• Climate Change is Already Affecting the Amazon

    Tribal groups in Earth's largest rainforest are already being affected by shifts wrought by climate change, reports a paper published last week in the British journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. The paper, which is based on a collection of interviews conducted with indigenous leaders in the Brazilian Amazon, says that native populations are reporting shifts in precipitation patterns, humidity, river levels, temperature, and fire and agricultural cycles. These shifts, measured against celestial timing used by indigenous groups, are affecting traditional ways of life that date back thousands of years. >> Read the Full Article
  • Extended Range Electric & Hybrid Cars that Reduce Environmental Impacts

    According to National Geographic, more than half the air pollution in the United States is caused by mobile devices, primarily by automobiles. These greenhouse gases that vehicles emit, such as carbon dioxide, are wreaking havoc on the ozone layer as well as polluting the soil and surface water in many cases. Bottom line— while cars are an everyday necessity and convenience, they're not doing the environment any favors. That's part of the reason why the federal government is offering tax incentives to those who purchase hybrid or electric vehicles, as well as challenging automakers to develop vehicles by 2025 that are able to achieve 55 mpg on the highway. It’s a bold goal but, as you can see from how much cars are responsible for pollution, it’s a necessary one that’s becoming more important. >> Read the Full Article
  • Los Angeles Celebrates Launch of Largest Municipal Solar Program in U.S.

    Los Angeles, a city more often known for its celebrity sightings and Hollywood stars, also shines bright in the solar arena. The City of Angels has dazzled in the last decade with a strong record of sustainability. So much so that on April 19th, local and national government representatives as well as business leaders gathered to celebrate the launch of the city's solar Feed in Tariff (FIT) program (Clean L.A. Solar Program) at the Los Angeles Business Council's (LABC) Sustainability Summit. The program focused on how to harness sustainability programs and regulatory initiatives for job growth. >> Read the Full Article
  • Trees and Smog

    Trees breathe in CO2 and exhale Oxygen A natural way to refresh the air or so it seems. Smog is a form of pollution. After years of scientific uncertainty and speculation, researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill show exactly how trees help create one of society’s predominant environmental and health concerns: air pollution. It has long been known that trees produce and emit isoprene, an abundant molecule in the air known to protect leaves from oxygen damage and temperature fluctuations. However, in 2004, researchers, contrary to popular assumptions, revealed that isoprene was likely involved in the production of particulate matter, tiny particles that can get lodged in lungs, lead to lung cancer and asthma, and damage other tissues, not to mention the environment. >> Read the Full Article
  • EV's will help balance the electric grid

    A technology developed with the University of Delaware has sold power from electric vehicles to the power grid for the first time, the power company NRG Energy Inc said on Friday (26 April). In a joint statement, the university and NRG said that they began work on the so-called eV2g program in September 2011 to provide a two-way interface between electric vehicles and the power grid, enabling vehicle-owners to sell electricity back to the grid while they are charging their cars. NRG said the project became an official participant in the PJM frequency regulation market on February 27. The system, which is still in development, is not yet commercially-available. >> Read the Full Article
  • Which emits more CO2, corn fields or home lawns?

    More carbon dioxide is released from residential lawns than corn fields according to a new study. And much of the difference can likely be attributed to soil temperature. The data, from researchers at Elizabethtown College, suggest that urban heat islands may be working at smaller scales than previously thought. These findings provide a better understanding of the changes that occur when agricultural lands undergo development and urbanization to support growing urban populations. >> Read the Full Article
  • Record Sea Surface Temperatures on Northeast Continental Shelf

    Sea surface temperatures in the Northeast Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem during 2012 were the highest recorded in 150 years, according to the latest Ecosystem Advisory issued by NOAA's Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC). These high sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are the latest in a trend of above average temperature seen during the spring and summer seasons, and part of a pattern of elevated temperatures occurring in the Northwest Atlantic, but not seen elsewhere in the ocean basin over the past century. >> Read the Full Article
  • Women are 'key drivers' in climate change adaptation

    Plans to protect ecosystems and help people adapt to climate change - also known as ecosystem-based adaptation (EBA) - must involve vulnerable groups, including women and communities greatly hit by global warming if they are to succeed, according to scientists who met in Tanzania last month (21-23 March). Scientists and policymakers at the UN-led international workshop on EBA in Dar-es-Salaam, also said that more needed to be done to monitor and evaluate the cost-effectiveness of such adaptation, and to learn from past experiences in order to transfer knowledge into action and policy. >> Read the Full Article
  • Air pollution linked to life-threatening hardening of the arteries

    Long-term exposure to air pollution may be linked to heart attacks and strokes by speeding up atherosclerosis, or "hardening of the arteries", according to a University of Michigan public health researcher and colleagues from across the US. Sara Adar, the John Searle Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at the U-M School of Public Health, and Joel Kaufman, professor of environmental and occupational health sciences and medicine at the University of Washington, led the study that found that higher concentrations of fine particulate air pollution (PM2.5) were linked to a faster thickening of the inner two layers of the common carotid artery - an important blood vessel that provides blood to the head, neck and brain. >> Read the Full Article
  • Arctic Snow Clears the Air

    National Science Foundation-funded researchers at Purdue University have discovered that sunlit snow is the major source of atmospheric bromine in the Arctic, the key to unique chemical reactions that purge pollutants and destroy ozone. The new research also indicates that the surface snowpack above Arctic sea ice plays a previously unappreciated role in the bromine cycle and that loss of sea ice, which been occurring at an increasingly rapid pace in recent years, could have extremely disruptive effects in the balance of atmospheric chemistry in high latitudes. The team's findings suggest the rapidly changing Arctic climate--where surface temperatures are rising three times faster than the global average--could dramatically change its atmospheric chemistry, said Paul Shepson, an NSF-funded researcher who led the research team. The experiments were conducted by Kerri Pratt, a postdoctoral researcher funded by the Division of Polar Programs in NSF's Geosciences Directorate. >> Read the Full Article