Ecosystems

Current Major Flooding in U.S. a Sign of Things to Come
April 17, 2008 08:26 AM - NOAA

Major floods striking America’s heartland this week offer a preview of the spring seasonal outlook, according to NOAA’s National Weather Service. Several factors will contribute to above-average flood conditions, including record rainfall in some states and snow packs, which are melting and causing rivers and streams to crest over their banks. This week, more than 250 communities in a dozen states are experiencing flood conditions. The science supporting NOAA’s short-term forecasts allows for a high level of certainty. National Weather Service forecasters highlighted potential for the current major flood event a week in advance and began working with emergency managers to prepare local communities for the impending danger.

Agriculture - The Need for Change
April 16, 2008 09:02 AM - United Nations Environment Programme

Washington/London/Nairobi/Delhi, 15 April 2008 - The way the world grows its food will have to change radically to better serve the poor and hungry if the world is to cope with a growing population and climate change while avoiding social breakdown and environmental collapse. That is the message from the report of the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development, a major new report by over 400 scientists which is launched today. The assessment was considered by 64 governments at an intergovernmental plenary in Johannesburg last week.

Illegal fishers plunder the Arctic
April 16, 2008 08:49 AM - WWF

According to Norwegian government figures, more than 100,000 tonnes of illegal cod, valued at €225 million ($US350 million), was caught in the Barents Sea in 2005. Concerted efforts by industry, government and NGOs to clamp down on this illegal activity has seen illegal landings cut by 50 per cent, but illegal fishing for Alaska pollock in the Russian Far-East remains a problem.

World must reform agriculture now or face dire crisis: report

The world will face social upheaval and environmental disasters if agriculture is not radically reformed to better serve the poor and hungry, a landmark UN-sponsored report said Tuesday. The warning in the report by the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) comes amid growing discontent among the world's poorest over rising food prices.

World sea levels to rise 1.5m by 2100: scientists
April 16, 2008 07:35 AM - Reuters

Melting glaciers, disappearing ice sheets and warming water could lift sea levels by as much as 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) by the end of this century, displacing tens of millions of people, new research showed on Tuesday. Presented at a European Geosciences Union conference, the research forecasts a rise in sea levels three times higher than that predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) last year. The U.N. climate panel shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former U.S. Vice President Al Gore.

Brazilians urged to follow Chinese wisdom on springs
April 15, 2008 08:34 AM - WWF

With climate change focusing attention on water generally, WWF’s Brazil Springs Movement is promoting the theme that water sources need to be considered alongside water resources. Nominated areas include springs, headwaters and recharge areas such as mountain tops. “The focus of WWF-Brazil is to mobilize the country for the protection of water resources, both in quality and quantity,” said Denise Hamú, WWF-Brazil’s CEO.

Forests' long-term potential for carbon offsetting
April 15, 2008 08:08 AM - BioMed Central

As well as cutting our fossil fuel emissions, planting new forests, or managing existing forests or agricultural land more effectively can capitalise on nature’s ability to act as a carbon sink. Research published online in the open access journal Carbon Balance and Management shows that although planting trees alone is unlikely to solve our climate problems, large-scale plantations could have a significant effect in the longer term.

Coral flourishing at Bikini Atoll atomic test site
April 15, 2008 07:22 AM - Reuters

CANBERRA (Reuters) - Coral is again flourishing in the crater left by the largest nuclear weapon ever detonated by the United States, 54 years after the blast on Bikini Atoll, marine scientists said on Tuesday. A team of research divers visited Bravo crater, ground zero for the test of a thermonuclear weapon in the remote Marshall Islands on March 1, 1954, and found large numbers of fish and coral growing, although some species appeared locally extinct.

Sea Salt Worsens Coastal Air Pollution
April 14, 2008 08:50 AM - University of Calgary

Air pollution in the world's busiest ports and shipping regions may be markedly worse than previously suspected, according to a new study showing that industrial and shipping pollution is exacerbated when it combines with sunshine and salty sea air. In a paper published in the journal Nature Geoscience, a team of researchers that included University of Calgary chemistry professor Hans Osthoff report that the disturbing phenomenon substantially raises the levels of ground-level ozone and other pollutants in coastal areas.

Congress Pushes for True Shark Finning Ban
April 14, 2008 08:31 AM - , Oceana

Washington, D.C. -- A recent decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has prompted Congress to introduce the "Shark Conservation Act of 2008." This legislation would close loopholes exposed in the court decision by improving existing laws, originally intended to prevent shark finning. The Act would require sharks to be landed with their fins, improving current laws that only require fins and carcasses to be landed in a specific ratio.

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