Hybrid Polar/Grizzly Bears showing up in the Arctic
July 28, 2012 07:52 AM - YALE Environment 360
Two Canadian biologists have reported sighting a handful of grizzly bears and hybrid grizzly/polar bears at unusually high latitudes in the Arctic, indicating that the interbreeding of the two bear species is becoming more common as the climate warms and grizzlies venture farther north. The sightings of three grizzly bears and two hybrid bears, made in late April and May, represent an unprecedented cluster of these animals at such high latitudes. The biologists even took DNA samples from a grizzly bear at 74 degrees North latitude. The report of the sightings comes on the heels of a recently published analysis of newly sequenced polar bear genomes, suggesting that climate change and genetic exchange with brown bears helped create the polar bear as we know it today. The genetic mixing that the Pennsylvania State and University of Buffalo analysis identified happening in the past — in which polar bears would interbreed with grizzly bears as the polar bears' sea ice habitat shrunk — is now happening again, according to bear biologists.
Mineral Rush in Greenland; Independence May be Around the Corner
July 27, 2012 09:33 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
Greenland is an autonomous territory of the Kingdom of Denmark. The Danish government had ruled over it until 1979 when the island was granted home rule. However, the Danes still control Greenland's foreign affairs, defense, police, justice system, and financial policy. Recently, however, Greenland has been courted by multinational companies and foreign leaders looking to exploit its rare minerals and potential oil reserves. The new attention brought to the island is leading Greenland's premier, Kuupik Kleist, to seriously consider moving toward full independence.
Can Extreme Weather CONTRIBUTE to Climate Change?
July 27, 2012 06:26 AM - Science Daily
While experts debate whether extreme weather conditions such as this summer’s record rainfall can be explained by climate change, University of Leicester geographers are investigating whether the opposite is true — does extreme weather impact on climate change? To answer the question, a team of researchers from the Department of Geography and Centre for Landscape and Climate Research at the University of Leicester set up a new monitoring station in June to measure greenhouse gas emissions from drained and cultivated peatlands in the East Anglian Fens. They will make measurements over an extended period in order to record carbon emissions over a wide spectrum of weather conditions.
Exercise Really Does Help you live longer!
July 26, 2012 04:36 PM - Scott Douglas, Runners World
Regular physical activity adds about four years to life expectancy, and endurance exercise during leisure time seems to be better at extending life than physical activity done as work, according to a new research review published in the Journal of Aging Research. German researchers gathered well-designed studies on one of the most basic, but important, questions in health: Does physical activity increase life expectancy? In reviewing the results of the studies, they found the answer was an unequivocal yes. Among the studies, there was a wide range of extra years found for active versus nonactive people, from less than half a year in one study to close to seven years in another. When the results of the studies were combined, the researchers wrote, "The median increase of life expectancy of men and women in the eight studies presenting data on both sexes amounted to 3.7 years each."
New EU Carbon Rules for Cars will save money
July 26, 2012 06:32 AM - EurActive
Connie Hedegaard, the EU Climate Action commissioner, argues that tougher standards for automotive carbon emissions are good Europe’s long-term economic and environmental health. "Do we really need more rules from the EU?" some might have thought when I presented the Commission's proposals for further reducing CO2 emissions from cars and vans earlier this month. The answer is: yes, we do need them. There is nothing wrong with new rules when they are well thought through and subjected to rigorous analysis, as ours have been. Environmental protection in Europe is one long story about the progress we can achieve when we make sensible regulation. Years ago we took the first steps to tackle emissions from cars. And it has worked. Just look how much the fuel economy of new cars has improved compared to just a few years ago. It is EU rules that have pushed this progress. And this is a great example of an area where it makes sense to do things together in Europe rather than developing 27 different national systems.
Tracking Greenland's Ice Melt shows record melt area
July 25, 2012 06:10 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN
NASA researchers studying data from the Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) Oceansat-2 satellite this month noticed that the ice melt area on Greenland covered almost the entire ice sheath. This is very unusual and means that melting was occurring over almost the entire surface of the ice sheath. In most summers, the melting occurs in portions of the ice sheath while other areas are not melting. Typically, less than half the ice sheath is melting at one time. At high elevations, most of that melt water quickly refreezes in place. Near the coast, some of the melt water is retained by the ice sheet, and the rest is lost to the ocean. But this year the extent of ice melting at or near the surface jumped dramatically. According to satellite data, an estimated 97 percent of the ice sheet surface thawed at some point in mid-July. This is unprecedented in 30 years of monitoring ice melt by satellite. Researchers have not yet determined whether this extensive melt event will affect the overall volume of ice loss this summer and contribute to sea level rise.
End of the last Ice Age - Close linkage between CO2 and temperature found
July 24, 2012 06:58 AM - Staff, ClickGreen
The greatest climate change the world has seen in the last 100,000 years was the transition from the ice age to the warm interglacial period. New research from the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen indicates that, contrary to previous opinion, the rise in temperature and the rise in the atmospheric CO2 follow each other closely in terms of time. In the warmer climate the atmospheric content of CO2 is naturally higher. The gas CO2 (carbon dioxide) is a green-house gas that absorbs heat radiation from the Earth and thus keeps the Earth warm. In the shift between ice ages and interglacial periods the atmospheric content of CO2 helps to intensify the natural climate variations.
Cleaner aviation depends on supplies of not so clean materials
July 23, 2012 12:52 PM - EurActive
From the flight deck to the wheel brakes, new generations of aircraft that produce far less pollution increasingly rely on imported raw materials which are themselves dirty to produce. EurActiv reports from the Farnborough International Airshow. China and Russia are dominant suppliers of some forms of titanium — a lightweight metal used in airframes and parts — while China holds the lock on production of rare earth metals. Dependable supplies of these resources are vital as European and American airplane manufacturers juggle backlogged orders and address forecasts of exponential growth over 20 years. "It's an area that is going to increasingly become a challenge in the industry," said Dr Andy Jefferson, programme director at the industry-financed Sustainable Aviation research organisation in the United Kingdom.
Did Deepwater Horizon Accident contribute to Dolphin Deaths?
July 23, 2012 06:28 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
In the first four months of 2011, 186 bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) were found dead in the Gulf of Mexico, nearly half of them dolphin calves many of whom were perinatal, or near birth. Researchers now believe a number of factors may have killed the animals. Writing in the open-access journal PLoS ONE, scientists theorize that the dolphins died a sudden influx of freshwater from snowmelt after being stressed and weakened by an abnormally cold winter and the impacts of the BP oil spill. According to researchers, oil leaking from the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon could have decimated the dolphin's prey base, leaving a larger than usual number of dolphins suffering from malnutrition.
Nighttime light exposure linked to health impacts, AMA encourages more study
July 22, 2012 09:16 AM - JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH, THE JERUSALEM POST, NoCamels
The American Medical Association has issued an official statement warning against the health hazards posed by exposure to artificial light for hours at work or during sleep. Prof. Abraham Haim of the University of Haifa’s Israeli Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Chronobiology has conducted research on the subject. "The fact that the AMA has taken this matter seriously and come to the conclusion that exposure to light at night is indeed a health hazard is a form of recognition for the various studies that experts such as Prof. Haim have been conducting over recent years," the university stated on Monday. The AMA’s policy announcement supports Haim's research conclusions, it said.