African soil diversity mapped for the first time
May 22, 2013 10:19 AM - Bernard Appiah, SciDevNet
A team of international experts has drawn up the Soil Atlas of Africa — the first such book mapping this key natural resource — to help farmers, land managers and policymakers understand the diversity and importance of soil and the need to manage it through sustainable use. They say that despite soil's importance, most people in Africa lack knowledge about it, partly because information about it tends to be confined to academic publications read only by scientists.
May 22, 2013 09:39 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
A wildfire is an uncontrolled fire in an area of combustible vegetation that occurs in the countryside or a wilderness area. Wildfires occur on every continent except Antarctica. Wildfires are a common occurrence in Australia and the far US west. Concerns continue to grow about the effects of climate change on fire. Wildfires are expected to increase 50 percent across the United States under a changing climate, over 100 percent in areas of the West by 2050 as projected by some studies. A new article published in the journal Forest Ecology and Management by U.S. Forest Service scientists synthesizes recent findings on the interactions between fire and climate and outlines future research needs. Authored by research meteorologists Yongqiang Liu and Scott Goodrick from the Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) and Warren Heilman from the Northern Research Station, the article homes in on the effect of emissions from wildfires on long-term atmospheric conditions.
Arctic Ocean Rapidly Acidifying
May 22, 2013 08:44 AM - Thomas Schueneman, Global Warming is Real
After three years of ongoing research by an international team of scientists, a study commissioned by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme for a first-ever comprehensive assessment of Arctic Ocean acidification was presented last week at a meeting of Arctic Council Ministers in Bergen, Norway. The research show that the cold waters of the Arctic sea are more vulnerable to acidification. Cold water more readily absorbs CO2 and combined with the precipitous drop in summer sea ice extent, thus exposing more open water, northern oceans are rapidly acidifying.
Climate Change and Man 's Evolution
May 21, 2013 05:31 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Climate change is bad yet it happens whether we like or not. Then again it may not be so bad. Rapid climate change during the Middle Stone Age, between 80,000 and 40,000 years ago, during the Middle Stone Age, sparked surges in cultural innovation in early modern human populations, according to new research. The research, published this month in Nature Communications, was conducted by a team of scientists from Cardiff University's School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, the Natural History Museum in London and the University of Barcelona.
Aquifers in US Depleting, Contributing to Sea-Level Rise
May 21, 2013 10:24 AM - Allison Winter, ENN
The High Plains (also known as Ogallala) aquifer underlies more than 170,000 square miles of the United States. Aquifers are water storage areas that are made up of bodies of permeable rock that contain and transmit groundwater. The High Plains aquifer serves as the principal source of water for irrigation and drinking in the Great Plains, serving over two million people. However, substantial pumping of the aquifer for irrigation since the 1940s has resulted in large water-table declines. Depleting aquifers of groundwater can lead to serious consequences as pumping water out of the ground faster than it can be replenished can permanently dry up wells, reduce water in lakes and streams, and deteriorate water quality.
Eat those white vegetables?
May 20, 2013 03:27 PM - Allison Winter, ENN
We've always been told that eating colorful foods has many health benefits. And no, I'm not talking about artificially colored candies or chips, but instead fresh fruits and vegetables. Many produce rich in color contains nutrient packed pigments and antioxidants that provide energy and other benefits to our bodies. Consequently, it is recommended that we have three to five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. But what about white foods? Some nutritionists urge us to stay away from white bread breads, rice and pastas, but what about white produce? There are potatoes, garlic, onions, mushrooms, cauliflower, onions, turnips and kohlrabi just to name a few. Are these white fruits and vegetables just as nutritious?
May 20, 2013 03:14 PM - ENN Editor
Most of the world's frozen water is locked up at the poles. 99 percent of Earth’s land ice is located in the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. Yet the remaining ice in the world’s glaciers contributed just as much to sea rise as the two major ice sheets combined from 2003 to 2009, says a new study led by Clark University and involving the University Colorado Boulder. The new research found that all glacial regions lost significant mass from 2003 to 2009, with the biggest ice losses occurring in Arctic Canada, Alaska, coastal Greenland, the southern Andes and the Himalayas. The glaciers outside of the Greenland and Antarctic sheets lost an average of roughly 260 billion metric tons of ice annually during the study period, causing the oceans to rise 0.03 inches, or about 0.7 millimeters per year.
Researchers Develop Highest-resolution Global Forest Cover Dataset to Date
May 17, 2013 01:38 PM - Rhett Butler, MONGABAY.COM
Researchers at the University of Maryland have developed a 30-meter resolution forest cover data set that could boost efforts to track deforestation and forest degradation.
Methane Across the Country
May 17, 2013 08:01 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
Methane is created naturally near the Earth's surface, primarily by microorganisms by the process of methanogenesis. It is carried into the stratosphere by rising air in the tropics. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, stronger than carbon dioxide on a 20-year timescale, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, though on a century timescale, carbon dioxide is far stronger. "This research suggests significant benefits to slowing climate change could result from reducing industrial methane emissions in parallel with efforts on carbon dioxide," said Ira Leifer, a researcher with UC Santa Barbara's Marine Science Institute. Doing a a cross-continent drive, a UC Santa Barbara scientist has found that methane emissions across large parts of the U.S. are higher than is currently known, confirming what other more local studies have found. Their research is published in the journal Atmospheric Environment.
Tundra Carbon Impact?
May 16, 2013 03:59 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
There is a concern with the carbon stored in the form of frozen partially decomposed vegetation in the vast tundra of the north. When the permafrost melts, it may releases carbon in the form of carbon dioxide and methane, both of which are greenhouse gases. The amount of greenhouse gases which will be released from the Arctic’s stockpile of carbon may be more secure than scientists thought. In a 20-year experiment that warmed patches of chilly ground, tundra soil kept its stored carbon, researchers report. Almost half of the world’s soil carbon is stored at high latitude, in the form of dead and decaying organisms.