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Forecasting heat waves far in advance
October 28, 2013 06:49 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN
Heat waves create unpleasant, sometimes deadly conditions. They also create serious problems for farmers who can suffer serious crop losses. Forecasting heat waves more than a few days in advance would enable more time to prepare for them. Scientists have fingerprinted a distinctive atmospheric wave pattern high above the Northern Hemisphere that can foreshadow the emergence of summertime heat waves in the United States more than two weeks in advance. The new research, led by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), could potentially enable probability forecasts of U.S. heat waves 15-20 days out, giving society more time to prepare for these often-deadly events.
Arctic warming confirmed to be unprecedented
October 26, 2013 09:43 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN
The earth's climate is changing. Temperatures are trending higher. Scientists want to know if this trend is part of a natural cycle, augmented by man's use of fossil fuels. The Arctic region is a good place to look for clues. Average summer temperatures in the Eastern Canadian Arctic during the last 100 years are higher now than during any century in the past 44,000 years and perhaps as long ago as 120,000 years, says a new University of Colorado Boulder study. The study is the first direct evidence that the present warmth in the Eastern Canadian Arctic exceeds the peak warmth there in the Early Holocene, when the amount of the sun’s energy reaching the Northern Hemisphere in summer was roughly 9 percent greater than today, said CU-Boulder geological sciences Professor Gifford Miller, study leader. The Holocene is a geological epoch that began after Earth's last glacial period ended roughly 11,700 years ago and which continues today.
The Abundance of Invasive Species
October 25, 2013 04:05 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
Recognizing that invasive species are major catalysts for environmental change, researchers from the University of Wisconsin—Madison are relooking at how we account for invasive species populations. Instead of researching the behaviors and habits of the invasive species, researchers Gretchen Hansen and Jake Vander Zanden are considering abundance distributions of invasive species. They hypothesize that measuring abundance in an area is a more helpful determinate for defining the most optimal methods of prevention, containment, control and eradication.
Breakthrough in CO2 conversion to useful forms of carbon
October 25, 2013 07:22 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN
CO2 is an important air pollution emission contributing to climate change. Researchers around the globe are looking at ways to remove CO2 from flue gasses and to store it (sequestering) or to in someway use it. By tuning gold nanoparticles to just the right size, researchers from Brown University have developed a catalyst that selectively converts carbon dioxide (CO2) to carbon monoxide (CO), an active carbon molecule that can be used to make alternative fuels and commodity chemicals. "Our study shows potential of carefully designed gold nanoparticles to recycle CO2 into useful forms of carbon," said Shouheng Sun, professor of chemistry and one of the study’s senior authors. "The work we've done here is preliminary, but we think there's great potential for this technology to be scaled up for commercial applications."
Introduction to Persistent, Bioaccumulative, Toxic (PBT) Compounds in the Environment
October 24, 2013 05:03 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
Global chemical contamination is a worldwide concern affecting every being on earth. Chemical exposure, whether it is through air, water, plants, soil or our modern living environment is unavoidable. But certain chemicals and compounds having Persistent, Bioaccumulative, Toxic (PBT) characteristics are more dangerous to our environment than others because of their inability to break down easily, are easily transferred throughout all forms of environmental media, and posing risks to human health and the ecosystem due to their toxicity at low concentrations.
Dead battery troubles will soon be a thing of the past
October 24, 2013 04:26 PM - Debra Goldberg, ENN
With technology almost always at our fingertips, it’s hard to avoid constantly being on our smart phone, camera, or tablet. It distracts us from our boredom, connects us quickly to friends, helps navigate us to local restaurants, and points out the nearest gas stations when we’re running low on fuel.
Carbonation on Mars May Provide Insight to Climate Change on Earth
October 24, 2013 11:46 AM - Editor, ENN
Carbonation doesn't just happen in soda, in fact it can be responsible for the cold, arid environment on Mars and the planet's loss of its early atmosphere! Commonly, carbonation is the process of dissolving carbon dioxide (CO2) in a liquid. However carbonation is also a reaction in which rocks containing volcanic minerals such as olivine react with water and atmospheric CO2 to turn it into another mineral, called carbonate. During this process, CO2 becomes trapped in the carbonate, removing it from the atmosphere permanently. According to new research, scientists have shown for the first time that Mars may have lost its carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere in a process that could be used to curb global warming on Earth.
High school student finds 'Joe', the dinosaur!
October 22, 2013 02:08 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
High school student Kevin Terris, from Claremont, CA has found the smallest and most complete known fossilized skeleton at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah. The dinosaur would have grown to about 25 feet in length if it had been able to reach adulthood. This plant eating baby tube-crested dinosaur Parasaurolophus would have lived about 75 million years ago and roamed across much of the western portion of North America. The duck-billed (hadrosaurid) Parasaurolophus featured a long hollow bony tube on top of its head, which paleontologists speculate would have been used to emit a trumpet like sound to communicate.
Pattern of light from early universe detected by NASA
October 22, 2013 06:37 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN
Does light leave tracks? How is it possible for scientists to observe light that originated billions of years ago? These are questions that intrigue us and we are amazed when scientists figure out a way to observe what to most of us is un-observable. The journey of light from the very early universe to modern telescopes is long and winding. The ancient light traveled billions of years to reach us, and along the way, its path was distorted by the pull of matter, leading to a twisted light pattern. This twisted pattern of light, called B-modes, has at last been detected. The discovery, which will lead to better maps of matter across our universe, was made using the National Science Foundation's South Pole Telescope, with help from the Herschel space observatory.
Red Smog alert chokes northern China
October 21, 2013 12:23 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
A red alert has been issued for several cities in northern China including Changchun and Harbin. A red alert is the highest level on the four-tiered alert system and is defined as serious air pollution for three consecutive days. According to Xinhuanet News, "the density of PM 2.5 -- airborne particles measuring less than 2.5 microns in diameter, exceeded 500 micrograms per cubic meter on Monday morning." Visibility is presently less than 50 meters in the downtown capital city of Harbin of Heilongjiang Province.