Top Stories

Happy World Elephant Day!
August 12, 2015 02:00 PM - Alicia Graef, Care2

On Wednesday, August 12, animal lovers around the world will be coming together to celebrate elephants and support a future where they’re respected and protected for the fourth annual World Elephant Day.

Could eating meat speed-up worldwide species extinction?
August 12, 2015 09:03 AM - Virginia Morell, Science/AAAS

Diets rich in beef and other red meat can be bad for a person’s health. And the practice is equally bad for Earth’s biodiversity, according to a team of scientists who have fingered human carnivory—and its impact on land use—as the single biggest threat to much of the world’s flora and fauna. Already a major cause of extinction, our meat habit will take a growing toll as people clear more land for livestock and crops to feed these animals, a study in the current issue of Science of the Total Environment predicts.

Reducing evaporation from LA reservoirs
August 12, 2015 07:12 AM - LAURA WAGNER, NPR

On Monday afternoon, the 20,000 black plastic balls tumbled down the slopes of Los Angeles Reservoir, joining 95,980,000 of their brethren already covering the surface of the water.

The final deployment of these shade balls was the last step in a $34.5 million water quality protection project aimed at preventing evaporation and algae growth in the reservoir.

Melting glaciers feed Antarctic food chain
August 11, 2015 03:48 PM - American Geophysical Union

Nutrient-rich water from melting Antarctic glaciers nourishes the ocean food chain, creating feeding “hot spots” in large gaps in the sea ice, according to a new study. New research finds that iron stored in the region’s glaciers is being shuttled by melting water to open areas of the ocean, called polynyas, where it stimulates growth of phytoplankton, ocean algae that form the base of the marine food chain. 

Range of non-native marine species is explained by time introduced
August 11, 2015 09:04 AM - Beth Gavrilles, University of Georgia

The time since the introduction of a non-native marine species best explains its global range, according to new research by an international team of scientists led by University of Georgia ecologist James E. Byers. The study, published in the open access journal Nature Scientific Reports, also contains a warning: The vast majority of marine invaders have not yet finished spreading.

Power plant CO2 emissions at 27 year low
August 11, 2015 07:09 AM - Kevin Mathews, Care2

Most of the environmental news we hear today is disheartening information about the consequences we’ll soon be facing thanks to climate change. Let’s take a momentary break from that sadness to focus on some good news: U.S. power plants are currently releasing the lowest amount of carbon emissions in 27 years. It seems like we might be making some progress!

The low mark occurred in April of this year, when U.S. power plants generated just 141 million tons of carbon dioxide, a figure we haven’t seen since April of 1988. Because power plants produce roughly one-third of the country’s emissions, this measurement is one of the biggest indicators we have to see how we’re doing at tackling global warming.

Stem Cell Research Identifies Effects of Pollution on Human Health
August 10, 2015 09:01 AM - Elsevier via AlphaGalileo

A recent study published in the Journal of Environmental Sciences (JES) shows that embryonic stem cells could serve as a model to evaluate the physiological effects of environmental pollutants efficiently and cost-effectively.

How the loss of Indonesian mangrove forests is linked to climate change
August 10, 2015 07:29 AM - Prodita Sabarini, The Ecologist

The loss of Indonesia's coastal mangrove forests for shrimp farming is a huge source of carbon emissions, writes Prodita Sabarini. But equally, a policy flip to preserve and recreate mangroves offers a major climate win.

Mangroves are important because of their high rates of tree and plant growth, coupled with anaerobic, water-logged soils that slow decomposition, resulting in large, long-term carbon storage. Mangroves store three to five times more carbon than rainforest

Preventing the loss of Indonesian mangroves would help in the global fight against climate change, new research shows.

Sunspot variation not causing climate change
August 8, 2015 06:22 AM - INTERNATIONAL ASTRONOMICAL UNION via EurekAlert

The Maunder Minimum, between 1645 and 1715, when sunspots were scarce and the winters harsh, strongly suggests a link between solar activity and climate change. Until now there was a general consensus that solar activity has been trending upwards over the past 300 years (since the end of the Maunder Minimum), peaking in the late 20th century -- called the Modern Grand Maximum by some [1].

This trend has led some to conclude that the Sun has played a significant role in modern climate change. However, a discrepancy between two parallel series of sunspot number counts has been a contentious issue among scientists for some time.

Fish go deep to beat the heat
August 7, 2015 02:21 PM - James Cook University

A James Cook University study shows fish retreat to deeper water to escape the heat, a finding that throws light on what to expect if predictions of ocean warming come to pass. 

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