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Study: Europeans to suffer more ragweed with global warming

May 25, 2015 12:04 pm | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer, Associated Press | News | Comments

Global warming will bring much more sneezing and wheezing to Europe by mid-century, a new study says. Ragweed pollen levels are likely to quadruple for much of Europe because warmer temperatures will allow the plants to take root more, and carbon dioxide will make them grow more. Other factors not related to man-made climate change will also contribute.

Natural gas versus diesel

May 20, 2015 8:24 am | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

Some major trucking companies are turning to natural gas to fuel their fleets, and to earn “...

To fight bee decline, Obama proposes more land to feed bees

May 19, 2015 2:04 pm | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer, Associated Press | News | Comments

A new federal plan aims to reverse America's declining honeybee and monarch butterfly...

Study backs seaweed’s carbon capture potential

May 19, 2015 8:30 am | by Univ. of Technology, Sydney | News | Comments

There are great hopes for the potential of coastal plants and seaweeds to store carbon and help...

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Artificial enzymes to reduce carbon dioxide emissions

May 19, 2015 8:14 am | by Univ. of Nottingham Malaysia Campus | News | Comments

Enzymes are biological catalysts that accelerate chemical reactions, such as the conversion of gaseous carbon dioxide into carbonates. Carbonates are the basic component of coral reefs, mollusc shells and kidney stones. Although naturally occurring enzymes would be ideal for converting human-generated carbon dioxide emissions into carbonates, they are generally incapable of coping with the extreme conditions of industrial plants.

Future for warming U.S.: Not just the heat but the humanity

May 18, 2015 12:11 pm | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer, Associated Press | News | Comments

The combination of global warming and shifting population means that by mid-century, there will be a huge increase in the number of Americans sweating through days that are extremely hot, a new study says. People are migrating into areas—especially in the South—where the heat is likely to increase more, said the authors of a study published Monday by Nature Climate Change.

How microbes acquire electricity in making methane

May 18, 2015 10:57 am | by Mark Shwartz, Stanford Univ. | News | Comments

Stanford Univ. scientists have solved a long-standing mystery about methanogens, unique microorganisms that transform electricity and carbon dioxide into methane. In a new study, the Stanford team demonstrates for the first time how methanogens obtain electrons from solid surfaces. The discovery could help scientists design electrodes for microbial "factories" that produce methane gas and other compounds sustainably.

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New link between ocean microbes, atmosphere uncovered

May 18, 2015 8:07 am | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

Few things are more refreshing than the kiss of sea spray on your face. You may not realize it, but that cool, moist air influences our climate by affecting how clouds are formed and how sunlight is scattered over the oceans. In ACS Central Science, researchers demonstrate that microbes in seawater can control the chemistry of sea spray ejected into the atmosphere.

How rivers regulate global carbon cycle

May 14, 2015 10:01 am | by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution | News | Comments

Humans concerned about climate change are working to find ways of capturing excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and sequestering it in the Earth. But nature has its own methods for the removal and long-term storage of carbon, including the world's river systems, which transport decaying organic material and eroded rock from land to the ocean.

Climate scientists confirm elusive tropospheric hot spot

May 14, 2015 9:48 am | by Univ. of New South Wales | News | Comments

Researchers have published results in Environmental Research Letters confirming strong warming in the upper troposphere, known colloquially as the tropospheric hot spot. The hot has been long expected as part of global warming theory and appears in many global climate models.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions

May 14, 2015 8:09 am | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

Trapping carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and various industries could play a significant role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the future. But current materials that can collect carbon dioxide have low capacities or require very high temperatures to work. Scientists are making progress toward a more efficient alternative, described in Chemistry of Materials, that could help make carbon capture less energy-intensive.

NRC wants more research on earthquake risk at nuke plants

May 13, 2015 10:04 pm | by Michael R. Blood, Associated Press | News | Comments

Federal regulators Wednesday directed nuclear power plants in California and Washington state to conduct additional, in-depth research into earthquake risks by June 2017, part of a broad review of seismic threats following Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi disaster.

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Nano-policing pollution

May 13, 2015 11:27 am | by Kaoru Natori, OIST | News | Comments

Pollutants emitted by factories and car exhausts affect humans who breathe in these harmful gases and also aggravate climate change up in the atmosphere. Being able to detect such emissions is a critically needed measure. New research has developed an efficient way to improve methods for detecting polluting emissions using a sensor at the nanoscale.

Using microbial communities to assess environmental contamination

May 13, 2015 7:58 am | by Lynn Yarris, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | News | Comments

First there were canaries in coal mines, now there are microbes at nuclear waste sites, oil spills and other contaminated environments. A multi-institutional team of more than 30 scientists has found that statistical analysis of DNA from natural microbial communities can be used to accurately identify environmental contaminants and serve as quantitative geochemical biosensors.

Climate signal in global distribution of copper deposits

May 11, 2015 11:47 am | by Jim Erickson, Univ. of Michigan | News | Comments

Climate helps drive the erosion process that exposes economically valuable copper deposits and shapes the pattern of their global distribution, according to a new study. Nearly three-quarters of the world's copper production comes from large deposits that form about 2 km beneath the Earth's surface, known as porphyry copper deposits.

“Breaking waves” perturb Earth’s magnetic field

May 11, 2015 11:37 am | by David Sims, Univ. of New Hampshire | News | Comments

The underlying physical process that creates striking "breaking wave" cloud patterns in our atmosphere also frequently opens the gates to high-energy solar wind plasma that perturbs Earth's magnetic field, or magnetosphere, which protects us from cosmic radiation. The discovery was made by two Univ. of New Hampshire space physicists.

