Enn Original News
December 22, 2010 11:54 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
250 million years ago there was a world wide extinction event where 96% of all marine species were exterminated. Most of this event is unknown. Only one in every ten species survived, and these formed the basis for the recovery of life in the subsequent time period, called the Triassic. A new fossil site — at Luoping in Yunnan Province — provides a new window on that recovery, and indicates that it took about 10 million years for a fully-functioning new ecosystem to develop. During that time window, the new ecosystem evolved and changed until it stabilized.
The Rise of Digital Billboards: What a Waste!
December 22, 2010 09:32 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
On the typical American roadway, it is not uncommon to see large advertising billboards. Even looking out my office window, I see two of them: one for an insurance company, and the other with a scantily clad woman (not exactly sure what that ad is for). These types of billboards have been around for a long time, but are slowly being replaced with new flashy electronic billboards. According to a new report, digital billboards consume large amounts of energy and create a variety of electronic waste.
River Sources of Green House Gases
December 21, 2010 03:19 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, is a chemical compound with the formula N2O. At room temperature, it is a colorless non-flammable gas, with a slightly sweet odor and taste. Nitrous oxide is a greenhouse gas, accounting for around 6% of the estimated heating effect of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. According to 2006 data from the United States Environmental Protection Agency, industrial sources make up only about 20% of human caused industrial sources. Other human activity may account for 30%; tropical soils and oceanic release account for 70%. Human-caused nitrogen loading to river networks is a potentially important source of nitrous oxide emission to the atmosphere which may have been severely underestimated. It happens via a microbial process called denitrification, which converts nitrates to nitrous oxide and other gases.
Celebrate Day of Flight with BBC Earth
December 21, 2010 03:09 PM - Editor, BBC Earth
Friday (Dec 17th) commemorated the Wright Brothers' first successful flight in a "heavier-than-air", mechanically propelled aircraft. So BBC Earth is celebrating by bringing together some of their favorite images and videos of nature's greatest fliers! Shearwaters: These seabirds get their name from a special technique of flying known as 'shearing', in which they fly across waves with stiff wings and so the minimum amount of actual flying. Demoiselle cranes: The Nepalese often refer to Everest as 'the mountain higher than any bird can fly' but tell that to the Demoiselle crane. Able to reach altitudes as high as 26,000 feet these incredibly tough birds cross the Himalayas every winter to reach the warmth of India.
Summary of the 2010 North Atlantic Hurricane Season
December 21, 2010 11:38 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
The 2010 hurricane season in the north Atlantic has come and gone. Although, the US was hardly touched by this year's storms, it turns out that 2010 was one of the busiest hurricane seasons on record. There were 19 named storms, tied for the third highest on record (1887 and 1995). Of these, 12 became hurricanes, and five reached major hurricane status of Category 3 or higher.
It hasn't happened since 1638!
December 21, 2010 07:15 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN
This morning at about 2:30 am in the eastern US, we were treated to a very rare event. A total lunar eclipse that coincides with the Winter Solstice. How often can you be a part of something that has not happened in more than 300 years ago and will not happen again until 2094! The combination of a total lunar eclipse and the Winter Solstice means that the moon is very high in the sky, and is easy to observe and photograph. Skies were perfect over New Jersey (except for the ever present light from cities and towns). The weather was clear and cold, but a little windy. The moon started into the Earth's shadow around 1:30 am and was totally in the Earth's shadow by 2:41am. The totality phase lasted about 72 minutes and then the moon started emerging from the shadow
The Other Electric Vehicles
December 20, 2010 05:09 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
During the last few decades, increased concern over the environmental impact of the petroleum-based transportation infrastructure has led to renewed interest in an electric transportation infrastructure. Electric vehicles differ from fossil fuel-powered vehicles in that the electricity they consume can be generated from a wide range of sources. A key advantage of electric or hybrid electric vehicles is regenerative braking and suspension; their ability to recover energy normally lost during braking as electricity to be restored to the on-board battery. In 2003, the first mass-produced hybrid gasoline-electric car, the Toyota Prius, was introduced worldwide, and the first battery electric car produced by a major auto company. Other major auto companies have electric cars in development, and the USA and other nations are building pilot networks of charging stations to recharge them. So what about the rest of the world? The Russian automotive industry is not one that is totally familiar with the green changes towards electric vehicles and other models that have been sweeping other countries throughout Europe or the world. In fact, historically, there has never been much to say about the Russian automotive industry as a whole. Now, however, Russia is ready for her first hybrid car.
Heading Towards a World without Corals
December 20, 2010 09:23 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
Every year brings new accounts of coral bleaching in the tropical oceans. Even the largest living structure on Earth, the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia, is under threat. According to marine scientist, J.E.N.Veron, in a couple generations coral reefs will no longer exist. Unless of course, humans find a different way to live that will not pollute the waters.
NASA Earthquake studies advance science
December 19, 2010 09:28 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN
Major advances in earthquake analyses using new technologies developed by NASA and are revealing surprising insights into a major earthquake that rocked parts of the American Southwest and Mexico in April, including increased potential for more large earthquakes in Southern California. At the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco, scientists from NASA and other agencies presented the latest research on the magnitude 7.2 El Mayor-Cucapah earthquake, that region's largest in nearly 120 years. Scientists have studied the earthquake's effects in unprecedented detail using data from GPS, advanced simulation tools and new remote sensing and image analysis techniques, including airborne light detection and ranging (LiDAR), satellite synthetic aperture radar and NASA's airborne Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR).
December 17, 2010 03:24 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Traditionally one thinks of San Francisco as having quaint foggy mornings. Things change. Fog is a collection of water droplets or ice crystals suspended in the air at or near the Earth's surface. While fog is a type of a cloud, the term fog is typically distinguished from the more generic term cloud in that fog is low-lying, and the moisture in the fog is often generated locally (such as from a nearby body of water, like a lake or the ocean, or from nearby moist ground or marshes). Fog is a common feature along the West Coast during the summer, but a University of Washington scientist has found that summertime coastal fog has declined since 1950 while coastal temperatures have increased slightly. Fog formation appears to be controlled by a high-pressure system normally present off the West Coast throughout the summer, said James Johnstone, a postdoctoral researcher with the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean at the UW.