• How can agriculture best adapt to changing climate?

    Whether it’s swapping coffee for cocoa in Central America or bracing for drought in Sri Lanka with a return to ancient water storage systems, findings from a new report from the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) chart a path for farmers to adapt to climate shifts despite uncertainties about what growing conditions will look like decades from now. As this week's UN climate talks in Bonn continue to sideline a formal deal on agriculture, the study, Addressing uncertainty in adaptation planning for agriculture, which was published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences (PNAS), finds that the cloudy aspects of climate forecasts are no excuse for a paralysis in agriculture adaptation policies. "Climate projections will always have a degree of uncertainty, but we need to stop using uncertainty as a rationale for inaction," said Sonja Vermeulen, head of research at CCAFS and the lead author of the study. "Even when our knowledge is incomplete, we often have robust grounds for choosing best-bet adaptation actions and pathways, by building pragmatically on current capacities in agriculture and environmental management, and using projections to add detail and to test promising options against a range of scenarios." >> Read the Full Article
  • Better Land Use May Help Protect Coral Reefs

    According to new research, for nations that have outlying coral reefs, better land use of the mainland is crucial in order to prevent further damage to these ocean habitats. A recent study reveals important implications for Madagascan and Australian reefs based on deforestation scenarios. >> Read the Full Article
  • Odd Martian Thermal Rhythm

    Researchers using NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have found that temperatures in the Martian atmosphere regularly rise and fall not just once each day, but twice. "We see a temperature maximum in the middle of the day, but we also see a temperature maximum a little after midnight," said Armin Kleinboehl of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., who is the lead author of a new report on these findings. Temperatures swing by as much as 58 degrees Fahrenheit (32 kelvins) in this odd, twice-a-day pattern, as detected by the orbiter's Mars Climate Sounder instrument. >> Read the Full Article
  • Ocean acidification pushing young oysters into 'death race'

    Scientists have long known that ocean acidification is leading to a decline in Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas) in the U.S.'s Pacific Northwest region, but a new study in the American Geophysical Union shows exactly how the change is undercutting populations of these economically-important molluscs. Caused by carbon dioxide emissions, ocean acidification changes the very chemistry of marine waters by lowering pH levels; this has a number consequences including decreasing the availability of calcium carbonate, which oysters and other molluscs use to build shells. >> Read the Full Article
  • Offshore Floating Wind Turbines

    RenewableUK has heralded new announcements today which will bring floating turbines a step closer to UK waters and open up the possibility of further developments. At RenewableUK's Offshore Wind conference in Manchester, the Crown Estate, the managers of the seabed, announced a new offshore wind leasing round for innovative structures. >> Read the Full Article
  • Are Airlines doing enough to cut emissions?

    The aviation industry has announced what it claims is "a historic agreement" to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but industry experts and environmentalists say the agreement is vague and lacks the enforcement mechanisms necessary to give it teeth. At a meeting last week of the International Air Transport Association (I.A.T.A.), an industry group of more than 200 airlines representing 84 percent of the world's air travel, the assembled airlines agreed on a plan to improve fuel efficiency by 1.5 percent annually until 2020, cap their net carbon dioxide emissions after 2020, and cut emissions in half by 2050 compared with a 2005 baseline. >> Read the Full Article
  • Volcanic Eruptions Linked to Cold Weather Events

    When a volcano erupts, it's not just the local area and weather that will be affected. In fact, weather and climate around the world can be influenced, as large eruptions throw volcanic ash particles into the stratosphere. Locally, these particles attract water droplets and therefore cause rain events. In addition, higher occurrences of thunder and lightening are observed in the area. But the release of sulphur dioxide gas into the stratosphere, which converts into sulphate aerosol particles, reflects incoming sunlight and creates an overall temporary cooling effect of a much larger area on Earth's surface. >> Read the Full Article
  • Salt Maps

    Salinity is an ecological factor of considerable importance, influencing the types of organisms that live in a body of water and perhaps the climate as well. Salinity influences the kinds of plants that will grow either in a water body, or on land fed by a water (or by a ground water. So salt is a vital ecological restraint. Contrary to common perception, salinity is hardly uniform in the world's oceans. "It's apparent when you look at a surface salinity map of the Indian Ocean," said Subrahmanyam Bulusu, the director of the Satellite Oceanography Laboratory in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of South Carolina. "In the northern part of the Arabian Sea, the salinity is considerably higher than in the northern part of the Bay of Bengal." >> Read the Full Article
  • The Giant hot pink slug

    The Hot Pink slugs that emerge after rainy nights have become a conservation symbol for alpine forests on Australia's Mount Kaputar, reports The Sydney Morning Herald. The slugs, which measure up to 20 centimeters (8 inches), are only found on Mount Kaputar, a volcano that last erupted 17 million years ago. They spend most of their time buried under leaf litter, but emerge by the hundreds when conditions are right to feed on moss, algae, and fungi. While their fluorescent coloration may seem jarring, it actually helps them blend in with brightly-colored eucalyptus leaves that cover the forest floor. >> Read the Full Article
  • Nanotechnology could lead to better batteries for EV's

    If you search the Internet for information on nanotechnology the likelihood is that you will see a number of scare stories suggesting that nanotechnology robots will take over the world but if you dig a little deeper you will see that nanotechnology will play a major part in every area of our life going forward. Indeed researchers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico seem to have stumbled upon a new type of technology which could lead to batteries able to hold 10 times the storage capacity at the moment. While the fact that these batteries could be commercially viable in the future is amazing in itself, it is also worth mentioning that unlike traditional batteries they do not require expensive precious metals such as platinum. This nanotechnology carbon-based catalyst is said to be able to squeeze maximum efficiency out of new lithium air technology which is currently being investigated by IBM for one. >> Read the Full Article