• New Materials Promise to Dramatically Drop Photovoltaic Prices

    What is the single most significant barrier to widespread use of alternative energy? Is it the right wing climate change skeptics? No. It's economics. If there is not money to be made at the same scale as in the fossil fuel industry, and if renewable, clean energy does not become cheaper than fossil fuels, alternative energy doesn't stand a chance in the free market. >> Read the Full Article
  • Air pollution-caused deaths total over one million per year in China

    In January, NASA revealed satellite images showing dramatic visuals of air pollution over China. Consequently, a new analysis is reporting that more than 1 million people are dying prematurely every year from air pollution in China alone. We reported earlier that air pollution, especially around Beijing has greatly been influenced by coal-fired power stations. However, population growth along with increasing development is causing the nation into an air pollution crisis. >> Read the Full Article
  • Pliocene El Nino

    The Pliocene Epoch is the period in the geologic timescale that extends from 5.3 million to 2.6 million years before present. The global average temperature in the mid-Pliocene was 2-3°C higher than today, global sea level 25 meters higher and the Northern hemisphere ice sheet ephemeral. A few years ago, however, Brierley’s team found evidence suggesting that the tropical Pacific was even warmer during the Pliocene than anyone had expected. The results were found in sediment cores drilled from the ocean floor. By analyzing the chemical properties of the sediment, researchers were able to determine the ocean’s temperature in the past. Their findings showed that a huge pool of warm water covered the vast majority of the Pacific and that the temperature gradient of sea surface was smaller than previously predicted—that is, the warm pool in the central Pacific was larger and more uniform in temperature. This warm pool is similar to the effects of the periodic El Niño phenomenon, which causes warming of the Pacific near South America. However, because the Pliocene pool was sustained, it has been dubbed a permanent El Niño. >> Read the Full Article
  • 'Waterpod' Turns Desert Well-Water Clean

    Ever since the construction of a hydro-electric dam in the Draa Valley nearly 40 years ago, Sahara nomads have faced further desertification of the region, taking a heavy toll on water supplies. More than 330 million people in sub-Saharan Africa, or around 40 percent of the population, do not have access to clean drinking water, according to a report published by British NGO WaterAid. While there are wells throughout the region, they often contain undrinkable brackish water that is inundated with salt. >> Read the Full Article
  • Tropical Rainfall Patterns

    One often ignored consequence of global climate change is that the Northern Hemisphere is becoming warmer than the Southern Hemisphere, which could significantly alter tropical precipitation patterns, according to a new study by climatologists from the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Washington. What this means, over time, is that rain that falls in one place may shift to another place. What is desert now may become green while other lands languish. >> Read the Full Article
  • Seasonal allergies may be worse than usual this year

    Break out those tissues and symptom relief pills, allergy season is upon us. And unfortunately, experts are saying that as the weather warms this spring, allergy sufferers are likely to be more affected than in past years. Seasonal allergies occur when outdoor molds release their spores or when trees, grasses, and weeds release pollen into the air in an effort to fertilize other plants. When we inhale this air, our bodies work to fight off these airborne invaders, which according to the US Food and Drug Administration leads to nearly 36 million Americans suffering each year from these seasonal allergies. >> Read the Full Article
  • Not All Ice Melts

    Global warming means melting of polar ice and rising seas. Well not always it seems. Melting may not be the destroyer of all ice. Melting ice shelves may actually spur the growth of sea ice in Antarctica. While Arctic sea ice has dwindled, the extent of Antarctic sea ice has expanded by nearly 2 percent per decade since 1985. As the oceans have warmed in the same time period, deep ocean currents have carried heat to the deep waters surrounding Antarctica. The warmth may be melting the base of ice shelves which then crack and break off. On the surface it will look like the Antarctica ice is expanding. >> Read the Full Article
  • Agricultural NOx

    NOx. such as nitric oxide, comes from many sources. It is a misconception that it is only the result of combustion devices. There are natural sources such as thunderstorms and ordinary plant life. Changes in agricultural practices could reduce soil emissions of the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide and the atmospheric pollutant nitric oxide, according to a new study by scientists at the University of California, Davis. "Agriculture is the main source of nitrous oxide globally, so this study is a starting point to help us understand how to manage and control it," said UC Davis professor of soil biogeochemistry William Horwath, whose lab conducted the study. >> Read the Full Article
  • Using 'Biochar' To Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions

    'Biochar' is the name for charcoal when it is used as a soil amendment. People add charcoal to land in order to increase soil fertility and agricultural productivity. In addition to these benefits, researchers are now saying that biochar has potential to mitigate climate change as it can help sequester carbon and thus cut our greenhouse gas emissions. >> Read the Full Article
  • Is Hemp Farming the next Green Job growth industry

    Though Obama has frequently spoken of the need for more "green jobs," he has failed to acknowledge the inherent environmental advantages associated with a curious plant called hemp. One of the earliest domesticated crops, hemp is incredibly versatile and can be utilized for everything from food, clothing, rope, paper and plastic to even car parts. In an era of high unemployment, hemp could provide welcome relief to the states and help to spur the transition from antiquated and polluting manufacturing jobs to the new green economy. What is more, in lieu of our warming world and climate change, the need for environmentally sustainable industries like hemp has never been greater. Given all of these benefits, why have Obama and the political establishment chosen to remain silent? The explanation has to do with retrograde and backward beliefs which have been hindering environmental progress for a generation. A biological cousin of marijuana, hemp contains minute amounts of THC or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive chemical. Even though advocates say one would have to smoke huge amounts of hemp to get high, the plant occupies a highly dubious legal status in the U.S. During the 1970s, Congress declared hemp a "Schedule I" drug under the Controlled Substances Act, ridiculously lopping the plant in the same category as heroin. Though the authorities allow farmers to petition the federal government to grow hemp, the Drug Enforcement Administration or D.E.A. has proven incredibly resistant to such licenses and for all intents and purposes the crop has remained illegal [ironically enough, however, the U.S. imports many hemp-related products from abroad]. >> Read the Full Article