• China's take on the current issues in climate talks

    China, the world's biggest greenhouse gas emitter, wants rich nations to vow bigger cuts to emissions as part of a new international deal on fighting global warming, Beijing's top climate negotiator said on Tuesday. The negotiator, Xie Zhenhua, said he expects "arduous" wrangling about that and other issues facing governments seeking to settle on the key parts of a comprehensive climate change pact at talks in Durban, South Africa, in late 2011. Above all, Xie said in a policy-setting essay in China's official People's Daily, Beijing will not budge from demanding a second lease of life for the Kyoto Protocol, the greenhouse gas emissions pact which Japan, Russia, Canada and other critics have said does too little to curb the fast-growing emissions of China and other big developing countries. >> Read the Full Article
  • Arctic Sea Ice Extent in January is Lowest in Recorded History

    While extreme weather conditions and unusually cold temperatures have gripped much of North America and Europe this winter, unusually warm temperatures farther north produced the lowest Arctic sea ice extent ever recorded for the month of January, according to NASA. Areas such as Hudson Bay, Hudson Strait, and Davis Strait — which typically freeze over by late November — did not completely freeze until mid-January, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). And the Labrador Sea was also unusually ice-free. In this NASA graphic, based on satellite data, blue indicates open water, white illustrates high sea ice concentrations, and turquoise indicates loosely packed ice. >> Read the Full Article
  • The Gerat Northern Lights

    An aurora is a natural light display in the sky, particularly in the polar regions, caused by the collision of charged particles directed by the Earth's magnetic field. An aurora is usually observed at night and typically occurs in the ionosphere. It is also referred to as a polar aurora or, collectively, as polar lights. These phenomena are commonly visible between 60 and 72 degrees north and south latitudes, which place them in a ring just within the Arctic and Antarctic polar circles. Recent increases in solar activity, including the largest solar flare in four years, may lead to hopes of seeing the aurora borealis, also known as the northern lights, in the United Kingdom and other relatively more southern locales. In the United Kingdom, for example, the chances of seeing the aurora increase the further north you go – ranging from one or two displays every 10 years in the south of England to one or two displays a week in the far northern Shetland Islands. Solar variation is the change in the amount of radiation emitted by the Sun and in its spectral distribution over years to millennia. These variations have periodic components, the main one being the approximately 11-year solar cycle (or sunspot cycle). This variation causes the northern lights to vary in location and magnitude. >> Read the Full Article
  • New from BBC Earth: The Monarch Migrates

    Dating back to over 250-million years ago, this simple milkweed butterfly is master of change. With it's name literally being translated from the Greek as "sleepy transformation", the Monarch Butterfly develops from egg to caterpillar to butterfly without a bat of a wing! However this seemingly effortless metamorphosis, lasting approximately two weeks, is just the beginning. Within the mysterious world of this exceptional insect lies a spectacular truth. That in every four generations, the last born will live longer and fly further than any other before them. The typical Monarch's life will last up to four or five weeks taking them through a journey; starting as a tiny creamy white egg planted carefully on the fine leaves of the milkweed, to an energized chrysalis, into a striking tawny coloured butterfly! At which point, it will reach adulthood, fly to find the most tempting source of nectar, reproduce and then die. However some then go further. >> Read the Full Article
  • New Zealand quake sends 30 million tons of ice loose from glacier

    The 6.3 magnitude earthquake that struck New Zealand on Tuesday, killing at least 75 people in Christchurch, also shook loose 30 million tons of ice from the nation's longest glacier, sending boulders of ice into a nearby lake. Tour boat operators in the area said parts of the Tasman Glacier calved into the Tasman Lake immediately after the quake, breaking into smaller icebergs and causing 3.5 meter-high (11-foot) waves. "It was approximately 30 million tons of ice, it's just a massive, massive, massive scale," said Denis Callesen, the General Manager of Tourism at Aoraki Mount Cook Alpine Village. >> Read the Full Article
  • New England Beaches Erosion

