Legislative & Regulatory Update

NASA Spots Sub-Tropical Storm 11S Still Swirling

Climate Change News - ENN - March 15, 2017 - 3:57pm
Once a tropical storm, now a sub-tropical storm, the remnants of the tropical low pressure area formerly known as 11S was spotted by NASA's Aqua satellite, still spinning in the Southern Indian Ocean.On March 14 at 2230 UTC (6:30 p.m. EST) the remnants of Tropical Cyclone 11S were located near 29.8 degrees south latitude and 52.4 degrees east longitude, about 530 nautical miles south-southwest of La Reunion Island.

When the sea ice melts, juvenile polar cod may go hungry

Climate Change News - ENN - March 15, 2017 - 3:39pm
Polar cod fulfil a key role in the Arctic food web, as they are a major source of food for seals, whales and seabirds alike. But the polar cod themselves might soon be the hungry ones. Under the ice of the central Arctic, the juvenile fish are indirectly but heavily dependent on ice algae. As a result, retreating sea ice could have far-reaching impacts on the food web. Though researchers have long since suspected this relation existed, an international team of researchers led by the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, have now successfully confirmed it.

Optical fingerprints can reveal environmental gases

More efficient sensors are needed to be able to detect environmental pollution. Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology have proposed a new, sophisticated method of detecting molecules with sensors based on ultra-thin nanomaterials. The novel method could improve environmental sensing in the future. The results are published in the scientific journal Nature Communications.“This could open up new possibilities for the detection of environmental gases. Our method is more robust than conventional sensors, which rely on small changes in optical properties”, says Maja Feierabend, PhD student at the Department of Physics and the main author of the article from Chalmers University of Technology and Technische Universität Berlin.

What makes farmers try new practices?

Change is never easy. But when it comes to adopting new agricultural practices, some farmers are easier to convince than others.

Louisiana wetlands struggling with sea-level rise four times the global average

Climate Change News - ENN - March 14, 2017 - 6:05pm
Without major efforts to rebuild Louisiana’s wetlands, particularly in the westernmost part of the state, there is little chance that the coast will be able to withstand the accelerating rate of sea-level rise, a new Tulane University study concludes.The study by researchers in Tulane’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and published in the open-access journal Nature Communications shows that the rate of sea-level rise in the region over the past six to 10 years amounts to half an inch per year on average.

Increase in Extreme Sea Levels Could Endanger European Coastal Communities

Climate Change News - ENN - March 14, 2017 - 5:01pm
Massive coastal flooding in northern Europe that now occurs once every century could happen every year if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, according to a new study.New projections considering changes in sea level rise, tides, waves and storm surge over the 21st century find global warming could cause extreme sea levels to increase significantly along Europe’s coasts by 2100. Extreme sea levels are the maximum levels of the sea that occur during a major storm and produce massive flooding.

Early Earth Had a Hazy, Methane-filled Atmosphere

More than 2.4 billion years ago, Earth’s atmosphere was inhospitable, filled with toxic gases that drove wildly fluctuating surface temperatures. Understanding how today’s world of mild climates and breathable air took shape is a fundamental question in Earth science.New research from the University of Maryland, the University of St. Andrews, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the University of Leeds and the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science suggests that long ago, Earth’s atmosphere spent about a million years filled with a methane-rich haze. This haze drove a large amount of hydrogen out of the atmosphere, clearing the way for massive amounts of oxygen to fill the air. This transformation resulted in an atmosphere much like the one that sustains life on Earth today.

New Materials Could Turn Water into the Fuel of the Future

Researchers at Caltech and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have—in just two years—nearly doubled the number of materials known to have potential for use in solar fuels.They did so by developing a process that promises to speed the discovery of commercially viable solar fuels that could replace coal, oil, and other fossil fuels.

CO2 Levels Continue to Increase at Record Rate

Climate Change News - ENN - March 14, 2017 - 3:02pm
For the second year in a row, carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have increased at a record rate, jumping 3 parts per million (ppm) in 2016, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. CO2 concentrations rose 3.03 ppm in 2015, making the last two years the first time that the greenhouse gas has risen more than 3 ppm in NOAA’s 59 years of monitoring, Climate Central reported.

