Enn Original News

Arctic Melt and Export
November 10, 2010 10:01 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

A NASA analysis of satellite data has quantified, for the first time, the amount of older and thicker multi-year sea ice lost from the Arctic Ocean due to melting. Since the start of the satellite record in 1979, scientists have observed the continued disappearance of older multi-year sea ice that survives more than one summer melt season. Some scientists suspected that this loss was due entirely to wind pushing the ice out of the Arctic Basin -- a process that scientists refer to as export. Kwok and Cunningham, in their study, show that between 1993 and 2009, a significant amount of multi-year ice - 336 cubic miles) - was lost due to melt, not export.

The Food Chain in the Gulf
November 9, 2010 04:06 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Organisms in a food chain are grouped into trophic levels, based on how many links they are removed from the primary producers. Plants or phytoplankton are in the first trophic level; they are at the base of the food chain. Herbivores (primary consumers) are in the second level. Carnivores (secondary consumers) are in the third. Omnivores are found in the second and third levels. At the Dauphin Island Sea Lab in Alabama they decided to track a stable isotope of carbon from the BP oil spill and try and discover how quickly it was being incorporated into the food chain. Dr Monty Graham and his colleagues showed that as the oil approached northern Gulf coastal waters in pulses, there was a dramatic decrease in the carbon isotope weight signature over about a four week period. With all other possible sources of light carbon ruled out, they concluded that oil-carbon entered the plankton food web as micro-organisms fed upon the oil-consuming bacteria.

California’s Air Quality Plan to be Rejected by the EPA
November 9, 2010 09:33 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

Yesterday, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to disapprove plans developed by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The air quality plans aimed to bring areas with poor air quality such as the South Coast and San Joaquin Valley into attainment with national health standards for particulate emissions. The fine particulates, known as PM2.5 are notoriously bad in places like Los Angeles and the surrounding area.

New Era of Taxis
November 8, 2010 12:54 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

For those familiar with big cities, they are well aware of the ever present taxi sluggishly moving through the streets and making frequent stops. Obviously they emit plenty if air emissions. Better Place, who are a leading electric vehicles service provider with the support of the U.S. Department of Transportation, is planning on bringing a switchable battery, electric taxi program to the San Francisco Bay Area. San Francisco became in 2005 one of the first cities to introduce hybrids vehicles for taxi service, with a fleet of 15 Ford Escape Hybrids; the original Escape Hybrids were retired after 300,000 miles per vehicle. Meanwhile two electric taxi prototypes have recently debuted in London. They are based on vehicles from Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz, two of Europe’s largest producers of taxi cabs. A third demonstration project is in Tokyo, a city that has some 60,000 taxis — more than London, Paris, and New York combined.

War-torn Vietnam Attempts to Replant its Forests
November 8, 2010 09:58 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

There are few regions around the world that have seen less battle in the last 50 years than Vietnam. The conflict during the 1960s and early 1970s left a huge impact of the country's natural ecosystems. Then after the war, agriculture and the logging industry destroyed even larger areas. Now, a consensus on how to replant the forests remains elusive.

Marine Microbes and Sulfur Regulation
November 5, 2010 03:43 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Scientists have sought for long to learn more about how the Earth’s oceans absorb carbon dioxide and generally exchange gases with the atmosphere so they can better understand the corresponding effects on climate. To that end, many researchers are turning their attention to the microscopic organisms that help recycle carbon, nitrogen, sulfur and other elements through the oceans. Finding out exactly how and to what degree they do that is an ongoing scientific challenge, and scientists may first have to learn more about how the microbes interact with their environment at the scale of the individual microbe. In recent work, an international team of scientists led by Professor Roman Stocker of the MIT Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering opened a window into that microbial world. The team studied how certain strains of marine microbes find and use sulfur, an element vital to many of this type of microbe. Some microbes ingest the sulfur, convert it and pass it back into the ocean in altered form, keeping the chemical moving through the Earth’s sulfur cycle.

Amazon Drought
November 4, 2010 03:32 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

A drought is a nasty thing to happen. A drought is an extended period of months or years when a region has a deficiency in its water supply. Generally, this occurs when a region receives consistently below average precipitation. It can have a substantial impact on the ecosystem and agriculture of the affected region. Although droughts can persist for several years, even a short, intense drought can cause significant damage and harm the local economy. Without rain, a rain forest does not last too long. For the second time this decade, drought grips the Amazon Basin. The lack of rain is drying up rivers like the Rio Negro, a main tributary of the mighty Amazon. The drought is primarily drying out the northwest region of Brazil, near the borders with Colombia and Peru. The same region suffered drought in 2005.

Yanks less healthy than Brits but live just as long if not longer
November 4, 2010 09:32 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

They are known as two peoples separated by a common language. They are also separated by much different health care systems. The English can boast that their elderly have a lower rate of chronic disease than their American counterparts, according to a new study. However, sick elderly Americans still have a lower death rate than sick elderly British.

Dolphin Wars
November 3, 2010 01:15 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

A war is an organized conflict to achieve some goal. Humans fight them all the time. Well Dolphins have their complex relationships too. Some of them turn into fights over, what else, fertile females. Male and female bottlenose dolphins spend their days courting friends and building alliances. Two new studies show just how important such friendships are to dolphins and the role friends and alliances play in life's biggest game: the race to reproduce. Male bottlenose dolphins form tight bonds with friends and allies that are as intricate and devious as those of humans. Males compete for access to females. Such competition can take the form of fighting other males or of herding females to prevent access by other males. Dolphins have been observed engaging females even when they are not in their estrus cycles and cannot produce young, as well as when they can.

Hatchery-Raised Salmon Threatening Wild Salmon in the Pacific Northwest
November 3, 2010 09:42 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

This year has had one of the biggest salmon runs of all time for the Pacific Northwest (PNW). There were over 34 million salmon in the British Columbia river system alone, compared to last year’s count of only two million. The problem with this resurgence is that much of the new numbers come from hatchery-raised salmon, which have created increased competition for the threatened wild salmon species.

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