Environmental Protection

Research and Technology


Studying the Dust from the World Trade Center Collapse

On September 11, 2001, as the twin towers of the World Trade Center exploded and collapsed, clouds of dust billowed into the sky and across the city. Photographs from the outskirts show the thick clouds swallowing much of lower Manhattan. Satellite images reveal that the clouds were large enough to be seen from space. Survivors overtaken by the clouds emerged covered in a thick layer of dirt and debris. They reported that the clouds were so dense that they blacked out the sun.

NOAA Report on Joplin Tornado Offers Recommendations To Improve Disaster-Preparedness

The report identifies best practices and makes recommendations to help save more lives during future violent tornadoes. Most importantly, the assessment emphasizes that people must be prepared to take immediate action when a warning is issued.

EIA Projects World Energy Use Will Rise 53 Percent by 2035, Driven by China, India

Worldwide energy consumption is projected to grow by 53 percent between 2008 and 2035, with much of the increase driven by strong economic growth in the developing nations especially China and India, according the Energy Information Administration’s International Energy Outlook 2011.

Paper Points Out Weaknesses in Climate-Change Data Observation

Our most reliable models rely on data acquired through a range of complex measurements. Most of the important measurements - such as ice cover, cloud cover, sea levels and temperature, chlorophyll (oceans and land) and the radiation balance (incoming to outgoing energy) – must be taken from space, and for constraining and testing the forecast models, made over long timescales.

Researchers Testing Promising New Nanomaterial for Hydrogen Storage

The new material can store and release hydrogen extremely fast and at low temperatures compared with similar materials, and it's rechargeable. These attributes could make it ideal for use in onboard hydrogen storage for next-generation hydrogen or fuel cell vehicles.

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.

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