• Conditions increasing Zika virus risk present in many U.S. cities

    Key factors that can combine to produce a Zika virus outbreak are expected to be present in a number of U.S. cities during peak summer months. The Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is spreading the virus in much of Latin America and the Caribbean, will likely be increasingly abundant across much of the southern and eastern United States as the weather warms, according to a new study.

  • Fertilizer applied to fields today will contaminate water for decades

    Nitrogen fertilizer applied to farmers’ fields has been contaminating rivers and lakes and leaching into drinking water wells for more than eighty years. Dangerous nitrate levels in drinking water could persist for decades, increasing the risk for blue baby syndrome and other serious health concerns.

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  • Global warming increases rainfall in world's driest areas

    Global warming will increase rainfall in some of the world’s driest areas over land, with not only the wet getting wetter but the dry getting wetter as well — a phenomenon that could lead to more flash flooding.

  • Impact of climate change on agriculture may be underestimated

    Studies of how climate change might affect agriculture generally look only at crop yields — the amount of product harvested from a given unit of land. But climate change may also influence how much land people choose to farm and the number of crops they plant each growing season. A new study takes all of these variables into account, and suggests researchers may be underestimating the total effect of climate change on the world’s food supply.

  • Syria’s 1998-2012 drought likely its most severe in more than 900 years

    In the years before the Syrian conflict erupted, the region’s worst drought on record set in across the Levant, destroying crops and restricting water supplies in the already water-stressed region. A new study shows that that drought, from 1998 to 2012, was not just the most severe in a century of record-keeping — it was the Levant’s most severe drought in at least 500 years and likely more than 900 years.

  • Resources used for biofuel reduce resources available for food production

    As strategies for energy security, investment opportunities and energy policies prompt ever-growing production and consumption of biofuels like bioethanol and biodiesel, land, and water that could otherwise be used for food production increasingly are used to produce crops for fuel. A new study shows about a third of the world’s malnourished population could be fed by using resources now used for biofuel production.

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  • Climate change impact on food production could cause 500,000 extra deaths in 2050

    Climate change could kill more than 500,000 adults in 2050 worldwide due to changes in diets and bodyweight from reduced crop productivity. The research, published yesterday in The Lancet, is the strongest evidence yet that climate change could have damaging consequences for food production and health worldwide. The study found that by 2050, reduced fruit and vegetable intake could cause twice as many deaths as under-nutrition, and that three-quarters of all climate-related deaths due to changes in food production are estimated to occur in China and India.

  • Cloud-based biosurveillance ecosystem

    The Departments of Defense and Homeland Security are developing a system which lets epidemiologists scan the planet for anomalies in human and animal disease prevalence, warn of coming pandemics, and protect soldiers and others worldwide.

  • Water storage strategies in Sub-Sahara Africa

    Direct abstraction of water from rivers through ponds and pumping devices seems the most attractive water storage option in Ethiopia. However, the funding agencies that may be interested in investing in such a storage system have to consider that better access to credit, and clear abstraction policies should be ensured.

  • Truck carrying toxic nuclear materials stolen in Mexico

    Five Mexican states have been placed on a state of alert after a truck carrying a container of dangerous radioactive material was stolen, the Mexican Interior Ministry has said. The material could cause permanent or serious injury to a person who is in contact with it for a short time, and is fatal when exposure lasts for more than a few hours.

  • New heat-wave formula to help health agencies prepare for extreme temperatures

    Extreme heat can pose several health risks, such as dehydration, hyperthermia, and even death, especially during sustained periods of high temperatures. However, a uniform definition of a heat wave does not exist. As a result, public health agencies may be unsure of when to activate heat alerts, cooling centers and other protective measures. Researcher has developed a uniform definition of a heat wave that may help public health agencies prepare for extreme temperatures.

  • Chlorine-free water tastes better, and may be healthier

    Chlorinated tap water is the norm around the world, but the experiences of several European countries is that it does not have to be. The benefits of foregoing chlorine include better-tasting and, potentially, healthier water.

  • Hackers hold hospitals’ medical data hostage

    Hackers attacked several hospitals in Germany with ransomware – locking medical files and demanding ransom payment for releasing the encrypted data. The blackmailing of hospitals by encrypting their medical file has become a growing problem around the world. In California, for example, a Hollywood hospital earlier this month had to pay about $17,000 in the digital currency bitcoins to hackers in order to regain access to medical files.

  • “Magic wand” to improve healthcare, cybersecurity

    Wireless and mobile health technologies have great potential to improve quality and access to care, reduce costs. and improve health. But these new technologies, whether in the form of software for smartphones or specialized devices to be worn, carried or applied as needed, also pose risks if they’re not designed or configured with security and privacy in mind. Researchers have developed a digital “magic wand” to improve home healthcare and to prevent hackers from stealing your personal data.

  • Calif. gas well blowout caused U.S. largest methane release, study finds

    The Aliso Canyon natural gas well blowout released more than 100,000 tons of the powerful greenhouse gas methane before the well was finally plugged 11 February, according to the first study of the event. The results confirm that it was the largest methane leak in U.S. history.