New study documents wide range of impacts Staff Report Fish exposed to remnant traces of medicines, including pain relievers, muscle relaxants and antidepressants, grow more slowly and have a harder time escaping predators, say scientists who carefully studied the effects of pharmaceutical pollutants. The study analyzed effects from nine individual pharmaceuticals, as well as varying mixtures of these chemicals, on both juvenile and adult fathead minnows. It was conducted by the Aquatic Toxicology Laboratory at St. Cloud State University and the U.S. Geological Survey, with the findings published in a special edition of Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry.
‘Why has so much research been framed around the concept of a ‘hiatus’ when it does not exist?’ Staff Report After a couple of years of furor over the faux global warming pause, scientists with the University of Bristol (UK) say they have yet more evidence there was never any slowdown in the steady rise of temperatures worldwide.The scientists, led by Professor Stephan Lewandowsky of Bristol’s School of Experimental Psychology and the Cabot Institute, studied 40 peer-reviewed scientific articles published between 2009 and 2014 that specifically addressed the presumed ‘hiatus’ and found no consistent or agreed definition of such a ‘hiatus’, when it began and how long it lasted. Along with their review of published papers, the researchers also crunched the numbers for the distribution of decadal warming trends and compared them to other trends of equivalent length in the entire record of modern global warming. The analysis showed that all definitions of the ‘hiatus’ in the literature were found to be unexceptional in the context of other trends.
Wheeler Peak Glacier lies above a high-desert grove of bristlecone pines on top of a moraine of granite boulders in Nevada’s Great Basin National Park.
On a warm fall afternoon, the glacier bears little resemblance to the mammoth ice structures people typically associated with Antarctica. Rather, piles of loose rock are enveloped by a jagged amphitheater that reaches more than 13,000 feet in the sky.
More than 10,000 years ago, Wheeler Peak Glacier was a textbook glacier, a behemoth of dense ice jammed inside a mountain. Today, that’s no longer the case. Like an old-fashioned cooler, all that’s left of Nevada’s only glacier is an ice block insulated by tons of surrounding rock.
Visitors often associate the “rock glacier” with the snow and ice fields that once filled the area year-round.
Ed Janov has trekked to the glacier four times, most recently two months ago. After reaching the summit of the enormous heap, the Las Vegas resident was brisk in his reaction.
Long-term study tracks shifting currents in Fram Straight
Intensive monitoring along the Fram Straight, between Greenland Svalbard, shows that even a short-term influx of warm water into the Arctic Ocean would be likely to have long-lasting effects on regional ecosystems.
Even small changes in surface water temperatures could quickly spread to affect life in the depths of the Arctic Ocean, a team of scientists concluded in a new study published in the journal Ecological Indicators.
On the outskirts of Paris, the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP21) is meeting to ensure that the threat of runaway climate change is neutralized. COP21 will host more than 100 world leaders and over 40,000 delegates who hope to finalize a global warming pact.
Key to the success of this effort is a little known proposal representing one of the quickest, lowest cost and most non-controversial approaches to solving the climate problem.
The proposal, known formally as “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation,” (REDD+) envisions a reduction in deforestation and forest degradation in exchange for payments for forest eco-system services like forest management, land use planning, and forest monitoring.
Because forests remove and store massive amounts of carbon dioxide, deforestation and forest degradation are big contributors to global warming. Second only to the use of fossil fuels, deforestation is responsible for more than 15 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions.
Sea ice extent below average at both poles; northern hemisphere snow cover well above average Staff Report For the sixth month in a row, the global average temperature broke all historical records in October, soaring to 1.76 degrees Fahrenheit above the monthly average.
Kirigami, the ancient Japanese art of paper cutting, could help create flexible solar cells that track the sun to generate more electricity than stationary panels.
With help from an art professor, researchers at the University of Michigan recently created such cells using a GaAs thin film applied to Kapton, a science-grade plastic.
A CO2 laser was used to perforate the material. The perforations cause the solar cells to tilt when the substrate is stretched. The angle of tilt can be controlled to within ±1°, allowing the cell surface to stay perpendicular to the sun's rays throughout the day. i
Scientists have discovered the causes behind a period of dramatic climate change at the end of the last Ice Age, which will help predict how climate will change in the future.
Climate scientists are nervous about how man-made climate change may impact on the Gulf Stream--the ocean current that brings warm water from the tropics to the North Atlantic.
Changes to Gulf Stream, according to the new research, may not only result in a much colder Europe, but it might also lead to changes in ‘communication’ between the ocean and the atmosphere. Such changes could lead to the kinds of abrupt climate changes last seen at the end of the last Ice Age.
Summer attractions expected to draw 150,000 new tourists
The U.S. Forest Service is giving Vail Resorts a green light for more development on the slopes of the Tenmile Range, at Breckenridge Ski Area.
In a final decision released this week, White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams approved a significant expansion of recreation infrastructure, including zip lines and canopy tours, as well as more off-highway vehicle tours and an expansion of the Peak 7 hut.All of the projects approved are on National Forest System lands and occur within Breckenridge Ski Resort’s Special Use Permit boundary:
Study says recreational anglers need more and better info Staff Report A little education could go a long way toward spurring more support for shark conservation among recreational anglers, said a team of scientists who recently questioned anglers on the subject. The study, led by University of Miami scientists, showed that recreational anglers were more supportive of shark management and conservation if they had prior knowledge of shark conservation. “The recreational fishing community has a long history of supporting marine conservation efforts, so there is great value in trying to understand which factors affect their behavior and decision making, especially for threatened species such as sharks,” said Austin Gallagher, UM adjunct assistant professor and lead author of the study.
