There’s good news from Antarctica, where researchers with tools like ozonesondes — pictured above — have been following the infamous ozone hole as it waxes and wanes over the seasons. The ozone hole has shrunk by 1.5 million square miles – around 4 million square kilometers — and this “healing” trend appears to be continuing.
A major ecological catastrophe has been averted, and we can cite human intervention as the reason. When the globe swept into action with 1987′s Montreal Protocol, which banned a number of substances known to contribute to ozone depletion, it apparently worked.
When scientists first began to observe a hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica, it was a cause for grave concern. Though ozone levels actually fluctuate throughout the year, they perform an important function by blocking the sun’s harmful UV radiation.
Air pollutants interact with and break down plant-emitted scent molecules, which insect pollinators use to locate needed food, according to a team of researchers led by Penn State. The pollution-modified plant odors can confuse bees and, as a result, bees' foraging time increases and pollination efficiency decreases. This happens because the chemical interactions decrease both the scent molecules' life spans and the distances they travel.
While foraging for food, insects detect floral scent molecules in the air. Wind currents can carry these molecules up to thousands of feet from their original source to where bees have their hives.
"Many insects have nests that are up to 3,000 feet away from their food source, which means that scents need to travel long distances before insects can detect them," said Jose D. Fuentes, professor of meteorology and atmospheric science, Penn State. "Each insect has a detection threshold for certain kinds of scents and they find food by moving from areas of low concentrations of scents to areas of high concentrations."
Forest fires in Indonesia last year released 11.3 million tonnes of carbon per day, researchers have found. This figure exceeds the daily rate of 8.9 million tonnes of carbon emissions from the whole of the European Union, the study says.The 2015 fires were the worst since 1997, when a strong El Niño also fanned widespread fires, says the study, published in the journal Scientific Reports.Fire is widely used in South-East Asia to clear vegetation and maintain land for the growing of crops, the paper explains. Last year, fires were exacerbated by extended drought associated with El Niño, releasing 857 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from September to October 2015, the authors say. This represents 97 per cent of the country’s annual carbon emissions.
A volcano erupting on a small island in the Sub Antarctic is depositing ash over one of the world’s largest penguin colonies.
Zavodovski Island is a small island in the South Sandwich archipelago and its volcano Mt Curry has been erupting since March 2016. The island is home to over one million chinstrap penguins – the largest colony for this species in the world.
NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Typhoon Nepartak after it became a major typhoon in the Northwestern Pacific Ocean.
The second tropical cyclone of the northwestern Pacific Ocean season formed on July 3 and strengthened quickly into a tropical storm that was named Nepartak.
On July 5 at 0359 UTC (11:59 p.m. EDT) infrared data from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder aboard NASA's Aqua satellite detected strong thunderstorms completely surrounding the center of Nepartak with temperatures colder than minus 63 degrees Celsius (minus 81 Fahrenheit). Temperatures that could indicate very powerful thunderstorms with cloud tops high into the troposphere. Bands of powerful thunderstorms wrapped into the low-level center of circulation from the northwest and southeast.
Droughts in California are mainly controlled by wind, not by the amount of evaporated moisture in the air, new research has found. The research increases the understanding of how the water cycle is related to extreme events and could eventually help in predicting droughts and floods.
The findings were published in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, on June 30. The research increases the understanding of how the water cycle is related to extreme events and could eventually help in predicting droughts and floods, said lead author Jiangfeng Wei, a research scientist at The University of Texas at Austin's Jackson School of Geosciences.
"Ocean evaporation provides moisture for California precipitation but is not the reason for droughts there, although the ocean evaporation is slightly lower during droughts," Wei said.
The recent trend of increasing Antarctic sea ice extent -- seemingly at odds with climate model projections -- can largely be explained by a natural climate fluctuation, according to a new study led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).
The study offers evidence that the negative phase of the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO), which is characterized by cooler-than-average sea surface temperatures in the tropical eastern Pacific, has created favorable conditions for additional Antarctic sea ice growth since 2000.
The findings, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, may resolve a longstanding mystery: Why is Antarctic sea ice expanding when climate change is causing the world to warm?
Those orange tree patches pictured aren’t harbingers of winter. They are dying or dead trees in California, most likely the result of pine beetle forest damage.
It’s hot now in much of the golden state, and as temperatures continue to rise, something else is happening: Trees are dying in unprecedented numbers.
A recent U.S. Forest Service aerial detection survey revealed a record 66 million dead trees in southern Sierra Nevada. What we’re left with is a breeding ground for wildfires in a state where wildfires are already rampant—particularly this time of year.
40 million trees died statewide from 2010 to October 2015, but an additional 26 million trees died in California since October 2015.
Scientists from the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have discovered a possible secret to dramatically boosting the efficiency of perovskite solar cells hidden in the nanoscale peaks and valleys of the crystalline material.
Solar cells made from compounds that have the crystal structure of the mineral perovskite have captured scientists' imaginations. They're inexpensive and easy to fabricate, like organic solar cells. Even more intriguing, the efficiency at which perovskite solar cells convert photons to electricity has increased more rapidly than any other material to date, starting at three percent in 2009 -- when researchers first began exploring the material's photovoltaic capabilities -- to 22 percent today. This is in the ballpark of the efficiency of silicon solar cells.
What does the “city of the future” look like?
In an era of rapid technological advancement and increasing urbanization, it’s a fair question. Eighty percent of the U.S. population already lives in large cities* – each with a smartphone, wearable or other device in hand.
As such, city officials are beginning to piece together how those bits of technology can connect with assets like energy meters, garbage cans, street lights, traffic lights, water pipes and more. But, how do we make it all work together? By building a truly smart city.
A truly smart city is one with seamless connectivity that solves local problems and provides its inhabitants with safety, cleanliness and the most efficient ways to get from Point A to Point B. It’s a city that optimizes how we use valuable resources to help improve quality of life, positively impact our planet and open new economic opportunities. A truly smart city provides tremendous opportunities for its citizens and beyond.
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