasitic mites and other stressors continue to take a devastating toll on U.S. honey bee populations, but Pennsylvania beekeepers on average fared better than their counterparts nationally during this past winter, according to apiculture experts in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences. A recent survey by the Apiary Inspectors of America found that losses nationwide topped 36 percent of managed hives between September 2007 and March 2008, compared to a 31 percent loss during the same period a year earlier.

Spain's drought a glimpse of our future?

Barcelona is a dry city. It is dry in a way that two days of showers can do nothing to alleviate. The Catalan capital's weather can change from one day to the next, but its climate, like that of the whole Mediterranean region, is inexorably warming up and drying out. And in the process this most modern of cities is living through a crisis that offers a disturbing glimpse of metropolitan futures everywhere.

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