Top Stories

Slowing Down Parkinson's

A team of scientists at Northwestern University have discovered what might slow the progression of Parkinson's disease. This compound was developed by Richard B. Silverman at the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and creator of the molecule that became the drug Lyrica. This compound or rather the family of compounds work by blocking calcium flow in the brains neurons. The main mechanism is the suppression of a membrane protein, which allows calcium to flow into the dopamine neurons. With this membrane protein blocking calcium flow into the dopaime neuron it avoids further cell damage. >> Read the Full Article

Hurricane Sandy in 3-D from NASA Images

NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission, or TRMM satellite can measure rainfall rates and cloud heights in tropical cyclones, and was used to create an image to look into Hurricane Sandy on Oct. 28, 2012. Owen Kelly of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. created this image of Hurricane Sandy using TRMM data. At 2:20 p.m. EDT on Sunday, Oct. 28, Hurricane Sandy was a marginal category 1 hurricane and its eyewall is modest, as TRMM reveals, which gives forecasters and scientists hints about its possible future strength. The eyewall appeared somewhat compact with its 40 km (24.8 miles) diameter The eyewall contained only relatively light precipitation, and none of Sandy's eyewall storm cells managed to burst through, or even reach, the tropopause which has about a 10 km (6.2 miles) height at mid-latitudes. Evidence of the weak updrafts in the eyewall comes from the fact that the TRMM radar's reflectivity stayed under 40 dBZ, a commonly cited signal strength at which updrafts can be vigorous enough to form hail and to lift smaller ice particles up through the tropopause and into the stratosphere. >> Read the Full Article

Hurricane Sandy Aftermath

Hurricane Sandy is no longer a hurricane, as it continues to bring high winds and rain to large portions of the north east and northern mid-west US. There are many trees down, and massive power outages. It will be days before the clean up is complete. The ENN offices have no power so editors are working remotely to maintain a reasonable update schedule. There is also a reduced amount of news being published by our news sources which include university research departments and government agencies as they are dealing with storm related issues themselves. As news on storm related damage and recovery becomes available, we will publish updates. >> Read the Full Article

The Connection between Climate Change and Hurricane Sandy

While scientists are still debating some fundamental questions regarding hurricanes and climate change (such as: will climate change cause more or less hurricanes?), there's no debating that a monster hurricane is now imperiling the U.S. East Coast. A few connections between a warmer world and Hurricane Sandy can certainly be made, however: rising sea levels are likely to worsen storm surges; warmer waters bring more rain to increase flooding; and hotter temperatures may allow the hurricane to push both seasonal and geographic boundaries. >> Read the Full Article

Iceberg Breakup

Icebergs start as ice sheets attached to the land or a glacier. They are large monsters of solid ice but they do break off the ice sheet before they float out to sea. How do they break up afterwards at sea? An international team of scientists has discovered a previously unknown mechanism by which large tabular icebergs break up out at sea as part of a study carried out on the Peterman Iceberg in Baffin Bay over the summer. Scientists observed that the gradual creation of a huge underwater ice foot produced so much buoyancy that it broke large chunks off the main iceberg thus causing the iceberg to slowly disintegrate. This discovery was captured on camera as a film crew followed the expedition for Operation Iceberg. >> Read the Full Article

Smartphone apps allow users to see critical environmental issues

With smartphones and tablets becoming increasingly popular, so are their applications or 'apps'. And trust me, they have an app for just about anything. From games to news outlets, weather trackers, and finding the best shopping deals, apps are there to provide us with entertainment and to make our online experience easier. Apps can also be used for educational purposes and recently, two developers have come up with new and exciting technology on how we can see environmental issues in app format. >> Read the Full Article

What's A Lake Doing In The Middle Of The Desert?

One place you don't expect to see waves lapping against the shore is in the middle of a desert. But that's exactly what's happening deep inside the United Arab Emirates, where a recently formed lake is nestled into the sand dunes, and a new ecosystem is emerging. >> Read the Full Article

Toxic chemicals used for leather production poisoning India’s tannery workers

India’s tanning industry has started tackling environmental issues but its progress on worker safety is woeful. As Peter Bengtsen found out, illness and deaths linked to toxic tanning chemicals appear worryingly common. The day began as every other day for 32-year-old tannery worker, Ramu. He woke at five in the morning next to his wife, Tamil Arasi, and four children in the family’s one-room hut in a tiny rural village in southern India. After his usual breakfast of rice and lentils, he left to clean waste tanks at some of the hundreds of tanneries in Vaniyambadi. He never returned home. >> Read the Full Article

Hurricane Sandy Update

The National Hurricane Center advises that high wind warnings will remain in effect until 9 am in New Jersey and nearby states. There is also a high risk of coastal and inland flooding as extremely heavy rains are expected in what looks to be an extended period of heavy rain. Wind gusts will exceed 65 mph over the area today and this evening. The storm is intensifying as it passes over the Gulf Stream and will be very powerful as it slams into the New Jersey coast this evening with periods of widespread damaging wind gusts up to 85 mph. Conditions are forecast to worsen this afternoon and storm preparations should be complete by noontime or early afternoon. >> Read the Full Article

Hurricane or Tropical Storm, Sandy packs a punch

As Hurricane Sandy approaches the Mid-Atlantic coast of the US, it is creating major concerns for prolonged heavy rain and a significant storm surge with the potential for serious flooding and beach erosion. The unfortunate coincidence of a full moon on Monday exacerbates high tides and will only add to the potential for coastal flooding. The ability to predict flooding from storms like Sandy will be improved by work being undertaken by the US Geological Survey. The USGS is installing more than 150 storm-tide sensors at key locations along the Atlantic Coast -- from the Chesapeake Bay to Massachusetts -- in advance of the arrival of Hurricane/Tropical Storm Sandy. Working with various partner agencies such as NOAA, FEMA, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the USGS is securing the storm-tide sensors, frequently called storm-surge sensors, to piers and poles in areas where the storm is expected to make landfall. The instruments being installed will record the precise time the storm-tide arrived, how ocean and inland water levels changed during the storm, the depth of the storm-tide throughout the event, and how long it took for the water to recede. "In the hours and days before Irene made its epic sweep up the eastern seaboard last year, USGS deployed a record number of storm-surge sensors that yielded important new information on storm tides along some of the most populated coastline in the United States," said USGS Director Marcia McNutt. "Now with Sandy we have the opportunity to test and improve predictive models of coastal zone impact based on what we previously learned." >> Read the Full Article