Seed study reveals future risks to nature
July 23, 2015 09:00 AM - ClickGreen Staff
The first worldwide study of animals and the seeds they eat has overturned a long-held assumption - that large animals mainly eat large seeds. The finding by UNSW Australia scientists has implications for conservation showing that a wider variety of plants than is often thought could be at risk if large animals go extinct and do not disperse their seeds.
Diesel exhaust found causing health hazards in EU cities
July 23, 2015 06:59 AM - EurActiv
The automotive industry needs to face up to the hazard to health posed by its diesel engines. That stark reality was brought home again to Europeans and, in particular, Londoners last week when Transport for London and the Greater London Authority revealed that an additional 5,900 early deaths annually in the EU’s largest city are attributable to long-term exposure to nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a toxic gas emitted in urban areas largely from diesel engines.
Concern about the health effects of NO2 is growing fast. The gas was known to irritate lungs and cause respiratory infections and asthma, including acute respiratory illnesses in children. It has also been linked to birth abnormalities. But this new research by King’s College London estimates for the first time the number of premature deaths caused. The study also shows an additional 3,500 deaths are caused by PM2.5, bringing the total number of people who die early because of air pollution annually in London to 9,400.
Do you always get sick when flying? Try Elderberries for some relief
July 22, 2015 04:00 PM - Griffith University
The negative health effects of international air travel are well documented but now it seems that the common elderberry can provide some relief.
Disaster displacement on the rise
July 22, 2015 08:54 AM - ClickGreen Staff
In the last seven years, an estimated one person every second has been forced to flee their home by a natural disaster, with 19.3 million people forced to flee their homes in 2014 alone, according to a new report. The research suggests disaster displacement is on the rise, and as policy leaders worldwide advance towards the adoption of a post-2015 global agenda, the time has never been better to address it.
NASA finds Greenland glaciers melting faster than thought
July 22, 2015 06:49 AM - NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Greenland's glaciers flowing into the ocean are grounded deeper below sea level than previously measured, allowing intruding ocean water to badly undercut the glacier faces. That process will raise sea levels around the world much faster than currently estimated, according to a team of researchers led by Eric Rignot of the University of California, Irvine (UCI), and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.
The researchers battled rough waters and an onslaught of icebergs for three summers to map the remote channels below Greenland's marine-terminating glaciers for the first time. Their results have been accepted for publication in the journal Geophysical Research Letters and are now available online.
Controlled burns and invasive grass
July 21, 2015 12:54 PM - College of ACES, University of Illinois
Controlled burning is widely used to maintain biodiversity and enhance regeneration of important deciduous tree species such as oak and hickory, but a recent University of Illinois study found that this practice also increases the growth of an aggressive species of invasive grass.
EPA Releases Updated Environmental and Public Health Indicators in Online Database
July 21, 2015 09:04 AM - USEPA Newsroom
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released updated environmental and public health indicators in an online database, making information about the current and historical condition of the nation’s environment and human health more accessible to the public. This is an online update to EPA’s Report on the Environment. Users can explore 85 individual indicators-- on our air, water, land, human exposure, health and ecological condition-- using interactive graphs, tables, and maps, and download the data for each indicator.
Pluto's atmosphere found being stripped away by the solar wind
July 21, 2015 06:38 AM - Editor, ENN
New Horizons has discovered a region of cold, dense ionized gas tens of thousands of miles beyond Pluto — the planet’s atmosphere being stripped away by the solar wind and lost to space. Beginning an hour and half after closest approach, the Solar Wind Around Pluto (SWAP) instrument observed a cavity in the solar wind — the outflow of electrically charged particles from the Sun — between 48,000 miles (77,000 km) and 68,000 miles (109,000 km) downstream of Pluto. SWAP data revealed this cavity to be populated with nitrogen ions forming a “plasma tail” of undetermined structure and length extending behind the planet.
Eruption of Bardarbunga volcano in Iceland and its impact on SO2 concentrations in Europe
July 20, 2015 02:36 PM - EUROPEAN ASSOCIATION OF GEOCHEMISTRY via EurekAlert.
The six month long eruption of the Bardarbunga volcano (31 August 2014?27 February 2015 ) was the largest in Iceland since the devastating Laki eruption of 1783-84, producing around 1.6 km3 of lava, covering an area equivalent to Manhattan Island.
The eruption caused total Sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions of nearly 12m tonnes, which exceeded the total SO2 emitted in Europe in 2011. In Iceland, concentration of SO2 exceeded the 350 µg m-3 hourly average health limit over much of the country for days to weeks. However, the effects of the volcano were not confined to Iceland - many parts of Europe also saw high SO2 levels.
Researchers were initially concerned that the SO2 emissions would be much higher, which would have caused serious health problems throughout Iceland and perhaps Europe.
Where does water from rain and snow melt actually go?
July 20, 2015 09:00 AM - University of Utah
More than a quarter of the rain and snow that falls on continents reaches the oceans as runoff. Now a new study helps show where the rest goes: two-thirds of the remaining water is released by plants, more than a quarter lands on leaves and evaporates and what’s left evaporates from soil and from lakes, rivers and streams.