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Which diet has the smallest carbon footprint?

Climate Change News - ENN - March 26, 2015 - 2:20pm
The health benefits of the Mediterranean diet are well-known. As well as being healthier, a recent article concludes that the menu traditionally eaten in Spain leaves less of a carbon footprint than that of the US or the United Kingdom. The consequences of climate change range from species extinction to sea-level increases and the spread of diseases. For this reason, researchers have been struggling for years to alleviate its effects, even limiting the pollution caused by food consumption.

Was there ever life on Mars?

Did Mars ever support life?  This question has intrigued us for centuries!  We have had spacecraft on Mars for quite a while poking and analyzing soil and rocks and taking photos.  Now NASA has new data which help answer these questions.A team using the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite aboard NASA's Curiosity rover has made the first detection of nitrogen on the surface of Mars from release during heating of Martian sediments. The nitrogen was detected in the form of nitric oxide, and could be released from the breakdown of nitrates during heating. Nitrates are a class of molecules that contain nitrogen in a form that can be used by living organisms. The discovery adds to the evidence that ancient Mars was habitable for life.

NASA using space radar to track groundwater pollution risks

Water is our most precious natural resource.  Without clean water to drink human populations cannot exist.  But our water supplies are under constant assault from anthropogenic pollution.When pollutants get into groundwater, they can stay there for decades. Cleanup efforts are difficult, expensive and not always successful. It would be better to protect groundwater from contamination in the first place, but risks to groundwater are moving targets. Although unchanging factors such as porous soil or shallow aquifer depth play a role, the greatest risk comes from the source of the pollutants: people. And people are always moving. A growing city, in particular, usually means a growing threat to groundwater quality. To lock on to the moving target of groundwater risk, planners worldwide need up-to-date information on how people are changing the land surface.

Arctic sea ice continues to shrink

Climate Change News - ENN - March 19, 2015 - 3:20pm
Arctic sea ice shrank to the lowest winter extent ever recorded, according to data released today by the US-based National Snow and Ice Data Center. The record-low ice level follows earlier news that 2014 was the warmest year since record keeping began. An unusually warm February in parts of Alaska and Russia contributed to the record ice low. The winter reach of Arctic ice decreased 1.1 million square kilometres compared to the average maximum from 1981 to 2010. This represents an area more than twice the size of Sweden. "This is not a record to be proud of. Low sea ice can create a series of reactions that further threaten the Arctic and the rest of the globe," said Alexander Shestakov, Director, WWF Global Arctic Programme.

Electric Vehicles are Cool, Literally.

Climate Change News - ENN - March 19, 2015 - 3:02pm
A study in this week’s Scientific Report by researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) and in China add more fuel to the already hot debate about whether electric vehicles are more environmentally friendly than conventional vehicles by uncovering two hidden benefits.They show that the cool factor is real – in that electric vehicles emit significantly less heat.  That difference could mitigate the urban heat island effect, the phenomenon that helps turn big cities like Beijing into pressure cookers in warm months.

Electric Vehicles are Cool, Literally.

A study in this week’s Scientific Report by researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) and in China add more fuel to the already hot debate about whether electric vehicles are more environmentally friendly than conventional vehicles by uncovering two hidden benefits.They show that the cool factor is real – in that electric vehicles emit significantly less heat.  That difference could mitigate the urban heat island effect, the phenomenon that helps turn big cities like Beijing into pressure cookers in warm months.

ACC Urges Congress to Pass Bipartisan Legislation to Improve Freight Rail Policies

Toxic Substances Control Act - March 19, 2015 - 12:25pm
The American Chemistry Council (ACC) President and CEO Cal Dooley issued the following statement in strong support of the bill.

Amazon forest trees dying younger, reducing carbon uptake

Climate Change News - ENN - March 18, 2015 - 6:54pm
From a peak of two billion tonnes of carbon dioxide each year in the 1990s, the net uptake by the forest has halved and is now for the first time being overtaken by fossil fuel emissions in Latin America.  The results of this monumental 30-year survey of the South American rainforest, which involved an international team of almost 100 researchers and was led by the University of Leeds, are published today in the journal Nature.

The importance of methane seeps in microbial biodiversity of sea floor

A new study “provides evidence that methane seeps are island-like habitats that harbor distinct microbial communities unique from other seafloor ecosystems." These seeps play an important role in microbial biodiversity of the sea floor.Methane seeps are natural gas leaks in the sea floor that emit methane into the water. Microorganisms that live on or near these seeps can use the methane as a food source, preventing the gas from collecting in the surrounding hydrosphere or migrating into the atmosphere.“Marine environments are a potentially huge source for methane outputs to the atmosphere, but the surrounding microbes keep things in check by eating 75 percent of the methane before it gets to the atmosphere. These organisms are an important part of the underwater ecosystem, particularly as it relates to global gas cycles that are climate important in terms of greenhouse gas emissions,” said University of Delaware assistant professor of marine biosciences, Jennifer Biddle.

