• Asia-Pacific Analysis: Rain harvesting can avert crisis

    To ensure South-East Asias's growing population has enough water to drink, we need to collect more rain, says Crispin Maslog. The world's next major crisis will be a lack of water for home use, including drinking water, many scientists predict. Humans can survive around 40 days without food, but much less than that without water to drink. The scarcity of water for domestic use is becoming a critical problem, especially in rural parts of developing countries. Surface water in rivers, streams or lakes, and groundwater, are increasingly becoming contaminated with pollutants from factories, households, farms and mines. Wells dug deeper to extract groundwater are drying up. >> Read the Full Article
  • New Study Predicts Significant Global Warming

    A new study by Australian scientists projects that the world will likely warm between 2 and 6 degrees Celsius (3.6 to 10.8 degrees Fahrenheit) from pre-industrial levels by 2100. The study published in Nature Climate Change finds that exceeding the 2-degree threshold is very likely under business-as-usual emissions scenarios even as scientists have long warned that passing the 2-degree mark would lead to catastrophic climate change. "This study ultimately shows why waiting for certainty will fail as a strategy," lead author Roger Bodman from Victoria University said. "Some uncertainty will always remain, meaning that we need to manage the risks of warming with the knowledge we have." >> Read the Full Article
  • Extreme Ice Melts: The New Normal?

    Most of us are familiar with snow and ice melting as seasons change. This process even occurs in colder regions that typically have ice and snow all year round. However, last July, 98 percent of the Greenland Ice Sheet's surface melted. While losing all this snow and ice may seem normal to those of us who experience different seasons, this percentage is compared to roughly 50 percent that usually melts during an average summer. Snow that usually stays frozen and dry in these colder areas are turning wet with melted water and research led by the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences now shows last summer's extreme melt could soon be the new normal. >> Read the Full Article
  • Natural Catastrophes in 2012 Dominated by U.S. Weather Extremes

    In 2012, there were 905 natural catastrophes worldwide, 93 percent of which were weather-related disasters. In terms of overall and insured losses (US$170 billion and $70 billion, respectively), 2012 did not follow the records set in 2011 and could be defined as a moderate year on a global scale. But the United States was seriously affected by weather extremes, accounting for 69 percent of overall losses and 92 percent of insured losses due to natural catastrophes worldwide. >> Read the Full Article
  • Parasite-resistant maize developed by Kenyan scientist

    Two new varieties of hybrid maize that are resistant to the deadly parasitic Striga weed have been developed by a Kenyan scientist. The weed affects cereal crops in many parts of Africa and is a major cause of crop failure in East Africa, where climate change has been driving its spread in recent years. Mathews Dida, a maize breeder in the school of agriculture and food security at Maseno University, developed two maize varieties that produce a natural chemical that suppresses the growth of Striga weed, also known as witch-weed. >> Read the Full Article
  • Better Place Car Owners Still Swapping Batteries for Now

    Following Sunday's news that Israel's Better Place has declared bankruptcy we have to ask: what is going to happen to the 900+ car owners who signed on for the electric deal, one that promised switchable batteries at 37 stations throughout Israel? We speak to one car owner to find out. Turns out it is still a waiting game: Just how are Better Place car owners reacting to the bad news? One of them, David Rose, who lives in the Galilee region and was one of the first to purchase an electric car said that like other purchasers, he is still waiting to deal with the company liquidators. >> Read the Full Article
  • Plants re-grow after five centuries under the ice

    While monitoring the retreat of the Teardrop Glacier in the Canadian Arctic, scientists have found that recently unfrozen plants, some of which had been under ice since the reign of Henry VIII, were capable of new growth. While in the field, the researchers from the University of Alberta discovered that the receding ice--which has doubled from 2 meters per year in the 1990s to 4.1 meters per year in 2009--had uncovered lots of mosses and other non-vascular plants, including more than 60 plant species. Upon careful examination, the scientists were impressed by how well preserved the delicate bodies were; the stems and leaf structures were perfectly intact, although some of them were only one-cell layer think. >> Read the Full Article
  • CO2 Emissions higher in use than European Makers Claim

    The gap has widened between the fuel-efficiency that carmakers declare for their models and the reality for drivers, with luxury German vehicles showing the biggest divergence, a study has found. The research by the non-profit International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) found "real-world" carbon emissions for new cars based on fuel consumption are about 25% higher on average than carmakers say, compared with 10% a decade ago. >> Read the Full Article
  • Data from HMS Challenger Expedition Helps Confirm Long Term Ocean Warming

    Global warming has been going on for a long time. What were the temperatures like a hundred years ago? Terrestrial records go back that far and farther, but what about ocean temperatures? In the late 1800's the HMS Challenger conducted extensive measurements of ocean temperatures across the globe. Researchers from the University of Tasmania, Sandy Bay, Australia; and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., combined the ship's measurements of ocean temperatures with modern observations from the international Argo array of ocean profiling floats. They used both as inputs to state-of-the-art climate models, to get a picture of how the world's oceans have changed since the Challenger's voyage. The Challenger expedition, from 1872 to 1876, was the world's first global scientific survey of life beneath the ocean surface. Along the way, scientists measured ocean temperatures, lowering thermometers hundreds of meters deep on ropes. >> Read the Full Article
  • The Tesla Model S

    The new all-electric Tesla S sedan is not just the favorite of car magazines, now Consumer Reports calls it the best car they’ve ever driven, scoring 99 points of 100 and beating out the Lexus LS460 that held the previous record back in 2007. What does this massive battery-powered EV have that no others do? "It handles like a sports car, it rides like a luxury car, it has the energy efficiency that is twice as good as the best hybrids and is the quietest car we’ve ever tested," said CR tester Gabe Shenhar. "It does so many things so right on so many levels that to us it wasn't a surprise." Perhaps that's why Tesla Motors has sold more cars during the first quarter of 2013 than luxury German automakers, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi, prompting the Palo Alto-based firm to declare its first-ever profit and raise expected sales for 2013 from 20,000 to 21,000. >> Read the Full Article