• Volcanic Eruptions Linked to Cold Weather Events

    When a volcano erupts, it's not just the local area and weather that will be affected. In fact, weather and climate around the world can be influenced, as large eruptions throw volcanic ash particles into the stratosphere. Locally, these particles attract water droplets and therefore cause rain events. In addition, higher occurrences of thunder and lightening are observed in the area. But the release of sulphur dioxide gas into the stratosphere, which converts into sulphate aerosol particles, reflects incoming sunlight and creates an overall temporary cooling effect of a much larger area on Earth's surface. >> Read the Full Article
  • Salt Maps

    Salinity is an ecological factor of considerable importance, influencing the types of organisms that live in a body of water and perhaps the climate as well. Salinity influences the kinds of plants that will grow either in a water body, or on land fed by a water (or by a ground water. So salt is a vital ecological restraint. Contrary to common perception, salinity is hardly uniform in the world's oceans. "It's apparent when you look at a surface salinity map of the Indian Ocean," said Subrahmanyam Bulusu, the director of the Satellite Oceanography Laboratory in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of South Carolina. "In the northern part of the Arabian Sea, the salinity is considerably higher than in the northern part of the Bay of Bengal." >> Read the Full Article
  • 200 Year Old Mystery Solved: Why Do Corals Pulsate?

    If you have ever been scuba diving and seen pulsating coral, you may have wondered why such a simple specimen would engage in such an intense activity. Marine biologists from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology have now begun to discover the biological processes that make the pulsating coral, or Heteroxenia coral, move the way they do. >> Read the Full Article
  • Titan's Haze

    Haze in the air means that is not clear and that it is dimmer as a result. Light is blocked. Welcome to Titan whose haze would make the worst day in an earth city clear as a bell. Scientists working with data from NASA's Cassini mission have confirmed the presence of a population of complex hydrocarbons in the upper atmosphere of Saturn's largest moon, Titan, that later evolve into the components that give the moon a distinctive orange-brown haze. The presence of these complex, ringed hydrocarbons, known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), explains the origin of the aerosol particles found in the lowest haze layer that blankets Titan's surface. Scientists think these PAH compounds aggregate into larger particles as they drift downward. >> Read the Full Article
  • Don’t Waste Your Energy: New Tracker Lets You Easily Search for States’ Energy Legislation

    Colorado State University's Center for the New Energy Economy (CNEE) and Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) have created a free, searchable database of pending energy legislation in all 50 states. This growing information hub, called the Advanced Energy Legislation Tracker, aims to make available the more than 2,000 current bills in U.S. legislature that could influence the country's energy systems. Users can search by state, policy type, and/or keywords to find legislation. >> Read the Full Article
  • Staglamites and Climate

    A new set of long-term climate records based on cave stalagmites collected from tropical Borneo shows that the western tropical Pacific responded very differently than other regions of the globe to abrupt climate change events. The 100,000-year climate record adds to data on past climate events, and may help scientists assess models designed to predict how the Earth's climate will respond in the future. The new record resulted from oxygen isotope analysis of more than 1,700 calcium carbonate samples taken from four stalagmites found in three different northern Borneo caves. The results suggest that climate feedbacks within the tropical regions may amplify and prolong abrupt climate change events that were first discovered in the North Atlantic. >> Read the Full Article
  • Elephant Seals: Data Collectors for Polar Oceans

    Most of us turn to the weather channel, or the app on our phones to find out the forecast for the week, but where do these predictions stem from? Many of these forecasts are made possible by the analyses of decades of past climate data. From temperatures, to the amount of rainfall, to wind patterns, climate scientists and weather forecasters use this data to deliver insight to future weather predictions. Understanding climate and weather systems in polar regions also plays a part in predicting these patterns. However, data collection in these extreme temperature regions is difficult and expensive as frozen seas prevent accessible channels for ships or buoys to collect data especially during long winters. So how have scientists and marine biologists been able to collect this polar data? With the help of elephant seals, of course. >> Read the Full Article
  • Unworldly Life Source

    Nowadays Earth is perfectly lovely but once it was a barren rock. So how did life arise on such an unpromising property? In fact, new research shows that life on Earth may have come from out of this world. Lawrence Livermore scientist Nir Goldman and University of Ontario Institute of Technology colleague Isaac Tamblyn (a former LLNL postdoc) found that icy comets that crashed into Earth billions of years ago could have produced life building organic compounds, including the building blocks of proteins and nucleobases pairs of DNA and RNA. Comets contain a variety of simple molecules, such as water, ammonia, methanol and carbon dioxide, and an impact event with a planetary surface would provide an abundant supply of energy to drive chemical reactions. >> Read the Full Article
  • Small island states told to build wider ocean expertise

    With rising concern about ocean degradation and the sustainable use of ocean resources, small island states must build scientific expertise that goes beyond their national needs and that benefits the oceans generally, a meeting of UN scientific experts has heard. Small island developing states (SIDS) are the "custodians" of vast ocean spaces that are important for global food security, biodiversity, natural resources and carbon sequestration, and broader sustainable ocean policies will in turn enhance their own economic development, say experts. >> Read the Full Article
  • Has power in the electric vehicle market switched from the US to China?

    When we think of automobiles the likelihood is that the US is a country which will spring to mind and then perhaps other operations in the Far East, Europe and beyond. For many years the likes of Ford and General Motors have dominated the automobile industry giving the US government enormous power to lead while the rest follow. However, there is a growing concern that the US government may well be losing control of the electric vehicle market with the Chinese authorities now keener than ever to invest in this new technology. It seems almost inconceivable that President Obama, who has recently been forced to renege on his 1 million electric vehicle target, should lose control of the electric vehicle industry to China. >> Read the Full Article