Pollution

Hazardous Chemicals Go Unregulated in Routine Oil and Gas Operations
April 19, 2017 02:48 PM - PSE Healthy Energy

California and more than two dozen other states require oil and gas producers to disclose the chemicals they use during hydraulic fracturing activities, enabling scientific and public scrutiny of the environmental and human health hazards these substances may pose. But all existing disclosure regulations cover chemical use only in hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, and, in California, two other types of well-stimulation treatments. Many of the same chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing go undisclosed when they are used in numerous routine, unregulated oil- and gas-field activities such as the drilling, cleaning and maintenance of wells, according to a study published in PLOS ONE today. The study, conducted by scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, University of the Pacific and the California-based energy science and policy institute PSE Healthy Energy, is the first published research to investigate chemicals used in unregulated routine oil- and gas-field activities, including the overlap between chemicals used in both regulated and unregulated activities.

Hazardous Chemicals Go Unregulated in Routine Oil and Gas Operations
April 19, 2017 02:48 PM - PSE Healthy Energy

California and more than two dozen other states require oil and gas producers to disclose the chemicals they use during hydraulic fracturing activities, enabling scientific and public scrutiny of the environmental and human health hazards these substances may pose. But all existing disclosure regulations cover chemical use only in hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, and, in California, two other types of well-stimulation treatments. Many of the same chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing go undisclosed when they are used in numerous routine, unregulated oil- and gas-field activities such as the drilling, cleaning and maintenance of wells, according to a study published in PLOS ONE today. The study, conducted by scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, University of the Pacific and the California-based energy science and policy institute PSE Healthy Energy, is the first published research to investigate chemicals used in unregulated routine oil- and gas-field activities, including the overlap between chemicals used in both regulated and unregulated activities.

Molecules May Be Driving Fluctuations in Atmospheric Methane Concentrations
April 19, 2017 06:38 AM - California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

During the early 2000s, environmental scientists studying methane emissions noticed something unexpected: the global concentrations of atmospheric methane (CH4)—which had increased for decades, driven by methane emissions from fossil fuels and agriculture—inexplicably leveled off.

UNH Helps Lead the Way for Campuses to Measure Their Nitrogen Footprints
April 18, 2017 06:33 PM - University of New Hampshire

Sustainability leadership efforts at the University of New Hampshire have contributed to a groundbreaking initiative to measure and reduce the nitrogen footprint left behind by campus activities like food waste and energy consumption. The new research is highlighted in the April 2017 special issue of Sustainability: The Journal of Record. The publication outlines research being done at UNH, and seven other institutions, to reduce emissions of reactive nitrogen (all forms of nitrogen except unreactive N2 gas) and prevent negative impacts on such things as water quality, air pollution, and climate change.

UNH Helps Lead the Way for Campuses to Measure Their Nitrogen Footprints
April 18, 2017 06:33 PM - University of New Hampshire

Sustainability leadership efforts at the University of New Hampshire have contributed to a groundbreaking initiative to measure and reduce the nitrogen footprint left behind by campus activities like food waste and energy consumption. The new research is highlighted in the April 2017 special issue of Sustainability: The Journal of Record. The publication outlines research being done at UNH, and seven other institutions, to reduce emissions of reactive nitrogen (all forms of nitrogen except unreactive N2 gas) and prevent negative impacts on such things as water quality, air pollution, and climate change.

Prescribed Forest Fire Frequency Should Be Based on Land Management Goals
April 18, 2017 05:17 PM - University of Missouri-Columbia

In recent decades, scientists and land managers have realized the importance of controlled forest fires for reaching specific forest management objectives. However, questions remain about how often forests should be burned. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have studied forests subjected to different frequencies of fires to determine what effects fire can have on oak forests over long periods of time. They found that the frequency of prescribed forest fires should be determined based on the long-term goals of land managers.

Prescribed Forest Fire Frequency Should Be Based on Land Management Goals
April 18, 2017 05:17 PM - University of Missouri-Columbia

In recent decades, scientists and land managers have realized the importance of controlled forest fires for reaching specific forest management objectives. However, questions remain about how often forests should be burned. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have studied forests subjected to different frequencies of fires to determine what effects fire can have on oak forests over long periods of time. They found that the frequency of prescribed forest fires should be determined based on the long-term goals of land managers.

Track down water pollution through DNA of algae
April 18, 2017 05:08 PM - University of Geneva

Diatoms are a group of unicellular algae particularly sensitive to changes that affect their aquatic environment. This is why they are used as bioindicators for the biological monitoring of water quality. However, their microscopic identification in river samples requires a lot of time and skills. Biologists from the University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland, have succeeded in establishing a water quality index based solely on the DNA sequences of the diatoms present in the samples, without needing to identify each species visually. This study, published in the journal Molecular Ecology Resources, presents a revolutionary tool to process a very large number of samples in parallel, allowing wide coverage of the monitored sites in a reduced time and at a lower cost.

Track down water pollution through DNA of algae
April 18, 2017 05:08 PM - University of Geneva

Diatoms are a group of unicellular algae particularly sensitive to changes that affect their aquatic environment. This is why they are used as bioindicators for the biological monitoring of water quality. However, their microscopic identification in river samples requires a lot of time and skills. Biologists from the University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland, have succeeded in establishing a water quality index based solely on the DNA sequences of the diatoms present in the samples, without needing to identify each species visually. This study, published in the journal Molecular Ecology Resources, presents a revolutionary tool to process a very large number of samples in parallel, allowing wide coverage of the monitored sites in a reduced time and at a lower cost.

Mechanism behind the electric charges generated by photosynthesis -A step towards artificial photosynthesis
April 18, 2017 10:53 AM - Kobe University

Photosynthesis requires a mechanism to produce large amounts of chemical energy without losing the oxidative power needed to break down water. A Japanese research team has clarified part of this mechanism, marking another step towards the potential development of artificial photosynthesis. The findings were published on February 27 in the online edition of The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters.

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