22
Thu, Feb

  • Using moss as a bioindicator of air pollution

    Moss growing on urban trees is a useful bio-indicator of cadmium air pollution in Portland, Oregon, a U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station-led study has found. The work--the first to use moss to generate a rigorous and detailed map of air pollution in a U.S. city--is published online in the journal Science of the Total Environment.

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  • Earth's soils could play key role in locking away greenhouse gases

    The world's soils could store an extra 8 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases, helping to limit the impacts of climate change, research suggests.

    Adopting the latest technologies and sustainable land use practices on a global scale could allow more emissions to be stored in farmland and natural wild spaces, the study shows. 

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  • Can urban gardeners benefit ecosystems while keeping food traditions alive?

    When conjuring up an image of a healthy ecosystem, few of us would think of a modern city. But scientists are increasingly recognizing that the majority of ecosystems are now influenced by humans, and even home gardens in urban landscapes can contribute important ecosystem services.

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  • NASA examines El Nino's impact on ocean's food source

    El Niño years can have a big impact on the littlest plants in the ocean, and NASA scientists are studying the relationship between the two. In El Niño years, huge masses of warm water – equivalent to about half of the volume of the Mediterranean Sea – slosh east across the Pacific Ocean towards South America. While this warm water changes storm systems in the atmosphere, it also has an impact below the ocean’s surface. These impacts, which researchers can visualize with satellite data, can ripple up the food chain to fisheries and the livelihoods of fishermen.

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  • Lower indoor temperatures in winter correlate with thinner waistlines

    Elderly adults are bigger around the middle when they turn up the heat inside their homes during the cold season and have smaller waistlines when their homes stay cool, new research finds. Investigators from Japan will present their study results Friday at the Endocrine Society's 98th annual meeting in Boston.

    "Although cold exposure may be a trigger of cardiovascular disease, our data suggest that safe and appropriate cold exposure may be an effective preventive measure against obesity," said the study's lead investigator, Keigo Saeki, MD, PhD, of Nara Medical University School of Medicine Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, Nara, Japan.

    Cold exposure activates thermogenesis, to generate body heat, in brown fat. This type of fat is the good calorie-burning fat that prior research found most humans have. However, Saeki said the association between the amount of cold exposure and obesity in real life remains unclear.

     

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  • Commercial leases go green

    New opportunities to fight climate change in these properties are coming from an unlikely source: the commercial property lease. A new study finds that in 2009, only 15% of all leases signed in Sydney’s central business district contained green clauses; by 2013, this had risen to over 60%.

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  • Severe water stress likely in Asia by 2050

    Economic and population growth on top of climate change could lead to serious water shortages across a broad swath of Asia by the year 2050, a newly published study by MIT scientists has found.

    The study deploys detailed modeling to produce what the researchers believe is a full range of scenarios involving water availability and use in the future. In the paper, the scientists conclude there is a “high risk of severe water stress” in much of an area that is home to roughly half the world’s population.

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  • Are we what we eat?

    In a new evolutionary proof of the old adage, 'we are what we eat', Cornell University scientists have found tantalizing evidence that a vegetarian diet has led to a mutation that -- if they stray from a balanced omega-6 to omega-3 diet -- may make people more susceptible to inflammation, and by association, increased risk of heart disease and colon cancer. 

    The discovery, led by Drs. Tom Brenna, Kumar Kothapalli, and Alon Keinan provides the first evolutionary detective work that traces a higher frequency of a particular mutation to a primarily vegetarian population from Pune, India (about 70 percent), when compared to a traditional meat-eating American population, made up of mostly Kansans (less than 20 percent). It appears in the early online edition of the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution

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  • We now know what is at the center of our own galaxy

    AU astrophysicists research cosmic particle accelerators with unparalleled energy

    Researchers have been mapping the centre of our galaxy in very-high-energy gamma rays using these telescopes - the most sensitive of their kind - for over 10 years. The results were published in the journal Nature on 16 March 2016.

    The earth is constantly bombarded by high energy particles from space. Together these particles - protons, electrons and atomic nuclei - are known as cosmic radiation or cosmic rays. The question of which astrophysical sources produce this cosmic radiation has remained a mystery to researchers for over a century. The problem is that the particles are electrically charged and are therefore deflected in interstellar magnetic fields, making it impossible to identify the astrophysical sources that produce them based on their arrival direction. Fortunately, however, the particles interact with light and gas in the neighbourhood of their sources, producing very-high-energy gamma rays that travel to the earth in straight lines. 'These gamma rays allow us to visualise the sources of cosmic radiation in the sky,' says Christopher van Eldik, a professor at FAU's Erlangen Centre for Astroparticle Physics (ECAP) and deputy director of the H.E.S.S. collaboration.

     

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  • Climate Change Redistributes Global Water Resources

    Rising temperatures worldwide are changing not only weather systems, but - just as importantly - the distribution of water around the globe, according to a study published today (March 14, 2016) in the journal, "Scientific Reports."

    Analysis of more than 40 years of water samples archived at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest (HBEF) in New Hampshire tells a vivid tale of how the sources of precipitation have changed. Over the years, there has been a dramatic increase, especially during the winter, of the amount of water that originated far to the north.

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