Sci/tech

EPA Updates Mobile Source Emissions Model
December 27, 2009 01:31 PM - Roger Greenway, ENN

The US EPA is the source of most air quality impact assessment models used in the US for regulatory purposes, such as predicting the potential impacts from proposed stationary sources of air pollutants and mobile sources such as motor vehicles. Since motor vehicle emissions vary with regulatory changes in required emission level, it is important that impact modeling be performed with the most up-to-date models. EPA recently announced that an updated version of the Motor Vehicle Emission Simulator (MOVES) model – MOVES2010 – is now available for use to estimate air pollution from cars, trucks, and other on-road mobile sources. The model can also calculate the emissions reduction benefits from a range of mobile source control strategies, such as inspection and maintenance programs and local fuel standards.

EPA Curbs Ship Emissions
December 24, 2009 12:04 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

The US EPA has finalized a rule setting tough engine fuel standards for large US flagged ships, a major milestone in the agency's coordinated strategy to slash harmful marine diesel emissions. The regulation harmonizes with international standards and will lead to significant air quality improvements throughout the country. "There are enormous health and environmental consequences that come from marine diesel emissions, affecting both port cities and communities hundreds of miles inland. Stronger standards will help make large ships cleaner and more efficient, and protect millions of Americans from harmful diesel emissions," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "Port communities have identified diesel emissions as one of the greatest health threats facing their people especially their children. These new rules mark a step forward in cutting dangerous pollution in the air we breathe and reducing the harm to our health, our environment, and our economy."

Sun Changes and How it May Effect the Climate
December 22, 2009 01:44 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

The Active Cavity Radiometer Irradiance Monitor Satellite (AcrimSat) monitors the total amount of the sun's energy reaching Earth. It is this energy, called total solar irradiance, that creates the winds, heats the land and drives ocean currents. Some scientists theorize a significant fraction of Earth's warming may be solar in origin due to small increases in the sun's total energy output since the last century. By measuring incoming solar radiation, climatologists are can improve their predictions of climate change and global warming over the next century.

British Antarctic Survey finds rich Antarctic marine life
December 22, 2009 07:44 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

The British Antarctic Survey has released new photographs of ice fish, octopus, sea pigs, giant sea spiders, rare rays and beautiful basket stars that live in Antarctica's continental shelf seas are revealed this week by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). As part of an international study on sea surface to seabed biodiversity a research team from across Europe, USA, Australia and South Africa onboard the BAS Royal Research Ship James Clark Ross sampled a bizarre collection of marine creatures from the Bellingshausen Sea, West Antarctica – one of the fastest warming seas in the world. Research cruise leader Dr. David Barnes of British Antarctic Survey said,

Toxic Releases Decrease Nationwide
December 21, 2009 04:08 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

The USEPA released today the 2008 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) report which provides information on toxic chemicals used and released by utilities, refineries, chemical manufacturers, paper companies, and many other facilities across the nation to all media whether it is air, water or solid waste. The TRI is compiled from data submitted to EPA and the States by industry. For the EPA’s mid-Atlantic region, the 2008 TRI data indicate a 9.1 percent decrease of 35.2 million pounds of on and off site chemical releases as compared with 2007. A total of 350 million pounds of chemicals were released during 2008 to the air, water or landfills by facilities in the mid-Atlantic region which includes Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

NASA Image Confirms Lake on Titan
December 21, 2009 10:52 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

NASA has released a stunning photograph of Saturn’s moon Titan showing a glint of sunlight off a lake. The Cassini Spacecraft captured the first flash of sunlight reflected off a lake confirming the presence of liquid on the part of the moon dotted with many large, lake-shaped basins.

US Geological Survey Study of Oceanic Circulation
December 21, 2009 06:30 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

The USGS released an important study of the deep ocean’s temperature variability and circulation system that could help improve projections of future climate conditions. The deep ocean is apparently affected more by surface warming than previously thought, and this understanding allows for more accurate predictions of factors such as sea level rise and ice volume changes.

Brain Size Predicts the Time it Takes Mammals to Walk
December 18, 2009 06:48 AM - Megan Talkington, ScienceNOW

Many animals test their legs and totter forth only hours after they are born, but humans need a year before they take their first, hesitant steps. Is something fundamentally different going on in human babies? Maybe not. A new study shows that the time it takes for humans and all other mammals to start walking fits closely with the size of their brains.

Sea levels set to rise more than expected due to 'deeply surprising' Greenland melt
December 15, 2009 09:55 AM - Jeremy Hance, Mongabay

A new study by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program estimates that the sea will rise by 0.5 to 1.5 meters by 2100, threatening coastal cities and flooding island nations. This is double the predicted rise estimated by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on climate Change (IPCC) in 2007, which did not incorporate sea level rise due to the melting of Greenland and Antarctica's ice sheets.

The Future of Energy Storage: Printable, Moldable Batteries Made From Paper
December 8, 2009 10:03 AM - Rachel Ehrenberg, Wired.com

Those who are quick to dismiss paper as old-fashioned should hold off on the trash talk. Scientists have made batteries and supercapacitors with little more than ordinary office paper and some carbon and silver nanomaterials. The research, published online December 7 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, brings scientists closer to lightweight printable batteries that may one day be molded into computers, cell phones or solar panels.

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