Enn Original News
May 23, 2013 09:50 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
Most home thermostats contain a few grams of mercury. Although they only contain small quantities of mercury and do not by themselves exceed any regulatory threshold, they contain enough mercury to potentially cause a significant health risk. The state of California has issued new rules that will greatly reduce the amount of dangerous mercury sent to landfills and incinerators each year due to the improper disposal of old mercury-laden thermostats. The new rules will require thermostat manufacturers to collect and recycle the vast majority of discarded mercury thermostats in California. Over the next five years, this will keep nearly 2 tons of the toxin out of garbage trucks, landfills and incinerators where the mercury can be released from crushing or burning, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council, the California Product Stewardship Council, and the California Sierra Club.
Sneaker Life Cycle Impact
May 22, 2013 04:10 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
The American term sneakers refers to footwear with a flexible sole made of rubber or synthetic material and an upper part made of leather or canvas. Sneakers were originally sporting apparel, but today are worn much more widely as casual footwear. A typical pair of running shoes generates 30 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to keeping a 100-watt light bulb on for one week, according to a new MIT-led life cycle assessment. A life cycle measures the environmental impact of the raw materials, processing, and transport to the final market as well as waste disposal. But what’s surprising to researchers isn’t the size of a shoe’s carbon footprint, but where the majority of that footprint comes from.
May 22, 2013 09:39 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
A wildfire is an uncontrolled fire in an area of combustible vegetation that occurs in the countryside or a wilderness area. Wildfires occur on every continent except Antarctica. Wildfires are a common occurrence in Australia and the far US west. Concerns continue to grow about the effects of climate change on fire. Wildfires are expected to increase 50 percent across the United States under a changing climate, over 100 percent in areas of the West by 2050 as projected by some studies. A new article published in the journal Forest Ecology and Management by U.S. Forest Service scientists synthesizes recent findings on the interactions between fire and climate and outlines future research needs. Authored by research meteorologists Yongqiang Liu and Scott Goodrick from the Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) and Warren Heilman from the Northern Research Station, the article homes in on the effect of emissions from wildfires on long-term atmospheric conditions.
Climate Change and Man 's Evolution
May 21, 2013 05:31 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Climate change is bad yet it happens whether we like or not. Then again it may not be so bad. Rapid climate change during the Middle Stone Age, between 80,000 and 40,000 years ago, during the Middle Stone Age, sparked surges in cultural innovation in early modern human populations, according to new research. The research, published this month in Nature Communications, was conducted by a team of scientists from Cardiff University's School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, the Natural History Museum in London and the University of Barcelona.
Aquifers in US Depleting, Contributing to Sea-Level Rise
May 21, 2013 10:24 AM - Allison Winter, ENN
The High Plains (also known as Ogallala) aquifer underlies more than 170,000 square miles of the United States. Aquifers are water storage areas that are made up of bodies of permeable rock that contain and transmit groundwater. The High Plains aquifer serves as the principal source of water for irrigation and drinking in the Great Plains, serving over two million people. However, substantial pumping of the aquifer for irrigation since the 1940s has resulted in large water-table declines. Depleting aquifers of groundwater can lead to serious consequences as pumping water out of the ground faster than it can be replenished can permanently dry up wells, reduce water in lakes and streams, and deteriorate water quality.
Climate Extreme Prediction
May 21, 2013 07:23 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
It seems that there is always another opinion on how the climate is or will be changing. A new study led by Oxford University concludes that the latest observations of the climate system's response to rising greenhouse gas levels are consistent with conventional estimates of the long-term climate sensitivity, despite a warming pause over the past decade. However, the most extreme rates of warming simulated by the current generation of climate models over 50- to 100-year timescales are looking less likely, according to the paper published online by Nature Geoscience.
Eat those white vegetables?
May 20, 2013 03:27 PM - Allison Winter, ENN
We've always been told that eating colorful foods has many health benefits. And no, I'm not talking about artificially colored candies or chips, but instead fresh fruits and vegetables. Many produce rich in color contains nutrient packed pigments and antioxidants that provide energy and other benefits to our bodies. Consequently, it is recommended that we have three to five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. But what about white foods? Some nutritionists urge us to stay away from white bread breads, rice and pastas, but what about white produce? There are potatoes, garlic, onions, mushrooms, cauliflower, onions, turnips and kohlrabi just to name a few. Are these white fruits and vegetables just as nutritious?
May 20, 2013 03:14 PM - ENN Editor
Most of the world's frozen water is locked up at the poles. 99 percent of Earth’s land ice is located in the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. Yet the remaining ice in the world’s glaciers contributed just as much to sea rise as the two major ice sheets combined from 2003 to 2009, says a new study led by Clark University and involving the University Colorado Boulder. The new research found that all glacial regions lost significant mass from 2003 to 2009, with the biggest ice losses occurring in Arctic Canada, Alaska, coastal Greenland, the southern Andes and the Himalayas. The glaciers outside of the Greenland and Antarctic sheets lost an average of roughly 260 billion metric tons of ice annually during the study period, causing the oceans to rise 0.03 inches, or about 0.7 millimeters per year.
Vitamin C and Gout
May 20, 2013 09:26 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
Vitamin C or L-ascorbic acid, or simply ascorbate (the anion of ascorbic acid), is an essential nutrient for humans and certain other animal species. Vitamin C has been advocated for many other therapeutic uses. Vitamin C functions as an antioxidant and is necessary for the treatment and prevention of scurvy, though in nearly all cases dietary intake is adequate to prevent deficiency and supplementation is not necessary. Though vitamin C has been promoted as useful in the treatment of a variety of conditions, most of these uses are poorly supported by the evidence and sometimes contraindicated. Despite previous studies touting its benefit in moderating gout risk, new research reveals that vitamin C does not reduce uric acid (urate) levels to a clinically significant degree in patients with established gout. Vitamin C supplementation, alone or in combination with allopurinol, appears to have a weak effect on lowering uric acid levels in gout patients according to the results published in the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) journal, Arthritis & Rheumatism.
Methane Across the Country
May 17, 2013 08:01 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
Methane is created naturally near the Earth's surface, primarily by microorganisms by the process of methanogenesis. It is carried into the stratosphere by rising air in the tropics. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, stronger than carbon dioxide on a 20-year timescale, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, though on a century timescale, carbon dioxide is far stronger. "This research suggests significant benefits to slowing climate change could result from reducing industrial methane emissions in parallel with efforts on carbon dioxide," said Ira Leifer, a researcher with UC Santa Barbara's Marine Science Institute. Doing a a cross-continent drive, a UC Santa Barbara scientist has found that methane emissions across large parts of the U.S. are higher than is currently known, confirming what other more local studies have found. Their research is published in the journal Atmospheric Environment.