Pollution

Heavy Oils and Petroleum Coke Raising Vanadium Emissions
December 15, 2017 02:36 PM -

Human emissions of the potentially harmful trace metal vanadium into Earth’s atmosphere have spiked sharply since the start of the 21st century due in large part to industry’s growing use of heavy oils, tar sands, bitumen and petroleum coke for energy, a new Duke University study finds.

“Human emissions of vanadium to the atmosphere now exceed those from all natural sources combined -- by a factor of 1.7,” said William H. Schlesinger, James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of Biogeochemistry at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, who led the study.

“Less than two decades ago, the ratio of human to natural emissions was 0.59 to 1, or less than half the current level,” Schlesinger said. “Our analysis suggests that much of this rapid rise can be traced to the increased use of unconventional heavy-petroleum fuels.”

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Filter may be a match for fracking water
September 25, 2017 05:35 PM - Rice University

A new filter produced by Rice University scientists has proven able to remove more than 90 percent of hydrocarbons, bacteria and particulates from contaminated water produced by hydraulic fracturing (fracking) operations at shale oil and gas wells.

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SPOTLIGHT

Birds sing shorter songs in response to traffic noise

Taylor & Francis Group via EurekAlert!

Birds sing differently in response to traffic noise, which potentially affects their ability to attract mates and defend their territory, according to research published in Bioacoustics. The study found that a species of North American flycatcher sings shorter songs at a lower range of frequencies in response to traffic noise levels. The researchers suggest traffic noise reduction, for example through road closures, is a viable option for mitigating this effect.

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