Top Stories

A light rain can spread soil bacteria far and wide, study finds

A good rain can have a cleansing effect on the land. But an MIT study published today in Nature Communications reports that, under just the right conditions, rain can also be a means of spreading bacteria.

>> Read the Full Article

NASA Sees Powerful Tropical Cyclone Enawo Make Landfall in Madagascar

Tropical Cyclone Enawo was battering the northeastern region of Madagascar when NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite passed overhead on March 7. Enawo strengthened to the equivalent of a Category 4 or major hurricane and made landfall.

>> Read the Full Article

Future climate change will affect plants and soil differently

A new European study has found that soil carbon loss is more sensitive to climate change compared to carbon taken up by plants. In drier regions, soil carbon loss decreased but in wetter regions soil carbon loss increased. This could result in a positive feedback to the atmosphere leading to an additional increase of atmospheric CO2 levels.

>> Read the Full Article

High number of deaths from heart disease, stroke and diabetes linked to diet

WHAT: Nearly half of all deaths in the United States in 2012 that were caused by cardiometabolic diseases, including heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes, have been linked to substandard eating habits, according to a study published in the March 7 issue of JAMA and funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health.

>> Read the Full Article

Traveling droughts bring new possibilities for prediction

A small subset of the most intense droughts move across continents in predictable patterns, according a new study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters by researchers in Austria and the United States. The study could help improve projections of future drought, allowing for more effective planning.

>> Read the Full Article

New Research Shows Crude Oil Chemicals Move and Change More Quickly than EPA Standards

The Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, lists about 65 chemicals as “toxic pollutants” under the Clean Water Act, 16 of which are polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs. LSU Department of Environmental Sciences doctoral candidate Parichehr Saranjampour conducted research on a chemical class of PAHs that is not on the EPA’s list — Dibenzothiophene, or DBT. DBT and its three related chemical compounds contain sulfur that is found in crude oil. Saranjampour studied how these chemical compounds move and change over time, which revealed new information that has never been published before. Her findings differ from the EPA’s information about these chemical compounds. This new research was published today in the Journal of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.

>> Read the Full Article

"Black swan" events strike animal populations

Black swan events are rare and surprising occurrences that happen without notice and often wreak havoc on society. The metaphor has been used to describe banking collapses, devastating earthquakes and other major surprises in financial, social and natural systems.

A new analysis by the University of Washington and Simon Fraser University is the first to document that black swan events also occur in animal populations and usually manifest as massive, unexpected die-offs. The results were published online March 7 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

>> Read the Full Article

Accounting for Extreme Rainfall

A University of Connecticut climate scientist has confirmed that more intense and more frequent severe rainstorms will likely continue as temperatures rise due to global warming, despite some observations that seem to suggest otherwise.

In a research paper appearing this week in Nature Climate Change, UConn civil and environmental engineering professor Guiling Wang explains that data showing the intensity of severe rainstorms declining after temperatures reach a certain threshold are merely a reflection of climate variability. It is not proof that there is a fixed upper temperature limit for future increases in severe rains, after which they would begin to drop off.

>> Read the Full Article

Chicago waterways – still flowing after over 100 years

As the city of Chicago has grown in population and industry since it was established more than 180 years ago, so has its need for clean water. Meeting that growing need has presented many challenges. Today, the Chicago Area Waterway System is a complicated network of modified rivers and canals which are used for navigation and shipping, residential and industrial wastewater management, recreation, and aesthetics.

>> Read the Full Article

Chemical pollution in China: which metal poses the greatest risk to the Bohai region's freshwater ecosystem?

Professor Andrew Johnson and Dr Monika Jürgens, Environmental Scientists at the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, contributed to a recent study looking at which metal presents the greatest risk to the freshwater ecosystem in the Bohai region of China. They explain more:

Thanks to support from the Natural Environment Research Council Newton Fund, the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) has been collaborating with the Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, in Beijing, China since the beginning of 2016 on the topic of chemical pollution in China. 

>> Read the Full Article