Ecosystems

Fracking Footprint Seen From Space
October 10, 2014 08:38 AM - ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen

An unexpectedly high amount of the climate-changing gas methane, the main component of natural gas, is escaping from the Four Corners region in the US Southwest, according to a new study by the University of Michigan and NASA. The researchers mapped satellite data to uncover the nation's largest methane signal seen from space. They measured levels of the gas emitted from all sources, and found more than half a teragram per year coming from the area where Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah meet. That's about as much methane as the entire coal, oil, and gas industries of the United Kingdom give off each year.

What happens to a river when a dam is removed?
October 9, 2014 07:17 AM - Oregon State University

A study of the removal of two dams in Oregon suggests that rivers can return surprisingly fast to a condition close to their natural state, both physically and biologically, and that the biological recovery might outpace the physical recovery. The analysis, published by researchers from Oregon State University in the journal PLOS One, examined portions of two rivers — the Calapooia River and Rogue River. It illustrated how rapidly rivers can recover, both from the long-term impact of the dam and from the short-term impact of releasing stored sediment when the dam is removed.

First Hookworm Vaccine Passes Brazilian Safety Trial
October 8, 2014 09:33 AM - SciDevNet, SciDevNet

A vaccine for parasitic intestinal worms has been shown to be safe in Brazilian clinical trials, according to its US developer. Hookworm parasites infect more than 600 million people worldwide, attaching themselves to the intestines to feed on blood. Infection can lead to iron deficiency and capillary damage, and may retard children’s growth and mental development.

Sea Turtles in Hawaii getting tumors and we are the cause
October 7, 2014 08:09 AM - University of Hawai'i at Mānoa

Hawai'i's sea turtles are afflicted with chronic and often lethal tumors caused by consuming non-native algae, "superweeds," along coastlines where nutrient pollution is unchecked. The disease that causes these tumors is considered the leading cause of death in endangered green sea turtles. The new research was just published in the scientific journal PeerJ. Turtles that graze on blooms of invasive seaweeds end up with a diet that is rich in a particular amino acid, arginine, which promotes the virus that creates the tumors. Scientists at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa and their NOAA colleague estimate that adult turtles foraging at high-nutrient grazing sites increase their arginine intake 17—26 g daily, up to 14 times the background level.

Fish may not adjust to rising CO2 levels quickly
October 6, 2014 04:29 PM - Oliver Milman The Guardian, Organic Consumers Association

Rising carbon dioxide levels in oceans adversely change the behavior of fish through generations, raising the possibility that marine species may never fully adapt to their changed environment, research has found. The study, published in Nature Climate Change, found that elevated CO2 levels affected fish regardless of whether their parents had also experienced the same environment.

Does the public trust what scientists say?
October 6, 2014 03:58 PM - Princeton University

If scientists want the public to trust their research suggestions, they may want to appear a bit "warmer," according to a new review published by Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. The review, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), shows that while Americans view scientists as competent, they are not entirely trusted. This may be because they are not perceived to be friendly or warm.

While Water Warms, NASA Study Reveals Deep Sea Hasn't
October 6, 2014 03:26 PM - Carol Rasmussen, NASA Earth Science News Team

The cold waters of Earth's deep ocean have not warmed measurably since 2005, according to a new NASA study, leaving unsolved the mystery of why global warming appears to have slowed in recent years. Scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, analyzed satellite and direct ocean temperature data from 2005 to 2013 and found the ocean abyss below 1.24 miles (1,995 meters) has not warmed measurably. Study coauthor Josh Willis of JPL said these findings do not throw suspicion on climate change itself.

How Air Pollution Affects River-Flow
October 6, 2014 10:13 AM - ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen

Air pollution has had a significant impact on the amount of water flowing through many rivers in the northern hemisphere, according to the results of a new study. The paper shows how pollution, known as aerosols, can have an impact on the natural environment and highlights the importance of considering these factors in assessments of future climate change.

Lawrence Livermore finds ocean warming underestimated by past analyses
October 6, 2014 07:32 AM - Anne M Stark, LLNL

Using satellite observations and a large suite of climate models, Lawrence Livermore scientists have found that long-term ocean warming in the upper 700 meters of Southern Hemisphere oceans has likely been underestimated. "This underestimation is a result of poor sampling prior to the last decade and limitations of the analysis methods that conservatively estimated temperature changes in data-€sparse regions," said LLNL oceanographer Paul Durack, lead author of a paper appearing in the October 5 issue of the journal Nature Climate Change.

Sediment from melting Greenland glaciers visible in satellite images
October 3, 2014 08:52 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

The glaciers on Greenland are melting, and this is releasing visible plumes of sediments to surrounding waters. NASA has released some new images showing these plumes. Toward the end of the 21st century, melting from the Greenland Ice Sheet could result in global sea level rise of 4-21 centimeters (2-8 inches), according to the Fifth Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Toward refining that estimate, some scientists are taking a close look at the colorful plumes that pepper the ocean around Greenland's perimeter. About half of the mass lost from the Greenland Ice Sheet is from icebergs calving from glaciers; the other half is lost via meltwater runoff either from the top of the ice or from below (subglacial). According to Vena Chu of University of California, Los Angeles, one of the biggest science questions relating to the ice sheet is: what is the contribution to sea level rise from meltwater?

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