Environmental Protection

Research and Technology


Physicists Examine Their Own Carbon Footprint

In October's issue of Physics World, Phil Marshall, an astrophysicist at the University of Oxford, calls on physicists to pull their weight when it comes to climate change, drawing on his own research showing that astronomers average 23,000 air miles per year flying to observatories, conferences and meetings, and use 130 KWh more energy per day than the average U.S. citizen.

Researchers Develop World's First Energy-Storage Membrane

Electrical energy storage and its management is becoming an urgent issue due to climate change and energy shortage.

Researchers: Apply Public Trust Doctrine to 'Rescue' Wildlife from Politics

When a species recovers enough to be removed from the federal endangered species list, the public trust doctrine – the principle that government must conserve natural resources for the public good – should guide state management of wildlife, scientists say.

New Technology Uses Solar UV Light to Disinfect Drinking Water

A team of Purdue University researchers has invented a prototype water-disinfection system that could help the world's 800 million people who lack safe drinking water.

Researchers Produce Cheap Sugars for Sustainable Biofuel Production

Iowa State University's Robert C. Brown keeps a small vial of brown, sweet-smelling liquid on his office table.

Evaluating California Earthquake Forecasts

UC Davis researchers have compared seven earthquake forecasts (including their own) that were submitted to a competition organized by the Southern California Earthquake Center.

New Advanced Biofuel as an Alternative to Diesel Fuel

Researchers with the DOE's Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have identified a potential new advanced biofuel that could replace today's standard fuel for diesel engines but would be clean, green, renewable and produced in the United States. Using the tools of synthetic biology, a JBEI research team engineered strains of two microbes, a bacteria and a yeast, to produce a precursor to bisabolane, a member of the terpene class of chemical compounds that are found in plants and used in fragrances and flavorings. Preliminary tests by the team showed that bisabolane's properties make it a promising biosynthetic alternative to Number 2 (D2) diesel fuel.

Gulf Fish Show Signs of Reponse to Oil Spill Despite Low Toxin Levels

A research team led by LSU professors Fernando Galvez and Andrew Whitehead has published the results of a combined field and laboratory study showing the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on fish living in Louisiana marshes.

Research Suggests Global Warming Could Cause Animals to Shrink

The way in which global warming causes many of the world’s organisms to shrink has been revealed by new research from Queen Mary, University of London.

Bionic Bacteria May Help Fight Disease and Global Warming

A strain of genetically enhanced bacteria developed by researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies may pave the way for new synthetic drugs and new ways of manufacturing medicines and biofuels, according to a paper published September 18 in Nature Chemical Biology.

New Plant Science Will Make Ground Level Ozone Predictions More Accurate

Predictions of the ground-level pollutant ozone will be more accurate in future according to research published by environment scientists at research centers including the University of Birmingham in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Scientists Probe Indian Ocean for Clues to Worldwide Weather Patterns

An international team of researchers will begin gathering in the Indian Ocean next month to study how tropical weather brews there and then moves eastward along the equator with reverberating effects around the entire globe. They will use a vast array of tools ranging from aircraft and ships to moorings, radars, and numerical models.

The Hidden Power of Moss

Scientists at Cambridge University are exhibiting a prototype table that demonstrates how biological fuel cells can harness energy from plants.

New Approach Challenges Old Ideas About Plant Species and Biomass

For decades, scientists have believed that a relationship exists between how much biomass plant species produce and how many species can coexist. Stanley Harpole, assistant professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology at Iowa State University, was part of the team researching productivity and richness, and he says the research doesn’t support that relationship.

RFID Could Bring More-Realistic Pricing to Garbage Collection

Because costs of trash collection have increased significantly while landfill space diminishes, radio frequency identification (RFID) holds the potential to dramatically reduce the volume of trash and increase the amount of materials being recycled.

Model Successfully Forecasts Arctic Sea Ice Season

Relatively accurate predictions for the extent of Arctic sea ice in a given summer can be made by assessing conditions the previous autumn, but conditions more than five years into the future depend on understanding the impact of climate trends on the ice pack, new research shows.

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.

Insight Into River Formation Came From Being in the Right Place at the Right Time

Geography professor Bruce Rhoads and geology professor Jim Best were conducting research where the Wabash River meets the Ohio River in the summer of 2008 when they heard about a new channel that had just formed, cutting off a bend in the winding Wabash just upstream from the confluence. That serendipity gave the researchers a rare view of a dynamic, little-understood river process that changed the local landscape and deposited so much sediment into the river system that it closed the Ohio River.

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.

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