    Beach erosion is a chronic problem along many open ocean shores of the United States. As coastal populations continue to grow and community infrastructures are threatened by erosion, there is an increased demand for accurate information regarding past and present trends and rates of shoreline movement. There is also a need for a comprehensive analysis of shoreline movement that is consistent from one coastal region to another. An assessment of coastal change over the past 150 years has found 68 percent of beaches in the New England and Mid-Atlantic region are eroding, according to a U.S. Geological Survey report just released. Scientists studied more than 650 miles of the New England and Mid-Atlantic coasts and found the average rate of coastal change – taking into account beaches that are both eroding and prograding -- was a negative 1.6 feet per year. Of those beaches eroding, the most extreme case exceeded 60 feet per year. The past 25 to 30 years saw a small reduction in the percentage of beaches eroding – dropping to 60 percent, possibly as a result of beach restoration activities such as adding sand to beaches. >> Read the Full Article
  • ENN Community Launches

    Great news today! We've launched a brand new community for ENN! This feature brings a whole new dimension to our site by creating a vibrant space for our readers and environmental enthusiasts to interact with each other and weigh in with YOUR opinions about topics related to our news articles. That's right, it's your turn at the mic! Time to jump in and start sharing. We are really excited to have you all begin posting your thoughts and tips -- you can start by rating your favorite environment topics, and then begin to share tips and reviews as well. You can also check out the latest reviews from fellow readers to share your comments and compliments. There are lots of ways to get the most out of our new community -- take a few polls and see some of the badges that you can unlock, too. Have fun checking out the newest part of ENN and thanks for helping us kick off a thriving reader community! >> Read the Full Article
  • New from BBC Earth: Polar Bears emerge

    January and February is a fantastic time of year for new life all over the world! And activity in the Arctic is of no exception, even though the freezing temperatures may have you thinking differently. Surviving and succeeding in the most extreme elements, the Polar Bear is one of nature’s great fighters. And it starts from day one. Born in the darkness of December, within the mountainous areas of the Arctic circle, the first few weeks of these cubs' life would be fraught with danger...if it wasn't for one thing; the dedication of their mother. After consuming huge amounts of food (almost doubling their body weight!) in preparation for hibernation, the female Polar Bear will first wait for the sea ice to break up. Then in the snow drifts near the coastal waters, will go about making her den that will be her resting place for the next three to four months. Resting in their deep warm nesting place, the Polar Bear mother will usually give birth to a pair of cubs. Born blind and deaf, these vulnerable bears take several weeks to develop even the basic abilities of seeing, hearing, smelling and walking. >> Read the Full Article
  • How Rising Sea Levels Will Affect the US Coastline

    Thankfully, no major US city has gone underwater due to rising sea levels caused from global climate change. What happened in New Orleans was an effect of Hurricane Katrina, a failure of the levees, and the fact that part of the city was built below the water level. However, climate experts predict that sea levels will rise as ocean temperatures increase and the polar ice caps melt. Contingency plans are already being formulated by vulnerable US coastal cities. According to a new study led by scientists at the University of Arizona (UA), rising sea levels could cover up to nine percent of the land area in 180 US cities by 2100. >> Read the Full Article
  • New from BBC Earth: Wildebeest calves are born

    As one of the largest groups of wandering animals, you would have thought that when it comes to their young, they would be in trouble from the beginning. Alike many animals that reside on the Eastern African savannas, it's a dog eat dog world...or more lion and hyena eats everyone else! However these magnificent animals have an ingenious solution up their sleeves! Known as the "follower-calf" system, an incredible 80% of the Wildebeest females intuitively give birth within the same two to three week period. This synchronization reduces the probability of the tender young wildebeest to become prey to the predominant predator of the area, the hungry spotted hyaena. And this is not the only technique these bovid (family of cloven-hoofed mammals!) have against this harsh nature of the Serengeti plains. They also choose to give birth in the middle of the herd, rather than straying away to find a secluded place – a clear example of there being power in numbers! >> Read the Full Article