• Giant landslides identified by seismic fingerprints

    A new technique that can identify catastrophic landslides based on their seismic signals could one day lead to a global system for identifying regions at particular risk from this hazard. Giant landslides involve millions of tonnes of rock and debris moving downslope at speeds often above 110 miles per hour. Such events are rare, but, when they occur, the loss of life and damage to property can be enormous. >> Read the Full Article
  • Ancient Global Firestorm

    When a big rock hits the Earth, it will cause a lot of damage. The asteroid sized rock that is believed to have killed off the dinosaurs is one extreme example. A new look at conditions after a Manhattan-sized asteroid slammed into a region of Mexico in the dinosaur days indicates the event could have triggered a global firestorm that would have burned every twig, bush and tree on Earth and led to the extinction of 80 percent of all Earth’s species, says a new University of Colorado Boulder study. Led by Douglas Robertson of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, or CIRES, the team used models that show the collision would have vaporized huge amounts of rock that were then blown high above Earth’s atmosphere. The re-entering ejected material would have heated the upper atmosphere enough to glow red for several hours at roughly 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit -- about the temperature of an oven broiler element -- killing every living thing not sheltered underground or underwater. >> Read the Full Article
  • Rising up to prepare for sea level rise

    Situated among the trees and mountains along the scenic Hudson River, Kingston, New York seems far away from the salty blue waves of the Atlantic. Yet, just 100 miles inland from the World Trade Center, at the southern tip of Manhattan where New York meets the Atlantic, the Tidal Waterfront Flooding Task Force of the Kingston Conservation Advisory Council (CAC) has begun to plan a strategy to manage the inevitable effects of a rising sea. This volunteer advisory board, residents, community advocates, city officials, grassroots organizations, and State experts met with Catalysis Adaptation Partners to determine the impacts of storm surges and Sea Level Rise (SRL) on this historic town, the former capital of New York State. >> Read the Full Article
  • Scientists link frozen spring to dramatic Arctic sea ice loss

    Climate scientists have linked the massive snowstorms and bitter spring weather now being experienced across Britain and large parts of Europe and North America to the dramatic loss of Arctic sea ice. Both the extent and the volume of the sea ice that forms and melts each year in the Arctic Ocean fell to an historic low last autumn, and satellite records published on Monday by the National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado, show the ice extent is close to the minimum recorded for this time of year. >> Read the Full Article
  • The Future of Chocolate

    Back in the Mayan age, around 1100 BCE, cacao was recognized as a "super" food, traded as a precious currency with a value on par with gold and jewels Bythe 17th century the Spanish added sugar (cane) to sweeten it and the rest is history. As other European countries clamored to get in on the action—and started exporting cacao trees to their colonies—Africa soon became the world's most prominent grower of cacao, even though it's not native to that continent. Today, cacao has devolved into a byproduct of itself. Instead of being viewed as the sacred fruit that it is, with all its nutritional benefits, cacao is largely seen as a candy bar, a mid-day fix, loaded with sugar, milk, and other substandard ingredients. >> Read the Full Article
  • Loss of wild pollinators could threaten food security

    The loss of wild pollinators from agricultural landscapes could threaten global crop yields, a study has found. Led by Lucas Garibaldi, an assistant professor at the National University of Río Negro in Argentina, a team of researchers compared fields containing many wild pollinators - mostly insects - with those containing few. They studied 41 crop systems across all continents except Antarctica to understand how the loss of wild pollinators impacts crop production. >> Read the Full Article
  • Ecosytem Complexity

    What is the impact of a single factor such as climate change on the ecosystem? Ecology is a complex science with multiple and interrelated factors. According to a new study led by scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, the forces behind the sardine mystery are a dynamic and interconnected moving target. Publishing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Scripps graduate student Ethan Deyle, professor George Sugihara, and their colleagues argue that problems lie in seeking answers one factor at a time, as scientists have done for decades. What is the singular impact of climate or overfishing? Focusing on single variables in isolation can lead to misguided conclusions, the researchers say. Instead, using novel mathematical methods developed last year at Scripps, the researchers argue that climate, human actions and ecosystem fluctuations combine to influence sardine and other species populations, and therefore such factors should not be evaluated independently >> Read the Full Article
  • New Federal Handbook Guides Coordination of Environmental, Historic Preservation Review

    Earlier this month, the Council on Environmental Quality ("CEQ") and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation ("ACHP") published a new handbook governing the coordination of project review under the National Environmental Policy Act ("NEPA") and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act ("Section 106"). Drawing from existing rules and guidance from both agencies, the Handbook for Integrating NEPA and Section 106 Reviews (the "Handbook") summarizes regulatory requirements; provides checklists and flow-charts to assist project sponsors and reviewing agencies; and emphasizes opportunities to synchronize and streamline review under both statutes. >> Read the Full Article
  • Majority of US Streams and Rivers are in 'Poor Condition,' says EPA Survey

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has just released the results of a comprehensive survey that looks at the health of thousands of stream and river miles across the country, and frankly the results are not very encouraging. The survey was conducted as part of an ongoing effort by the EPA to determine which rivers and streams are healthy, which are improving, and which require more protection and restoration efforts. >> Read the Full Article
  • Urban Greening May Reduce Crime Rates in Cities

    Urban planning is not only important to the strategic design behind a city’s infrastructure, but now one study finds that the landscaping itself which emphasizes urban greening and the introduction of well-maintained vegetation, can lower the rates of certain types of crime such as aggravated assault, robbery and burglary, in cities. According to a Temple University study, "Does vegetation encourage or suppress urban crime? Evidence from Philadelphia, PA," researchers found that the presence of grass, trees and shrubs is associated with lower crime rates in Philadelphia. >> Read the Full Article