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Scientists Develop New Technique to Predict Wildfires
November 15, 2013 09:54 AM - Allison Winter, ENN
Last year, over 9 million acres were burned in the US alone due to wildfires. While wildfires can be caused by natural events, they often burn out of control and may get to a point where they become uncontrollable, even when managed by firefighters. Despite their sparks of uncertainty and paths of destruction, researchers have found a way to predict wildfire growth through the lifetime of their blazes. Scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo., and the University of Maryland, have developed a technique that combines cutting-edge simulations of the interaction of weather and fire with newly available satellite observations of active wildfires. This is the first time computer modeling offers the promise of continually-updated daylong predictions.
Ooo, la la! Meet Bouba!
November 14, 2013 03:06 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
The Wildlife Conservation Society's (WCS) Queen's Zoo in Flushing, NY has a new resident today. His name is Bouba and he is an Andean bear (Tremarctos ornatus) most commonly found in the Andes Mountains of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru western Bolivia and northwestern Argentina.
Boulder's bold energy statement
November 13, 2013 01:01 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
Recent election results from Boulder, Colorado highlight another rejection of traditional energy supplier policies. According to Boulder Mayor Applebaum, "This is a message that we have to change a broken system...we need some local control." While the ballot questions were locally directed, the results highlight the national debate on energy supply. Boulder's referendum focused on their local energy distributor's control of the energy mix and whether or not to purchase that company's equipment to run their own utility.
Filipino delegate: no denying climate change now
November 13, 2013 09:24 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
Monday, the Filipino delegate to the ongoing climate summit, Naderev 'Yeb' Saño, dared climate change deniers to take a hard look at what's happening not just in the Philippines, but the whole world. Over the weekend, the Philippines was hit by what may have been the largest typhoon to ever make landfall: Typhoon Haiyan. Reports are still coming in days later; death tolls were initially estimated to be over 10,000 with whole cities simply swept away, but more recent reports are placing the death toll lower but still substantial.
Europe to open up free access to environmental satellite data
November 13, 2013 08:44 AM - ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen
The European Commission has announced it will provide free, full and open access to a wealth of important environmental data gathered by Copernicus, Europe's Earth observation system. The new open data dissemination regime, which will come into effect next month, will support the vital task of monitoring the environment and will also help Europe's enterprises, creating new jobs and business opportunities.
Mutating height genes in plants
November 12, 2013 03:53 PM - Writers at the Max Planck Institute
The normal height to which plants grow is a critical trait. In the wild Arabidopsis thaliana uses the same genetic changes in the biosynthesis of the growth factor gibberellin to cut its size in half as found in semi-dwarf varieties of rice and barley that have been bred by people. When expressing the same phenotype, various plant species apparently fall back on the same genes in their genotype. There must therefore be so-called "hot spots" whose repeated mutation produces the same traits that are beneficial in some conditions.
Tiny islands with big climate change problems
November 12, 2013 02:25 PM - Jan Piotrowski, SciDevNet
Tiny island states that speck the vast swathe of the Pacific Ocean have a far greater importance in understanding global climate change than their tiny populations would suggest. This was the message given to delegates during a side event of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change's 19th annual meeting in Warsaw today.
NASA Releases Satellite Images of Typhoon Haiyan
November 11, 2013 04:10 PM - Editor, ENN
Typhoon Haiyan made landfall last week, causing much destruction in Southeast Asia. With death counts estimated to be in the thousands, this storm is one of the most powerful recorded typhoons to ever hit land and likely the deadliest natural disaster to hit the Philippines. So far, the typhoon is said to have affected at least 9.7 million people in 41 provinces. New satellite images obtained from NASA's Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument aboard NASA's Aqua spacecraft and the Indian Space Research Organization's OceanSAT-2 ocean wind scatterometer provide a glimpse into one of the most powerful storms ever recorded on Earth.
Transforming the Solar Discussion
November 11, 2013 01:08 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
The sun’s energy has been a central component of the renewable energy cache, including several harnessing technologies such as solar heating, photovoltaics, thermal, architecture and artificial photosynthesis. Researchers at the University of Cincinnati are bringing forth a new method of solar capture and storage called SmartLight that includes the use of electrofluidic cells in concert with embedded photovoltaics placed at the top of a building’s windows. These solar capture elements are then used to project light into the building through a continuous grid-strip of electrofluidic cells. Lead researcher, Jason Heikenfeld envisions these cell channels running across the top of a room and through room adjoining transom windows for distribution as needed within any of the office building’s rooms regardless of its position within the building.
Pollution detector designed to protect heritage sites
November 11, 2013 09:06 AM - Joshua Howgego, SciDevNet
A simple detector could help conservators at World Heritage sites in the developing world understand and protect against atmospheric pollutants that can damage valuable artifacts. The pollutant-measuring device has been prototyped by Henoc Agbota, an engineer at University College London, United Kingdom, and presented last week (30 October) at a conference marking the end of a five-year funding programme for heritage science run from the university.