Legislative & Regulatory Update

How Climate Change will Affect Air Travel

Climate Change News - ENN - July 13, 2015 - 5:48pm
Global air travel contributes around 3.5 percent of the greenhouse forcing driving anthropogenic climate change, according to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). But what impact does a warming planet have on air travel and how might that, in turn, affect the rate of warming itself? A new study by researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and University of Wisconsin Madison found a connection between climate and airline flight times, suggesting a feedback loop could exist between the carbon emissions of airplanes and our changing climate. The study was published today in Nature Climate Change.

Wildfires ravage Canada and Alaska causing mass evacuations

"Extreme." "Unprecedented." "Historic." Those are just a few of the words being used to describe the start of this year's fire season in North America. The wildfires are centered in the northwest of the continent, but their consequences are far-reaching. Thick smoke has blanketed parts of Wisconsin and North Dakota. It's triggered air alerts in Minnesota and Montana and muddied skies as far south as Tennessee and Colorado.

Wildfires ravage Canada and Alaska causing mass evacuations

Climate Change News - ENN - July 13, 2015 - 9:38am
"Extreme." "Unprecedented." "Historic." Those are just a few of the words being used to describe the start of this year's fire season in North America. The wildfires are centered in the northwest of the continent, but their consequences are far-reaching. Thick smoke has blanketed parts of Wisconsin and North Dakota. It's triggered air alerts in Minnesota and Montana and muddied skies as far south as Tennessee and Colorado.

Another reason the West Antarctic ice sheet is melting

Climate Change News - ENN - July 13, 2015 - 7:40am
The amount of heat flowing toward the base of the West Antarctic ice sheet from geothermal sources deep within Earth is surprisingly high, according to a new study led by UC Santa Cruz researchers. The results, published July 10 in Science Advances, provide important data for researchers trying to predict the fate of the ice sheet, which has experienced rapid melting over the past decade.Lead author Andrew Fisher, professor of Earth and planetary sciences at UC Santa Cruz, emphasized that the geothermal heating reported in this study does not explain the alarming loss of ice from West Antarctica that has been documented by other researchers. "The ice sheet developed and evolved with the geothermal heat flux coming up from below--it's part of the system. But this could help explain why the ice sheet is so unstable. When you add the effects of global warming, things can start to change quickly," he said.

California towns getting water by truck as drought continues and wells run dry

Climate Change News - ENN - July 11, 2015 - 8:04am
Rural Tulare County, Calif., is now being called the epicenter of this drought.That's because at least 1,300 residential wells have run dry, affecting at least 7,000 people. When your taps start spitting out air here, Paul Boyer and his team are who you call.Under a punishing midafternoon sun, Boyer helps muscle down five of these hefty 400-pound water tanks from a semi-truck flatbed. He helps run a local nonprofit that's in charge of distributing these 2,500-gallon water tanks to drought victims.

Bumblebees trapped in "Climate Vice"

Climate Change News - ENN - July 10, 2015 - 4:42pm
As Europe and North America warm, bumblebees should be able to fly north to cooler climes, writes Tim Radford. But they're not: the bees' range is receding in the south, but staying put in the north, and scientists fear their shrinking habitat will put many species at risk of extinction.The humble bumblebee is feeling the squeeze from climate change.

Slight global warming causes six meter sea level rise

Climate Change News - ENN - July 9, 2015 - 5:05pm
A new review analyzing three decades of research on the historic effects of melting polar ice sheets found that global sea levels have risen at least six meters, or about 20 feet, above present levels on multiple occasions over the past three million years. What is most concerning, scientists say, is that amount of melting was caused by an increase of only 1-2 degrees (Celsius) in global mean temperatures.

New Model Predicts Avian Fatalities at Wind Facilities

The U.S. Geological Survey, in collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, has released a study that will enable ecologists, managers, policy makers, and industry to predict the bird fatalities at a wind facility prior to it being constructed. The study examined golden eagles as a case study because they are susceptible to collisions with wind turbines in part because of their soaring and hunting behavior. 

Study: Temperature influences bird diversity loss in Mexico

Climate Change News - ENN - July 7, 2015 - 3:22pm
A wide-ranging study of gains and losses of populations of bird species across Mexico in the 20th century shows shifts in temperature due to global climate change are the primary environmental influence on the distributions of bird species. “Of all drivers examined … only temperature change had significant impacts on avifaunal turnover; neither precipitation change nor human impacts on landscapes had significant effects,” wrote the authors of the study, which appeared recently in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances. Using analytical techniques from the field of biodiversity informatics, researchers compared current distributions with distributions in the middle 20th century for 115 bird species that are found only in Mexico. They then compared those bird community changes to patterns of change in climate and land use.

