Enn Original News
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.
Atlantic Cup Race Now Carbon-Neutral
May 2, 2013 01:18 PM - Guest Contributor Andrea Oki
The 2013 Atlantic Cup presented by 11th Hour Racing has announced its final plans and competition field for the third annual running of the premier Class 40 sailing event in the country. The event will feature seven boats; six from the USA and one from Great Britain, with race organizers once again making a strong commitment to eco-friendly sailing. Last year, in partnership with 11th Hour Racing and Green Mountain Energy Company, the Atlantic Cup became the first carbon-neutral sailing race in the USA by offsetting an estimated 23,030 pounds (10.45 metric tons) of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. Sailors for the Sea (SfS) certified the event Gold in 2012, with SfS unveiling a new Platinum level certification in 2013 that the Atlantic Cup will strive for. Teams will set sail from Charleston, S.C. on Saturday, May 11 at 2 p.m. EDT on a 648 nautical mile race to New York Harbor for the second leg of the competition (May 14-17), before departing on May 18 on a 231 nautical mile final leg of competition. The annual event culminates in Newport, R.I. with two days of Inshore racing (May 25 — 26). The field includes the USA’s Pleiad Racing, Dragon, Gryphon Solo 2, Icarus Racing, Bodacious Dream and Lecoq Cuisine, along with Great Britain’s 40 Degrees.
Embryology and the Sea Anemone
May 2, 2013 10:43 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
Embryology is the science of the development of an embryo from the fertilization of the ovum to the fetus stage. How the newly borndevelops cell by cell is still a bit of mystery. The sea anemone, Nematostella vectensis, is a new study creature in embryology. Its career is being launched in part by the Stowers Institute for Medical Research Associate Investigator Matt Gibson, Ph.D., who is giving it equal billing with what has been his laboratory's leading player, the more traditional fruit fly. Gibson's lab investigates the cellular and molecular mechanisms used by cells to assemble into layers or clusters during embryogenesis. Those tissues, comprised of densely packed cells known as epithelial cells, shape the body not only of simple creatures but also of mammals, where they line every body cavity from lung to intestine and form hormone- and milk-secreting glands. Unfortunately these cells have a dark side too- over 80% of human cancers, carcinomas, are of epithelial origin.
Insect Eye View Inspired Camera
May 1, 2013 03:38 PM - Editor, ENN
Insects can have a number of different types of eyes and are remembered more for their compound eyes. In contrast with our eyes, insect eyes are immovable and unable to focus but have other advantages. When praying mantises, dragonflies, ants and other insects peer out at the world, their bulging, compound eyes allow them to see an incredibly wide field of view with an almost infinite depth of field. Imitating the functionality of an insect eye — which is really a collection of many tinier eyes, known as ommatidia — in a camera has been a long sought-after goal for engineers. Present day camera lenses with wide fields of view, such as fisheye lenses, create distortion around the edges of the image but future "insect eye" cameras may not.
May 1, 2013 01:09 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
The seven living species of sea turtles are: flatback sea turtle, green sea turtle, hawksbill sea turtle, Kemp's ridley sea turtle, leatherback sea turtle, loggerhead sea turtle and olive ridley sea turtle. Sea turtles are generally found in the waters over continental shelves. Nesting green sea turtles are benefiting from marine protected areas by using habitats found within their boundaries, according to a U.S. Geological Survey study that is the first to track the federally protected turtles in Dry Tortugas National Park. Green turtles are listed as endangered in Florida and threatened throughout the rest of their range, and the habits of green sea turtles after their forays to nest on beaches in the Southeast U.S. have long remained a mystery. Until now, it was not clear whether the turtles made use of existing protected areas, and few details were available as to whether they were suited for supporting the green sea turtle's survival.
Microbes in the Subway
May 1, 2013 09:03 AM - Editor, ENN
New York City has some strange smells, especially in the subway. Walking underground you can sense that the air just feels stuffier, smells smellier, and must be dirtier. Well according to new research, the microbial population in the air of the New York City subway system is nearly identical to that of ambient air on the city streets.