Legislative & Regulatory Update

With droughts and downpours, climate change feeds Chesapeake Bay algal blooms

Climate Change News - ENN - August 11, 2016 - 11:15am
A study shows that weather patterns tied to climate change may increase the severity of algal blooms in Chesapeake Bay as extreme rainfall cycles flush larger amounts of nitrogen from fertilizer and other sources into the Susquehanna River. The researchers found that a spike in rainfall can increase nitrogen levels in the bay even if the amount of fertilizer used on land remains the same, leading to explosive algae growth that poisons humans and wildlife, and devastates fisheries.While efforts to restore the bay have been successful during the past several years, a study led by Princeton University researchers shows that weather patterns tied to climate change may nonetheless increase the severity of algal blooms by changing how soil nutrients leach into the watershed.

New map reveals how little of Antarctica's rock is ice-free

Climate Change News - ENN - August 11, 2016 - 11:06am
Until now estimates of how much of ice-free rock is exposed in Antarctica were stated as ‘less than 1%’.For the first time scientists from British Antarctic Survey (BAS) have been able to produce accurate quantification of how much of the continent isn’t buried under snow.  At a mere 0.18% scientists can now say confidently how much of the frozen continent really is frozen.  This improves the baseline that scientists use to monitor the effects of climate change in the region.Publishing this month in the journal Cryosphere scientists describe how they used the latest NASA and USGS satellite data to produce an automated map of rock outcrop across the entire Antarctic continent.

Why we need to keep rivers cool with riverside tree planting

Climate Change News - ENN - August 10, 2016 - 3:21pm
With some climate predictions warning that river water temperatures will exceed safe thresholds for river fish, the Keep Rivers Cool (KRC) campaign is calling for more riverside tree planting.Fish in Britain's rivers are under threat from warmer waters. Cold-water species such as Atlantic salmon and brown trout, are struggling to cope as climate change brings significant increases in temperature.Today there's a call for urgent action to Keep Rivers Cool by planting broadleaf native trees alongside river banks, creating dappled shading and stopping water from warming up.Shade can reduce temperatures in small rivers by on average 2- 3C compared to un-shaded streams; and by more on hot summer days.

Warmer climate could lower dengue risk

Climate Change News - ENN - August 10, 2016 - 2:48pm
Health researchers predict that the transmission of dengue could decrease in a future warmer climate, countering previous projections that climate change would cause the potentially lethal virus to spread more easily.Hundreds of millions of people are infected with dengue each year, with some children dying in severe cases, and this research helps to address this significant global health problem.Co-lead researcher Associate Professor David Harley from The Australian National University (ANU) said that dengue risk might decrease in the wet tropics of northeast Australia under a high-emissions scenario in 2050, due to mosquito breeding sites becoming drier and less favourable to their survival.

California Freeways to Go Greener by Generating Electricity

Energy conservation is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think about freeways jammed with idling vehicles.But in California, which has some of the most congested freeways in the country, that’s about to change. The California Energy Commission (CEC) has approved a pilot program in which piezoelectric crystals will be installed on several freeways.

California Freeways to Go Greener by Generating Electricity

Climate Change News - ENN - August 10, 2016 - 11:32am
Energy conservation is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think about freeways jammed with idling vehicles.But in California, which has some of the most congested freeways in the country, that’s about to change. The California Energy Commission (CEC) has approved a pilot program in which piezoelectric crystals will be installed on several freeways.

Double whammy for important Baltic seaweed

Climate Change News - ENN - August 9, 2016 - 1:47pm
Wherever ecosystems rich in species develop on the rocky shores of the Baltic Sea, the bladder wrack Fucus vesiculosus has provided perfect groundwork. By colonizing pebbles and rocks, it creates habitats for many other species. Other algae grow on the seaweed to be grazed by snails, isopods and amphipods. Crustaceans, mussels and predatory fish as well as many smaller organisms that are important for the Baltic Sea ecosystem thrive in submarineFucus forests. Fucus vesiculosus is one of the main producers of organic matter in the Baltic and plays a crucial role for its biodiversity and biogeochemical cycles. These functions could be lost due to a series of reactions triggered by climate change.

