Legislative & Regulatory Update

Halley Research Station Antarctica to close for winter

Climate Change News - ENN - January 16, 2017 - 1:23pm
British Antarctic Survey (BAS) has decided not to winter at Halley VI Research Station for safety reasons. The station, which is located on the floating Brunt Ice Shelf in Antarctica, will shut down between March and November 2017.  Changes to the ice, particularly the growth of a new crack, presents a complex glaciological picture that means that BAS scientists are unable to predict with certainty what will happen to the ice shelf during the forthcoming Antarctic winter. As a precautionary measure BAS will remove its people before the Antarctic winter begins.

Giant Middle East dust storm caused by a changing climate, not human conflict

Climate Change News - ENN - January 16, 2017 - 10:16am
In August 2015, a dust storm blanketed large areas of seven Middle East nations in a haze of dust and sand thick enough to obscure them from satellite view. The storm led to several deaths, thousands of cases of respiratory ailments and injuries, and canceled airline flights and closed ports. At the time, the storm's unusual severity was attributed to the ongoing civil war in Syria by media outlets in the Middle East, Europe and the United States. Reports blamed the conflict for changes in land use and cover — and for activities like increased military traffic over unpaved surfaces and farmers reducing irrigation or abandoning agricultural land — that created extreme amounts of dust to fuel the storm.

Study refutes how fruit flies developed alcohol tolerance

The common fruit fly, the tiny insect drawn to your beer or wine, has evolved to have an impressive tolerance for alcohol.More than two decades ago, in one of the first papers using gene sequences to find signatures of natural selection, scientists hypothesized that a molecular change in an enzyme gave the Drosophila melanogaster fruit fly species its superior ability to metabolize alcohol. Scientists concluded that the change they found in the Alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) protein could be the adaptation that allowed D. melanogaster to colonize ethanol-rich habitats in rotting fruit better than its nearly identical relative, Drosophila simulans.

NASA Analyzes Heavy Rainfall Over Southern Thailand

Climate Change News - ENN - January 13, 2017 - 3:43pm
Widespread flooding has recently caused the deaths of dozens of people in southern Thailand. Frequent and persistent downpours have resulted in record rainfall totals and NASA calculated rainfall over the region from January 5 to January 12, 2017.The Global Precipitation Measurement mission or GPM core satellite is part of a constellation of satellites that can measure rainfall from space. GPM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and the data is input into NASA's Integrated Multi-satellitE Retrievals for GPM (IMERG) data product.

NASA Spots Short-Lived Tropical Depression 01W

Climate Change News - ENN - January 13, 2017 - 3:33pm
In just 24 hours after Tropical Depression 01W formed in the Philippine Sea it was already falling apart. NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite passed over the depression and saw the large, weakening depression being affected by wind shear.Tropical depression 01W, known in the Philippines as Tropical Depression Auring, formed near Mindanao on Jan. 8, 2017 and triggered warnings. On January 9, TD01W continued to move west through Mindanao toward the South China Sea.

Researchers develop environmentally friendly, soy air filter

PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University researchers have developed a soy-based air filter that can capture toxic chemicals, such as carbon monoxide and formaldehyde, that current air filters can’t.

Northeast US temperatures are decades ahead of global average

Climate Change News - ENN - January 13, 2017 - 3:16pm
AMHERST, Mass. – Results of a new study by researchers at the Northeast Climate Science Center (NECSC) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst suggest that temperatures across the northeastern United States will increase much faster than the global average, so that the 2-degrees Celsius warming target adopted in the recent Paris Agreement on climate change will be reached about 20 years earlier for this part of the U.S. compared to the world as a whole.

What makes erionite carcinogenic?

The mineral erionite is considered to be highly carcinogenic and is on the World Health Organisation's list of substances that cause cancer. A few years ago, an entire village in Turkey actually had to be moved, because the substance was very common in the surrounding area and every second inhabitant died of a particular type of cancer caused by breathing in erionite particles. Up to now it has been thought that iron as a constituent element of the mineral erionite is the reason for the carcinogenic effect. However, mineralogists of Friedrich Schiller University Jena (Germany), together with colleagues from the University of Modena (Italy), have discovered that this metal does not even appear in the crystal structure of erionite.

Iowa State engineer helps journal highlight how pyrolysis can advance the bioeconomy

A special issue of the journal Energy Technology details the latest advances in pyrolysis technologies for converting biomass into fuels, chemicals and fertilizers.Two pyrolysis experts are guest editors of the issue: Robert C. Brown, the director of Iowa State University’s Bioeconomy Institute, an Anson Marston Distinguished Professor in Engineering and the Gary and Donna Hoover Chair in Mechanical Engineering; and George Huber, the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Harvey D. Spangler Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering.

Measuring the 'true social cost' of carbon dioxide emissions

Climate Change News - ENN - January 13, 2017 - 8:32am
The US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has proposed a new framework for US agencies to use to estimate the 'social cost of carbon dioxide' emissions. Myles Allen, Professor of Geosystem Science at the Environmental Change Institute, helped compile the report which will strengthen the scientific basis and provide greater transparency for US climate policy. 

