Environment

  • The impact of sea-level rise on coastal military installations

    The Pentagon says that climate-related effects are already being observed at Department of Defense (DoD) installations in every region of the United States and its coastal waters. The effects of climate change will adversely impact military readiness and DoD natural and built infrastructure unless these risks are considered in DoD decisions. A new white paper developed by the Pentagon’s Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) identifies key climate-related policy questions that need to be addressed.

  • Volcanic aerosols, not pollutants, slowed recent Earth warming

    Researchers looking for clues about why Earth did not warm as much as scientists expected between 2000 and 2010 now thinks the culprits are hiding in plain sight — dozens of volcanoes spewing sulfur dioxide.

  • No gloom-and-doom: science does not back global tipping point view

    A group of international ecological scientists have rejected a doomsday-like scenario of sudden, irreversible change to the Earth’s ecology. The scientists argue that global-scale ecological tipping points are unlikely and that ecological change over large areas seem to follow a more gradual, smooth pattern.

  • Water security experts at U Arizona annual conference

    How can Arizona secure a safe, sustainable water supply for its current and future residents? The University of Arizona Water Resources Research Center will take on this complex issue at its annual conference on 5 March.

  • Much less additional land available for biofuel production

    Amid efforts to expand production of biofuels, scientists are reporting new estimates that downgrade the amount of additional land available for growing fuel crops by almost 80 percent.

  • Radioactive leaks at Washington’s Hanford nuclear reservation

    Earlier this month, Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced that a radioactive waste tank at one of the nation’s most contaminated nuclear sites is leaking, bringing more bad news to Washington’s Hanford nuclear reservation. The 177 tanks at the plant, which hold millions of gallons of highly radioactive waste from plutonium production, are way past their intended 20-year life span.

  • Guam uses dead mice to fight snake invasion

    Guam has declared war on brown tree snakes, believed to have been carried to Guam around the end of the Second World War. The snakes have become a serious problem, eradicating native bird populations on the island.

  • Weather extremes caused by giant waves trapped in the atmosphere

    The world has suffered from severe regional weather extremes in recent years, such as the heat wave in the United States in 2011 or the one in Russia 2010, coinciding with the unprecedented Pakistan flood. Behind these devastating individual events there is a common physical cause, propose scientists in a new study. The study suggests that man-made climate change repeatedly disturbs the patterns of atmospheric flow around the globe’s Northern hemisphere through a subtle resonance mechanism.

  • Wind power’s contribution has been overestimated

    People have often thought that there is no upper bound for wind power — that it is one of the most scalable power sources. After all, gusts and breezes do not seem likely to “run out” on a global scale in the way oil wells might run dry. Yet the latest research in mesoscale atmospheric modeling  suggests that the generating capacity of large-scale wind farms has been overestimated.

  • Georgia wants to redraw its northern border to tap Tennessee River water

    Lawmakers in Georgia are renewing efforts to claim Georgia’s right to tap into the Tennessee River’s  water supply. The lawmakers hope to achieve this by raising questions about the exact demarcation of the border between the two states.

  • Russian fireball largest ever detected by nuke monitoring organization

    Infrasound has been used as part of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization’s (CTBTO) monitoring tools to detect atomic blasts since April 2001 when the first station came online in Germany. Infrasonic waves from the meteor that broke up over Russia’s Ural Mountains last week were the largest ever recorded by the CTBTO’s International Monitoring System.

  • Climate change as a national security issue

    In a new report, Harvard researcher is pointing toward a new reason to worry about the effects of climate change — national security. During the next decade, the report concludes, climate change could have wide-reaching effects on everything from food, water, and energy supplies to critical infrastructure and economic security. “The imminent increase in extreme events will affect water availability, energy use, food distribution, and critical infrastructure — all elements of both domestic and international security,” the report’s author says.

  • Earthquake catastrophes and fatalities to rise in 21st century

    Predicted population increases in this century can be expected to translate into more people dying from earthquakes. There will be more individual earthquakes with very large death tolls as well as more people dying during earthquakes than ever before, according to a new study.

  • Water managers can now consult new U.S. water evaporation maps

    The amount of water available for people and ecosystems is the amount of annual precipitation — that is, snow or rain — minus the amount of annual evapotranspiration.  Evapotranspiration itself is the amount of water lost to the atmosphere from the ground surface. Scientists map the long-term U.S. evapotranspiration rates for the first time.

  • The sobering reality of water security

    Agriculture is one of the world’s most insatiable consumers of water. Yet, it is facing growing competition for water from cities, industry, and recreation at a time when demand for food is rising, and water is expected to become increasingly scarce.