Did humans create the Sahara Desert?

Climate Change News - ENN - March 14, 2017 - 12:23pm
New research investigating the transition of the Sahara from a lush, green landscape 10,000 years ago to the arid conditions found today, suggests that humans may have played an active role in its desertification. The desertification of the Sahara has long been a target for scientists trying to understand climate and ecological tipping points. A new paper published in Frontiers in Earth Science by archeologist Dr. David Wright, from Seoul National University, challenges the conclusions of most studies done to date that point to changes in the Earth's orbit or natural changes in vegetation as the major driving forces.

Scientists harness solar power to produce clean hydrogen from biomass

A team of scientists at the University of Cambridge has developed a way of using solar power to generate a fuel that is both sustainable and relatively cheap to produce. It’s using natural light to generate hydrogen from biomass.One of the challenges facing modern society is what it does with its waste products. As natural resources decline in abundance, using waste for energy is becoming more pressing for both governments and business.

Shell Begins Divestment From Canadian Oil Sands

Climate Change News - ENN - March 14, 2017 - 9:51am
Last week Royal Dutch Shell agreed to sell most of its Athabasca oil sands investment to a Canadian exploration company for $8.5 billion. To many, this was anything but a surprise. In 2015, the world’s second largest publicly-traded oil company put the brakes on its Pierre River development, suggesting it wasn’t the right time for Shell to enter what was at the time the largest oil sands development in Canada.

Humans Made the Banana Perfect—But Soon, It'll Be Gone

On a plate, a single banana seems whimsical—yellow and sweet, contained in its own easy-to-open peel. It is a charming breakfast luxury as silly as it is delicious and ever-present. Yet when you eat a banana the flavor on your tongue has complex roots, equal parts sweetness and tragedy.

Doubts about whether internet filters protect teenagers online

Internet filters are widely used in homes, schools and libraries throughout the UK to protect young people from unpleasant online experiences. However, a new study by Oxford casts doubt on whether such technologies shield young teenagers after finding no link between homes with internet filters and the likelihood of the teenagers in those households being better protected. 

MSU researcher studies effects of weather variability and market dynamics on maple syrup production

Climate Change News - ENN - March 14, 2017 - 9:32am
A Montana State University assistant professor of sustainable food systems who has conducted research all over the world is turning her attention to maple syrup.Some farmers in the United States and Canada have noticed that the quantity and quality of their maple syrup is changing with climate variability, said Selena Ahmed from MSU's Department of Health and Human Development in the College of Education, Health and Human Development. Ahmed is co-leading a team of researchers who are investigating these observations.

The UK's Drop in CO2 Emissions Shows the Power of Carbon Taxes

Climate Change News - ENN - March 14, 2017 - 9:24am
A new analysis indicates that the UK’s CO2 output is at a record low, and it’s largely down to one major action: a reduction in coal use.

Switzerland could generate more energy out of used wood

Switzerland is not fully exploiting a significant source of clean energy: 173,000 tonnes of used wood could be re-used producing valuable heat and power energy today, in addition to the 644,000 tonnes of used wood already being used. This was the conclusion reached by a nationwide survey conducted by the Swiss Federal Research Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL) among 567 companies in the construction, waste management and transport sectors.

Looking for 'fingerprints' at the intersection of weather and climate

Climate Change News - ENN - March 13, 2017 - 3:17pm
Scientists have found the seasonal “fingerprints” of Arctic sea ice, El Nino, and other climate phenomena in a new study that probes the global interactions between weather and climate.

Plants Might Have Saved Earth From Permanent Ice Age

Climate Change News - ENN - March 13, 2017 - 3:11pm
In the last 800,000 years, Earth has chilled and thawed its way through eight ice ages, each lasting tens of thousands of years. But why? Why didn’t Earth just freeze the one time and stay that way?

Star discovered in closest known orbit around black hole

Astronomers have found evidence for a star that whips around a black hole about twice an hour. This may be the tightest orbital dance ever witnessed for a black hole and a companion star.

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