Top Stories

More Frequent Extreme Ocean Warming Could Further Endanger Albatross

As Earth warms due to human-caused climate change, extreme climatic events like heat waves, droughts, and spikes in ocean temperatures have increased and are projected to become even more common by the end of this century.

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High release of strong greenhouse gas nitrous oxide found from northern peatlands at permafrost thaw

A recent study led by researchers from the University of Eastern Finland reveals that permafrost thaw may greatly increase emissions of nitrous oxide (N2O) from northern permafrost peatlands. Nitrous oxide is a strong greenhouse gas: 300 times more powerful per unit mass in warming the climate than CO2. It is known that thawing of permafrost may enhance climate warming by releasing the vast carbon stocks locked in Arctic soils as the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4). The role of N2O for permafrost–climate feedbacks, however, is not yet well understood.

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Robots Wielding Water Knives Are the Future of Farming

Just after dawn in the Salinas Valley south of San Francisco, a raucous robot rolls through a field spitting clouds of vapor. It’s cutting lettuce heads with water knives—super-high-pressure beams—and gobbling up the produce. The heads roll up its mouth and onto a conveyor belt, where workers in hoodies and aprons grab the lettuce and tear off the loose leaves.

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Are Bidets More Environmentally Friendly Than Toilet Paper?

While bidets remain unpopular in America, they’re a familiar fixture in bathrooms all over the world. And they raise an inevitable question: Is it better for the environment if you wipe, or should you wash instead?

The answer may surprise you — and could lead you to rethink your next bathroom remodel.

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New wave of extinctions predicted for vital food species

Poaching, illegal fishing and deforestation are threatening more than quarter of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites, according to a report by the WWF  (World Wide Fund for Nature) — and the consequences are not just environmental.

The report states that 18 out of the 50 threatened sites are in Latin American countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, Panama and Peru. It also says the number could be higher because the illegal extraction of species in the region — a business with annual profits of almost US$ 2 billion — is not as well studied as it is in Africa or Asia.

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Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?

Delivering packages with drones can reduce carbon dioxide emissions in certain circumstances as compared to truck deliveries, a new study from University of Washington  transportation engineers finds.

In a paper to be published in an upcoming issue of Transportation Research Part D, researchers found that drones tend to have carbon dioxide emissions advantages over trucks when the drones don’t have to fly very far to their destinations or when a delivery route has few recipients.

Trucks — which can offer environmental benefits by carrying everything from clothes to appliances to furniture in a single trip — become a more climate-friendly alternative when a delivery route has many stops or is farther away from a central warehouse.

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Corals in peril at a popular Hawaiian tourist destination due to global climate change

Researchers from the Coral Reef Ecology Lab at the Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology documented the third global bleaching event as it occurred from 2014 to 2016 at the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve (HBNP) on the island of O‘ahu, Hawai‘i.

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Chimpanzees adapt their foraging behaviour to avoid human contact

Research by PhD candidate Nicola Bryson-Morrison from the School of Anthropology and Conservation (SAC) suggests chimpanzees are aware of the risks of foraging too close to humans.

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Rooftop Solar Panels Are Great for the Planet—But Terrible for Firefighters

When first responders arrived to the burning home on Eugene Street in Manchester, New Hampshire just after 2 am on January 27, half the home was already up in flames. It was a big fire, but relatively routine: Working in the dark, the firefighters made sure the two residents got out unharmed, and got to work.

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Amazon rainforest may be more resilient to deforestation than previously thought

The Amazon forest stores about half of the global tropical forest carbon and accounts for about a quarter of carbon absorption from the atmosphere by global forests each year. As a result, large losses of Amazonian forest cover could make global climate change worse.

In the past, researchers have found that a large part of the Amazon forest is susceptible to a tipping point. The tell-tail sign is satellite data showing areas of savannah and rainforest coexisting under the same environmental conditions. Theories from nonlinear dynamics would then suggest that both states are alternative stable outcomes. This so called bistability means that shocks such as forest clearance or drought could lead to a dramatic increase of fire occurrence and tip an area of rainforest into savannah. Areas that have experienced this transition would then remain locked into this savannah state until large enough increases of rainfall and release of human pressures allow forests to regrow faster than they are lost by intermittent fires.

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