Top Stories

Hurricane Sandy Highlights Stormwater Management, New Industrial Discharge Permit

The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy highlights why coastal flooding and stormwater control can be expected to receive increased regulatory attention. As the New York metropolitan area struggles to regain its footing, regulators can be expected to take a closer look at plans to manage industrial stormwater runoff, which can carry chemicals, oil, and other pollutants. In fact, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has already made industrial stormwater runoff a high priority. >> Read the Full Article

The Lasting Health Effects of the Breakfast Sandwich

People around this country love to eat their hot breakfast sandwiches like pork roll, sausage, or bacon, egg, and cheese on a bagel or hard roll. While very delicious and quite satisfying, the iconic breakfast sandwich is also laden with a tremendous amount of fat. According to the head of cardiac science at the University of Calgary, eating just one of these a day, and "your blood vessels become unhappy." Diets associated with high-fat meals are associated with atherosclerosis, the narrowing of the arteries over a lifetime. But the new research shows that the ill effects of a high fat breakfast can be felt well before lunchtime of that very day. >> Read the Full Article

The Ever Changing Surface of Vesta

Vesta is one of the largest asteroids in the Solar System, with a mean diameter of about 525 kilometers (326 miles). It is a rock floating in space. Quite unexpectedly its surface seems quite active and changing for a dead rock. The protoplanet Vesta is continually stirring its outermost layer and presenting a young face. New data from NASA's Dawn mission show that a common form of weathering that affects many airless bodies like Vesta in the inner solar system, including the moon, surprisingly doesn't age the protoplanet's outermost layer. The data also indicate that carbon-rich asteroids have been splattering dark material on Vesta's surface over a long span of the body's history. >> Read the Full Article

New Design Creates More Efficient Wind Turbines

A Tunisian invention that harvests wind energy through a design inspired by sailboats promises cheaper, more efficient wind energy. The bladeless wind turbine, the Saphonian, named after the wind divinity that was worshipped by the ancient Carthaginians, also promises to be more environmentally friendly than existing wind turbines that produce noise and kill birds through their blade rotation. Instead of rotating blades, the Saphonian's sail-shaped body collects the kinetic energy of the wind, Anis Aouini, the Saphonian's inventor, told SciDev.Net. >> Read the Full Article

Research reveals why sea levels are rising faster than previously feared

Sea levels are rising faster than expected from global warming and new research is said to reveal the reasons why. The last official IPCC report in 2007 projected a global sea level rise between 0.2 and 0.5 meters by the year 2100. But current sea-level rise measurements meet or exceed the high end of that range and suggest a rise of one meter or more by the end of the century. >> Read the Full Article

Have Carbon Emissions Passed an Important Threshold?

The annual rate of reduction of carbon emissions per unit of GDP needed to limit global warming to 2ºC, has passed a critical threshold according to new analysis from PwC. And the report's author warn the rate of reduction now required has never been achieved before and add: "This isn't about shock tactics, it's simple maths." The analysis in the PwC Low Carbon Economy Index, measuring developed and emerging economies progress towards reducing emissions linked to economic output. It demonstrates that at current rates of emissions growth at least 6C degrees of warming could be possible by the end of the century. >> Read the Full Article

What Does Hurricane Sandy Show us about Shoreline Change?

Contrarians argue that Hurricane Sandy isn't proof of climate change. But local scientists say the recent storm offers more damning evidence that Rhode Island's weather and landscape are undergoing a long-term transformation — one with a steep cost in dollars and human health. Perhaps the most significant and indisputable fact is that the Atlantic Ocean is warmer, so much so that a late-October storm didn't lose steam over what should have been a colder sea. Instead, Sandy gained speed and strength as it headed north and became an enormous force of destruction. >> Read the Full Article

Asteroids and Life

Asteroid belts such as between Mars and Jupiter do not seem to have any obvious planetary system purpose. Solar systems with life-bearing planets may be affected by asteroids according to a study by Rebecca Martin, a NASA Sagan Fellow from the University of Colorado in Boulder, and astronomer Mario Livio of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Md. They suggest that the size and location of an asteroid belt, shaped by the evolution of the sun's planet-forming disk and by the gravitational influence of a nearby giant Jupiter-like planet, may determine whether complex life will evolve on an Earth-like plane. >> Read the Full Article

How Will the World Feed Itself in the Future?

The world's food security depends on the quality of the forward-looking agricultural studies we are carrying out today, says Mark Holderness. Climate change, population growth and competing demands for land and resources are putting great pressure on the world's food systems. Smallholder farmers in the developing world, who produce much of the food for the poorest people, are threatened by devastating droughts and floods, food price spikes, and persistent poverty. Scientific advances have greatly alleviated hunger and poverty. The introduction of higher yield crop varieties and better agricultural management practices have saved and improved millions of lives. >> Read the Full Article

Iskander Malaysia: World's First "Smart Metropolis"

Malaysia is currently building the world's most advanced low-carbon mega-city comparable in size to the area of Luxembourg, with an expected population of 3 million by 2025. Iskandar Malaysia, the first "smart metropolis" of Southeast Asia founded on principles of social integration as well as low carbon emissions thanks to a green economy and green technologies, is a potential template for urban development in emerging countries with burgeoning populations, international experts say. >> Read the Full Article