Environmental Protection

Research and Technology


Oceans May Mask Effects of Global Warming

The planet’s deep oceans at times may absorb enough heat to flatten the rate of global warming for periods of as long as a decade even in the middle of longer-term warming, according to a new analysis led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

Researchers Spend 10 Days Underwater to Study Coral

A team of researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology is using the Aquarius underwater laboratory off the coast of Florida to study how the diversity of seaweed-eating fish affects endangered coral reefs. The research mission, which began Sept. 13, may provide new information to help scientists protect and even restore damaged coral reefs in the Caribbean.

Researchers Examine How Invasive Plants Encourage Wildfires

The past decade has seen 77,951 fires burn about 6.7 million acres in the United States. One condition that facilitates the spread of wildfires is invasive plant species. Nonnative weeds can modify the vegetation of a landscape and provide a source of fuel that did not previously exist.

MEMS Device Generates Energy From Small Vibrations

Today’s wireless-sensor networks can do everything from supervising factory machinery to tracking environmental pollution to measuring the movement of buildings and bridges.

EPA Funds Pollution Prevention Projects in New Jersey and New York

From funding smart meters on college campuses, to reducing hazardous chemicals in high school laboratories, to promoting alternatives to dry cleaning, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is making its pollution prevention grants count across New Jersey and New York. The EPA has awarded more than $600,000 in grants to fund projects that help prevent pollution in these two states.

Research Shows Solar Rays Could Replace Petroleum Fuels

Alternative fuel sources for cars may have a glowing future as a Kansas State University (K-State) graduate student is working to replace petroleum fuels with ones made from sunlight.

University of Houston Tests Local Buses for Fuel Efficiency

It seems fuel economy is on everyone's minds these days. The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, with its large bus fleet, is no exception.

Altair ProductDesign Unveils the World's First Series Hydraulic Hybrid Transit Bus

BUSolutions LCO-140H to revitalize urban transit by increasing fuel economy by 110 percent and reducing 12-year fleet operations cost by $50 million for the average sized transit authority.

Parabolic Mirrors Concentrate Sunlight to Power Lasers

Legend tells of Greek engineer and inventor Archimedes using parabolic mirrors to create "heat rays" to burn the ships attacking Syracuse. Though the underpinnings of that claim are speculative at best, a modern-day team of researchers at the Scientific and Production Association in Uzbekistan has proposed a more scientifically sound method of harnessing parabolic mirrors to drive solar-powered lasers.

NOAA's Climate Prediction Center: La Niña is back

La Niña, which contributed to extreme weather around the globe during the first half of 2011, has re-emerged in the tropical Pacific Ocean and is forecast to gradually strengthen and continue into winter.

Researchers Find High Levels of Toxic PCBs in Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal

University of Iowa researchers have found high levels of toxic polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the deep sediments lining the Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal (IHSC) in East Chicago, Ind.

Testing Techniques for Restoring Native Prairies Leads to Better Decision-Making

Restoring prairies to their native vegetation can be approached from several directions. Managers might eliminate invasive plants through use of herbicides, encourage growth of native species through seeding, or manipulate conditions to favor native species.

Researchers Predict Extreme Summer Temps to Become the Norm

Boston University researchers have estimated that even if international efforts to limit temperature increases to 2 degrees Celcius, mean global temperatures will continue to be extreme.

Tree Rings Reveal Forest Fires from Hundreds of Years Ago

Trees can reveal key information about fire events, and some trees have a lot to tell — one tree researchers examined endured 14 separate fires through its lifetime.

Google Carbon Offset

Hog Waste Producing Electricity and Carbon Offsets

A pilot waste-to-energy system recently constructed by Duke University and Duke Energy garnered the endorsement of Google Inc., which invests in high-quality carbon offsets from across the nation to fulfill its own carbon neutrality goals.

Study Suggests Switching from Coal to Natural Gas Would do Little for Global Climate

Although the burning of natural gas emits far less carbon dioxide than coal, a new study concludes that a greater reliance on natural gas would fail to significantly slow down climate change. The study appears this week in the Springer journal Climatic Change Letters.

Lithium Battery Performance May Get a Boost from Algae

By looking to Mother Nature for solutions, researchers have identified a promising new binder material for lithium-ion battery electrodes that could not only boost energy storage, but also eliminate the use of toxic compounds now used in manufacturing the components.

Army Corps of Engineers Study Finds Trees' Effect on Levees is 'Highly Variable and Unquantifiable'

The research, conducted by the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), focused primarily on the gathering of root characterization and site conditions through fieldwork, and modeling of single, living trees for both slope stability analyses and seepage analyses.

Climate Policy Initiative Study Finds U.S. Building Energy Codes Work

In the first U.S. study to measure the real impact of building energy codes on total household energy consumption, Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) found that U.S. building energy codes have reduced household energy use and greenhouse gas emissions

Study Reveals that National Forests can Provide Public Health Benefits

Each year, more than 170 million people visit national forests for recreation. And the physical activity associated with these visits burns 290 billion food calories. That equals enough french fries laid end to end to reach the Moon and back -- twice -- according to a recent study in the Journal of Forestry.

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