Pollution

Scientists Report on Latest Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Impacts
February 2, 2017 02:39 PM - Louisiana State University

LSU scientists will present new research at the 2017 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference in New Orleans next week. These experts will be among hundreds of oil spill-related researchers from academia, state and federal agencies, non-governmental organizations and industry, who will share the latest oil spill and ecosystem scientific discoveries, innovations, technologies and policies on Feb. 6-9.

Plan to Reduce Air Pollution Chokes in Mexico City
February 2, 2017 02:30 PM - University of California - Berkeley Haas School of Business

Decades ago Mexico City’s air pollution was so poor, birds would fall out of the sky—dead. Locals said living there was like smoking two packs of cigarettes a day, according to one report.  In response, Mexico City took several steps to try to improve air quality including restricting driving one or two days during the weekdays. The program has had negligible results.

In 2008, the city added driving restrictions on Saturdays in hopes of moving the needle but according to new research by Lucas W. Davis, an associate professor at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, extending the program one more day also isn’t working.

“Saturday driving restrictions are a flawed policy. It’s a big hassle for people and does not improve air quality,” says Davis, who is also the faculty director at the Energy Institute at Haas.

Zeroing in on the chemistry of the air
February 2, 2017 08:14 AM - MIT

We breathe it in and out every few seconds, yet the air that surrounds us has chemical activity and variations in its composition that are remarkably complex. Teasing out the mysterious behavior of the atmosphere’s constituents, including pollutants that may be present in tiny amounts but have big impacts, has been the driving goal of Jesse Kroll’s research.

Zeroing in on the chemistry of the air
February 2, 2017 08:14 AM - MIT

We breathe it in and out every few seconds, yet the air that surrounds us has chemical activity and variations in its composition that are remarkably complex. Teasing out the mysterious behavior of the atmosphere’s constituents, including pollutants that may be present in tiny amounts but have big impacts, has been the driving goal of Jesse Kroll’s research.

An entrepreneurial approach to Egypt's water crisis
February 2, 2017 08:00 AM - Ryerson University

In Egypt, two out of five households do not have access to clean drinking water. This reality hit home for fourth-year entrepreneurship student Omar El Araby in December, when he visited the city of Asyut with Enactus Ryerson.

Oil production releases more methane than previously thought
February 1, 2017 10:58 AM - International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis

Global methane and ethane emissions from oil production from 1980 to 2012 were far higher than previous estimates show, according to a new study which for the first time takes into account different production management systems and geological conditions around the world.

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, which scientists rank as the second-most important contributor to climate change after carbon dioxide. Yet while methane concentrations in the atmosphere can be easily measured, it is difficult to determine the contribution of different sources, whether human or natural. This is necessary information for reducing emissions.

Coal mine dust hastens Arctic snow melt
February 1, 2017 10:34 AM - University of Colorado At Boulder

Dust released by an active coal mine in Svalbard, Norway, reduced the spectral reflectance of nearby snow and ice by up to 84 percent, according to new University of Colorado Boulder-led research.

The study illustrates the significant, localized role that dark-colored particulates — which absorb more solar radiation than light-colored snow and keep more heat closer to the Earth’s surface — can play in hastening Arctic ice melt.   

The study was published today in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, a publication of the American Geophysical Union.

Air pollution may lead to dementia in older women
January 31, 2017 05:02 PM - Zen Vuong via University of Southern California

Tiny air pollution particles — the type that mainly comes from power plants and automobiles — may greatly increase the chance of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, according to USC-led research.

Scientists and engineers found that older women who live in places with fine particulate matter exceeding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s standard are 81 percent more at risk for global cognitive decline and 92 percent more likely to develop dementia, including Alzheimer’s.

Land-use change possibly produces more Carbon Dioxide than assumed so far
January 31, 2017 01:08 PM - Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

CO2 emissions caused by changes of land use may possibly be higher than assumed so far. This is the outcome of a study made by the team of Professor Almut Arneth of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). The work presented in Nature Geoscience (DOI: 10.1038/NGEO2882) for the first time considers processes, such as slash-and–burn agriculture or different ways of managing forests and cropland. The results also imply that reforestation is important to increase the ecologically important CO2 uptake by land ecosystems.

Substance in crude oil harms fish hearts, could affect humans as well
January 31, 2017 09:47 AM - Taylor Kubota

Research from Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station has identified a substance in oil that’s to blame for the cardiotoxicity seen in fish exposed to crude oil spills. More than a hazard for marine life exposed to oil, the contaminant this team identified is abundant in air pollution and could pose a global threat to human health.

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