• Update - High Altitude Wind Energy Potential

    A host of start-up companies are exploring ways to harness the enormous amount of wind energy flowing around the earth, especially at high altitudes. But as these innovators are discovering, the engineering and regulatory challenges of what is known as airborne wind power are daunting. The wind turbines that increasingly dot the landscape peak at around 300 feet above ground, with the massive blades spinning a bit higher. The wind, however, does not peak at 300 feet. Winds are faster and more consistent the higher one climbs, maxing out in the jet streams at five miles and above. >> Read the Full Article
  • Butterflies act as wildlife indicators, warning us of ecosystem changes

    Although butterflies may seem like an attractive addition to your flower garden they are a more important insect than most people realise. Acting as a vital wildlife indicator, butterflies can tell us almost everything we need to know about the health of an ecosystem. But from the Meadow Brown to the Swallowtail, British native butterfly species are slowly disappearing. According to a report by the Dorset-based charity Butterfly Conservation, 72 per cent of butterfly and moth species have declined in the last ten years, and 54 per cent have decreased in the UK. Even the abundance of common garden butterflies, such as the Red Admiral, has dropped by 24 per cent. >> Read the Full Article
  • Study reveals coral reef decline rates are directly related to pollution

    Human activities like agriculture and urbanisation can lead to the destruction of coral reefs and make their recovery and management difficult, according to research undertaken along the Kenyan coast. These activities increase the rate at which microbes — microscopic plants and animals such as bacteria, fungi, and algae, as well as some animals like sponges and worms — erode the reefs. Overfishing and drainage from land — such as the one that occurs in Kenya's marine parks — were significant contributors to coral reef degradation, according to a study by the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society and the University of Azores in Portugal, published in Marine Ecology Progress Series. >> Read the Full Article
  • Stratospheric Winds

    High in the sky may affect something low in the deep ocean. This is far from an intuitive deduction. A University of Utah study suggests something amazing: Periodic changes in winds 15 to 30 miles high in the stratosphere influence the seas by striking a vulnerable Achilles heel in the North Atlantic and changing mile-deep ocean circulation patterns, which in turn affect Earth’s climate. >> Read the Full Article
  • Researchers Suggest Stratosphere Affects Deep Seas

    According to a new study, periodic changes in winds 15-to-30 miles above the surface can severely impact the Earth’s climate. The research from the University of Utah suggests that the wind changes in the stratosphere can change mile-deep ocean circulation patterns in addition to influencing the seas in the North Atlantic Ocean. >> Read the Full Article
  • Ancient Forests of Nunavut May Return within a Century

    The far northern province of Canada known as Nunavut (pronounced none-of-it) is currently a largely barren land. The tundra extends as far as the eye can see, and is covered with ice and snow the further north one goes. The immense territory stretches from Hudson Bay in the south, comprising most of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. It has a relatively small population of about 32,000, mostly Inuit, spread thinly across an area the size of Western Europe. The province of Nunavut is undergoing significant climate changes, faster than most parts of the world. As temperatures rise, the ancient ecosystem of 2.5 million years ago will return, ushering back hardy trees and new life to this desolate land. >> Read the Full Article
  • Ending India's Massive Power Grid Outages

    On July 30th and 31st, the world's largest blackout – The Great Indian Outage, stretching from New Delhi to Kolkata – occurred. This blackout caused by northern power grid failure left nearly 700 million people – twice the population of the U.S. – without electricity. A grid failure of this magnitude has thrown light on the massive demand for power in a country and its struggle to generate a much-needed power supply. India aims to expand its power-generation capacity by 44 percent over the next five years. In June, the country's power generation fell short by 5.8 percent against a peak-hour demand for 128 gigawatts, according to government data. India is divided into five regional grids, which are all interconnected, except for the southern grid. All the grids are being run by Power Grid, which operates more than 100,000 kilometers of electricity transmission lines. Serious concerns have been once again raised about the country’s growing infrastructure and inability to meet its energy needs. >> Read the Full Article
  • Status Report on the Hindu Kush-Himalayan Glaciers

    The Himalayan Mountains is the largest mountain chain the world. The Hindu Kush region of the Himalayan Mountains is located in the northern Pakistan and extending through Central Afghanistan. Its name literally means "Kills the Hindu", in reference to the past when slaves from the India subcontinent died in the harsh mountain weather while being transported to Central Asia. The big issue today in the Hindu Kush-Himalayans is shrinking glaciers and what that will mean for the region's water supply. Many of Asia's great rivers are born in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan including the Indus, Ganges, and Brahmaputra. The region supplies water for drinking, irrigation, and other uses for about 1.5 billion people. >> Read the Full Article
  • Arctic Ice Minimum

    The Arctic is especially vulnerable to the effects of global warming, as has become apparent in the melting sea ice in recent years. Climate models predict much greater warming in the Arctic than the global average, resulting in significant attention to the region. In particular, there are concerns that Arctic shrinkage, a consequence of melting glaciers and other ice in Greenland, could contribute to a substantial rise in sea levels worldwide. Arctic sea ice cover likely melted to its minimum extent for the year on September 16, according to scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). Sea ice extent fell to 3.41 million square kilometers (1.32 million square miles), which is now the new lowest summer minimum extent. >> Read the Full Article
  • Glacier Drainage

    Fast-flowing and narrow glaciers have the potential to trigger massive changes in the Antarctic ice sheet and contribute to rapid ice-sheet decay and sea-level rise, a new study has found. These glaciers are suspected to act as a sort of stream that drain off inland ice sheets. Research results published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveal in more detail than ever before how warming waters in the Southern Ocean are connected intimately with the movement and thinning of massive ice-sheets deep in the Antarctic interior. >> Read the Full Article