Pollution

Greenhouse Gas Emissions from US Corn Belt have been Underestimated
July 29, 2015 08:55 AM - University of Minnesota

Estimates of how much nitrous oxide, a significant greenhouse gas and stratospheric ozone-depleting substance, is being emitted in the central United States have been too low by as much as 40 percent, a new study led by University of Minnesota scientists shows.

Ocean acidification is impacting phytoplankton now
July 26, 2015 08:37 AM - Steve Williams, Care2

Scientists are warning that ocean acidification is impacting microorganisms in our ocean known as phytoplankton and, as they pay a key role in ocean habitats, any future loss or change in species numbers could impact marine life in a big way.

Ocean acidification isn’t always mentioned in conjunction with phytoplankton blooms, and the U.S. Government has been slow to link the two, but MIT researchers say acidification of our oceans could impact phytoplankton in a big way, and that will be bad news for our marine life.

Ways to improve indoor air quality
July 25, 2015 07:17 AM - ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen

Indoor air quality isn’t something most people think about, but breathing clean air can and does impact out health. Here’s why paying attention to the air you breathe indoors is so important and how to then go about improving it. 

Vacuum More Often

Vacuuming more often will help keep dust at bay, but many vacuums also come with a filter system which can remove mold, pollen, and other air pollutants. Aim to vacuum at least once a week, twice if you live with animals.

Lake Tahoe's deep blue color explained
July 24, 2015 07:10 AM - UC Davis via NASA

Lake Tahoe's iconic blueness is more strongly related to the lake's algal concentration than to its clarity, according to research in "Tahoe: State of the Lake Report 2015," released today by the Tahoe Environmental Research Center (TERC) of the University of California, Davis. The lower the algal concentration, the bluer the lake. 

Data from a research buoy in the lake, owned and operated by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, enabled Shohei Watanabe, a postdoctoral researcher at TERC, to create a Blueness Index that quantified Lake Tahoe's color for the first time.

The assumption that lake clarity is tied to blueness has driven advocacy and management efforts in the Lake Tahoe Basin for decades. But Watanabe's research showed that at times of the year when the lake's clarity increases, its blueness decreases, and vice versa. 

Diesel exhaust found causing health hazards in EU cities
July 23, 2015 06:59 AM - EurActiv

The automotive industry needs to face up to the hazard to health posed by its diesel engines. That stark reality was brought home again to Europeans and, in particular, Londoners last week when Transport for London and the Greater London Authority revealed that an additional 5,900 early deaths annually in the EU’s largest city are attributable to long-term exposure to nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a toxic gas emitted in urban areas largely from diesel engines.

Concern about the health effects of NO2 is growing fast. The gas was known to irritate lungs and cause respiratory infections and asthma, including acute respiratory illnesses in children. It has also been linked to birth abnormalities. But this new research by King’s College London estimates for the first time the number of premature deaths caused. The study also shows an additional 3,500 deaths are caused by PM2.5, bringing the total number of people who die early because of air pollution annually in London to 9,400.

Eruption of Bardarbunga volcano in Iceland and its impact on SO2 concentrations in Europe
July 20, 2015 02:36 PM - EUROPEAN ASSOCIATION OF GEOCHEMISTRY via EurekAlert.

The six month long eruption of the Bardarbunga volcano (31 August 2014?27 February 2015 ) was the largest in Iceland since the devastating Laki eruption of 1783-84, producing around 1.6 km3 of lava, covering an area equivalent to Manhattan Island.

The eruption caused total Sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions of nearly 12m tonnes, which exceeded the total SO2 emitted in Europe in 2011. In Iceland, concentration of SO2 exceeded the 350 µg m-3 hourly average health limit over much of the country for days to weeks. However, the effects of the volcano were not confined to Iceland - many parts of Europe also saw high SO2 levels.

Researchers were initially concerned that the SO2 emissions would be much higher, which would have caused serious health problems throughout Iceland and perhaps Europe.

How clouds get their brightness
July 17, 2015 02:34 PM - Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

How clouds form and how they help set the temperature of the earth are two of the big remaining questions in climate research. Now, a study of clouds over the world's remotest ocean shows that ocean life is responsible for up to half the cloud droplets that pop in and out of existence during summer.

France estimates the economic costs of air pollution
July 16, 2015 06:40 AM - Editors EurActiv

The French Senate has called for new efforts to tackle air pollution, arguing it inflates healthcare costs, reduces economic productivity and agricultural yields, and has put Paris in the EU's bad books.

A Committee of Inquiry in the French Senate has described air pollution as an "economic aberration". The committee's proposals to reduce the phenomenon, which costs France over €100 billion every year, include raising the tax on diesel and taxing emissions of the worst polluting substances.

In the report entitled "Air pollution: the cost of inaction", published on Wednesday 15 July, the Senate committee estimated the annual cost of air Pollution in France at €101.3 billion.

Going to the beach may require hand sanitizer in addition to sunscreen
July 15, 2015 01:07 PM - American Chemical Society

“No swimming” signs have already popped up this summer along coastlines where fecal bacteria have invaded otherwise inviting waters. Some vacationers ignore the signs while others resign themselves to tanning and playing on the beach. But should those avoiding the water be wary of the sand, too? New research in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology investigates reasons why the answer could be “yes.” Sewage-contaminated coastal waters can lead to stomach aches, diarrhea and rashes for those who accidentally swallow harmful microbes or come into contact with them. But over the past decade, scientists have been finding fecal bacteria in beach sand at levels 10 to 100 times higher than in nearby seawater.

How microbes are cleaning up the BP oil spill
July 12, 2015 07:06 AM - Lizabeth Paulat, Care2

Microbes, primarily bacteria and fungi, get a bad rap in today’s society. However they’ve long played an incredible role within the Earth’s ecosystem. And one of the most important places microbes are transforming the earth is in the Gulf of Mexico, where a number of strains are busy munching up the oil still left over from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster.

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which took place just over five years ago caused a massive ecological disaster in and around the Gulf of Mexico. This is partially because the spill took so long to quell, with oil companies scrambling (and often failing) to stem the flow of oil from the seabed.

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