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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.
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.
Portable Desalination System Designed for Use in Disaster Zones
October 15, 2010 09:41 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
A new system for desalination has been designed by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The system uses solar power to push ocean water through a permeable membrane which is capable of removing salt and other minerals. Such a portable system would be ideal for disaster-torn regions of the world which have lost access to clean water.
Turtles and Dugongs
October 14, 2010 05:02 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
The "turtle and dugong capital of the world", the northern Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait region, faces increased pressure under climate change from human actions such as fishing, hunting, onshore development and pollution. The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest reef system composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 1,600 miles over an area of approximately 133,000 square miles. The reef is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland in north-east Australia. The Great Barrier Reef can be seen from outer space and is the world's biggest single structure made by living organisms.
Fraud and Conspiracy found at a Syracuse-based Environmental Firm
October 14, 2010 01:07 PM - David A Gabel, ENN
A federal jury in Utica, New York has found Syracuse-based Certified Environmental Services, Inc (CES), two of its managers, and one of its employees guilty of conspiracy and fraud relating to violations of the Clean Air Act. The Clean Air Act was put in place by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to protect citizens from harmful air emissions. One of the pollutants which the act covers is asbestos fibers.
Growing Population and Climate
October 13, 2010 02:09 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Changes in population growth and composition, including aging and urbanization, could significantly affect global emissions of carbon dioxide over the next 40 years. The research, appearing in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), was conducted by an international team of scientists from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. By mid-century it is estimated that global population could rise by more than three billion people, with most of that increase occurring in urban areas. The study showed that a slowing of population growth, following one of the slower growth paths considered plausible by demographers at the United Nations, could contribute to significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The researchers found that such slow growth paths by 2050 could account for 16 to 29 percent of the emissions reductions thought necessary to keep global temperatures from causing serious impacts.