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Toward Twister Forecasting: Scientists Make Progress in Assessing Tornado Seasons

Meteorologists can see a busy hurricane season brewing months ahead, but until now there has been no such crystal ball for tornadoes, which are much smaller and more volatile.

Metal Oxide Simulations Could Help Green Technology

University of California, Davis, researchers have proposed a radical new way of thinking about the chemical reactions between water and metal oxides, the most common minerals on Earth.

Thawing Arctic Tundra Presents Climate Threat

A significant source of greenhouse gases has started leaking into the Earth's atmosphere from an unlikely place. Above the Arctic Circle, land frozen for tens of thousands of years has begun to thaw for the first time. Current estimates indicate that perennially frozen ground, called permafrost, holds more than twice the amount of carbon present in today's atmosphere. As permafrost thaws, a huge amount of this stored carbon could be released as carbon dioxide or methane gas.

Study Finds Mysterious Flotsam in Gulf of Mexico Came from Deepwater Horizon Rig

Shortly after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, mysterious honeycomb material was found floating in the Gulf of Mexico and along coastal beaches. Using state-of-the-art chemical forensics and a bit of old-fashioned detective work, a research team led by scientists at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) confirmed that the flotsam were pieces of material used to maintain buoyancy of the pipe bringing up oil from the seafloor.

Efforts to Control the Mississippi River Result in Flooded Farmland and Permanent Damage

When the water in the Mississippi River rose to 58 feet with a forecast of 60 feet or higher in May 2011, the emergency plan to naturally or intentionally breach the levees, established over 80 years prior, was put in motion. The flood of 1937 did top the frontline levee and water passed into and through the New Madrid Floodway, but being floodfree since then caused area landowners to oppose the plan being put into action.

Guidebook Provides Framework for Managing U.S. Forests in Face of Climate Change

Resource managers at the nation's 155 national forests now have a set of science-based guidelines to help them manage their landscapes for resilience to climate change.

Acid Rain Study Show Substantial Decreases

Measurable improvements in air quality and visibility, human health, and water quality in many acid-sensitive lakes and streams, have been achieved through emissions reductions from electric generating power plants and resulting decreases in acid rain. These are some of the key findings in a report to Congress by the National Acid Precipitation Assessment Program, a cooperative federal program.

Can We Engineer Our Way Out of Global Warming?

Engineering our way out of global climate warming may not be as easy as simply reducing the incoming solar energy, according to a team of University of Bristol and Penn State climate scientists. Designing the approach to control both sea level rise and rates of surface air temperature changes requires abalancing act to accommodate the diverging needs of different locations.



New Study Evaluates Impact of Land Use Activity in the Amazon Basin

A new study recently published in the journal Nature, reveals that human land use activity is changing the regional water and energy cycles--the interplay of air coming in from the Atlantic Ocean, water transpiration by the forest, and solar radiation--of parts of the Amazon basin. In addition, it shows that ongoing interactions between deforestation, fire, and climate change have the potential to alter carbon storage, rainfall patterns and river discharge on an even larger basin-wide scale.

Power Generation is Blowing in the Wind

By looking at the stability of the atmosphere, wind farm operators could gain greater insight into the amount of power generated at any given time.

What Can a Mild Winter Do to the Environment?

Snowfall in the nation’s snowiest large city - Syracuse, N.Y. - has added up to less than half of its average mid-January total and temperatures in the usually wintry Northeast are expected to rise into the 50s again before January is over. As portions of the United States experience an unusually mild start to the winter, with higher-than-normal temperatures and less-than-average snowfall, questions are raised about the weather’s effect on the environment.

Can a Cactus Clean Up Soils and Waterways?

A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientist has discovered what may be an effective tool for cleaning up soils and waterways in parts of California's San Joaquin Valley: a drought-tolerant cactus.

New Jersey Elementary Schools Lower Lead Level in Drinking Water

EPA, working with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and three New Jersey school districts, has successfully lowered lead in drinking water at elementary schools to below EPA-recommended levels.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Marks a Century of Research and Monitoring

In 2012, the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory celebrates its 100th anniversary of studying the volcanoes’ workings and disseminating cutting-edge volcano science throughout the world. Many public events are planned to celebrate the centennial of HVO, the first volcano observatory in the United States.

New Research Suggests Lead from Roads Major Source of Airborne Contamination

An international research study published in the journal Atmospheric Environment has found that re-suspended roadside soil dust is a major source of atmospheric lead in old inner city areas.

MIT Studies User-controlled Efficient Lighting Systems

MIT study finds potential for significant energy savings through user-controlled efficient lighting systems.

Sunlight Powering Electric Vehicles

A $2 million award to the Center for Environmental Research and Technology at the University of California, Riverside's Bourns College of Engineering will fund a new project focused on powering electric vehicles from sunlight.

Computer Model Optimizes Biofuel Operations

Research into biofuel crops, such as switchgrass and Miscanthus, has focused mainly on how to grow these crops and convert them into fuels. But many steps lead from the farm to the biorefinery, and each could help or hinder the growth of this new industry.

Scientists Can Now Compare How Efficiently Plants, Photovoltaic Cells Convert Sunlight into Energy

Scientists now have a way to more accurately compare how efficiently plants and photovoltaic cells convert sunlight into energy, thanks to findings by a research consortium that included a USDA scientist.

Researchers Turn Major Ecological Problem into One of the World's Most Sought After Substances

Researchers have found that Marabú – a type of hard wood shrub that has invaded more than 1.5 million hectares of land in Cuba – can be used to produce highly valuable activated carbon.

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