ACC Urges House Passage of Interior-EPA Spending Bill

Environmental Regulations - July 7, 2015 - 10:39am
Maintaining current ozone standards would benefit environment and economy.

Mapping mosquito data to track spread of disease

Mosquitoes that carry the dengue and chikungunya viruses are more widespread than ever, believe scientists mapping the global spread of the insects. There are no treatments or vaccines for these diseases, so knowing where the mosquitoes that transmit them occur and thrive can help focus research and public health resources, the scientists say.

What we can learn from the Seahorse

One of the ocean’s oddest little creatures, the seahorse, is providing inspiration for robotics researchers as they learn from nature how to build robots that have capabilities sometimes at odds with one another – flexible, but also tough and strong.Their findings, published today in the journal Science, outline the virtues of the seahorse’s unusual skeletal structure, including a tail in which a vertebral column is surrounded by square bony plates. These systems may soon help create technology that offers new approaches to surgery, search and rescue missions or industrial applications.

New data on distant galaxy numbers

There may be far fewer galaxies further out in the Universe then might be expected, suggests a new study based on simulations conducted using the Blue Waters supercomputer at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, with resulting data transferred to SDSC Cloud at the San Diego Supercomputer Center at the University of California, San Diego, for future analysis. The study, published this week in the Astrophysical Journal Letters, shows the first results from the Renaissance Simulations, a suite of extremely high-resolution adaptive mesh refinement (AMR) calculations of high redshift galaxy formation. Moreover, these simulations show hundreds of well-resolved galaxies, allowing researchers to make several novel and verifiable predictions ahead of the October 2018 launch of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), a new space observatory that succeeds the Hubble Space Telescope. 

Extremely high coastal erosion in northern Alaska

Climate Change News - ENN - July 2, 2015 - 6:59am
In a new study published today, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey found that the remote northern Alaska coast has some of the highest shoreline erosion rates in the world.Analyzing over half a century of shoreline change data, scientists found the pattern is extremely variable with most of the coast retreating at rates of more than 1 meter a year.  “Coastal erosion along the Arctic coast of Alaska is threatening Native Alaskan villages, sensitive ecosystems, energy and defense related infrastructure, and large tracts of Native Alaskan, State, and Federally managed land,” said Suzette Kimball, acting director of the USGS.

Researcher Discovers Groundwater Modeling Breakthrough

A University of Wyoming professor has made a discovery that answers a nearly 100-year-old question about water movement, with implications for agriculture, hydrology, climate science and other fields.

Today's Extra Second Explained

The day will officially be a bit longer than usual on Tuesday, June 30, 2015, because an extra second, or "leap" second, will be added. "Earth's rotation is gradually slowing down a bit, so leap seconds are a way to account for that," said Daniel MacMillan of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Strictly speaking, a day lasts 86,400 seconds. That is the case, according to the time standard that people use in their daily lives - Coordinated Universal Time, or UTC. UTC is "atomic time" - the duration of one second is based on extremely predictable electromagnetic transitions in atoms of cesium. These transitions are so reliable that the cesium clock is accurate to one second in 1,400,000 years.

ACC Applauds EPA Milestone in Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program

Chemical Safety - June 30, 2015 - 1:48pm
Weight-of Evidence assessment represents evidence-based approach to risk determination.

Study examines the role of naturally occurring halogens in atmospheric deposition

Climate Change News - ENN - June 30, 2015 - 7:11am
It’s been difficult to explain patterns of toxic mercury in some parts of the world, such as why there’s so much of the toxin deposited into ecosystems from the air in the southeastern United States, even upwind of usual sources.A new analysis led by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder shows that one key to understanding mercury’s strange behavior may be the unexpected reactivity of naturally occurring halogen compounds from the ocean.

How Rainwater Could Save Rupees

Climate Change News - ENN - June 29, 2015 - 12:24pm
Rainwater could save people in India a bucket of money, according to a new study by scientists looking at NASA satellite data. The study, partially funded by NASA’s Precipitation Measurement Missions, found that collecting rainwater for vegetable irrigation could reduce water bills, increase caloric intake and even provide a second source of income for people in India.

What California can learn for Israel on solving serious water shortages

Climate Change News - ENN - June 29, 2015 - 7:13am
California is still counting up the damage from the 2014 drought, which resulted in more than $200 million in losses in the dairy and livestock industry and a staggering $810 million in crop production. And analysts are predicting this year to be even worse.But many will admit that if there is any country on earth that knows how to trump a three-year (and counting) drought cycle and convert a wasteland to oasis, it’s Israel. For thousands of years, populations have been wresting a livelihood from the desert of what is now Israel, refining the techniques that would one day result in an agricultural paradise.

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