• Droughts are Killers: Which Plants Will Survive?

    No water equals dead plant. Yet some are harder to kill than others. New research by UCLA life scientists could lead to predictions of which plant species will escape extinction from climate change. Droughts are worsening around the world, posing a great challenge to plants in all ecosystems, said Lawren Sack, a UCLA professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and senior author of the research. Scientists have debated for more than a century how to predict which species are most vulnerable and, of course, what to do about it. >> Read the Full Article
  • It's Official: March was Warmest Ever in United States

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has maintained records of weather and climate since 1895. According to these records, the month of March, 2012 has set a new record as the warmest March ever for the contiguous United States. Across the nation, 15,000 local warm temperature records were broken. The average temperature was 51.1 degrees F, which is 8.6 degrees higher than the average 20th century March temperature. It is 0.5 degrees higher than the previous warmest March in 1910. The record high March also pushed the average temperature for the first quarter (January-March) to a new record high. >> Read the Full Article
  • Melting Glaciers are Causing the Matterhorn to Come Apart

    The Matterhorn is the iconic peak of the Alpine mountains on the border of Switzerland and Italy. Its majestic spire soars over 14,600 feet in the air, making it quite a sight to behold. The glaciers at the top of the mountain have been receding due to the changing climate, causing an increase in glacial melt water. According to a new study, the melting glaciers are causing large chunks of rock to be dislodged and tumble down the mountain. The deluge of water is penetrating cracks and fissures high up the mountain. The yearly freeze-thaw cycle causes these fissures to expand until entire boulders come loose of the Matterhorn and fall down its rocky slopes. >> Read the Full Article
  • Plug-in Electric Cars had better early adoption rate than hybrids

    The failure to reach the sales targets for the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf has led to considerable finger pointing about so-far disappointing attempts to mass market plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs). PEVs have increasingly become fodder for politics as every misstep reinforces what opponents call their inevitable failure. But the real problem was in the original lofty expectations for PEV penetration by both the auto makers and the government, which were unreachable given the cost of the vehicles. As we've said all long, the government's projection of 1 million PEVs on US roads by 2015 was too aggressive given the short timeframe to get new vehicles to market and the nascent state of the technology . >> Read the Full Article
  • In Dubai, Camels may work to control Mangrove trees

    Too many mangroves is not a good thing – at least not at the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary in Dubai, where they were introduced in 1990. So an ecologist at Dubai’s Wildlife Protection office has proposed using camels to trim back the excess canopies that have buried wader feeding areas. Kevin Hyland told The National that camels used to have access to the sanctuary before it was fenced off in 2002, and that reintroducing them would help restore the site’s sensitive ecology without disrupting bird life. Hyland emphasizes that the camels would be introduced as part of a careful management program, and that they will not be left to run amok. "The key phrase in the whole proposal is 'managed camel grazing,'" the ecologist told the paper. "It's not, 'let's just chuck in 100 camels, because we don't want to destroy the mangrove canopy." >> Read the Full Article
  • Spring has Sprung, it's getting warmer

    Across the country, more than 7,700 daily temperature records were broken last month, on the heels of the fourth warmest winter on record. While it might be time to lie on a blanket in the park, climate scientists are worried. They say all these sunny days are actually an extreme weather event, one with local and global implications. In Iowa, March was so hot — a record-breaking 84 degrees — that some crops there, like oats, are now running way ahead of schedule. >> Read the Full Article
  • The Arctic is getting more militarized

    Norwegian and Russian energy relations might be put at risk when it comes to the exploration and acquisition of untapped energy resources in the Arctic with both countries increasing their militarisation in the area, according toStratfor an Austin, Texas-based global intelligence company providing geopolitical analysis and commentary. "Norwegian Defence Minister Espen Barth Eide indicated March 28 that the Norwegian army 2nd Battalion would be renamed the "Arctic Battalion" and equipped to patrol the country's Arctic territory. The battalion, a mechanised infantry unit based in the northern county of Troms, will be supplied with snowmobiles and other light vehicles for the task. >> Read the Full Article
  • Pink on Green: How to Ignite the Second Electrical Revolution

    The electric industry is good at building things. That's how it solves problems. Is there a threat of blackouts? Develop a new natural gas-fired plant. Worried about climate change? Build wind and solar power. Does electricity cost too much? Install a transmission line to import cheaper power. But build-to-solve represents only half of the equation in the new world of smart grid. The other half, the part that stumps the industry, is solve-without-building. Rather than adding more energy, smart grid tries to wring maximum efficiency out of the system by changing the way we consume electricity. But it turns out, trying to direct human energy behavior makes cat herding look easy. To get people to pay attention to their energy use, utilities and private companies are experimenting with alluring gadgets and social motivators. So far, success has been minimal. Thomas Edison's light bulb has been such a smashing success for the last 100 years, none of us want to turn it off. So what will it take? The Edison Foundation recently looked outside the industry for some answers, inviting Dan Pink, best-selling author of "DRIVE: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us" to speak at last month's Power the People 2.0 conference in Washington D.C. Consumer motivation has become a common conference topic. But Pink's talk was different. He stepped back and took a broader view and asked: How do we motivate the people who are trying motivate the consumer? Pink calls this "the science of how people do extraordinary things." >> Read the Full Article
  • Classes Make Bicycling in Los Angeles Easier

    It is 9 am and traffic is crawling on the 101 freeway...and on the 405, and on the 118. Sunshine pours through the windshield, turning your mind to thoughts of walking through the Santa Monica Mountains and biking down to the beach. Minutes are ticking by, marked only by the occasional horn honking loudly behind you. As for the gas you put in the car earlier? It is working its way towards "E." There is a way to reduce your fossil fuels consumption and make daily commutes enjoyable: bicycling. And a new organization is here to help make biking in Los Angeles easier. If you are new to biking or if the thought of peddling down crowded LA streets intimidates you, Sustainable Streets offers free safety courses to help ease your transition into biking. Courses are available in Burbank, West Hollywood, and along the beach in Santa Monica. Classes start with four hours in the classroom, followed by one hour on a simulated road, and then almost five hours of actual street riding. >> Read the Full Article
  • Shake It Off: Earth's Wobble May Have Ended Ice Age

    The last big ice age ended about 11,000 years ago, and not a moment too soon — it made a lot more of the world livable, at least for humans. But exactly what caused the big thaw isn't clear, and new research suggests that a wobble in the Earth kicked off a complicated process that changed the whole planet. >> Read the Full Article