Melting ice sheet could expose frozen Cold War-era hazardous waste

Climate Change News - ENN - August 9, 2016 - 8:18am
Climate change is threatening to expose hazardous waste at an abandoned camp thought to be buried forever in the Greenland Ice Sheet, new research out of York University has found.Camp Century, a United States military base built within the Greenland ice sheet in 1959, doubled as a top-secret site for testing the feasibility of deploying nuclear missiles from the Arctic during the Cold War. When the camp was decommissioned in 1967, its infrastructure and waste were abandoned under the assumption they would be entombed forever by perpetual snowfall.

Drought conditions slow the growth of Douglas fir trees across the West

Climate Change News - ENN - August 8, 2016 - 5:14pm
Whether growing along the rim of the Grand Canyon or living in the mist with California's coastal redwoods, Douglas fir trees are consistently sensitive to drought conditions that occur throughout the species' range in the United States, according to a study led by a researcher at the University of California, Davis.The study, published Aug. 8 in the journalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provides direct evidence of the negative impact of water stress on forest ecosystems. It also pinpointed which conditions are causing low growth among Douglas fir trees.

Lake Tanganyika fisheries declining from global warming

Regulatory news - ENN - August 8, 2016 - 4:47pm
The decrease in fishery productivity in Lake Tanganyika since the 1950s is a consequence of global warming rather than just overfishing, according to a new report from an international team led by a University of Arizona geoscientist.The lake was becoming warmer at the same time in the 1800s the abundance of fish began declining, the team found. The lake's algae - fish food - also started decreasing at that time.

Lake Tanganyika fisheries declining from global warming

Climate Change News - ENN - August 8, 2016 - 4:47pm
The decrease in fishery productivity in Lake Tanganyika since the 1950s is a consequence of global warming rather than just overfishing, according to a new report from an international team led by a University of Arizona geoscientist.The lake was becoming warmer at the same time in the 1800s the abundance of fish began declining, the team found. The lake's algae - fish food - also started decreasing at that time.

NASA sees Tropical Storm Javier form in the Eastern Pacific

Climate Change News - ENN - August 8, 2016 - 3:06pm
Tropical Storm Javier formed on Aug. 7, 2016 in the Eastern Pacific Ocean off Mexico's western coast. Javier formed partially from the remnants of Hurricane Earl. NASA's Global Precipitation Measurement core satellite found that Javier contained heavy rain. On Aug. 8, Javier triggered hurricane and tropical storm warnings.Landslides caused by heavy rainfall from the remnants of Hurricane Earl caused the reported deaths of at least 39 people in eastern Mexico. That kind of rainfall was now seen in Tropical Storm Javier.

Okinawa mozuku: The treasure under the sea

Climate Change News - ENN - August 8, 2016 - 2:57pm
Mozuku is a unique Okinawan seaweed. Scientifically known as Cladosiphon okamuranus, this alga is popular in Japanese cuisine, and it has been farmed for more than 35 years. The cultivation of this seaweed is a key element in the economy of Okinawa: in 2006, the Japanese Cabinet Office estimated a 20,000 ton production, with an economic value of billions of Yen. 99% of this seaweed is produced in Okinawa, almost entirely farmed by humans. When in 2015 the production dropped for causes related with the higher temperature of the ocean, political institutions and research centres started to coordinate in order to develop a strategy to preserve this Okinawan treasure.

Making a solar energy conversion breakthrough with help from a ferroelectrics pioneer

Designers of solar cells may soon be setting their sights higher, as a discovery by a team of researchers has revealed a class of materials that could be better at converting sunlight into energy than those currently being used in solar arrays. Their research shows how a material can be used to extract power from a small portion of the sunlight spectrum with a conversion efficiency that is above its theoretical maximum -- a value called the Shockley-Queisser limit. This finding, which could lead to more power-efficient solar cells, was seeded in a near-half-century old discovery by Russian physicist Vladimir M. Fridkin, a visiting professor of physics at Drexel, who is also known as one of the innovators behind the photocopier.

