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The importance of oceanic phytoplankton

Climate Change News - ENN - April 14, 2015 - 8:52am
Do you have any idea just how many organizims are in seawater?  Not the fish you can see, but the microscopic organizims you cant see?Dip a beaker into any portion of the world’s oceans, and you’re likely to pull up a swirling mix of planktonic inhabitants. The oceans are teeming with more than 5,000 species of phytoplankton — microscopic plants in a kaleidoscope of shapes and sizes. Together, phytoplankton anchor the ocean’s food chain, supplying nutrients to everything from single-celled organisms on up to fish and whales.Through photosynthesis, these tiny organisms supply more than half the world’s oxygen. When these plants die, they drift to the ocean bottom, or evaporate into the air as carbon — a process that generates more than half the world’s cycling carbon.

ACC Welcomes U.S. House Draft Legislation to Reform TSCA

Chemical Safety - April 14, 2015 - 8:19am
Draft “TSCA Modernization Act of 2015” represents significant progress toward TSCA reform this year.

ACC Welcomes U.S. House Draft Legislation to Reform TSCA

Toxic Substances Control Act - April 14, 2015 - 8:19am
Draft “TSCA Modernization Act of 2015” represents significant progress toward TSCA reform this year.

Warmer Waters Threaten Future of Traditional Fish and Chips

Climate Change News - ENN - April 13, 2015 - 4:02pm
Popular North Sea fish such as haddock, plaice and lemon sole could be replaced on the menus of the nation’s fish and chip shops as the seas around the UK continue to warm at a rapid rate, a new study warns. Fish distributions are limited by water temperature and some species can only thrive in certain habitats and depths. 

Record low snowpacks in Southwest is bad news for water supplies

Climate Change News - ENN - April 11, 2015 - 8:57am
Nine states report record low snowpacks. A report from the US Department of Agriculture states, “the largest snowpack deficits are in record territory for many basins,especially in the Cascades and Sierra Nevada where single – digit percent of normal conditions prevail. Very low snowpacks are reported in most of Washington, all of Oregon, Nevada, California, parts of Arizona, much of Idaho, parts of New Mexico, three basins in Wyoming, one basin in Montana, and most of Utah.” This region is undergoing the warmest winter temperatures since record keeping began in 1895.

Mercury levels in Arctic birds found increasing over the past 130 years

Climate Change News - ENN - April 10, 2015 - 10:08am
Alarm bells are ringing for Arctic wildlife with the discovery that mercury levels in the feathers of ivory gulls have increased almost 50-fold. University of Saskatchewan biologists studied the feathers of museum specimens spanning a 130-year period. Lead researcher Dr Alex Bond told BBC News, “We’re concerned because the mercury’s going up but their diet hasn’t changed over the 130 years we’ve studied. It’s gone up 45 times, which is twice the average for an animal species in the Arctic.”

How can we improve plant growth?

Supercomputers and genetic engineering could help boost crops’ ability to convert sunlight into energy and tackle looming food shortages, according to a team of researchers. Photosynthesis is far from its theoretical maximum efficiency, say the authors of a paper in Cell, published on 26 March. They say that supercomputing advances could allow scientists to model every stage in the process and identify bottlenecks in improving plant growth.

What is the source of mysterious methane emissions at Four Corners?

Climate Change News - ENN - April 8, 2015 - 9:20am
A team of scientific investigators is now in the Four Corners region of the U.S. Southwest, aiming to uncover reasons for a mysterious methane hotspot detected from space by a European satellite. The joint project is working to solve the mystery from the air, on the ground, and with mobile laboratories. “If we can verify the methane emissions found by the satellite, and identify the various sources, then decision makers will have critical information for any actions they are considering,” says Gabrielle Pétron, a scientist from the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder, working in NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) and one of the mission’s investigators. Part of President Obama’s recent Climate Action Plan calls for reductions in U.S. methane emissions. NOAA is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Capitol Lawn Event Showcases Technologies to Help The Golden State Meet Energy Goals And Improve Water Use

Energy - April 8, 2015 - 7:50am
ACC hosts energy and water efficiency exhibit, demonstrating how companies are meeting the challenge to build better homes and offices

Early warning system to detect algal blooms being launched by EPA

Regulatory news - ENN - April 7, 2015 - 4:24pm
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that it is developing an early warning indicator system using historical and current satellite data to detect algal blooms. EPA researchers will develop a mobile app to inform water quality managers of changes in water quality using satellite data on cyanobacteria algal blooms from three partnering agencies-- NASA, NOAA, and the U.S. Geological Survey. The multi-agency project will create a reliable, standard method for identifying cyanobacteria blooms in U.S. freshwater lakes and reservoirs using ocean color satellite data. Several satellite data sets will be evaluated against environmental data collected from these water bodies, which allows for more frequent observations over broader areas than can be achieved by taking traditional water samples. 

