• New study challenges theory that emperor penguins return to same area each year

    Philopatry is the tendency of an organism to stay in, or return to its home area. Many animal species are considered philopatric because they often return to their birthplace year after year to breed. Revisiting the same site is advantageous because nests and courtship areas have already been established while competition from other animals is largely non-existent due to territoriality. Researchers have long thought that emperor penguins were a prime example of this phenomenon, however a new study shows that this species may be adapting to changing environments and may not necessarily be faithful to previous nesting locations. >> Read the Full Article
  • Wind power to reduce shipping CO2?

    Wind propulsion such as kites and Flettner rotors could offer a viable route to help cut CO2 emissions in the shipping sector, according to Dr Michael Traut, a Research Associate from The University of Manchester. Speaking at the 'Shipping in Changing Climates: provisioning the future' Conference in Liverpool today (Thursday), Dr Traut will present research that uses a new model to couple wind-power technologies with weather data to show how in theory, and with supporting incentives, wind energy could cut CO2 and fuel use by as much as 50% on smaller cargo vessels up to 5,000 dead weight tonnes. This would also have a knock-on impact of cutting sulphur and nitrogen oxide and dioxide emissions by reducing the total amount of fuel burnt. >> Read the Full Article
  • Soccer Under The Sun

    The 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil is underway and off to a bright start. For the first time in the tournament's history, matches will be held in stadiums powered by solar energy. Footballers from the 32 nations represented may curse the sun and the swelter it brings, but Yingli Solar, the world's largest solar panel manufacturer and a FIFA World Cup Sponsor, has captured an opportunity on the world's biggest stage. Yingli Solar estimates its solar panels to generate more than 1MW per year and clean electricity for 25 years or more. The iconic Estádio do Maracanã that witnessed Pelé's 1000th career goal and much of Brazil's rich footballing history is one of the two sites that received this modern upgrade. This Rio de Janeiro landmark that opened in 1950 now boasts 1,500 Yingli Solar panels with the capability to produce 550MWh of clean electricity per year. >> Read the Full Article
  • Antarctic Icebergs battering shorelines

    The Antarctic shore is a place of huge contrasts, as quiet, dark, and frozen winters give way to bright, clear waters, thick with algae and peppered with drifting icebergs in summer. But as the planet has warmed in the last two decades, massive losses of sea ice in winter have left icebergs free to roam for most of the year. As a result, say researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on June 16, boulders on the shallow seabed -- once encrusted with a rich assemblage of species in intense competition for limited space -- now mostly support a single species. The climate-linked increase in iceberg activity has left all other species so rare as to be almost irrelevant. "The Antarctic Peninsula can be considered an early warning system -- like a canary in a coal mine," says David Barnes of the British Antarctic Survey. "Physical changes there are amongst the most extreme and the biology considered quite sensitive, so it was always likely to be a good place to observe impacts of climate change -- but impacts elsewhere are likely to be not too far behind. A lot of the planet depends on the near-shore environment, not least for food; what happens there to make it less stable is important." >> Read the Full Article
  • How ocean acidification is affecting marine life

    A new study by researchers at the University of Bristol and Plymouth Marine Laboratory has shed light on how different species of marine organisms are reacting to ocean acidification. Since the Industrial Revolution, nearly 30 per cent of all the carbon dioxide produced by manmade emissions has been absorbed by the ocean, causing a drop in pH of ocean surface waters: ocean acidification. >> Read the Full Article
  • Nasa Prepares To Launch First Satellite Dedicated To Measuring CO2 Levels

    NASA's first spacecraft dedicated to measuring carbon dioxide levels in Earth’s atmosphere is in final preparations for a July 1 launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. The Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) mission will provide a more complete, global picture of the human and natural sources of carbon dioxide, as well as their "sinks," the natural ocean and land processes by which carbon dioxide is pulled out of Earth’s atmosphere and stored. >> Read the Full Article
  • Penguin populations may have benefited from historic climate warming

    While penguins have adapted to extremely cold weather, harsh winters are still difficult for populations especially when it comes to breeding and finding food. So with warming climates on the horizon, are penguin populations going to be better off? Not necessarily. However, a new study does reveal that penguin populations over the last 30,000 years have benefitted in some ways from climate warming and retreating ice. An international team, led by scientists from the University of Southampton and Oxford University, has used a genetic technique to estimate when current genetic diversity arose in penguins and to recreate past population sizes. >> Read the Full Article
  • Wasted heat from air conditioners causes warmer nighttime temperatures

    With summer temperatures fast approaching, households across the country are installing and prepping air conditioning units in anticipation of hot, sticky weather. However, a potentially brutal cycle may be in store if summertime extreme-heat days are projected to become more frequent and intense as a result of climate change. According to a new study conducted in Phoenix by Arizona State University researchers, so much wasted heat is emitted by air conditioning units that it actually raises the city's outdoor temperature at night by 1-2.7 degrees! Consequently, these warmer temperatures may encourage individuals to further their demands and energy use of their air conditioners. The research, published last month in the Journal of Geophysical Research, investigates the effects of air-conditioning systems on air temperature and examines their electricity consumption for a semiarid urban environment. >> Read the Full Article
  • Using too much fertilizer is bad for crops AND bad for climate!

    Using too much fertilizer is a very bad idea. It doesn't help crops, and in fact can be harmful to them. Excess fertilizer runs off and contributes to river and stream contamination and a new study shows that it is bad for the climate too! But farmers sometimes think that if some is good, more MUST be better! Helping farmers around the globe apply more precise amounts of fertilizer nitrogen is a great objective that can improve crop yields, reduce pollution, and combat climate change. That's the conclusion of a study published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In the paper, researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) provide an improved prediction of nitrogen fertilizer's contribution to greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural fields. >> Read the Full Article
  • What does the temperature feel like on Mars?

    Even though daytime temperatures in the tropics of Mars can be about –20°C, a summer afternoon there might feel about the same as an average winter day in southern England or Minneapolis. That’s because there’s virtually no wind chill on the Red Planet, according to a new study—the first to give an accurate sense of what it might feel like to spend a day walking about on our celestial neighbor. "I hadn't really thought about this before, but I'm not surprised," says Maurice Bluestein, a biomedical engineer and wind chill expert recently retired from Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis. The new findings, he says, "will be useful, as people planning to colonize Mars need to know what they’re getting themselves into." >> Read the Full Article