Making a solar energy conversion breakthrough with help from a ferroelectrics pioneer

Climate Change News - ENN - August 8, 2016 - 2:32pm
Designers of solar cells may soon be setting their sights higher, as a discovery by a team of researchers has revealed a class of materials that could be better at converting sunlight into energy than those currently being used in solar arrays. Their research shows how a material can be used to extract power from a small portion of the sunlight spectrum with a conversion efficiency that is above its theoretical maximum -- a value called the Shockley-Queisser limit. This finding, which could lead to more power-efficient solar cells, was seeded in a near-half-century old discovery by Russian physicist Vladimir M. Fridkin, a visiting professor of physics at Drexel, who is also known as one of the innovators behind the photocopier.

NASA Satellite Reveals How Much Saharan Dust Feeds Amazon's Plants

What connects Earth's largest, hottest desert to its largest tropical rain forest?The Sahara Desert is a near-uninterrupted brown band of sand and scrub across the northern third of Africa. The Amazon rain forest is a dense green mass of humid jungle that covers northeast South America. But after strong winds sweep across the Sahara, a tan cloud rises in the air, stretches between the continents, and ties together the desert and the jungle. It’s dust. And lots of it.For the first time, a NASA satellite has quantified in three dimensions how much dust makes this trans-Atlantic journey. Scientists have not only measured the volume of dust, they have also calculated how much phosphorus – remnant in Saharan sands from part of the desert’s past as a lake bed – gets carried across the ocean from one of the planet’s most desolate places to one of its most fertile.

NASA Satellite Reveals How Much Saharan Dust Feeds Amazon's Plants

Climate Change News - ENN - August 5, 2016 - 5:40pm
What connects Earth's largest, hottest desert to its largest tropical rain forest?The Sahara Desert is a near-uninterrupted brown band of sand and scrub across the northern third of Africa. The Amazon rain forest is a dense green mass of humid jungle that covers northeast South America. But after strong winds sweep across the Sahara, a tan cloud rises in the air, stretches between the continents, and ties together the desert and the jungle. It’s dust. And lots of it.For the first time, a NASA satellite has quantified in three dimensions how much dust makes this trans-Atlantic journey. Scientists have not only measured the volume of dust, they have also calculated how much phosphorus – remnant in Saharan sands from part of the desert’s past as a lake bed – gets carried across the ocean from one of the planet’s most desolate places to one of its most fertile.

Hot 'new' material found to exist in nature

One of the hottest new materials is a class of porous solids known as metal-organic frameworks, or MOFs. These man-made materials were introduced in the 1990s, and researchers around the world are working on ways to use them as molecular sponges for applications such as hydrogen storage, carbon sequestration, or photovoltaics.Now, a surprising discovery by scientists in Canada and Russia reveals that MOFs also exist in nature -- albeit in the form of rare minerals found so far only in Siberian coal mines.The finding, published in the journal Science Advances, "completely changes the normal view of these highly popular materials as solely artificial, 'designer' solids," says senior author Tomislav Friščić, an associate professor of chemistry at McGill University in Montreal. "This raises the possibility that there might be other, more abundant, MOF minerals out there."

Cornell scientists convert carbon dioxide, create electricity

While the human race will always leave its carbon footprint on the Earth, it must continue to find ways to lessen the impact of its fossil fuel consumption."Carbon capture" technologies - chemically trapping carbon dioxide before it is released into the atmosphere - is one approach. In a recent study, Cornell University researchers disclose a novel method for capturing the greenhouse gas and converting it to a useful product - while producing electrical energy.Lynden Archer, the James A. Friend Family Distinguished Professor of Engineering, and doctoral student Wajdi Al Sadat have developed an oxygen-assisted aluminum/carbon dioxide power cell that uses electrochemical reactions to both sequester the carbon dioxide and produce electricity.

Cornell scientists convert carbon dioxide, create electricity

Climate Change News - ENN - August 5, 2016 - 4:08pm
While the human race will always leave its carbon footprint on the Earth, it must continue to find ways to lessen the impact of its fossil fuel consumption."Carbon capture" technologies - chemically trapping carbon dioxide before it is released into the atmosphere - is one approach. In a recent study, Cornell University researchers disclose a novel method for capturing the greenhouse gas and converting it to a useful product - while producing electrical energy.Lynden Archer, the James A. Friend Family Distinguished Professor of Engineering, and doctoral student Wajdi Al Sadat have developed an oxygen-assisted aluminum/carbon dioxide power cell that uses electrochemical reactions to both sequester the carbon dioxide and produce electricity.

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