Early warning system to detect algal blooms being launched by EPA

Climate Change News - ENN - April 7, 2015 - 4:24pm
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that it is developing an early warning indicator system using historical and current satellite data to detect algal blooms. EPA researchers will develop a mobile app to inform water quality managers of changes in water quality using satellite data on cyanobacteria algal blooms from three partnering agencies-- NASA, NOAA, and the U.S. Geological Survey. The multi-agency project will create a reliable, standard method for identifying cyanobacteria blooms in U.S. freshwater lakes and reservoirs using ocean color satellite data. Several satellite data sets will be evaluated against environmental data collected from these water bodies, which allows for more frequent observations over broader areas than can be achieved by taking traditional water samples. 

The Solar cycle is more complex than we thought

The Sun undergoes a type of seasonal variability, with its activity waxing and waning over the course of nearly two years, according to a new study by a team of researchers led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). This behavior affects the peaks and valleys in the approximately 11-year solar cycle, sometimes amplifying and sometimes weakening the solar storms that can buffet Earth’s atmosphere.The quasi-annual variations appear to be driven by changes in the bands of strong magnetic fields in each solar hemisphere. These bands also help shape the approximately 11-year solar cycle that is part of a longer cycle that lasts about 22 years.

EPA Moves to Restrict Bee-killing Pesticides

Regulatory news - ENN - April 7, 2015 - 2:45pm
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finally taken some action to restrict the use of pesticides that are believed to be causing serious declines in pollinators, but environmentalists are arguing the agency still needs to do more.

Sun experiences seasonal changes

The Sun undergoes a type of seasonal variability, with its activity waxing and waning over the course of nearly two years, according to a new study by a team of researchers led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). This behavior affects the peaks and valleys in the approximately 11-year solar cycle, sometimes amplifying and sometimes weakening the solar storms that can buffet Earth’s atmosphere.

Sun experiences seasonal changes

Climate Change News - ENN - April 7, 2015 - 10:35am
The Sun undergoes a type of seasonal variability, with its activity waxing and waning over the course of nearly two years, according to a new study by a team of researchers led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). This behavior affects the peaks and valleys in the approximately 11-year solar cycle, sometimes amplifying and sometimes weakening the solar storms that can buffet Earth’s atmosphere.

California's Water Situation is Beyond an Emergency

Climate Change News - ENN - April 6, 2015 - 10:07am
Originally Published on the ECOreportCalifornia’s water situation is beyond an emergency, according to Healdsburg resident Dave Howard. He and his sons returned from a “ski trip” in Northern California.“The peaks are as bald as they normally are in August! Where’s the snow pack that’s supposed to be providing us water all summer? It’s zero folks. There is nothing there,” he said.They proceeded on to Northstar ski resort. On a normal year there are more than a hundred runs. The temperatures are low enough and Northstar is making it’s own snow. Dave dropped his sons off, to go ahead.“They did one run, then called me and said, ‘Dad we’re done. This is stupid. There is only one run worth doing and everyone is on it. This is not even worth spending any time on,” said Dave.He added, “Northstar is scraping for their lives. Where’s their Spring skiing? It doesn’t exist. There in March, they’ve had a bad season already and its not going to get any better. There’s no hope on the horizon for those guys.”

Why does water rationing in California exclude fracking and agribusiness?

Climate Change News - ENN - April 6, 2015 - 8:31am
California has responded to the drought by rationing water, with $500 fines for domestic 'water wasters', writes Evan Blake. But agribusiness and water-intensive industries like fracking remain untouched by the restrictions, even though they consume over 90% of the state's water.There are immense water efficiencies to be gained, but any rational reorganization is blocked by the US financial oligarchy, which, controlling the entire political system, will not abide any impingement on its profits.The unprecedented drought gripping California has deepened for the fourth consecutive year, having already set new records for the lowest annual precipitation levels on record.

White fat, brown fat, now beige fat and obesity

Those extra pounds around your belly that no amount of exercise seems to shake off? That's not just fat; it's what scientists call white fat – unhealthy, energy-storing fat.Brown fat, however, has been known to contain energy-burning, heat-producing qualities that could be key to helping people lose weight. The key is finding a way to increase brown fat in the body and reduce the white fat.Hibernating mammals have brown fat, and human babies are born with it to help them keep warm outside the womb. Adults also have varying amounts of brown fat, but researchers weren't sure if it’s the same kind babies are born with, and if not, where it comes from.

Plant roots may accelerate carbon loss from soils

Soil, long thought to be a semi-permanent storehouse for ancient carbon, may be releasing carbon dioxide to the atmosphere faster than anyone thought, according to Oregon State University soil scientists. In a study published in this week’s online edition of the journal Nature Climate Change, the researchers showed that chemicals emitted by plant roots act on carbon that is bonded to minerals in the soil, breaking the bonds and exposing previously protected carbon to decomposition by microbes.

Plant roots may accelerate carbon loss from soils

Climate Change News - ENN - April 3, 2015 - 3:33pm
Soil, long thought to be a semi-permanent storehouse for ancient carbon, may be releasing carbon dioxide to the atmosphere faster than anyone thought, according to Oregon State University soil scientists. In a study published in this week’s online edition of the journal Nature Climate Change, the researchers showed that chemicals emitted by plant roots act on carbon that is bonded to minerals in the soil, breaking the bonds and exposing previously protected carbon to decomposition by microbes.

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