Last Day for 2015 R&D 100 Award Entries

May 11, 2015 11:15 am | by Lindsay Hock, Editor | News | Comments

The editors of R&D Magazine have announced that today, May 18, 2015, is the last day to accept 2015 R&D 100 Award entries. The R&D 100 Awards have a 50 plus year history of awarding the 100 most technologically significant products of the year.

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Improved way to assess cancer risk of pollutants

May 11, 2015 9:16 am | by Gail Wells, Oregon State Univ. | News | Comments

Scientists at Oregon State Univ. have developed a faster, more accurate method to assess cancer risk from certain common environmental pollutants. Researchers found that they could analyze the immediate genetic responses of the skin cells of exposed mice and apply statistical approaches to determine whether or not those cells would eventually become cancerous.

EPA suggests guidelines to spot algae in drinking water

May 7, 2015 2:00 pm | by John Flesher, AP Environmental Writer, Associated Press | News | Comments

The EPA is proposing guidelines to help state and local officials detect dangerous levels of algal toxins in drinking water. EPA officials have released suggested thresholds that should prompt actions, such as issuing do-not-drink warnings or taking steps to quickly reduce levels of two types of algal toxins. One set of trigger points was recommended for young children and another for the rest of the population.

Measuring “internal waves” that help regulate climate

May 7, 2015 8:42 am | by Mark Floyd, Oregon State Univ. | News | Comments

Once a day, a wave as tall as the Empire State Building and as much as a hundred miles wide forms in the waters between Taiwan and the Philippines and rolls across the South China Sea. But on the surface, it is hardly noticed. These daily monstrosities are called “internal waves” because they are beneath the ocean surface and though scientists have known about them for years, they weren’t really sure how significant they were.

UN climate chief says technology has changed carbon politics

May 7, 2015 4:04 am | by Rod Mcguirk, Associated Press | News | Comments

Technological advances that have reduced prices and improved efficiency of renewable energy have helped transform the politics around climate change since 2009 when an attempt to forge a global deal on reducing greenhouse gas emissions crashed in Copenhagen, the United Nations climate chief said Thursday.

Sustainable phosphorus recovery from wastewater

May 6, 2015 11:12 am | by Ken Doyle, American Society of Argonomy | News | Comments

A new approach to wastewater treatment may be key in efforts to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Moreover, it can be profitable. Phosphorus is an essential element for human nutrition. It plays multiple roles in the human body, including the development of bones and teeth. Fertilizer with phosphorus, applied to crops or lawns, enables healthy growth. Without it, the basic cells of plants and animals, and life itself, would not exist.

New climate projections paint bleak future for tropical coral reefs

May 5, 2015 8:50 am | by Vasyl Kacapyr, Cornell Univ. | News | Comments

As greater atmospheric carbon dioxide boosts sea temperatures, tropical corals face a bleak future. New climate model projections show that conditions are likely to increase the frequency and severity of coral disease outbreaks, reports a team of researchers led by Cornell Univ. scientists.

Tracking photosynthesis from space

May 5, 2015 7:55 am | by Jessica Stoller-Conrad, Caltech | News | Comments

Watching plants perform photosynthesis from space sounds like a futuristic proposal, but a new application of data from NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 satellite may enable scientists to do just that. The new technique, which allows researchers to analyze plant productivity from far above Earth, will provide a clearer picture of the global carbon cycle.

Seafloor sensors record possible eruption of underwater volcano

May 4, 2015 8:41 am | by Hannah Hickey, Univ. of Washington | News | Comments

If a volcano erupts at the bottom of the sea, does anybody see it? If that volcano is Axial Seamount, about 300 miles offshore and 1 mile deep, the answer is now: yes. Thanks to a set of high-tech instruments installed last summer by the Univ. of Washington to bring the deep sea online, what appears to be an eruption of Axial Volcano on April 23 was observed in real time by scientists on shore.

Gravity data show that Antarctic ice sheet is melting increasingly faster

May 1, 2015 9:09 am | by Morgan Kelly, Princeton Univ. | News | Comments

During the past decade, Antarctica's massive ice sheet lost twice the amount of ice in its western portion compared with what it accumulated in the east, according to Princeton Univ. researchers who came to one overall conclusion: The southern continent's ice cap is melting ever faster.

Dull glow of forest yields orbital tracking of photosynthesis

May 1, 2015 8:59 am | by Kevin Stacey, Brown Univ. | News | Comments

A research team has provided some crucial ground-truth for a method of measuring plant photosynthesis on a global scale from low-Earth orbit. The researchers have shown that chlorophyll fluorescence, a faint glow produced by plant leaves as a byproduct of photosynthesis, is a strong proxy for photosynthetic activity in the canopy of a deciduous forest.

Study: Global warming to push 1 in 13 species to extinction

April 30, 2015 2:04 pm | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer, Associated Press | News | Comments

Global warming will eventually push 1 out of every 13 species on Earth into extinction, a new study projects. It won't quite be as bad in North America, where only 1 in 20 species will be killed off because of climate change or Europe where the extinction rate is nearly as small. But in South America, that forecasted heat-caused extinction rate soars to 23%, the worst for any continent.

Factors Impact Fate of Sinking Carbon

April 28, 2015 7:00 am | by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution | News | Comments

The researchers found that sinking particles of stressed and dying phytoplankton release chemicals that have a jolting, steroid-like effect on marine bacteria feeding on the particles. The chemicals juice up the bacteria’s metabolism causing them to more rapidly convert organic carbon in the particles back into CO2 before they can sink to the deep ocean.

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