Environmental Protection

Air


NCAR Wind Forecasts Save Millions of Dollars for Xcel Energy

The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) has developed a highly detailed wind energy forecasting system with Xcel Energy, enabling the utility to capture energy from turbines far more effectively and at lower cost. The system, which Xcel Energy formally took over last month, saves ratepayers several million dollars yearly.

Wind Energy Lessens Under Heat Wave Conditions

During the summer 2003, high temperatures and drought conditions in Europe led to a reduction of the wind force with direct consequences on the wind energy power, reduced by 22 percent. The study was recently published in Journal of Climate.

Tropical Forests Fertilized By Air Pollution

Scientists braved ticks and a tiger to discover how human activities have perturbed the nitrogen cycle in tropical forests. Studies at two remote Smithsonian Institution Global Earth Observatory sites in Panama and Thailand show the first evidence of long-term effects of nitrogen pollution in tropical trees.

feature pet waste

DNA Lab Aims to Reduce Your Pet's Carbon Footprint

There’s an unsuspecting culprit contributing to U.S. water pollution: pet poop.

Study Links Pollutants to a 450 Percent Increase in Risk of Birth Defects

Pesticides and pollutants are related to an alarming 450 percent increase in the risk of spina bifida and anencephaly in rural China, according to scientists at The University of Texas at Austin and Peking University.

Oil Company Pleads Guilty to Clean Air Act and Obstruction Crimes in Louisiana

Pelican Refining Company LLC could potentially pay $12 million in criminal penalties in a plea agreement, marking the largest criminal fine in Louisiana for violations of the Clean Air Act.

School District to Install World's First Ultra-efficient Solar Hot Air System

Sanborn Regional School District in Kingston, N.H., has signed the world's first power purchase agreement for ultra-efficient solar hot air, which will reduce heating bills.

Tips Tuesday: Tips for a Green Autumn Season

As the leaves change and temps drop, the crisp autumn air brings a whole new load of waste possibilities with the new season. As opposed to the scorching summer months coupled with UV rays that dry lawns and surge kilowatts of electricity through homes for cooling, fall brings gutter clutter and leaf waste – not to mention high kilowatt usage in parts of the world prone to freezing temps.



New Study Shows How Trees Clean the Air

New research shows how trees can improve air quality by filtering out pollution particulates, which are damaging to human health.

Nuclear Power Has Prevented 40M Metric Tons of CO2 Emissions

More than 10 years after electricity deregulation, the nuclear power industry has decreased greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 40 million metric tons of carbon dioxide and saved $2.5 billion a year as a result of operating more efficiently over the past decade, according to a new study.

High Air, Water Quality Are Key to a More-Pleasant Beach Vacation

People head to the beach to escape the stress of everyday life, but a new study out of the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis finds that there are peak times to reap the restorative benefit.

When Combating Urban Air Pollution, Think Regionally

At the 2008 Winter Olympics, Chinese officials didn't want the gold medal for "most polluted air." Reducing air pollution in an urban area like Beijing will require large, regional strategies according to scientists from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Peking University. They studied the effects of emission reduction efforts at the Beijing Olympics.

Satellites Measurements of Megacity Emissions Far Exceed Computer Estimates

One of NASA's satellites has provided the most detailed map yet of the pollution generated by some of the world’s biggest cities, and given an indication of the volume of emissions of the nitrogen oxides from direct measurements rather than relying on computer models and a range of assumptions.

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.

Despite Reductions by Industrialized Countries, Global CO2 Emissions Increase Steeply

Global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) increased by 45 percent between 1990 and 2010, and reached an all-time high of 33 billion tons in 2010. Increased energy-efficiency, nuclear energy and the growing contributions of renewable energy are not compensating for the globally increasing demand for power and transport, which is strongest in developing countries.

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.

Controlled Burns from Gulf Oil Spill Released at Least 1.4M Pounds of Soot

The black smoke that rose from the water’s surface during the controlled burns pumped more than 1 million pounds of black carbon (soot) pollution into the atmosphere, according to a new study published last week by researchers at NOAA and its Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) in Boulder, Colo.

EPA Issues Key Air Quality Permits to Shell for Arctic Oil and Gas Exploration

EPA Region 10 issued final air quality permits to Shell on Sept. 19 for oil and gas exploration drilling in the Alaska Arctic. The permits will allow Shell to operate the Discoverer drillship and a support fleet of icebreakers, oil spill response vessels, and supply ships for up to 120 days each year in the Chukchi Sea and Beaufort Sea Outer Continental Shelf starting in 2012.

Big Goals for Philadelphia Refrigerator Recycling Project

The new UNTHA Recycling Technology (URT) system at the Appliance Recycling Centers of America (ARCA)’s facility in Philadelphia is ready to begin recycling as many as 150,000 refrigerators annually, GE and ARCA announced Sept. 9.

EPA Paves Way for New Ozone Plans for Nation’s Worst Two Air-Quality Zones

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to approve the 8-hour ozone air quality plans for the San Joaquin Valley and South Coast areas. These plans, known as State Implementation Plans, are the roadmaps to meeting the Clean Air Act standard of 0.08 parts per million of ozone as measured in 8-hour increments.

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