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Soil management may help stabilize maize yield in the face of climate change
September 20, 2016 04:42 PM - University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences via ScienceDaily

How will we feed our growing population in the face of an increasingly extreme climate? Many experts suggest the answer lies in breeding novel crop varieties that can withstand the increases in drought, heat, and extreme rainfall events predicted in the not-too-distant future. But breeding is only part of the equation, according to new research from the University of Illinois and several collaborating institutions across the Midwestern U.S.

"It might not be necessary to put all the stress of climate adaptation and mitigation on new varieties. Instead, if we can manage agroecosystems more appropriately, we can buffer some of the effects of climate instability," says U of I and USDA Agricultural Research Service ecologist Adam Davis.

Arctic Sea Ice Extent in 2016 Ties as Second Lowest in The Satellite Record
September 20, 2016 08:56 AM - Yale Environment 360

Arctic sea ice extent shrank to 1.6 million square miles earlier this month — tying 2016 with 2007 as the second lowest sea ice minimum since satellite records began. The lowest year remains 2012. The new measurements follow a decades-long trend of declining sea ice extent in the Arctic as global temperatures rise. 

Heatwaves in the ocean: Risk to ecosystems?
September 19, 2016 04:12 PM - ETH Zurich via ScienceDaily

Marine ecosystems are responsible for about half of global annual primary production and more than one billion people rely on fish as their primary protein source. Latest studies show that enormous warm water bubbles in the ocean are having a noticeable impact on ecosystems. How should we interpret these changes?

World deforestation: we're losing a forest the size of NYC every 2 days!
September 19, 2016 10:26 AM - Karin Kloosterman via Green Prophet

This is an issue of global concern. Climate change, urbanization, and resource depletion (more mouths to feed, burn wood in stoves for, graze more cattle for) is still happening at a fast an alarming clip, influencing our planet’s ability to store CO2 emissions, and protect diversity. 

Monsanto and Bayer: food and agriculture just took a turn for the worst
September 19, 2016 07:08 AM - Colin Todhunter, The Ecologist

Bayer's $66 billion takeover of Monsanto represents another big click on the ratchet of corporate power over farming and food, writes Colin Todhunter. With the 'big six' of global agribusiness now set to turn into the 'even bigger three', farmers and consumers are facing more GMOs and pesticides, less choice, and deeper price gouging. Agroecology has never looked more attractive.

Virgin Atlantic: Emissions from Steel Mills Could Fuel Airplanes
September 16, 2016 01:32 PM - by Leon Kaye, Triple Pundit

After five years of research and development, Virgin Atlantic and one of its clean-technology partners, Illinois-based LanzaTech, developed a source of jet fuel made of waste gases from steel mills. According to the companies, this new source of jet fuel passed extensive tests that both delivered on performance and promise to result in carbon emissions savings of 65 percent compared to conventional jet fuel.

This discovery comes at a time when airlines, seeking to mitigate what is a carbon-intensive business, have long dabbled with jet fuel blended with algae and other biofuels. The Dutch carrier KLM experimented with algae fuel blends, has flown transatlantic flights using blends of kerosene and cooking oil, and is still apparently committed to sourcing these fuels when available. Alaska Airlines also considered using recycled cooking oil to reduce its carbon emissions. Earlier this year, United kicked off flights between San Francisco and Los Angeles using a biofuel-conventional blend. Aviation fuel using feedstock from Brazilian sugarcane is also touted as an option.

Renewables have the economic advantage over fossil fuels
September 16, 2016 11:00 AM - Alex Kirby, Ecologist

A new energy market analysis shows the average cost of electricity from renewables is already lower than from fossil fuels, writes Alex Kirby. And as renewables eat deeper into the 'market share' of coal and gas power plants, so the entire economics of fossil fuel power generation will unravel.

The cheapest way of generating energy today is to use renewable fuels - and the authors of a new analysis predict that renewables are set to enjoy even more of an advantage within a few years.

The study by the Carbon Tracker Initiative says renewable power generation costs are already lower on average worldwide than those of fossil fuels.

Arctic sea ice heading towards second lowest on record
September 15, 2016 01:07 PM - British Antarctic Survey

This year the extent of summer sea ice in the Arctic is heading towards being the second lowest on record. The Arctic sea ice minimum marks the day – typically in mid-September – when sea ice reaches its smallest extent at the end of the summer melt season. British Antarctic Survey sea-ice scientist, Dr Jeremy Wilkinson, provides a scientific perspective on the trend of rapidly decreasing Arctic sea ice.

Greenhouse gas-monitoring aircraft keep tabs on the Amazon's rising methane levels
September 15, 2016 10:25 AM - University of Leicester via ScienceDaily

Research led by the National Centre of Earth Observation at the University of Leicester is going to new heights in the atmosphere to get a better handle on methane emitted from wetlands in the Amazon.

Using small aircraft flying in an upward spiral and collecting samples of the air, the team has measured the levels of methane in the atmosphere over the Amazon basin in unprecedented detail.

In the process they've shown the value of satellite measurements of methane for the region, paving the way for research that will keep better tabs on the greenhouse gas.


All polar bears across the Arctic face shorter sea ice season
September 14, 2016 05:15 PM - University of Washington via ScienceDaily

A new University of Washington study, with funding and satellite data from NASA and other agencies, finds a trend toward earlier sea ice melt in the spring and later ice growth in the fall across all 19 polar bear populations, which can negatively impact the feeding and breeding capabilities of the bears. The paper, to appear Sept. 14 in The Cryosphere, is the first to quantify the sea ice changes in each polar bear subpopulation across the entire Arctic region using metrics that are specifically relevant to polar bear biology.

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