• Global Warming Being Slowed by Volcanic Eruptions

    Planet Earth did not warm as much in response to increases in green house gas emissions as expected. There appear to be other factors that influence global temperatures than green house gasses. A team led by the University of Colorado Boulder looking for clues about why Earth did not warm as much as scientists expected between 2000 and 2010 now thinks the culprits are hiding in plain sight -- dozens of volcanoes spewing sulfur dioxide. The study results essentially exonerate Asia, including India and China, two countries that are estimated to have increased their industrial sulfur dioxide emissions by about 60 percent from 2000 to 2010 through coal burning, said lead study author Ryan Neely, who led the research as part of his CU-Boulder doctoral thesis. Small amounts of sulfur dioxide emissions from Earth’s surface eventually rise 12 to 20 miles into the stratospheric aerosol layer of the atmosphere, where chemical reactions create sulfuric acid and water particles that reflect sunlight back to space, cooling the planet. >> Read the Full Article
  • Cropland expansion the culprit in biodiversity loss, says study

    Rapid cropland expansion is the main cause of biodiversity loss in tropical countries, a study by UNEP's (the UN Environment Programme) World Conservation Monitoring Centre and the Cambridge Conservation Initiative has found. The study, published in PLOS ONE last month (9 January), highlights maize and soybean as the most expansive crops and as the main drivers of biodiversity loss in tropical regions. Other crops that pose a major threat to habitats and wildlife are beans, cassava, cowpea, groundnut, millet, oil palm, rice, sorghum, sugarcane and wheat, the study says. >> Read the Full Article
  • The Great Snail Tale

    The common name snail is also applied to most of the members of the molluscan class Gastropoda that have a coiled shell that is large enough for the animal to retract completely into. When the word snail is used in this most general sense, it includes not just land snails but also thousands of species of sea snails and freshwater snails. They do not have a great reputation but the story goes that if a snail climbs a plant or post, rain is coming, research led by the University of York goes one better: it shows snails can provide a wealth of information about the prevailing weather conditions thousands of years ago. The researchers, including scientists from the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Center (SUERC), analyzed the chemistry of snail shells dating back 9,000 to 2,500 years recovered from Mediterranean caves, looking at humidity at different times in the past. >> Read the Full Article
  • Shell suspends Arctic oil drilling for the year

    Royal Dutch Shell announced yesterday that it was setting "pause" on its exploratory drilling activities in the Arctic for 2013. Shell's operations are currently under review by the federal government after the oil company suffered numerous setbacks during last year's opening attempt to drill exploratory wells in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, including running its drilling rig aground on Sitkalidak Island in southern Alaska in late December. >> Read the Full Article
  • New Smartphone Technology Reveals US Stream and River Conditions

    Oh the things your smartphone can do! For the first time, data on current conditions on thousands of rivers and streams across the country, can be accessed from your smartphone, using USGS' latest system WaterNow. WaterNow makes the water conditions monitored by more than 16,000 stream gages and other sites across the country available via text or email. Stream gages refer to sites along a stream where information for streamflow, groundwater levels, springs, water quality, and lake levels are measured. They are used by hydrologists and scientists for monitoring purposes, although this data can be accessible to anyone who is interested. >> Read the Full Article
  • Rice Paddies and Fish Farming - Perfect Together!

    By combining aquaculture with wet paddy farming in its coastal areas Bangladesh can meet food security and climate change issues, says a new report. The approach promises more nutritious food, without causing environmental damage, and has the potential for a 'blue-green revolution' on Bangladesh’s existing crop areas extending to about 10.14 million hectares and an additional 2.83 million hectares that remain waterlogged for about 4–6 months. >> Read the Full Article
  • Capturing Carbon Dioxide with a "Solar Sponge"

    A new smart material called a MOF (metal organic framework) has the ability to adsorb carbon dioxide and release it when exposed to sunlight thus creating a new breakthrough in a way to recycle CO2 emissions using renewable energy. The process is known as dynamic photo-switching which refers to the reversible light-induced switching of floor or intensity. This capture-and-release method is extremely energy efficient and only requires UV light to trigger the release of CO2 after it has been captured from the mixture of exhaust gases. >> Read the Full Article
  • Polar Snow Up

    More snow in the Arctic is good. Less snow elsewhere may be a problem. A new cli­mate model pre­dicts an increase in snow­fall for the Earth’s polar regions and high­est alti­tudes, but an over­all drop in snow­fall for the globe, as car­bon diox­ide lev­els rise over the next century. The decline in snow­fall could spell trou­ble for regions such as the west­ern United States that rely on snow melt as a source of fresh water. >> Read the Full Article
  • Siberian Stalactites and Stalagmites Suggest Permafrost Thawing

    One of the greatest concerns of global warming is the effects temperature will have on snow and icecaps. With Arctic ice melt, many scientists predict sea levels rise, affecting coastlines and populations around the world. Not only will warmer temperatures affect ice caps, but according to a new study the thawing of permafrost in colder regions could eventually lead to the release of 1,000 giga-tonnes of greenhouse gases into the air which has the potential to further accelerate global warming. >> Read the Full Article
  • Element Hotels - Green Traveler Friendly

    Element Hotels are made to order for travelers who are conscious of the environment and who appreciate good design and lots of light. Their design ethic includes guest rooms and public spaces with as much natural light as possible. Stylish and sustainable throughout, Element offers comfort with a conscience and signature amenities from its complimentary, healthy RISE breakfast and RELAX evening reception to saline swimming pools, spacious fitness centers, bikes to borrow and electric vehicle charging stations. Element made history in 2008 as the only major hotel brand to pursue LEED certification for high-performance buildings brand-wide. To date, there are Element hotels in 10 U.S. markets, with new domestic and international hotels in development. My wife and I stayed at the Element hotel in New York City recently, guests of the chain. We drove to the hotel in our Chevrolet Volt and charged it at the EV charging station in the parking facility the hotel uses. This was the first time in over two years of Volt ownership that I was actually able to charge the car at a hotel. I am planning on purchasing an all electric in a year or so, being able to charge at a hotel becomes extremely important. Kudos to Element for being kind to EV owners! Note, this was not free at the New York hotel where a parking facility across the street is used for parking, but I was told that at other Element Hotels free charging stations are available. >> Read the Full Article