Source of Organics and Water Quality
April 23, 2013 04:10 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
It is not unusual that when it rains, it will dissolve surface materials or carny it off as suspended materials into steams and such. Each time it rains, runoff carries an earthy tea steeped from leaf litter, crop residue, soil, and other organic materials into the storm drains and streams that feed Chesapeake Bay or many other bodies of water. Apparently some sources of organics are worse than others. A new study led by researchers at William & Mary's Virginia Institute of Marine Science reveals that land use in the watersheds from which this dissolved organic matter originates has important implications for Bay water quality, with the organic carbon in runoff from urbanized or heavily farmed landscapes more likely to persist as it is carried downstream, thus contributing energy to fuel low-oxygen dead zones in coastal waters.
Understanding AC Refrigerant Standards
April 23, 2013 09:13 AM - Andrew Burger, Triple Pundit
Back in 1987, alarm about emissions of ozone layer-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), and bromine gases led national governments worldwide to sign the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, a United Nations (UN) environmental agreement in which 197 countries and the European Union (EU) pledged to phase out production and use of CFCs, HCFCs and bromine gases. Though revised, more aggressive reduction targets for new refrigerant standards are being met, subsequent developments — rapid industrialization in large emerging market countries and the growing threats and costs of global warming — have complicated matters further.
US Greenhouse Gas Emissions are Down
April 21, 2013 10:01 AM - ANDREW BURGER, Global Warming is Real
Anthropogenic US greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) amounted to a CO2-equivalent 6,702.3 million metric tons in 2011, down 1.6 percent from 2010 and 6.9 percent below 2005 levels. Longer term, US GHG emissions have increased at an annual average rate of 0.4 percent since 1990, according to the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) 18th annual US Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks (Inventory) report, which was released April 15. A decrease in the carbon intensity of fuels used in electricity generation due to increased use of natural gas as opposed to coal, a "significant increase in hydropower" generation, and "relatively mild winter conditions, especially in the South Atlantic Region of the US" were the main factors underlying the drop in national GHG emissions in 2011, according to the EPA’s "The Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2011."
Freeway Air Pollution Travels Farther than Previously Thought
April 19, 2013 11:11 AM - Editor, ENN
Los Angeles is known not only for its celebrity clientele, but also for its congested roadways and heavy traffic, which consequently has led to severely polluted air, and the title of the "smoggiest city" in the United States. While air quality has improved somewhat in LA, a joint study by UCLA and the California Air Resources Board suggests that nearly a quarter of Angelenos are exposed to noxious plumes of freeway fumes almost every morning, far more people than previously thought.
Cigarette Butts Litter Waterways, Create Toxic Aquatic Ecosystems
April 18, 2013 04:29 PM - Editor, ENN
What would you say is the most littered item on US roadways? I think of two things: gum and cigarette butts. But let's focus on cigarettes for now. Cigarette filters are made from cellulose acetate, a plastic which is technically biodegradable. However, cigarette butts only degrade under conditions described by researchers as "severe biological circumstances," such as when filters end up in sewage. Even under optimal conditions, it can take at least 9 months for a butt to degrade.
Aerosols confirmed rising over India
April 18, 2013 09:49 AM - T.V. Padma, SciDevNet
While satellite data has shown aerosols — tiny polluting particles in the air — to be rising over India, a new study based on primary data gathered from measuring instruments installed in a network of stations confirms the trend. The study, by a team from the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, and Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, published online in Geophysical Research Letters last month (14 March), is based on the principle that aerosols absorb the sun's rays as they reach the earth's surface.
April 18, 2013 08:25 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
Lead is a nasty poison and can kill. So can bullets. Lead ammunition continues to take a deadly toll on endangered California condors that live in and around the Grand Canyon. Seven of the 80 wild condors in Arizona and Utah have died since December; three of those deaths have been definitively linked to lead poisoning from ingesting spent lead ammunition fragments in carrion and lead poisoning is suspected in the other four deaths. So bullets kill and, in this case, even by ingestion.
U.S. Air Force is Really Reducing Energy Use
April 17, 2013 09:00 AM - Gina-Marie Cheeseman, Triple Pundit
The U.S. Air Force is the largest energy user in the federal government. The federal government accounts for about one percent of total U.S. energy use, most of that is used by the Department of Defense (DOD). The Air Force accounts for 48 percent of the DOD's energy costs, which equates to about 2.5 billion gallons of aviation fuel, 64 trillion BTUs a year, and 35 metric tons of carbon. In 2012, the Air Force spent over $9 billion on energy, and 85 percent went to aviation fuel, which accounted for eight percent of the Air Force's budget. In 2003, energy was only three percent of the total budget.
Sulfur Based Batteries/Plastic
April 16, 2013 04:34 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
A plastic material is any of a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic solids that are moldable. Plastics are typically organic polymers of high molecular mass, but they often contain other substances. How about mostly sulfur? A new chemical process can transform waste sulfur into a lightweight plastic that may improve batteries for electric cars, reports a University of Arizona-led team. The new plastic has other potential uses, including optical uses. The team has successfully used the new plastic to make lithium-sulfur batteries.
Colleges Recover 90 Million Pounds of Materials During RecycleMania
April 15, 2013 02:48 PM - Editor, Justmeans
Recycling rivalries added another level of "madness" to March this year, as 523 schools competed in the RecycleMania Tournament, which harnesses the competitive spirit around sports rivalries and uses them to increase campus recycling and waste reduction. Colleges and universities across the United States and Canada participated in the eight-week competition in which schools are ranked according to how much recycling, trash and food waste they collect.