Enn Original News
Black Widow Myth Reversed
May 9, 2013 09:15 AM - Allison Winter, ENN
We've all heard of the dreaded Black Widow — no not the Marvel comic super hero, but the infamous spider with a deadly bite that is mainly known for it's sexual cannibalism. Not only do black widow spiders have a venomous bite (with females being up to three times more venomous than males), but the female really lives up to her "black widow" namesake as she will often eat her male partner after mating. However, a new study has shown that the tendency to consume a potential mate is also true of some types of male spider. The study by Lenka Sentenska and Stano Pekar from Masaryk University in the Czech Republic finds that male spiders of the Micaria sociabilis species are more likely to eat the females than be eaten.
Mt. Sharp on Mars
May 8, 2013 04:44 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
There is a 3.5-mile high Martian mound that scientists suspect preserves evidence of a massive ancient lake. Well maybe not, May be the wind did it. If correct, the research could dilute expectations that the mound holds evidence of a large body of water, which would have important implications for understanding Mars' ancient habitability. Researchers based at Princeton University and the California Institute of Technology suggest that the mound, known as Mount Sharp, most likely emerged as strong winds carried dust and sand into the 96-mile-wide crater in which the mound sits. They report in the journal Geology that air likely rises out of the massive Gale Crater when the Martian surface warms during the day, then sweeps back down its steep walls at night. Though strong along the Gale Crater walls, these slope winds would have died down at the crater's center where the fine dust in the air settled and accumulated to eventually form Mount Sharp, which is close in size to Alaska's Mt. McKinley.
Ground Water Flow Rate
May 8, 2013 09:16 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
Ground water flow rates can be a slow process. USGS hydrologic researchers, for example, have found that the movement of nitrate through groundwater to streams can take decades to occur. This long lag time means that changes in the use of nitrogen-based fertilizer (the typical source of nitrate) — whether the change is initiation, adjustment, or cessation — may take decades to be fully observed in their effect on streams, according to a recent study published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology. Water quality experts have been noting in recent years that nitrate trends in streams and rivers do not match their expectations based on reduced regional use of nitrogen-based fertilizer. The long travel times of groundwater discharge, like those documented in this study, is the likely cause.
Black Sea Changes and Reponses
May 7, 2013 04:10 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
When Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) marine paleoecologist Marco Coolen was mining through vast amounts of genetic data from the Black Sea sediment record, he was amazed about the variety of past plankton species that had left behind their genetic makeup as a sign of their environmental responses. The semi-isolated Black Sea is highly sensitive to climate driven environmental changes, and the underlying sediments represent high-resolution archives of past continental climate and concurrent hydrologic changes in the basin. The brackish Black Sea is currently receiving salty Mediterranean waters via the narrow Strait of Bosphorus as well as freshwater from rivers and via precipitation. In the past the Black Sea was more of a freshwater lake than a salty sea. Over the centuries the Black Sea has changed back and forth due to the ever changing climatic conditions of the world.
Chemical Manufacturers Enhance Commitment to Chemical Product Safety with New Responsible Care® Code
May 7, 2013 08:15 AM - Andy Soos, ENN, Justmeans
The American Chemistry Council (ACC) and its members today launched a new Responsible Care Product Safety Code. Based on existing industry best practices, the Product Safety Code goes above and beyond regulatory requirements to manage the safety of chemicals in products that consumers rely on every day. The announcement comes as ACC marks the 25th anniversary of Responsible Care, an industry environmental, health, safety and security performance initiative focused on the safe, responsible, sustainable management of chemicals. Participation in Responsible Care is a condition of ACC membership.
Bright Clouds with Added Pollution
May 6, 2013 04:28 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
University of Manchester scientists, writing in the journal Nature Geoscience, have shown that some natural emissions and man made pollutants can have an unexpected cooling effect on the world’s climate by making clouds brighter. Clouds are made of water droplets, condensed on to tiny particles suspended in the air. When the air is humid enough, the particles swell into larger cloud droplets. It has been known for some decades that the number of these particles and their size control how bright the clouds appear from the top, which affects the the efficiency with which clouds scatter sunlight back into space. A major challenge for climate science is to understand and quantify these effects which have a major impact in polluted regions of the world.
Ordinary Ballast Water
May 6, 2013 08:32 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
Everything we do can affects something else. Globalization, with its ever increasing demand for cargo transport, has inadvertently opened the flood gates for a new, silent invasion. New research has mapped the most detailed forecast to date for importing potentially harmful invasive species with the ballast water of cargo ships. Scientists from the Universities of Bristol, UK, and Oldenburg, Germany, have examined ship traffic data and biological records to assess the risk of future invasions. Their research is published in the latest issue of Ecology Letter.
Carbon Dioxide and Rainfall
May 3, 2013 03:30 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Carbon dioxide is the prime culprit in global warming but how twill that affect other aspects of climate such as rainfall? A NASA-led modeling study is providing new evidence that global warming may increase the risk for extreme rainfall and drought. The study shows for the first time how rising carbon dioxide concentrations could affect the entire range of rainfall types on Earth. Analysis of computer simulations from 14 climate models indicates wet regions of the world, such as the equatorial Pacific Ocean and Asian monsoon regions, will see increases in heavy precipitation because of warming resulting from projected increases in carbon dioxide levels. Arid land areas outside the tropics and many regions with moderate rainfall could become drier.
May 3, 2013 09:18 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
Science often imitates life. Insects are common in the world. Tiny critters crawling and flying about. Now we are genuinely making them. In the very early hours of the morning, in a Harvard robotics laboratory last summer, an insect took flight. Half the size of a paperclip, weighing less than a tenth of a gram, it jumped up a few inches, hovered for a moment on fragile, flapping wings, and then sped along a preset route through the air. It was not science fiction, it was a man made fly.
The latest studies on solar geoengineering to tackle climate change are reinforcing the case for a global governance system and further study before deployment, as they show that the approach may have little effect on preventing rainfall changes in the tropics — and may even lead to widespread drought in Africa. Several geoengineering initiatives plan to tackle climate change by cutting incoming sunlight, through methods such as spreading reflective aerosols in the stratosphere.