What can we learn from the California Rim Fire?
August 14, 2014 06:42 AM - Crystal Shepeard, Care2
August 17, 2014 will mark the one year anniversary of the Rim Fire in the California Sierra Nevadas. It was dubbed the Rim Fire due to its proximity to the Rim of the World scenic lookout. The third largest wildfire in California’s history, it burned 257,000 acres of land in Stanislaus National Forest and the western edge of Yosemite National Park, in addition to private land in neighboring counties. It cost more than $127 million to contain, and included more than $50 million in property damage. In the early hours of the fire, a deer hunter was rescued. After the hunter was taken to safety by helicopter, investigators interviewed him to see if he witnessed anything. He told them that he had slipped and caused a rock slide that may have ignited the dry vegetation. As time went on, his story changed several times, even blaming it on marijuana growers. Finally, as the fire had been raging for several weeks, he finally told the real story.
duh DUN... It's Shark Week!
August 13, 2014 12:11 PM - S.E. Smith, Care2
It's time for the 27th annual Shark Week on the Discovery Channel, featuring a solid week of shark-centric programming for viewers who just can't get enough of ... factually incorrect fear-mongering stories about sharks. Sharks are the villain everyone loves to hate, from Jaws to endless B-movies on the SyFy Channel, but in fact, the real enemy is humans. Worldwide, sharks are in critical danger, and we're the only ones who can save them. It's time to put down the remote and take up the cause of shark conservation, because it won't be too long before Shark Week is little more than a series of antique horror films about a superorder of fish that used to be abundant in the world's oceans.
Bottling Water from Drought Stricken Areas
August 12, 2014 07:55 AM - Leon Kaye, Triple Pundit
The bottled water industry has grown exponentially the past few decades despite the fact tap water in the United States is generally safe. Never mind the fact bottled water producers have had more than their fair share of safety issues: bottled water has become accepted by consumers. While companies such as Nestlé insist they are taking responsibility for water stewardship and recycling, they also bottle their water at dubious sources, including those in drought stricken regions.
The importance of maintaining seagrass
August 12, 2014 07:05 AM - Harriet Jarlett, Planet Earth Online
Seagrass meadows provide the ideal place for young fish to thrive, say NERC-funded scientists researching the importance of these habitats for commercial fishing. Globally seagrasses are being lost at the same rate as Amazonian rainforests, and little is being done to conserve these habitats as their importance isn't fully understood. But scientists at Swansea University have just published two studies in the journals Marine Pollution Bulletin and Marine Biodiversity showing these areas are vital to the wellbeing of juvenile fish, and consequently the fishing industry.
New study casts light on climate change and oceanic oxygen levels
August 10, 2014 09:55 AM - University of South Carolina via ScienceDaily
A commonly held belief that global warming will diminish oxygen concentrations in the ocean looks like it may not be entirely true. According to new research published in Science magazine, just the opposite is likely the case in the northern Pacific Ocean, with its anoxic zone expected to shrink in coming decades because of climate change. An international team of scientists came to that surprising conclusion after completing a detailed assessment of changes since 1850 in the eastern tropical northern Pacific's oxygen minimum zone (OMZ). An ocean layer beginning typically a few hundred to a thousand meters below the surface, an OMZ is by definition the zone with the lowest oxygen saturation in the water column. OMZs are a consequence of microbial respiration and can be hostile environments for marine life.
Paint dust pollutes the oceans
August 8, 2014 09:51 AM - Erik Stokstad, Science
Even when the sea looks clean, its surface can be flecked with tiny fragments of paint and fiberglass. That's the finding from a study that looked for plastic pollution in the uppermost millimeter of ocean. The microscopic fragments come from the decks and hulls of boats, and they could pose a threat to tiny creatures called zooplankton, which are an important part of the marine food web. The discovery is "continuing to open our eyes to how many small synthetic particles are in the environment," says Kara Law, an oceanographer who studies plastic pollution at the Sea Education Association in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and wasn’t involved in the study.
Are humans impacting the deep Earth?
August 7, 2014 09:31 AM - Alex Peel, Planet Earth Online
Human forays deep underground, such as boreholes, mines and nuclear bomb tests, are leaving a mark on the planet's geology that will last for hundreds of millions of years, say scientists. In a new report, published in the journal Anthropocene, they say we are altering Earth's rocks in a way that's unique in the planet's 4.6 billion-year history.
Mercury in the oceans increasing
August 6, 2014 05:29 PM - Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Although the days of odd behavior among hat makers are a thing of the past, the dangers mercury poses to humans and the environment persist today. Mercury is a naturally occurring element as well as a by-product of such distinctly human enterprises as burning coal and making cement. Estimates of "bioavailable" mercury—forms of the element that can be taken up by animals and humans—play an important role in everything from drafting an international treaty designed to protect humans and the environment from mercury emissions, to establishing public policies behind warnings about seafood consumption.
New Jersey bans Ivory sales
August 6, 2014 07:34 AM - Wildlife Conservation Society
The state of New Jersey has enacted a statewide ban on sales of Ivory. The following statement was issued by John Calvelli, Wildlife Conservation Society Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Director of the 96 Elephants Campaign: "Today is an historic day for elephants and conservation. The Wildlife Conservation Society and the 96 Elephants campaign praises N.J. Governor Chris Christie for signing into law a statewide ban on ivory sales."
Spray-on Solar Panels?
August 4, 2014 03:33 PM - ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen
A team of scientists at the University of Sheffield are the first to fabricate perovskite solar cells using a spray-painting process — a discovery that could help cut the cost of solar electricity. Experts from the University's Department of Physics and Astronomy and Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering have previously used the spray-painting method to produce solar cells using organic semiconductors - but using perovskite is a major step forward.