While the effects of power plant emissions, vehicle exhaust and other manmade aerosols on air quality and public health are well-known, their impact on the climate is not completely understood. Scientists have shown that aerosols can lower surface temperatures either directly, by reflecting sunlight skyward, or indirectly, by increasing the reflectivity of clouds, but until now have not figured out the role these airborne particles play in shaping the distribution of rain and snowfall around the world.
Scientists are raising serious concerns about the future of whales and dolphins in European waters who are continuing to suffer from the effects of toxic chemicals that were banned decades ago, but continue to linger in the environment.
According to a new study led by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), which was just published in the journal Scientific Reports, whales and dolphins in Europe have been found to have some of the highest levels of polychlorinated byphenyls (PCBs) in the world.
Meals consumed at fast-food restaurants are often seen as one of the biggest contributors to the obesity epidemic. But according to a new study in the Journal of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 92 percent of 364 measured restaurant meals from both large-chain and non-chain (local) restaurants exceeded recommended calorie requirements for a single meal. In 123 restaurants in three cities across America, the research team found that a single meal serving, without beverages, appetizers, or desserts sometimes exceeded the caloric requirements for an entire day.
Burning down forests in Africa and South-East Asia causes ozone pollution in the air as far as the western Pacific Ocean, researchers say, calling for revision of global climate models to reflect their findings.In a paper published in Nature Communications last week (13 January), the scientists say their data contradicts earlier theories on the origins of ozone-rich air parcels above the tropical western Pacific, which were thought to descend naturally from a higher atmospheric layer.
A new analysis of ice-core climate data, archeological evidence and ancient pollen samples strongly suggests that agriculture by humans 7,000 years ago likely slowed a natural cooling process of the global climate, playing a role in the relatively warmer climate we experience today.
A study detailing the findings is published online in a recent edition of the journal Reviews of Geophysics, published by the American Geophysical Union.
“Early farming helped keep the planet warm,” said William Ruddiman, a University of Virginia climate scientist and lead author of the study, who specializes in investigating ocean sediment and ice-core records for evidence of climate fluctuations.
A dozen years ago, Ruddiman hypothesized that early humans altered the climate by burning massive areas of forests to clear the way for crops and livestock grazing. The resulting carbon dioxide and methane released into the atmosphere had a warming effect that “cancelled most or all of a natural cooling that should have occurred,” he said.
That idea, which came to be known as the “early anthropogenic hypothesis” was hotly debated for years by climate scientists, and is still considered debatable by some of these scientists.
It takes just one-tenth of a second for our brains to begin to recognize emotions conveyed by vocalizations, according to researchers from McGill. It doesn't matter whether the non-verbal sounds are growls of anger, the laughter of happiness or cries of sadness. More importantly, the researchers have also discovered that we pay more attention when an emotion (such as happiness, sadness or anger) is expressed through vocalizations than we do when the same emotion is expressed in speech.
The researchers believe that the speed with which the brain 'tags' these vocalizations and the preference given to them compared to language, is due to the potentially crucial role that decoding vocal sounds has played in human survival.
Reduced meat consumption might not lower greenhouse gas emissions from a major beef producing region, research shows.
The finding may seem incongruous, as intensive agriculture is responsible for such a large proportion of global emissions.
According to research by University researchers, Scotland’s Rural College and Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation, reducing beef production in the Brazilian Cerrado could increase global greenhouse gas emissions.
While research has already established that B vitamin supplements can help slow mental decline in older people with memory problems, an international team have now found that having higher levels of Omega-3 fatty acids in your body could boost the B vitamins' effect.
The team, from the Universities of Cape Town, Oslo, Oxford and the UAE, studied more than 250 people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in Oxford. MCI is when brain function is below what is normally expected for a person’s age but is not significant enough to interfere with daily life. While it is not as serious as dementia, if untreated it often progresses to become dementia.
Dr Celeste de Jager said: 'We previously found that B vitamins are able to slow or prevent the atrophy of the brain and memory decline in people with MCI. This was most effective in those who had above average blood levels of homocysteine, a factor related to B vitamin status that may be toxic to the brain. Scientists in our team initially found that there was a link between Omega-3 levels, homocysteine, and brain atrophy rates.
The most efficient way to clean up ocean plastics and avoid harming ecosystems is to place plastic collectors near coasts, according to a new study.
Plastic floating in the oceans is a widespread and increasing problem. Plastics including bags, bottle caps and plastic fibres from synthetic clothes wash out into the oceans from urban rivers, sewers and waste deposits.
Jason-3, a U.S.-European oceanography satellite mission with NASA participation that will continue a nearly quarter-century record of tracking global sea level rise, lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California Sunday at 10:42 a.m. PST (1:42 p.m. EST) aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
Jason-3 is an international mission led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in partnership with NASA, the French space agency CNES, and the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites.
"Jason-3 will take the pulse of our changing planet by gathering environmental intelligence from the world's oceans," said Stephen Volz, assistant administrator for NOAA's Satellite and Information Service.
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