Pollution

Predicting the Climate of the future
February 15, 2014 10:44 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

Climate scientists rely on models to predict how the weather and climate will respond to changes in variable such as CO2 emissions, natural methane emissions, solar intensity and a host of other factors. No individual model can claim to accurately predict future climate. So it is very important to look at multiple models and compare their predictions. The Carnegie Institution for Science is a leader in this area. The pace of global warming over the last century has been about twice as rapid over land than over the oceans and will continue to be more dramatic going forward if emissions are not curbed. According to an analysis of 27 climate models by Carnegie's Chris Field, if we continue along the current emissions trajectory, we are likely facing the most rapid large climate change in the last 65 million years. This will clearly pose great challenges for a variety of terrestrial ecosystems.

Hydrogen Cars to Hit the Road This Spring
February 14, 2014 12:22 PM - CleanTechies Guest Author, Clean Techies

Although electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles have been considered the only plausible alternatives to conventional cars for a long time, and practically all of the world’s biggest car makers have been investing heavily in these technologies, and governments around the world have been trying to promote the use of such vehicles by offering generous incentives and financial benefits to those who choose to buy an alternative fuel vehicle instead of a gasoline-powered car, adoption has been lagging and sales have not been as strong as the auto industry had expected.

Testing for environmental contaminants in wastewater biosolids
February 14, 2014 10:08 AM - Ken Kingery, Duke University

Every year waste treatment facilities in the United States process more than eight million tons of semi-solid sewage called biosolids -- about half of which is recycled into fertilizer and spread on crop land. The practice helps solve storage issues and produces revenue to support the treatment plants, but what else is being spread in that sludge?

More contaminant troubles for West Virginia
February 13, 2014 09:18 AM - Judy Molland, Care2

On February 11, just one month after a chemical spill tainted drinking water for 300,000 people in and around the state's capital of Charleston, West Virginia experienced another environmental disaster: 100,000 gallons of coal slurry pour into stream.

Biodiversity conservationists get a little help with new online freshwater atlas
February 12, 2014 01:00 PM - Richa Malhotra, SciDevNet

An online repository of maps has been launched to make information on freshwater biodiversity available on a common platform for use by scientists, policymakers, conservationists and NGOs. The Global Freshwater Biodiversity Atlas will help developing countries identify biodiversity-rich areas for conservation. It was launched last month (29 January), as part of an EU-funded project called BioFresh, with the aim of putting together published maps and sharing them under a creative commons license.

Marine Protected Areas deemed largely ineffective
February 12, 2014 09:25 AM - Loren Bell, MONGABAY.COM

Protecting large, isolated areas of no-take zones for over 10 years with strong enforcement is the key to effective Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), according to a letter published this week in Nature. However, 59% of all MPAs meet less than three of the five criteria, making them protected in name only.

Urban Bees Start Using Plastic Waste to Build Hives
February 12, 2014 08:05 AM - ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen

Urban bees have started using bits of discarded plastic bags and plastic building materials to construct their nests, according to a new study of their behavior. It's an important discovery because it shows bees' resourcefulness and flexibility in adapting to a human-dominated world, says lead author Scott MacIvor of the University of Guelph. "Plastic waste pervades the global landscape," said MacIvor. "Although researchers have shown adverse impacts of the material on species and the ecosystem, few scientists have observed insects adapting to a plastic-rich environment."

Climate migration in the face of climate change
February 11, 2014 09:41 AM - Julie Cohen, University of California, Santa Barbara

As climate change unfolds over the next century, plants and animals will need to adapt or shift locations to follow their ideal climate. A new study provides an innovative global map of where species are likely to succeed or fail in keeping up with a changing climate. The findings appear in the science journal Nature.

Calculating your water footprint
February 10, 2014 11:01 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

Water scarcity affects 2.7 billion people worldwide for at least a month each year and in the same way that each of us has a carbon footprint, Professor Arjen Hoekstra of the University of Twente in the Netherlands posits that every person also has a "water footprint". Our water footprint is calculated by counting the amount of fresh water that we each use daily and the amount of water required to produce the goods and services that we consume. Due in large part to our monthly water bill, we recognize our daily fresh water use more than we do the amount of water that it takes to produce other foods and products that we consume. We more commonly think about water consumption in terms daily showers dishwasher and sprinkler usage or dripping spigots.

A Mexican "bee-rometer"
February 7, 2014 05:17 PM - Beth King, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

Mexico is the fourth largest honey producer and fifth largest honey exporter in the world. A Smithsonian researcher and colleagues helped rural farmers in Mexico to quantify the genetically modified organism (GMO) soybean pollen in honey samples rejected for sale in Germany. Their results will appear Feb. 7 in the online journal, Scientific Reports.

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