• The incredible tree houses of the Korowai: New from BBC Earth

    When encountering persons of the same sex, you often wonder what natural similarities you may find. And it's no different when you meet members of a remote tribe living in the dense vegetation of the jungle. BBC Earth Researcher Rachael Kinley shares her intimate and humorous tale of what happened when the women of the Korowai Tribe in Papua invited her into their tree house. Before filming begins, it's important to spend time with the contributors without big cameras in their faces. It helps to strike up a friendly rapport and make the future weeks more productive and enjoyable for all. So, our first day in Papua with the Korowai is spent in their home, a tree house. >> Read the Full Article
  • Hopes fading for climate agreement

    "Ask for a camel when you expect to get a goat," runs a Somali saying that sums up the fading of ambitions for United Nations talks on slowing climate change -- aim high, but settle for far less. Developing nations publicly insist the rich must agree far deeper cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, but increasingly believe that only a weaker deal can actually be achieved to keep the existing Kyoto Protocol, or parts of it, alive beyond 2012. "They have to ask for a camel... but will settle for a goat," Mohamed Adow, of Christian Aid, said of poor nations' strategy at a just-ended session of 180 nations in Bonn. Hopes for a treaty have dimmed since U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders failed to agree a binding pact at a summit in Copenhagen in 2009. >> Read the Full Article
  • Panama Seiches

    An unusual signal detected by the seismic monitoring station at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute's research facility on Barro Colorado Island results from waves in Lake Gatun, the reservoir that forms the Panama Canal channel, scientists report. Understanding seismic background signals leads to improved earthquake and tsunami detection in the Caribbean region where 100 tsunamis have been reported in the past 500 years. A seiche is a standing wave in an enclosed or partially enclosed body of water. Seiches and seiche-related phenomena have been observed on lakes, reservoirs, swimming pools, bays, harbors and seas. The key requirement for formation of a seiche is that the body of water be at least partially bounded, allowing the formation of the standing wave. >> Read the Full Article
  • Incredible Jungle games - Follow the hunter, New from BBC Earth

    "Is it all going to be like this?" Human Planet's Assistant Producer Willow Murton takes us into the thick of the rainforest and shares what it's really like to be confronted by deadly poisoned darts, a broken down boat and fortune in disguise. There are places that you imagine you may return to and people you may meet again and then there are farewells to people and places you assume you will hold as a treasured memories. For me Aurelio village was one of those places; so remote, so distant, one of only two communities where the Matis of Brazil live. Set in the vast indigenous Vale do Javari reserve, it takes several days' boat ride to reach the village, as well as many months of painstaking preparation. I had first come here to make the series "Tribe" and couldn't believe my luck when I was asked to make a return trip for "Human Planet"– a rare privilege. There is good reason to return to this remote corner of the Amazon for Human Planet's Jungles episode. The Matis are true masters of the rainforest. Pete, our endurance fit cameraman, and I are reminded of this on our first filming day. An hour into the hunt we’d come to film, we are up to our knees, even thighs at times in swamp mud, soaked through by the unrelenting rain and all eyes on deadly poisoned darts being fired over our heads! Pete turns to me and asks if it's all going to be like this? >> Read the Full Article
  • American Consumers and Greener Vehicles

    Cutting emissions from US automobiles will be critical to any strategy for slowing global warming. America's adoption of hybrids, fully electric vehicles and fuel efficient small cars are also crucial to the transition to a low carbon economy. According to an Environmental Defence study, Global Warming on the Road (pdf), US automobiles and light trucks are responsible for nearly half of all greenhouse gases emitted by automobiles globally. >> Read the Full Article
  • Short Term Air Emissions and Their Effect on Global Warming

    Fast action on certain pollutants such as black carbon, ground-level ozone and methane may help limit near term global temperature rise and significantly increase the chances of keeping temperature rise below 3.6 degrees F. Protecting the near-term climate is central to significantly cutting the risk of amplified global climate change linked with rapid and extensive loss of Arctic ice on both the land and at sea, said assessment authors including Veerabhadran Ramanathan, a climate and atmospheric scientist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego. >> Read the Full Article
  • What Will Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Mean for Barrier Islands?

    ScienceDaily (June 15, 2011) — A new survey of barrier islands published earlier this spring offers the most thorough assessment to date of the thousands of small islands that hug the coasts of the world's landmasses. The study, led by Matthew Stutz of Meredith College, Raleigh, N.C., and Orrin Pilkey of Duke University, Durham, N.C., offers new insight into how the islands form and evolve over time -- and how they may fare as the climate changes and sea level rises. >> Read the Full Article
  • Sunspots unusually quiet, what might THAT mean?

    Sunspot cycles -- those 11-year patterns when dark dots appear on the solar surface -- may be delayed or even go into "hibernation" for a while, a U.S. scientist said on Wednesday. But contrary to some media reports, this does not mean a new Ice Age is coming, Frank Hill of the National Solar Observatory said in a telephone interview. "We have not predicted a Little Ice Age," Hill said, speaking from an astronomical meeting in New Mexico. "We have predicted something going on with the Sun." The appearance of sunspots helps predict solar storms that can interfere with satellite communications and power grids. Hill and other scientists cited a missing jet stream, fading spots and slower activity near the Sun's poles as signs that our nearest star is heading into a rest period. "This is highly unusual and unexpected," he said in a statement released on Tuesday. "But the fact that three completely different views of the Sun point in the same direction is a powerful indicator that the sunspot cycle may be going into hibernation." >> Read the Full Article
  • Mississippi Flooding

    Nature's fury reached new extremes in the U.S. during the spring of 2011, as a punishing flooding and rainfall brought the greatest flood in recorded history to the Lower Mississippi River, an astonishingly deadly tornado season, the worst drought in Texas history, and the worst fire season in recorded history. There's never been a spring this extreme for combined wet and dry extremes in the U.S. since record keeping began over a century ago as shown by statistics released last week by the National Climatic Data Center. One other results is the Gulf of Mexico’s hypoxic zone is predicted to be larger than average this year, due to extreme flooding of the Mississippi River this spring, according to an annual forecast by a team of NOAA-supported scientists from the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, Louisiana State University and the University of Michigan. The forecast is based on Mississippi River nutrient inputs compiled annually by the U.S. Geological Survey. Scientists are predicting the area could measure between 8,500 and 9,421 square miles. The largest hypoxic zone measured to date occurred in 2002 and encompassed more than 8,400 square miles. >> Read the Full Article
  • Climate Change and the West: A Picture of the Western United States in the Coming Decades

    Over the last several years, a picture has emerged of the American west in a climate-changed world. Water: Last week findings of a study by the U.S. Geological Survey show a sharp decline in the snowpack of the northern Rocky Mountains over the past 30 years. Published in the journal Science, the study says the "almost unprecedented" decline, as compared with data analyzed for snowpack conditions over the past 800 years, could have severe consequences for more than 70 million people dependent on water supply from the Columbia, Colorado, and Missouri rivers – all three of which are fed from high-mountain snowpack runoff. But this is only a part of the emerging picture of a changing west. >> Read the Full Article