Sci/tech

CO2 Ocean Sequestration
January 20, 2011 04:54 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Carbon sequestration is "The process of removing carbon from the atmosphere and depositing it in a reservoir." When carried out deliberately, this may also be referred to as carbon dioxide removal, which is a form of geoengineering. The term carbon sequestration may also be used to refer to the process of carbon capture and storage, where CO2 is removed from flue gases, such as on power stations, before being stored in underground reservoirs. The term may also refer to natural biogeochemical cycling of carbon between the atmosphere and reservoirs, such as by chemical weathering of rocks. Using seawater and calcium to remove carbon dioxide (CO2) in a natural gas power plant's flue stream, and then pumping the resulting calcium bicarbonate in the sea, could be beneficial to the oceans' marine life or states a new research report.

Martian Life
January 19, 2011 04:51 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

For a long time there has been speculation of whether there is or was life on Mars. A really good answer would have been to have one of the Mars rover devices to photograph something moving about and obviously alive. Well that did not happen so a search for more subtle clues of smaller life forms or something from the deep past is in progress. The next rover to be delivered to Mars will contain a SAM. The instrument is Sample Analysis at Mars, or SAM, built by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. At the carefully selected landing site for the Mars rover named Curiosity, one of SAM's key jobs will be to check for carbon-containing compounds called organic molecules, which are among the building blocks of life on Earth. The clean-room suits worn by Curiosity's builders at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., are just part of the care being taken to keep biological material from Earth from showing up in results from SAM.

Climate Models Are Becoming Increasingly Accurate
January 19, 2011 09:45 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

Predicting future climates on planet Earth is an extremely hard task due to the myriad of factors involved. To make the necessary calculations requires computers with capacities far beyond the average home computer. However, climate models are become ever more reliable thanks not only to greater computing power, but also to more extensive observation efforts of the current climate, and an improved understanding of the climate system.

Fools Gold May Not Be So Foolish for Solar Energy
January 19, 2011 08:37 AM - Thomas Schueneman, Global Warming is Real

Pyrite, also known as fool's gold, was the stuff of heartbreak for many a gold miner. Mimicking the look of the precious gold they were after, Pyrite was considered essentially worthless. But for the solar energy industry, Pyrite just may turn into a pot of gold.

NOAA's Weatherman in the Sky
January 14, 2011 11:20 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

Forecasting the weather can be a tricky business, especially in winter. When a winter storm approaches, forecasts can range widely across the board from light flurries to a blizzard. As many know, the jet stream over the North American continent moves west to east. That is why the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is dispatching its state of the art aircraft to gather atmospheric data over the North Pacific Ocean, the region where North America's weather originates.

El Nino seen triggering next world warmth record
January 14, 2011 07:18 AM - Alister Doyle, Reuters, OSLO

Last year tied with 2005 as the warmest on record, according to U.S. agencies, but is likely to be overtaken soon by the next year with a strong El Nino weather event, experts said on Thursday. A gradual build-up of greenhouse gases from human activities is heating the planet but natural events such as El Nino, which every few years warms the surface of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean, can have a far bigger immediate impact. "It will take an El Nino year to break the record, so possibly the next one," said professor Phil Jones of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in Britain.

Hanny's Voorwerp
January 13, 2011 07:03 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Hanny's Voorwerp which is Dutch for Hanny's object, is an astronomical object of unknown nature. It was discovered in 2007 by Dutch school teacher Hanny van Arkel, while she was participating as an amateur volunteer in the Galaxy Zoo project. Photographically, it appears as a bright blob close to spiral galaxy IC 2497 in the constellation Leo Minor. The object, now referred to as a "voorwerp", is about the size of our Milky Way galaxy and has a huge central hole over 16,000 light years across. The voorwerp is false colored green, a standard color to represent the presence of several luminous emission lines of glowing oxygen. It has been shown to be at the same distance from Earth as the adjacent galaxy, both about 650 million light-years away. Hanny's Voorwerp may be a small part of a 300,000-light-year-long streamer of gas, located about 650 million light-years from Earth. Scientists suggested that a quasar in a nearby galaxy, known as IC 2497, was shining on Hanny's Voorwerp, lighting up the oxygen in the streamer with a greenish glow. The only problem was that no quasar could be seen.

DC Power: Not Just for the Energizer Bunny Anymore
January 13, 2011 08:49 AM - Mike Wapner, Matter Network

During the late 1800s Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse were engaged in an intense industrial rivalry. Edison's electrical inventions ran on DC (direct current). Westinghouse tried to convince governments and business that AC (alternating current) was the way to go for the development of large-scale power distribution systems. In their book American Entrepreneur: The Fascinating Stories of the People Who Defined Business in the United States, Larry Schweikart and Lynne Pierson Doti retell how the battle got pretty nasty.

Snowball Earth Was Dotted With Puddles
January 11, 2011 08:41 AM - Sid Perkins, Science AAAS

About 2 decades ago, scientists coined the term "snowball Earth" to describe a period about 700 million years ago when glaciers apparently smothered the planet even at latitudes near the equator. However, new evidence from ancient rocks bolsters the notion that some of the world's seas remained unfrozen during this global deep freeze, striking a blow against the controversial idea that the planet was completely swaddled in ice at the time.

Dust levels in Earth's atmosphere contribute to climate change
January 10, 2011 07:50 AM - Science Daily, adapted from materials from Cornell University

The amount of dust in the Earth's atmosphere has doubled over the last century, according to a new study; and the dramatic increase is influencing climate and ecology around the world. The study, led by Natalie Mahowald, associate professor of earth and atmospheric sciences, used available data and computer modeling to estimate the amount of desert dust, or soil particles in the atmosphere, throughout the 20th century. It's the first study to trace the fluctuation of a natural (not human-caused) aerosol around the globe over the course of a century.

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