Top Stories

Oceans slowed global temperature rise
July 17, 2015 09:16 AM - UCLA Newsroom

A new study of ocean temperature measurements shows that in recent years, extra heat from greenhouse gases has been trapped in the subsurface waters of the Pacific and Indian oceans, thus accounting for the slowdown in the global surface temperature increase observed during the past decade, researchers say.

Welcome three new National Monuments
July 17, 2015 06:59 AM - Judy Molland, Care2

Using his authority under the Antiquities Act of 1906, President Obama announced last week that he was creating three new national monuments. The President designated scenic mountains in California as Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument, pristine wilderness landscapes in Nevada as Basin and Range National Monument, and a fossil-rich site in Texas as Waco Mammoth National Monument.

Together, the new monuments protect more than one million acres of public lands. National monuments are similar to national parks, except that they can be created from any land owned or controlled by the federal government via a presidential proclamation. With these new designations, Obama will have used the Antiquities Act to establish or expand 19 national monuments in the United States in total. Altogether, he has protected more than 260 million acres of public lands and waters.

Acidic Arctic Ocean Threatens Food Web
July 16, 2015 08:59 AM - Mrinalini Erkenswick Watsa, MONGABAY.COM

One byproduct of rising carbon-dioxide levels is increasing ocean acidity — a phenomenon that scientists have termed an existential threat to marine life. The waters of the Arctic and the far-north Pacific are particularly prone to acidification as a result of several natural factors, so scientists regard the region as the proverbial canary in the coal mine for the rest of the world's oceans. A new study shows that within just fifteen years these waters may be too acidic for a range of marine animals to build and maintain their shells year round. 

France estimates the economic costs of air pollution
July 16, 2015 06:40 AM - Editors EurActiv

The French Senate has called for new efforts to tackle air pollution, arguing it inflates healthcare costs, reduces economic productivity and agricultural yields, and has put Paris in the EU's bad books.

A Committee of Inquiry in the French Senate has described air pollution as an "economic aberration". The committee's proposals to reduce the phenomenon, which costs France over €100 billion every year, include raising the tax on diesel and taxing emissions of the worst polluting substances.

In the report entitled "Air pollution: the cost of inaction", published on Wednesday 15 July, the Senate committee estimated the annual cost of air Pollution in France at €101.3 billion.

Going to the beach may require hand sanitizer in addition to sunscreen
July 15, 2015 01:07 PM - American Chemical Society

“No swimming” signs have already popped up this summer along coastlines where fecal bacteria have invaded otherwise inviting waters. Some vacationers ignore the signs while others resign themselves to tanning and playing on the beach. But should those avoiding the water be wary of the sand, too? New research in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology investigates reasons why the answer could be “yes.” Sewage-contaminated coastal waters can lead to stomach aches, diarrhea and rashes for those who accidentally swallow harmful microbes or come into contact with them. But over the past decade, scientists have been finding fecal bacteria in beach sand at levels 10 to 100 times higher than in nearby seawater.

Seaweed that tastes like bacon? Sign me up!
July 15, 2015 10:10 AM - Oregon State University

Oregon State University researchers have patented a new strain of a succulent red marine algae called dulse that grows extraordinarily quickly, is packed full of protein and has an unusual trait when it is cooked.

This seaweed tastes like bacon.

As species adapt to a warming climate, ecosystems change
July 15, 2015 07:39 AM - University of Toronto via ScienceDaily

If it seems like you're pulling more bass than trout out of Ontario's lakes this summer, you probably are.

Blame it on the ripple effect of climate change and warming temperatures. Birds migrate earlier, flowers bloom faster, and fish move to newly warmed waters putting local species at risk.

To mitigate the trend and support conservation efforts, scientists at the University of Toronto (U of T) are sharing a way to predict which plants or animals may be vulnerable to the arrival of a new species.

How human activities have influenced "energy flow" in the environment
July 14, 2015 09:30 AM - Oregon State University

A collection of fossilized owl pellets in Utah suggests that when the Earth went through a period of rapid warming about 13,000 years ago, the small mammal community was stable and resilient, even as individual species changed along with the habitat and landscape. By contrast, human-caused changes to the environment since the late 1800s have caused an enormous drop in biomass and “energy flow” in this same community, researchers reported today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Greenland ice sheet melting more rapidly from impact of rainfall
July 14, 2015 06:24 AM - Aberystwyth University via ScienceDaily

According to a new study published in Nature Geoscience, the Greenland ice sheet has been shown to accelerate in response to surface rainfall and melt associated with late-summer and autumnal cyclonic weather events.

Samuel Doyle and an international team of colleagues led from Aberystwyth University's Centre for Glaciology combined records of ice motion, water pressure at the ice sheet bed, and river discharge with surface meteorology across the western margin of the Greenland ice sheet and captured the wide-scale effects of an unusual week of warm, wet weather in late August and early September, 2011.

How Climate Change will Affect Air Travel
July 13, 2015 04:48 PM - Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Global air travel contributes around 3.5 percent of the greenhouse forcing driving anthropogenic climate change, according to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). But what impact does a warming planet have on air travel and how might that, in turn, affect the rate of warming itself? A new study by researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and University of Wisconsin Madison found a connection between climate and airline flight times, suggesting a feedback loop could exist between the carbon emissions of airplanes and our changing climate. The study was published today in Nature Climate Change.

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