About 100,000 wetland birds are killed every year from poisoning by discarded lead ammunition, say scientists. This is one of the conclusions of a report published on Thursday by the University of Oxford. The report also suggests that the consumption of game shot with lead ammunition has a greater impact on human health than previously thought. Scientists involved in the research say the evidence now supports a ban on the use of lead ammunition in the UK.
Red sludge burst out after a dam used to hold waste water from iron production collapsed. At least eight people were killed and 11 are missing, presumed dead. Environmental agency Ibama has fined the iron ore mine owners, Samarco, over Brazil's "worst mining accident". "Ibama has made a preliminary assessment of the damage," said Ms Teixeira. "But we will prepare a detailed study, comparing satellite pictures from before and after the breach," she told O Globo newspaper.
The UK wants to beef up protection and restoration of peatlands under a new government-backed code that could slash carbon dioxide emissions by 220 million tons and protect rare wildlife at the same time.
The Peatland Code was unveiled at the World Forum for Natural Capital in Edinburgh on November 23 following a successful two-year trial, which has seen businesses fund peatland restoration projects in southwest England, the Lake District and Wales.
Methow Valley News Twisp River project restoring habitat for fish, wildlife Methow Valley News The Methow Salmon Recovery Foundation (MSRF) is leading a project designed to restore habitat for fish and wildlife, now that MVID will no longer take...
Spread of snake fungal disease mirrors bat-killing white-nose syndrome Staff Report U.S. Geological Survey scientists said they’ve identified the fungus that’s been taking a toll on snake populations in parts of the U.S. and warned that global warming could put more snakes at risk.
Staff Report The U.S. Forest Service wants to update a public lands rule that would re-open the door for new coal mining on about 20,000 acres in south-central Colorado’s North Fork Valley. The agency this week posted a federal register notice seeking comment on a proposal to reinstate the North Fork Coal Mining Area exception to the Colorado Roadless Rule. The proposal comes about a year after a federal court set aside the exemption after finding that the Forest Service failed to disclose greenhouse gas emissions associated with potential mine operations and the combustion of coal from the area. Find the federal register notice and information on commenting here.In an updated environmental document, the agency now says that the coal mining operation would unleash between 1.3 million and 6.6 million tons of greenhouse gases, depending on the level of mining activity. Burning the coal would result in between 12.3 million to 36.6 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
‘Take action to forestall global warming …’ Staff Report Deadly floods that swept across Australia in 2010 and 2011 were at least partly fueled by long-term warming in the Indian and Pacific oceans, according to a new study that highlights some of threats posed by human-caused climate change. The research, published in Geophysical Research Letters, shows that ocean warming can have profound effects on atmospheric circulation, delivering huge amounts of moisture to land areas under certain conditions.The floods in Australia’s northeast state of Queensland claimed 35 lives, caused $2.38 billion damage, flooded 28,000 homes and left 100,000 people without power. So much rain fell on Australia that it led to a rare filling of Lake Eyre, a large lake system in the interior of the country, and caused a drop in global sea level.
New treatment could help protect vulnerable species
Scientists in the UK and Spain say they’ve developed a way to tackle the amphibian-killing chytrid fungus in a way that could help protect wild populations of amphibians.
Their research is a major breakthrough in the battle against the deadly disease, which has affected over 700 amphibian species worldwide; driving population declines, extirpations and species extinctions across five continents.This is the first time that chytrid has ever been successfully eliminated from a wild population … a real positive which we can take forward into further research to tackle this deadly disease,” said Dr, Jaime Bosch, Senior Researcher with the National Museum of Natural History in Spain.
The Obama Administration’s National Pollinator Strategy, released in May, encouraged the Environmental Protection Agency to pursue near-term steps to preserve and protect bees and other pollinators.
So what has the EPA done since then?
As its first announced initiative, the EPA proposed a new rule that would prohibit foliar applications — spraying — of 76 pesticides, potentially affecting 1,000 products judged “acutely toxic to bees” on crops in bloom “when bees are present” under “a contract for pollination services.”
Sounds sensible. What could be more reasonable if you’re out to protect bees from near-term extinction than preventing them being sprayed with acutely toxic pesticides while they’re foraging for the pollen and nectar with which they’ll feed themselves and their young and store up food to last the winter?
So why would beekeepers be against it? For that matter, why would USDA be against it?
Politics separates USDA and EPA on bee recomendations
New chemical analysis sends climate warming signal
A study of ancient carbonate crystals in Colorado suggests that the Earth’s climate is more sensitive to changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide than believed.
Based on the chemical analysis of rocks from the Green River formation, scientists think that a doubling of CO2 from pre-industrial times could raise the global temperature by a whopping 3 degrees Celsius.The study team from Binghamton University took a close look at the crystals that formed 50 million years ago during a hothouse climate. They found that CO2 levels during this time may have been as low as 680 parts per million, nearly half the 1,125 ppm predicted by previous experiments. ADVERTISEMENT
Based on their results, past predictions significantly underestimate the impact of greenhouse warming
On October 28, the smog-control agency for Los Angeles and the surrounding areas, the South Coast Air Quality Management District, issued an odor advisory for the intense rotten-egg stench that was permeating the air of southern California’s Coachella Valley. The source: The state’s largest lake, the 350-square-mile Salton Sea, was burping up hydrogen sulfide, a gas created by the decaying organic matter trapped beneath the water. It was the Salton Sea’s fifth odor advisory for October alone; depending on winds, the hydrogen sulfide can be smelled as far as 130 miles away in Los Angeles.
But the smell is only one small part of a more serious public-health problem, one that has the potential to affect millions of people in southern California and beyond. The Salton Sea is shrinking, a phenomenon due partially to rapid evaporation—summer temperatures around the lake routinely top 110 degrees—and partially to the decrease in the agricultural runoff that was the lake’s primary water source.
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