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How Predictable is Climate Change?
September 12, 2011 03:27 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Is it possible to make valid climate predictions that go beyond weeks, months, even a year? As most know weather is not easily predictable. UCLA atmospheric scientists report they have now made long-term climate forecasts that are among the best ever — predicting climate up to 16 months in advance, nearly twice the length of time previously achieved by climate scientists. Forecasts of climate are much more general than short-term weather forecasts; they do not predict precise temperatures in specific cities, but they still may have major implications for agriculture, industry and the economy. The study is currently available online in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) and will be published in an upcoming print edition of the journal.
Health Effects and Light Bulbs
September 12, 2011 08:08 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
For the first time scientists examined melatonin suppression in a various types of light bulbs, primarily those used for outdoor illumination, such as streetlights, road lighting, mall lighting and the like. Exposure to the light of white LED bulbs, it turns out, suppresses melatonin five times more than exposure to the outdoor lights filled with high pressure sodium bulbs that give off an orange-yellow light. Melatonin is a compound that adjusts our biological clock and is known for its anti-oxidant and anti-cancerous properties. All devices have their effects, both positive and negative it seems.
Too Much Exercise
September 9, 2011 11:21 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
Here is something for all those arm chair athletes in the world. Endurance athletes who train and race frequently may experience a high rate of unusual heart rhythms called arrhythmia, found a new study on cross-country skiers. Arrhythmia, which are often harmless, can sometimes lead to strokes and other serious problems. Experts remain unsure what to make of the results. Exercise is known to prolong lifespan and to improve all sorts of measures of health, including the heart. Still, the study suggests there may be a point at which a lot of training becomes too much. At the very least, serious athletes should be aware of the potential for their hearts to behave strangely.
Team of International Marine Scientists Call for Ban on Deep Sea Fishing
September 9, 2011 09:29 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
Fishing restrictions near the coast lines have been in place for many years, of which many local fishermen are well aware. These restrictions are understood to be vital in maintaining a stable population of wild fish for harvesting. In recent years, due to these restrictions, many industrial fishing vessels have ventured deeper into the open ocean which are unregulated. Their massive nets literally destroy benthic ecosystems and annihilate fish populations. According to the UN, the harvesting of deep sea fish has increased sevenfold between 1960 and 2004. In an article published in the journal, Marine Policy, scientists in the field of marine conservation have called for an outright ban on industrial deep sea fishing.
Crab Invasion from Antarctica?
September 8, 2011 01:01 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
King crabs and other crushing predators are thought to have been absent from cold Antarctic shelf waters for millions of years. Scientists speculate that the long absence of crushing predators has allowed the evolution of a unique Antarctic seafloor fauna with little resistance to predatory crabs. A recent study by researchers from the University of Hawaii at Mānoa, Duke University, Ghent University, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, and Hamilton College, indicates that one species of king crab has moved 120 km across the continental shelf in West Antarctica and established a large, reproductive population in the Palmer Deep along the west Antarctic Peninsula.
Coal or Natural Gas, Climate Effects
September 8, 2011 12:26 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Although the burning of natural gas emits far less carbon dioxide than coal, a new study concludes that a greater reliance on natural gas would fail to significantly slow down climate change. The study by Tom Wigley, who is a senior research associate at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), underscores the complex and sometimes conflicting ways in which fossil fuel burning affects Earth’s climate. While coal use causes warming through emission of heat-trapping carbon dioxide, it also releases comparatively large amounts of sulfates and other particles that, although detrimental to the environment, cool the planet by blocking incoming sunlight. As always the final picture of climate effect is very complicated to put together.
New Study Takes Us One Step Higher in the Cascade of Events which Cause Rheumatoid Arthritis
September 8, 2011 09:48 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disorder which primarily affects joints. The condition can be painful and disabling, leading to loss of function and mobility if not properly treated. The disease is caused by immune cells acting out of control, attacking the cartilage and bone. A new study from Northwestern University has found what causes this to happen. The immune cells are missing a vital protein, P21, which acts like a bouncer, keeping the immune cells in line. According to Dr. Robert Gabel, practicing rheumatologist of the Central New Jersey area, this discovery may lead to effective methods to treat RA by going farther up the cascade of events causing the disease.
Crop Performance and Green House Gas Emissions
September 7, 2011 02:35 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Measuring the emission of greenhouse gases from croplands should take into account the crops themselves. That's the conclusion of a study in the Sept.-Oct. issue of the Journal of Environmental Quality, which examined the impact of farm practices such as tillage on the greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide. Expressing emissions per unit of crop yield rather than on a more conventional per area basis produced very different results, says the study's leader, Rod Venterea, research soil scientist with the United States Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service.
Nord Natural Gas
September 7, 2011 01:20 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said yesterday (September 5) that his country would begin pumping the first technical gas through the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline from today, so that European clients could start receiving supplies in October or November. Nord Stream (former names: North Transgas and North European Gas Pipeline) is an offshore natural gas pipeline from Vyborg in Russia to Greifswald in Germany. It is owned and operated by Nord Stream AG.
How Salty the Ocean
September 6, 2011 12:18 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
On average, seawater in the world's oceans has a salinity of about 3.5%. This means that every kilogram (roughly one liter by volume) of seawater has approximately 35 grams of dissolved salts (predominantly sodium chloride. The average density of seawater at the ocean surface is 1.025 g/ml. Seawater is denser than both fresh water and pure water because the dissolved salts add mass without contributing significantly to the volume. The freezing point of seawater decreases as salt concentration increases. NASA's Aquarius satellite has successfully completed its commissioning phase and is now tasting the saltiness of Earth's ocean surface, making measurements from its perch in near-polar orbit. Aquarius will make NASA's first space observations of the salinity, or concentration of salt, at the ocean surface, a key variable in satellite studies of Earth. Variations in salinity influence the ocean's deep circulation, outline the path freshwater takes around our planet and help drive Earth's climate.