Environmental Protection

Research and Technology


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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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