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Enn Original News
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.
Some meteorites that hit Earth ARE from Mars!
October 20, 2013 07:46 AM - Editor, ENN
Examination of the Martian atmosphere by NASA's Curiosity Mars rover confirms that some meteorites that have dropped to Earth really are from the Red Planet. For some time, scientists have postulated that some of the many meteorites striking Earth originated on Mars! How this may have happened is unknown, but the composition of some meteorites found on Earth gave rise to this theory. A key new measurement of the inert gas argon in Mars' atmosphere by Curiosity's laboratory provides the most definitive evidence yet of the origin of Mars meteorites while at the same time providing a way to rule out Martian origin of other meteorites. The new measurement is a high-precision count of two forms of argon -- argon-36 and argon-38 -- accomplished by the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument inside the rover. These lighter and heavier forms, or isotopes, of argon exist naturally throughout the solar system. On Mars the ratio of light to heavy argon is skewed because much of that planet's original atmosphere was lost to space. The lighter form of argon was taken away more readily because it rises to the top of the atmosphere more easily and requires less energy to escape. That left the Martian atmosphere relatively enriched in the heavier isotope, argon-38.
Clouds observed on an Exo - Planet!
October 19, 2013 07:41 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN
Do other planets have atmospheres? Clouds? What about planets so close to their suns that they are thousands of degrees hot? NASA is helping answer these questions! Astronomers using data from NASA's Kepler and Spitzer space telescopes have created the first cloud map of a planet beyond our solar system, a sizzling, Jupiter-like world known as Kepler-7b. The planet is marked by high clouds in the west and clear skies in the east. Previous studies from Spitzer have resulted in temperature maps of planets orbiting other stars, but this is the first look at cloud structures on a distant world.
No More Trick to the Wrapped Treat
October 18, 2013 03:27 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
Halloween wouldn't be the same without a candy treat. Indeed we buy more candy at Halloween than we do for any other holiday. The National Confectioners Association estimates that consumers will spend $2.4 billion in candy this year for Halloween. The trick is that most of these candy wrappers will end up in a landfill.
Plants Absorb Carbon, Reduce Historical Warming
October 18, 2013 08:59 AM - Allison Winter, ENN
From providing habitat to food sources, to regulating water cycles, plants are the backbone of all life on Earth. What often goes unrecognized, but is equally as important are plants' roles as climate controllers. According to a new study conducted by researchers at Princeton University, Earth's leafy greens have significantly slowed the planet's warming by absorbing carbon in the form of CO2, a popular greenhouse gas, especially during the past 60 years. How much carbon are we talking about? Approximately 186 billion to 192 billion tons of carbon have been taken out of the atmosphere since the mid-20th century!
Lucky to Find a New Dragon Tree Species
October 17, 2013 01:25 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
The Dracaena kaweesakii, thought to bring luck to the Thai people who have them in their households, has recently been identified as a new species within the group Dracaena. These beautiful trees are often associated with Buddhist temples. Researchers led by Paul Wilken, of Kew Royal Botanical Gardens and Piyakaset Suksathan have identified the morphologically distinct element of the plant group from Thailand and Burma. An undifferentiated leaf sheath, the lack of a leaf blade central costa, free tepals and thickened filaments, characterizes the newly identified species.
October 17, 2013 06:16 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN
The biodiversity of our rivers, lakes, and ponds has gone largely un-addressed in our efforts to predict the impacts of land development. Planners look at increased runoff and the potential for downstream flooding, and on pollutant discharges and contamination issues. The biodiversity of freshwater bodies is also impacted buy development and agricultural activities, but until now, there was no good way to predict what the impacts might be of land use changes. A team of UW-Madison researchers is hoping to help change that narrative and add a little ecology to economic decision making by forecasting how future policies regarding urban development and agricultural cultivation may impact aquatic ecosystems, which harbor astounding amounts of biodiversity and provide humans with vital goods and services. "The idea is to see what future land use changes may look like under different policies, and think about where potential threats to freshwater would be most severe," says Sebastián Martinuzzi, a post-doctoral researcher. "We are not trying to predict the 'true' future, but rather to visualize potential economic trends and their environmental consequences."
Dire warning about the health of the world's oceans
October 16, 2013 03:01 PM - Roger Greenway, ENN
The world's oceans are vast, containing massive amounts of water. Oceanic water is thought by some to be so vast that it can't be seriously impacted by man or by climate change. But a new study looking at the impacts of climate change on the world’s ocean systems concludes that by the year 2100, about 98 percent of the oceans will be affected by acidification, warming temperatures, low oxygen, or lack of biological productivity — and most areas will be stricken by a multitude of these stressors. These biogeochemical changes triggered by human-generated greenhouse gas emissions will not only affect marine habitats and organisms, the researchers say, but will often co-occur in areas that are heavily used by humans.
Breaking Urban Ground for Community Gardens
October 15, 2013 05:15 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
Community Gardens bring people together, builds relationships, improves quality of life and activates communities through its bounty, exercise, therapy, education, family budget augmentation, social interaction and neighborhood beautification. A community garden can be used for food, ornamental gardening, urban forestry, preservation and management of open space, memorial gardening and any other types of gardening that a community collectively values. But much goes into creating one especially if it's an urban garden.
"Collegiate Corner", COMING SOON!
October 15, 2013 11:12 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
ENN is launching a new section called the "Collegiate Corner" for college and university students at ALL levels (undergrad, grad and PhD) to submit original work for publication. We are looking for environmental writing and scientific studies. This is an opportunity for students to become recognized in their field utilizing their own writing and work. Items considered appropriate include research papers, posters, or studies to include any of the following subjects: toxicology, land use, biology, regulatory, social, economic, health, etc. Preferred works include those that are either global in appeal or their lessons can be applied globally.