• Southern Asia Pollution

    Cold winter weather and burgeoning industrial economies have made for difficult breathing in Asia and the Middle East this January 2013. Pollution is epidemic. News reports from Ankara, Tehran, Beijing, and other cities have described hazy skies with very low visibility; restrictions on driving, factory operations, and outdoor activity; and hospitals full of people with lung ailments. The map with this story shows the concentration of nitrogen dioxide (NO2 or NOx) in the atmosphere above southwestern Asia from January 1–8, 2013. Shades of orange reflect the relative abundance of NO2, while grays show areas without usable data (cloud cover, for instance). The data were acquired by the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASA’s Aura satellite. OMI measures the visible and ultraviolet light scattered and absorbed by Earth’s atmosphere and surface. The presence of NO2 causes certain wavelengths of light to be absorbed. >> Read the Full Article
  • NASA Images Reveal 'Kuwait on the Prairie'

    Last month, we published a story about newly released NASA satellite images and we were amazed at the quality and detail of the pictures. Looking at the United States at night, we expect to see patches of light around major cities and brightness from dense populations along the coasts. But after studying the photos, Rovert Krulwich a correspondent for NPR, reports on a mysterious patch of light that shows up in North Dakota. With a population of under 700,000 for the whole state, and a state who’s largest industry is agriculture, what can these lights possibly be from? >> Read the Full Article
  • Volcanic Eruption List

    Ever been curious about a volcanic eruption? When did it happen and what did it do? Details of around 2,000 major volcanic eruptions which occurred over the last 1.8 million years have been made available in a new open access database, complied by scientists at the University of Bristol with colleagues from the UK, US, Colombia and Japan. Volcanic eruptions have the potential to cause loss of life, disrupt air traffic, impact climate, and significantly alter the surrounding landscape. Knowledge of the past behaviours of volcanoes is key to producing risk assessments of the hazards of modern explosive events. >> Read the Full Article
  • Air Pollution in China not just impacting cities

    As people in Beijing and northern China struggle with severe air pollution this winter, the toxic air is also making life hard for plants and even food crops of China, say researchers who have been looking at how China's plants are affected by air pollution. Beijing's extreme smog event this week has made headlines, with the American Embassy calling the pollution levels "hazardous" and Beijing writer Zheng Yuanjie blogging that "the air smells like sulfur perfume, as the capital city currently looks like a poisonous huge gas can," according to a report on Al Jazeera. >> Read the Full Article
  • Green Success: Old Gas Station Given New Life

    Originally a gas station and then a liquor store, the building at the corner of Third Street and North Limestone in downtown Lexington, Ky., is now the home of Doodle's Breakfast and Lunch, a popular eatery. Back in 1945, the Central Shell station was a state-of-the-art facility with an office, two service bays and an exterior of shiny porcelain panels. By the early 1970s, a liquor store named Doodle's occupied the premises until it was sold a couple of times. When Tim and Lynda Mellin, then owners of the Atomic Café across the street, purchased the property in 1993, they wanted the Doodle's property for its parking lot. They later sold the Atomic Café, but made an agreement to allow the café's patrons to park in the Doodle's lot since the two restaurants are not open at the same time of day. This is a positive arrangement for both restaurants. >> Read the Full Article
  • Plans for a Green Inauguration

    With the US Presidential inauguration ceremonies around the corner (kicking off on Monday, January 21), the nation is getting ready for a week of festivities, balls and galas honoring our newly elected officials. This year's official theme is "Faith in America's Future." Inaugurations aren't particularly known for being green, but in an attempt to jump on the eco-friendly bandwagon, sustainable efforts are being made. TriplePundit reports on the "greening" of this year's ceremonies. >> Read the Full Article
  • NASA Satellite Images Reveal Dramatic Increase in Air Pollution Over China

    NASA's Terra satellite acquired natural-color images of northeastern China on January 3 and January 14, highlighting a drastic shift in air quality for the region. According to the images, the opaque, gray areas tend to be clouds or fog, which are saturated with a gray or yellow tint as a result from the air pollution. Areas that are cloud-free appear gray and brown as a result from the smog that hides the cities below. Residual snow is also noted in the images. >> Read the Full Article
  • Update: California Carbon Caps and Market Trading

    Carbon allowances are now available for sale in California. Companies that emit more than 25,000 tons of carbon-dioxide equivalent a year (CO2e) in the power, oil, and industrial sectors will now have to turn in permits for every ton they emit this year and the years to come. Things are moving fast in California right now, so here’s a primer on what’s happening and what to expect for the coming months. Are people really buying carbon permits? Yes. Currently California Carbon Allowances (CCAs) are trading for about $15 a ton on the secondary market. Point Carbon reported a big spike in volume traded since January 1st, as a lot of new companies have entered the markets and are cutting their teeth on West Coast-style carbon trading. >> Read the Full Article
  • Mercury Strategies

    Natural sources, such as volcanoes, are responsible for approximately half of atmospheric mercury emissions. Humans contributed most of the rest through fuel combustion. International negotiators will come together next week in Geneva, Switzerland for the fifth and final meeting to address global environmental controls on mercury. Ahead of the negotiations, researchers from MIT and Harvard University are calling for aggressive emissions reductions and clear public health advice to reduce the risks of mercury. >> Read the Full Article
  • Mercury Contamination Similarities Found Between Birds and People

    Birds aren't that different from people. We learn from our parents, just like zebra finches learn songs from their fathers. We are active and noisy during the day, like birds, and we can also be territorial. Also like birds, we try to attract mates through colorful displays and beautiful songs. Birds are sensitive to pollution in their environment just like we are: harmful elements such as mercury wreak similar havoc on human and bird biology alike. Because our species share so many attributes, studying birds illustrates the connections between them and us. >> Read the Full Article