Enn Original News

Microbes Rapidly Consume Methane from Gulf Oil Disaster
October 25, 2010 10:29 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

The Deepwater Horizon spill was a horrible environmental disaster which caused the release of massive amounts of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Methane, a natural greenhouse gas, was also released during the catastrophe. However, researchers have found that the methane is being consumed by microbes at a rate 10 to 100 times faster than previously believed. These microbes are essential in bringing the Gulf back to a healthier state.

Air Pollution Control by Trees
October 22, 2010 12:29 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Trees and other vegetation must use what is in their environment. So it is not surprising to find that they absorb pollutants (natural or man made) which may be absorbed successfully or may cause the vegetation to die. Vegetation plays an unexpectedly large role in cleansing the atmosphere, a new study finds. The research, led by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo., uses observations, gene expression studies, and computer modeling to show that deciduous plants absorb about a third more of a common class of air-polluting chemicals than previously thought.

The Promise of Fusion Power
October 22, 2010 10:53 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

It has been called the holy grail of energy technology; a perfectly clean source with an unlimited supply. Nuclear fusion has been demonstrated to be possible, but converting it to a viable energy source remains technically elusive. However, research on making fusion energy reality is in progress, and there are some who are convinced that there will be a day when this free and abundant source will arrive.

Winter Woes
October 21, 2010 02:51 PM - Andy Soos. ENN

Predicting the weather has always been a joyous sport and great conversation. NOAA has made some predictions for the US. The Pacific Northwest should brace for a colder and wetter than average winter, while most of the South and Southeast will be warmer and drier than average through February 2011, according to the annual Winter Outlook released today by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. A moderate to strong La Niña will be the dominant climate factor influencing weather across most of the U.S. this winter. La Niña is associated with cooler than normal water temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean, unlike El Niño which is associated with warmer than normal water temperatures. Both of these climate phenomena, which typically occur every 2-5 years, influence weather patterns throughout the world and often lead to extreme weather events. Last winter’s El Niño contributed to record-breaking rain and snowfall leading to severe flooding in some parts of the country, with record heat and drought in other parts of the country.

Water Scarcity in American Southwest Gets Serious
October 21, 2010 10:18 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

Water scarcity has always been a problem in the southwestern desert, with practically everyone relying on one river, the Colorado, to quench their thirst and the thirst of their crops. Increased water demands coupled with a long protracted drought in the Upper Colorado River Basin has created a potentially dire situation. The effects can be seen in Lake Mead, the giant lake along the border of Arizona and Nevada. Lake Mead has reached its lowest levels since 1937, the year the Hoover Dam was completed.

New Superfund Sites
October 20, 2010 02:34 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 announced today that a contaminated aquifer in Milford, Ohio, is one of nine new hazardous waste sites proposed to be added to the Superfund section of the National Priorities List. Superfund is the federal program that investigates and cleans up the most complex, uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites in the country. There are a total of 1,343 final and proposed sites on the NPL at this time. In the case of the Milford site, the source of the contamination has not been tracked down despite years of effort.

The Edicaran Age
October 19, 2010 01:20 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

The discovery of blocks of gravel which sank to the bottom of the sea trapped in ancient icebergs has sparked a new understanding of a bizarre group of creatures. The research, published in the Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, has also forced a rethink of the conditions that existed more than 500 million years ago. 580 million years ago, the ancient oceans were flooded with enough oxygen that the way in which life was constructed was completely changed. This moment was the birth of multi-cellular organisms, and shortly preceded the burst of biological diversification called the Cambrian explosion. Recent evidence indicates that this was the last in a series of similar increases in oxygen availability that changed the world's climate and ecological conditions.

The Dwindling No Fishing Zone
October 18, 2010 12:57 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) today reopened to commercial and recreational fishing 6,879 square miles of Gulf waters about 180-200 nautical miles south of the Florida panhandle, between the Florida-Alabama state line and Cape San Blas, Florida. This is the ninth reopening in federal waters since July 22. This is all good news but it does not mean that there was no impact or the impact is over.

The Greening of NASCAR
October 18, 2010 10:30 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

NASCAR, the National Association for Auto Stock Car Racing, the world's largest motor sports association, is trying to green its image. Under chairman and CEO, Brian France, NASCAR is seeking to become a true environmental leader. This may seem like a paradox for a sport where the goal is to drive the fastest and thus burn more fossil fuels. However, the league has taken some big steps to green their image in the last few years, which deserve to be acknowledged.

Haiti Quakes
October 15, 2010 11:41 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

The magnitude 7.0 earthquake that caused more than 200,000 casualties and devastated Haiti's economy in January 2010 resulted not from the Enriquillo fault, as previously believed, but from slip on multiple faults as well as primarily on a previously unknown, subsurface fault - according to a study published online this week in Nature Geoscience. In addition, because the earthquake did not involve a slip near the Earth's surface, the study suggests that it did not release all of the strain that has built up on faults in the area over the past two centuries, meaning that future surface rupturing earthquakes in this region are likely.

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