• 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
  • How forest debris affects freshwater food chains

    While one may think that forest and lake ecosystems are two separate networks, new research shows how forest debris is an important contributor to freshwater food chains. How? Debris in the form of organic carbon from trees washes into freshwater lakes, which consequently supplements the diets of microscopic zooplankton and the fish that feed on them. Researchers at the University of Cambridge conducted a study at Daisy Lake in Ontario, Canadian by observing Yellow Perch fish from different parts of the water body with varying degrees of surrounding forest cover. Carbon from forest debris has a different elemental mass than carbon produced by algae in the aquatic food chain. By analyzing the young Perch that had been born that year, scientists were able to determine that at least 34% of the fish biomass comes from vegetation, increasing to 66% in areas surrounded by rich forest. Essentially, the more forest around the edge of the lake, the fatter the fish in that part of the lake were. Similarly, the sparser the forest leaves, the smaller the fish. >> Read the Full Article
  • Geothermal heat is causing the West Antarctic glacier to melt faster

    Thwaites Glacier, the large, rapidly changing outlet of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, is not only being eroded by the ocean, it's being melted from below by geothermal heat, researchers at the Institute for Geophysics at The University of Texas at Austin (UTIG) report in the current edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The findings significantly change the understanding of conditions beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet where accurate information has previously been unobtainable. >> Read the Full Article
  • In cutting deforestation, Brazil leads world in reducing emissions

    Brazil's success in reducing deforestation in the world's largest rainforest has been much heralded, but progress may stall unless farmers, ranchers and other land users in the region are provided incentives to further improve the environmental sustainability of their operations, argues a study published this week in the journal Science. >> Read the Full Article
  • Bottom feeding fish helping the fight against Global Warming

    Over-fishing is already a concerning problem, but new research indicates that not only could it mean losing fish species, it could also contribute to global warming more than we'd previously thought. That's because researchers from the Marine Institute and the University of Southampton have found that fish that feed on our ocean floor and do not come to the surface actually act as carbon sinks. Other examples of naturally occurring carbon sinks include forests and, indeed, the oceans themselves. What’s more, the UK-based researchers have found that deep-sea fish might be capturing more than a million tons of carbon dioxide from UK and Irish waters. >> Read the Full Article
  • Good news for rivers in Britain

    Scientists from Cardiff University have found that Britain's urban rivers are the cleanest they've been in over two decades. The 21-year study of over 2,300 rivers measured the presence of clean-river invertebrates - a yardstick for river health - which during the days of heavy industry and poor sewage treatment had declined considerably, but now appear to be making a comeback. Although climate change has warmed British rivers by around 1-2 degrees over recent decades, the findings suggest that improved pollution control has managed to offset its damaging effects on river ecosystems. This indicates that society can prevent some undesirable climate change effects on the environment by improving habitat quality. >> Read the Full Article
  • China and Coal

    Coal consumption in China is likely to dwindle rapidly, writes Alex Kirby, leaving its own mining sector and foreign coal exporters in serious trouble. Australia and Indonesia are at greatest risk as China may soon stop importing any coal at all. Investors need to dispel any belief that Chinese coal demand is insatiable, and integrate this transition into their decision-making. Analysts believe that China - the world's largest producer and consumer of coal, accounting for almost half of global consumption - could be close to making an abrupt, drastic change of track. >> Read the Full Article
  • CO2 emissions in EU down significantly

    The European Union’s greenhouse gas emissions have fallen by 19.2% compared to 1990s levels, according to the European Environment Agency. EU emissions dropped 1.3% in 2012, reaching their lowest level ever recorded, according to data reported to the United Nations by the EEA. The bloc's greenhouse gas output decreased by 1082 megatonnes since 1990, more than the combined emissions of Italy and United Kingdom in 2012. >> Read the Full Article
  • Boreal forests and Climate Change: Better management practices needed

    Greenhouse gas emissions from human activity have caused global air and sea surface temperatures to rise approximately 0.8 Celsius (1.4 degrees Fahrenheit) since the beginning of the 20th century, contributing to a plethora of problems worldwide from rising sea levels to desertification. A new study published in Conversation Letters finds that global temperatures may start to increase even faster if more is not done to protect Earth’s boreal forests. >> Read the Full Article