Did humans create the Sahara Desert?
March 14, 2017 11:23 AM - Frontiers via EurekAlert!

New research investigating the transition of the Sahara from a lush, green landscape 10,000 years ago to the arid conditions found today, suggests that humans may have played an active role in its desertification. 

The desertification of the Sahara has long been a target for scientists trying to understand climate and ecological tipping points. A new paper published in Frontiers in Earth Science by archeologist Dr. David Wright, from Seoul National University, challenges the conclusions of most studies done to date that point to changes in the Earth's orbit or natural changes in vegetation as the major driving forces.

After Deepwater Horizon Spill: Which Animals Weathered the Disaster
March 14, 2017 10:38 AM - Rutgers University

A new study from a Coastal Waters Consortium team of researchers led by Rutgers University postdoctoral researcher, Michael McCann, has found which birds, fish, insects and other animals affected by the Deepwater Horizon explosion should be given top priority for conservation, protection and research.

The UK's Drop in CO2 Emissions Shows the Power of Carbon Taxes
March 14, 2017 08:24 AM - Steve Williams, Care2

A new analysis indicates that the UK’s CO2 output is at a record low, and it’s largely down to one major action: a reduction in coal use.

Volcano Breath: Measuring Sulfur Dioxide from Space
March 10, 2017 01:58 PM - Michigan Technological University

There is no mint that can take the edge off sulfurous emissions from volcanoes, but researchers can use remote sensing to better understand volcanic breathing.

Volcanoes erupt, they spew ash, their scarred flanks sometimes run with both lava and landslides. But only occasionally. A less dramatic but important process is continuous gas emissions from volcanoes; in other words, as they exhale. A number of volcanoes around the world continuously exhale water vapor laced with heavy metals, carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide, among many other gases. Of these, sulfur dioxide is the easiest to detect from space.

Measurements by school pupils paved way for key research findings
March 10, 2017 01:47 PM - Uppsala Universitet

With their measurements and samples, nearly 3,500 schoolchildren have assisted a research study on lakes and global warming, now published in an academic journal. The results show that water temperatures generally remain low despite the air becoming warmer. This helps to curb the outflow of greenhouse gases.

Energy crop production on conservation lands may not boost greenhouse gases
March 10, 2017 01:34 PM - Jeff Mulhollem via Penn State

Growing sustainable energy crops without increasing greenhouse gas emissions, may be possible on seasonally wet, environmentally sensitive landscapes, according to researchers who conducted a study on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land.

Debasish Saha, postdoctoral scholar in plant sciences, Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, and colleagues measured the amount of nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas, emanating from plots of biofuels-producing switchgrass — a native perennial grass — and miscanthus — a non-native grass species — growing in an experimental area in eastern central Pennsylvania and compared it to emissions from adjacent, undisturbed CRP acres. The experiment took place in a long-term monitoring site managed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service.

New research finds infants are more exposed to harmful pollution on the way to school than on the way home
March 9, 2017 10:07 AM - University of Surrey

Babies in prams accompanying older siblings on the school run are twice as likely to be exposed to harmful air pollution in the morning than in the afternoon, a new study has found.

Iran and Middle East could adopt fully renewable electricity systems
March 9, 2017 09:59 AM - Lappeenranta University of Technology

Iran can transition to a fully renewable electricity system and financially benefit from it by 2030. Researchers at Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) show that major oil-producing countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region could turn their abundant renewable energy resources into lucrative business opportunities in less than two decades.

Scientists Develop Sponge to Soak Up Oil Spills
March 8, 2017 01:26 PM - Yale Environment 360

Scientists at the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois have created a new sponge-like material that can repeatedly soak up oil spills. The material, which can absorb up to 90 times its own weight in oil, could make it faster and easier to clean up offshore oil spills, the scientists said.

U.S. Is Polluting Less, So Why Is Our Air Smoggier Than Ever?
March 8, 2017 01:09 PM - Kevin Mathews, Care2

The United States has managed to reduce the amount of air pollution it produces, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at and breathing in the air. That’s because pollution created in Asia is gradually making its way across the Pacific Ocean to the western hemisphere.

According to research published in the Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics journal, up to 65 percent of the newly created smog in the U.S. has actually drifted over from Asia. The country’s western states are most vulnerable to the increase in ozone due to their proximity to the continent.

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