• NASA study supports soot as cause of glacier retreat in late 1880's

    Several other studies have pointe to the role that soot plays in altering the earth's albedo, its ability to absorb or reflect sunlight, and its role in causing glaciers to retreat. Now a new study by NASA provides crucial evidence supporting these theories. A NASA-led team of scientists has uncovered strong evidence that soot from a rapidly industrializing Europe caused the abrupt retreat of mountain glaciers in the European Alps that began in the 1860s, a period often thought of as the end of the Little Ice Age. The research, published Sept. 3 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, may help resolve a longstanding scientific debate. >> Read the Full Article
  • Ground Level Ozone Linked to Cardiovascular Disease

    The ozone is a protective layer in the upper atmosphere, which helps absorb UltraViolet-B (UVB) from the sun. However, when greenhouse gases are released from ground level, they move up into the ozone layer and essentially damage this layer. Reductions in stratospheric ozone levels lead to higher levels of UVB reaching the Earth's surface. Consequently, laboratory and epidemiological studies demonstrate that UVB can cause nonmelanoma skin cancer and can also play a major role in the development of malignant melanoma. Holes in the ozone layer have been linked to increased cases of skin cancers for some time now, and according to a new study lead by University of California, Berkeley, chronic exposure to ground level ozone itself is now being linked to cardiovascular disease and even premature death. >> Read the Full Article
  • Invasive species threaten Europe's towns and cities

    Europe's towns and cities are particularly vulnerable to the threats posed by invasive alien species, and experts say that action needs to be taken to control them. Invasive alien species are plants or animals that are not native to an area and which therefore lack natural predators, meaning they are able to spread rapidly. Urban areas are at high risk from invasive species because of their large number of transport links, with many non-native animals and plants arriving accidentally at ports and airports. Some species also arrive through the plant and pet trades. >> Read the Full Article
  • Two new Species of Octocorals Discovered in the Pacific Ocean

    The vast expanse of the Earth's oceans makes finding a new species like finding a needle in a haystack. In fact, finding a needle in a haystack may be easier than finding a new species of octocoral in the Pacific Ocean. But Gary Williams with the California Academy of Sciences has recently found not only one but two new species, including a new genus of octocoral. In a recent paper published in the journal Zookeys, Williams provides a taxonomic assessment of two new colorful species of soft coral and a new genus to accommodate a bright red sea fan. >> Read the Full Article
  • Hawaii Coastlines on Track to Lose 100 Feet of Beach

    Hawaii is known for it's pristine beaches and it's 750 miles of coastline. However with looming sea water rise due to melting ice caps and climate change, a new study by the University of Hawaii shows the state is on pace to lose 100 feet of beach in the coming decades. According to the study, Maui beaches are most at risk as the sea-level rise is approximately 65% higher compared to the island of Oahu. While many beaches have been faced with erosion for years, predictions show that beaches will start to disappear even faster. >> Read the Full Article
  • Train or Pipeline, the Answer is the Same

    The catastrophic crash of an oil-carrying train in the province of Quebec last month, which devastated the town of Lac-Mégantic and killed dozens, has brought the Keystone XL pipeline into the headlines again. For many environmentalists, the train crash is just one more reminder of the risks of fossil fuel production – that the train was carrying tar sands oil was, as it were, the icing on the cake. Conversely, for many supporters of the pipeline, the train crash proves that we need Keystone. But first a word on tar sands and the other unconventional oil sources now being extracted such as shale oil. Unlike conventional oil wells, shale and tar sands do not contain liquid oil. Oil must be extracted from them in a process that is quite similar to mining. The development of Canadian tar sands requires vast deforestation in order to dig up and process the sands, and shale oil extraction requires that massive amounts of rocks be mined and processed. >> Read the Full Article
  • Red Spruce Resurgence

    Historically, the red spruce (picea rubens) has been an important timber species in the United States. However, many natural and human actions have led to its decline. Not only has acid rain and land use changes resulted in the loss of many red spruce trees, but damaging winters also play a role in limiting tree growth as heavy snow can break branches. In the course of studying the lingering effects of acid rain and whether trees stored less carbon as a result of winter injury, U.S. Forest Service and University of Vermont scientists came up with a surprising result for the species' decline. >> Read the Full Article
  • Children and the Environment: How gardening lessons impact positively on school kids

    Pending reforms to the UK's school curriculum mean that from September 2014, pupils aged 7-14 can expect to learn gardening skills. Camilla Scaramanga takes a look at some of the initiatives that are already taking the lead... Growing food in schools looks set to become part of the curriculum starting from September 2014, furthering the positive impacts of those very successful initiatives already working to promote gardening and 'grow your own' schemes in schools nationwide. There are currently 4,500 schools enrolled on the Food for Life Partnership plan (FFLP) and figures show that twice as many schools received an outstanding OFSTED rating after working with the Food for Life partnership. In addition, the uptake of free school meals in FFLP schools has risen by an average of 13%. >> Read the Full Article
  • Could alkaline batteries be the future of electric vehicle power?

    While lithium ion batteries are all the rage in the electric vehicle industry the US government has confirmed that researchers at Princeton University have been awarded a near $1 million grant to look at developing commercially viable alkaline batteries for the electric vehicle industry. This is part of the $36 million Department of Energy’s "Robust Affordable Next Generation Energy Storage Systems" program which was announced recently. >> Read the Full Article
  • New Advancements in Fog-Harvesting

    Fog-harvesting, an idea that has been around for several years and already in existence in 17 countries, is a technique that captures potable water from fog. Researchers at MIT, working in collaboration with scientists in Chile, have found a way to improve this technology, making potable water more easily attainable in arid countries. >> Read the Full Article