The importance of methane seeps in microbial biodiversity of sea floor

Climate Change News - ENN - March 18, 2015 - 10:58am
A new study “provides evidence that methane seeps are island-like habitats that harbor distinct microbial communities unique from other seafloor ecosystems." These seeps play an important role in microbial biodiversity of the sea floor.Methane seeps are natural gas leaks in the sea floor that emit methane into the water. Microorganisms that live on or near these seeps can use the methane as a food source, preventing the gas from collecting in the surrounding hydrosphere or migrating into the atmosphere.“Marine environments are a potentially huge source for methane outputs to the atmosphere, but the surrounding microbes keep things in check by eating 75 percent of the methane before it gets to the atmosphere. These organisms are an important part of the underwater ecosystem, particularly as it relates to global gas cycles that are climate important in terms of greenhouse gas emissions,” said University of Delaware assistant professor of marine biosciences, Jennifer Biddle.

New data show iron rain fell on early Earth

Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories’ Z machine have helped untangle a long-standing mystery of astrophysics: why iron is found spattered throughout Earth’s mantle, the roughly 2,000-mile thick region between Earth’s core and its crust.

Oregon State University study provides new insight into forest life cycles and carbon storage

Climate Change News - ENN - March 18, 2015 - 8:50am
A century-long study in the Oregon Cascades may cause scientists to revise the textbook on how forests grow and die, accumulate biomass and store carbon.In a new analysis of forest succession in three Douglas-fir stands in the Willamette National Forest, two Oregon State University scientists report that biomass – a measure of tree volume – has been steadily accumulating for 150 years. In the long term, such a trend is not sustainable, they said, and if these stands behave in a manner similar to others in the Cascades, trees will begin to die from causes such as insect outbreaks, windstorms or fire.“Mortality will occur in the future,” said Mark Harmon, professor and Richardson Chair in Forest Science at OSU. “It just hasn’t arrived.”

Chemistry Industry Highlights Manufacturing Growth at Natural Gas Caucus Briefing

Shale Gas - March 17, 2015 - 11:12am
The shale gas production boom has made America one of the world’s lowest-cost producers of basic petrochemicals, with a decisive competitive advantage in global markets.

Chemistry Industry Highlights Manufacturing Growth at Natural Gas Caucus Briefing

Energy - March 17, 2015 - 11:12am
The shale gas production boom has made America one of the world’s lowest-cost producers of basic petrochemicals, with a decisive competitive advantage in global markets.

ACC Welcomes Reintroduction of CASE Act

Energy - March 17, 2015 - 10:46am
Bill Will Improve EPA’s Process for Setting Ozone NAAQS

The impact of increasing snowfall in Antarctica on sea level rise

Climate Change News - ENN - March 17, 2015 - 8:12am
A new study confirms that snowfall in Antarctica will increase significantly as the planet warms, offsetting future sea level rise from other sources – but the effect will not be nearly as strong as many scientists previously anticipated because of other, physical processes.That means that many computer models may be underestimating the amount and rate of sea level rise if they had projected more significant impact from Antarctic snow.Results of the study, which was funded by the National Science Foundation, were reported this week in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Renewable energy sources really making a difference!

Climate Change News - ENN - March 15, 2015 - 8:12am
Global emissions of carbon dioxide from the energy sector stalled in 2014, marking the first time in 40 years in which there was a halt or reduction in emissions of the greenhouse gas that was not tied to an economic downturn, according to new data from the International Energy Agency (IEA)."This gives me even more hope that humankind will be able to work together to combat climate change, the most important threat facing us today," said IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol, recently named to take over from Maria van der Hoeven as the next IEA Executive Director. 

What Lake Tahoe tells us about a changing climate

Climate Change News - ENN - March 13, 2015 - 8:37am
A recently published study on how natural and man-made sources of nitrogen are recycled through the Lake Tahoe ecosystem provides new information on how global change may affect the iconic blue lake.“High-elevation lakes, such as Lake Tahoe, are sentinels of climate change,” said Lihini Aluwihare, associate professor of geosciences at Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) at UC San Diego and co-author of the study. “Small changes in the lake's chemistry can have big impacts on the entire ecosystem.”Lake Tahoe's nitrogen concentration is one of several factors that helps maintain its crystal clear waters. To keep Tahoe blue in the future, the researchers say it's important to keep a close eye on the nitrogen balance in the ecosystem over time.

Princeton University geologists mapping the Earth's mantle in 3D

When a 7.9-magnitude earthquake struck central China's Sichuan province in 2008, seismic waves rippled through the region, toppling apartment houses in the city of Chengdu and swaying office buildings 1,000 miles away in Shanghai.Though destructive, earthquakes provide benefit in one respect: they help researchers learn about the structure of the Earth, which in turn could lead to more accurate predictions of damage from future quakes and volcanic activity. By eavesdropping on the seismic vibrations of quakes as they rumble through the Earth, researchers can detect the existence of structures such as mineral deposits, subterranean lakes, and upwellings of magma. Thanks to a growing earthquake detection network and superfast computers, geoscientists are now able to explore the Earth's interior, a region that has been more inaccessible than the deepest ocean or the farthest planet in our solar system. 

Bristol University sheds new light on early terrestrial vertebrate

The first 3D reconstruction of the skull of a 360 million-year-old near-ancestor of land vertebrates has been created by scientists from the Universities of Bristol and Cambridge. The 3D skull, which differs from earlier 2D reconstructions, suggests such creatures, which lived their lives primarily in shallow water environments, were more like modern crocodiles than previously thought. 

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