• How Fast is Global Climate Changing?

    There's plenty of evidence that the climate has warmed up over the past century, and climate scientists know this has happened throughout the history of the planet. But they want to know more about how this warming is different. Now a research team says it has some new answers. It has put together a record of global temperatures going back to the end of the last ice age — about 11,000 years ago — when mammoths and saber-tooth cats roamed the planet. The study confirms that what we're seeing now is unprecedented. >> Read the Full Article
  • The Cicadas are Coming!

    Remember seventeen years ago when those creepy looking orange and black insects covered nearly every tree and you could barely step outside without crunching on a molted shell or cringing when these winged creatures flew by? Maybe they weren’t in your neighborhood, but all along the eastern seaboard of the United States from New York to North Carolina, millions of these half-inch long cicadas swarmed around for nearly a month. And guess what? This spring, these little critters will emerge from the ground once again. In fact, the cicadas are probably starting to plan their escape right now, as several weeks before emerging, they start to build small cones that stick above the soil. >> Read the Full Article
  • New Camera Takes Better Pictures of Snowflakes

    Winter may be over for most of us in the Northern Hemisphere, and hopefully we will not be expecting any more snowfall, but that doesn't mean we still can't marvel at the intricacies of the snowflake. A team of researchers at the University of Utah have developed a new high-speed camera system that records 3-D images of these snowflakes in hopes of improving radar for weather and snowpack forecasting. Funded in part by NASA and the US Army, the team studied falling snow and how it interacts with radar in order to improve computer simulations. As a result, the research has revealed more about how snowy weather can degrade microwave (radar) communications. >> Read the Full Article
  • Britain's love affair with bottled water

    Leading academic brands industry a "scam" as campaigners condemn our growing thirst for bottled water. The UK bottled water industry releases 350,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year. One of Britain's leading authorities on water supplies has branded the bottled water industry a scam, backing campaigners' claims of wasted millions and environmental pollution at a time when tap water standards have never been higher. Professor Paul Younger, Rankine Chair of Engineering at Glasgow University, has highlighted growing fears that our increasing consumption of bottled water is damaging the environment while raising huge profits for the big brands, despite Britain having one of the best mains water supplies in the world. >> Read the Full Article
  • Norwegian Pinot Noir?: Global Warming to Drastically Shift Wine Regions

    In less than 40 years, drinking wine could have a major toll on the environment and wildlife, according to a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The study finds that climate change will likely force many vineyards to move either north or to higher altitudes, leading to habitat loss, biodiversity declines, and increased pressure for freshwater. Some famous wine-growing areas could be lost, including in the Mediterranean, while development of new wine areas—such as those in the Rocky Mountains and northern Europe—could lead to what the scientists describe as "conservation conflicts." >> Read the Full Article
  • EU Looking Favorably on Shale Gas Development

    The EU’s chief scientific advisor has said that evidence allows the go-ahead for extracting shale gas, the energy source at the centre of a European policy tug-of-war. The EU executive launched a green paper on 27 March, setting out Europe's energy and climate aims for 2030, with Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger taking a favourable position on shale gas. "I am in favour of producing shale gas, particularly for safety reasons, and to reduce gas prices," he said. "In the United States, which is a big producer of shale gas, the price of gas is four times less than in Europe." >> Read the Full Article
  • Global Forest Watch 2.0 will help monitor our forests

    World Resources Institute (WRI) today unveiled a long-awaited tool that could revolutionize global forest monitoring, reports the UN Forum on Forests, which is meeting this week in Istanbul, Turkey. Global Forest Watch 2.0 is a platform that combines near-real time satellite data, forestry data, and user-submitted information to provide the most complete picture of the world's forests ever assembled. The system has been developed over the last several years as a collaborative effort between WRI and other partners, including Google, the University of Maryland and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). >> Read the Full Article
  • New Materials Promise to Dramatically Drop Photovoltaic Prices

    What is the single most significant barrier to widespread use of alternative energy? Is it the right wing climate change skeptics? No. It's economics. If there is not money to be made at the same scale as in the fossil fuel industry, and if renewable, clean energy does not become cheaper than fossil fuels, alternative energy doesn't stand a chance in the free market. >> Read the Full Article
  • Air pollution-caused deaths total over one million per year in China

    In January, NASA revealed satellite images showing dramatic visuals of air pollution over China. Consequently, a new analysis is reporting that more than 1 million people are dying prematurely every year from air pollution in China alone. We reported earlier that air pollution, especially around Beijing has greatly been influenced by coal-fired power stations. However, population growth along with increasing development is causing the nation into an air pollution crisis. >> Read the Full Article
  • Pliocene El Nino

    The Pliocene Epoch is the period in the geologic timescale that extends from 5.3 million to 2.6 million years before present. The global average temperature in the mid-Pliocene was 2-3°C higher than today, global sea level 25 meters higher and the Northern hemisphere ice sheet ephemeral. A few years ago, however, Brierley’s team found evidence suggesting that the tropical Pacific was even warmer during the Pliocene than anyone had expected. The results were found in sediment cores drilled from the ocean floor. By analyzing the chemical properties of the sediment, researchers were able to determine the ocean’s temperature in the past. Their findings showed that a huge pool of warm water covered the vast majority of the Pacific and that the temperature gradient of sea surface was smaller than previously predicted—that is, the warm pool in the central Pacific was larger and more uniform in temperature. This warm pool is similar to the effects of the periodic El Niño phenomenon, which causes warming of the Pacific near South America. However, because the Pliocene pool was sustained, it has been dubbed a permanent El Niño. >> Read the Full Article