Enn Original News

Ice Age CO2
October 4, 2011 03:31 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

At the end of the last Ice Age, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rose rapidly as the planet warmed; scientists have long hypothesized that the source was CO2 released from the deep ocean. But a new study using detailed radiocarbon dating of foraminifera found in a sediment core from the Gorda Ridge off Oregon reveals that the Northeast Pacific was not an important reservoir of carbon during glacial times. The finding may send scientists back to the proverbial drawing board looking for other potential sources of CO2 during glacial periods. The study, which was supported by the National Science Foundation and the University of Michigan, was published online this week in Nature Geoscience.

Chevrolet's Carbon Initiative Program
October 4, 2011 11:02 AM - R Greenway, ENN

In the U.S., our buildings — schools, homes, and offices — consume one third of the energy we use. That makes them a major source of carbon dioxide emissions. And when your home isn’t properly insulated, you need more energy to heat it. That produces more carbon dioxide and raises your heating bill. As part of its Carbon Initiative Program, Chevrolet is teaming up with MaineHousing (Maine State Housing Authority) to help increase energy efficiency through a verifiable carbon reduction program — the weatherization of 5,500 low-income homes over the next 5 years. Chevrolet’s investment will be used to pressurize homes to determine heat /cooling leakage, blow recycled content insulation into walls and ceilings, seal chimneys, insulate exposed foundation and tune heating systems for efficiency. When its all said and done, this program will not only help reduce home energy use, improve air quality and cut resident’s heating and cooling bills, it will also aggregate tons of avoided CO2 emissions from thousands of weatherized homes. It's pretty impressive, and substantial. But that's how big changes are made — one small change at a time.

Arctic Ozone Loss
October 3, 2011 02:17 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

A NASA-led study has documented an unprecedented depletion of Earth's protective ozone layer above the Arctic last winter and spring caused by an unusually prolonged period of extremely low temperatures in the stratosphere. The study, published online Sunday, Oct. 2, in the journal Nature, finds the amount of ozone destroyed in the Arctic in 2011 was comparable to that seen in some years in the Antarctic, where an ozone hole has formed each spring since the mid-1980s. The stratospheric ozone layer, extending from about 10 to 20 miles (15 to 35 kilometers) above the surface, protects life on Earth from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays.

Mysterious Virus Killing Siberian Amur Tigers
October 3, 2011 09:57 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

The Amur tiger has an extremely small population in the Russian Far East. However due to conservation efforts, that population has remained stable at around 350 individuals living in the wild. Recent reports have shown the population declining further, and one of the causes taken into consideration is a virus known as distemper. Distemper can afflict many wildlife species including domesticated dogs. For the Amur tiger, this disease, also known as cat plague, affects the white blood cell count. It is highly contagious and often fatal. With the situation growing more urgent, Russian and US veterinarians are now collaborating to understand this mysterious disease.

A Better Plastic
September 30, 2011 01:31 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Researchers at the University of Leeds and Durham University have solved a long-standing problem that could revolutionize the way new plastics are developed. The breakthrough will allow experts to create the perfect plastic with specific uses and properties by using a high-tech 'recipe book'. It will also increase our ability to recycle plastics. The research is published in the journal Science.

Exercise and Arthritis
September 30, 2011 01:12 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Adding another incentive to exercise, scientists at Duke University Medical Center have found that physical activity improves arthritis symptoms - even among obese mice that continue to eat a high-fat diet. The insight suggests that excess weight alone isn't what causes the aches and pains of osteoarthritis, despite the long-held notion that carrying extra pounds strains the joints and leads to the inflammatory condition

Safe Pathways for Amphibians
September 30, 2011 12:47 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

As the world , much less the climate, changes, species must change and move too. A species ability to overcome adversity goes beyond Darwin’s survival of the fittest. In a new study based on simulations examining species and their projected range, researchers at Brown University argue that whether an animal can make it to a final, climate-friendly destination isn't a simple matter of being able to travel a long way. It’s the extent to which the creatures can withstand rapid fluctuations in climate along the way that will determine whether they complete the journey. In a paper in Ecology Letters, Regan Early and Dov Sax examined the projected climate paths of 15 amphibians in the western United States to the year 2100. Using well-known climate forecasting models to extrapolate decades-long changes for specific locations, the researchers determined that more than half of the species would become extinct or endangered. The reason, they find, is that the climate undergoes swings in temperature that can trap species at different points in their travels. It’s the severity or duration of those climate swings, coupled with the given creature’s persistence, that determines their fate.

Study: China to Surpass US Per Capita Emissions by 2017
September 30, 2011 11:56 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

The biggest polluters in the world are known to be the United States of America and China. In 2007, China overtook the United States for the dubious role of world's greatest carbon emitter. However, because the United States is so much wealthier per capita than the People's Republic, individual US citizens could claim that they burned more fossil fuels. According to a new study, this won't last for long. At their current pace, by 2017, the average Chinese citizen will surpass the US citizen as the world's greatest polluter.

Afghanistan Mineral Potential
September 29, 2011 02:11 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Mineral deposits can create jobs, industry, wealth and potentially pollution. It could help stabilize a war torn country such as Afghanistan. Working with the Department of Defense Task Force for Business and Stability Operations (TFBSO), members of the USGS Minerals Project assessed fuel- and non-fuel mineral resources of Afghanistan from October 2009 to September 2011 with the goal of identifying particular deposits that could be relatively easily developed.The team identified key Areas of Interest (AOI)—and subareas within them—that fit these criteria. The AOIs contain mineral reserves or resources that have been well-documented through sampling in trenches, drill holes, and/or underground workings. Most are accessible by existing roads. So to develop or not to develop.

Plants and CO2
September 29, 2011 01:22 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Plants absorb carbon dioxide and exhale Oxygen. They are a major part of the global cycle. The global uptake of carbon by land plants may be up to 45 per cent more than previously thought. This is the conclusion of an international team of scientists, based on the variability of heavy oxygen atoms in the carbon dioxide of the atmosphere driven by the El Niño effect. As the oxygen atoms in carbon dioxide were converted faster than expected during the El Niño years, current estimates for the uptake of carbon by plants are probably too low. These should be corrected upwards, say the researchers in the current issue of the scientific journal NATURE. Instead of 120 petagrams of carbon, the annual global vegetation uptake probably lies between 150 and 175 petagrams of carbon. This value is a kind of gross national product for land plants and indicates how productive the biosphere of the Earth is. The reworking of this so-called global primary productivity would have significant consequences for the coupled carbon cycle-climate model used in climate research to predict future climate change.

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