'Shrew'-d advice: Study of Arctic shrews, parasites indicates how climate change may affect ecosystems and communities

Climate Change News - ENN - January 12, 2017 - 4:43pm
MANHATTAN — The shrew and its parasites — even 40-year-old preserved ones — are the new indicators of environmental change, according to a Kansas State University researcher. 

Nanoscience expert receives 2016 Dickson Prize in Science

EVANSTON - Chad A. Mirkin, the George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and director of the International Institute for Nanotechnology at Northwestern University, has been awarded the 2016 Dickson Prize in Science.

Climate Model Suggests Collapse of Atlantic Circulation Is Possible

Climate Change News - ENN - January 12, 2017 - 1:39pm
The idea of climate change causing a major ocean circulation pattern in the Atlantic Ocean to collapse with catastrophic effects has been the subject of doomsday thrillers in the movies, but in climate forecasts, it is mostly regarded as an extreme longshot.Now a new paper based on analysis done at a group of research centers including Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego shows that climate models may be drastically underestimating that possibility. A bias in most climate models exaggerates the stability of the pattern, called the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC), relative to modern climate observations. When researchers removed the bias, and re-ran simulations, the result prompted them to predict a collapse of the circulation at some point in the future, setting off large-scale cooling in the north Atlantic. The collapse would stop the AMOC, which delivers warm surface water toward Greenland then sinks as it cools and flows back toward the equator closer to the seafloor.

Why It's Impossible to Predict When That Giant Antarctic Ice Sheet Will Split

Climate Change News - ENN - January 12, 2017 - 11:26am
OVER THE PAST several months, scientists working in Antarctica have been watching—with a mixture of professional fascination and personal horror—a fissure growing in the continent’s fourth-largest ice shelf. Since last November, the crack has lengthened by some 90 miles. It has 13 miles more before it rends completely, and a chunk of ice the size of Delaware goes bobbing into the Weddell Sea. The calving chunk could be a sign that the entire Larsen C ice shelf—nearly twice the size of Massachusetts—is breaking apart.

Canada's Vast Source of Climate Pollution May Go Bust

Climate Change News - ENN - January 12, 2017 - 10:42am
The Canadian oil sands are one of the world’s largest sources of climate pollution and America’s biggest source of imported oil. And they may be about to go bust.Canada’s oil sands, also known as tar sands, are the world’s fourth-largest reserve of crude oil. Mining them unleashes massive volumes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, easing the way for global warming to blow past 2°C (3.6°F) — levels considered “dangerous” under the Paris Climate Agreement.

Study describes new method to remove nickel from contaminated seawater

The same deposit that builds up in many tea kettles or water pipes in areas where calcium-rich water is the norm might be just the (cheap) ticket to rid contaminated seawater of toxic metals. This is according to a study by a research group led by Charlotte Carré of the University of New Caledonia in the French Pacific territory of New Caledonia and published today in Springer’s journal Environmental Chemistry Letters. The researchers dipped electrodes made from galvanized steel into contaminated seawater and ran a weak current through it. Within seven days, up to 24 percent of the nickel it initially contained was trapped in a calcareous build-up of limestone.

PRESSURE FROM GRAZERS HASTENS ECOSYSTEM COLLAPSE FROM DROUGHT

Climate Change News - ENN - January 11, 2017 - 4:39pm
Extreme droughts, intensified by a warming climate, are increasingly causing ecosystem collapse in many regions worldwide. But models used by scientists to predict the tipping points at which drought stress leads to ecosystem collapse have proven unreliable and too optimistic.A new study by scientists at Duke University and Beijing Normal University may hold the answer why.   The researchers found that these tipping points can happen much sooner than current models predict because of the added pressures placed on drought-weakened plants by grazing animals and fungal pathogens.

Changing climate changes soils

Climate Change News - ENN - January 11, 2017 - 2:29pm
The hottest months. The snowiest winters. Catastrophic floods and droughts.Climate change impacts lives across the world in drastic and unpredictable ways. This unpredictability also extends to the more subtle – yet still important – effects of climate change.For example, it is uncertain how climate change will affect soils and their ability to support productive farms or healthy natural ecosystems.

Campus greenhouse gas emissions down 7 percent since 2014

MIT’s total campus emissions have dropped by 7 percent since 2014, according to MIT’s second annual greenhouse gas inventory. The inventory, whose results were released by the MIT Office of Sustainability in collaboration with the Department of Facilities and the Environment, Health and Safety Office, measured campus emissions in fiscal year 2016, which runs from July 2015 through June 2016. The analysis provides a wealth of data to inform MIT’s carbon-reduction strategies going forward.

Campus greenhouse gas emissions down 7 percent since 2014

Climate Change News - ENN - January 11, 2017 - 2:15pm
MIT’s total campus emissions have dropped by 7 percent since 2014, according to MIT’s second annual greenhouse gas inventory. The inventory, whose results were released by the MIT Office of Sustainability in collaboration with the Department of Facilities and the Environment, Health and Safety Office, measured campus emissions in fiscal year 2016, which runs from July 2015 through June 2016. The analysis provides a wealth of data to inform MIT’s carbon-reduction strategies going forward.

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