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Nature World: Changes in agriculture affect river flow rates in both rainy and dry times, according to two University of Iowa researchers. While it may seem obvious that river flow rates in the Midwest can change depending on how heavy or light rainfall is, what's not so clear is how changes in land use can impact these river flows. "We wanted to know what the relative impacts of precipitation and agricultural practices played in shaping the discharge record that we see today," lead author Gabriele Villarini...
Posted: July 29, 2014, 12:07 am
Reuters: California’s drought has claimed yet another historic casualty in this parched capital city - the annual heritage celebration known as Gold Rush Days. Staged for the past 15 years by tourism groups who turn the city's Old Sacramento district into a dirt-paved scene from the 1850s, the Labor Day weekend tradition was canceled on Monday due to concerns about water use and fire. Steve Hammond, president and chief executive officer of the Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau, said that up to...
Posted: July 28, 2014, 10:53 pm
Grist: Netflix has already burned weeks of our lives with its early ventures into original programming. You know what I`m talking about. Every episode of House of Cards or Orange is the New Black left you tearing out your hair screaming, “I NEED JUST ONE MORE, PLEEEASE!” Now that the good people at Netflix have come to realize their power, they’re going to try to use it to show us something even more unnerving than murderous politicians: real life. As part of their new documentary push, they bought the...
Posted: July 28, 2014, 10:14 pm
Nature World: A new facility is launching that will expose natural woodland to raised carbon dioxide levels, simulating conditions expected in the near future. This research is expected to give conversationalists and policy makers a look at future troubles the world's forest will face. The University of Birmingham has reportedly secured initial funding to support ten years of a free-air carbon dioxide enrichment (FACE) experiment at its brand new Birmingham Institute of Forest Research (BIFoR). According to...
Posted: July 28, 2014, 10:05 pm
Reuters: California Governor Jerry Brown and Mexican environmental officials signed a pact on Monday aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, an agreement that could eventually expand the market for carbon credits. The six-page memorandum of understanding calls for cooperation in developing carbon pricing systems and calls on the partners to explore ways to align those systems in the future. “California can’t do it alone and with this new partnership with Mexico, we can make real progress on reducing...
Posted: July 28, 2014, 9:45 pm
EcoWatch: The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) publicly released its report today finding that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is "not consistently conducting two key oversight and enforcement activities for class II programs" for underground fluid injection wells associated with oil and gas production. The report shows that the EPA`s program to protect drinking water sources from underground injection of fracking waste needs improvement. According to the report, "The U.S. EPA...
Posted: July 28, 2014, 9:44 pm
Reuters: U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz on Monday defended his agency's controversial move to consider processing spent nuclear fuel from Germany at South Carolina's Savannah River Site nuclear facility, saying the proposal is consistent with U.S. efforts to secure highly enriched uranium across the globe. The United States has for years accepted spent fuel from research reactors in various countries that was produced with uranium of U.S. origin as a part of U.S. nuclear non-proliferation policy and...
Posted: July 28, 2014, 8:46 pm
Des Moines Register: The odds of a major production slowdown of corn and wheat are as much as 20 times greater with climate change, according to researchers at Stanford University and the National Center for Atmospheric Research. The authors used global climate computer models, along with data about weather and crops, to calculate the chances that climatic trends would slow the growth in yields by 10 percent during the next 20 years. The result, researchers found, would mean yields would grow about half as quickly as...
Posted: July 28, 2014, 8:24 pm
Reuters: Lightning storms that killed a 20-year-old beachgoer in Los Angeles and sent eight other people to the hospital stemmed from a combination of atmospheric conditions relatively unusual for coastal Southern California, weather experts said on Monday. A bolt of lightning, accompanied by what witnesses described as an explosive thunder clap, struck near the shore of Venice Beach on Sunday during a storm that materialized quickly and lasted about 15 minutes. An estimated 20,000 people were at the...
Posted: July 28, 2014, 8:10 pm
Environmental News Network: The planet's soil releases about 60 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere each year, which is far more than that released by burning fossil fuels. This happens through a process called soil respiration. This enormous release of carbon is balanced by carbon coming into the soil system from falling leaves and other plant matter, as well as by the underground activities of plant roots. Short-term warming studies have documented that rising temperatures increase the rate of soil respiration. As...
Posted: July 28, 2014, 8:02 pm
Reuters: Firefighters began to gain the upper hand on Monday against a Northern California wildfire that has destroyed 13 homes and blackened nearly six square miles in the drought-parched foothills east of Sacramento, officials said. Crews had built containment lines around roughly two-thirds of the so-called Sand Fire as of Monday morning, up from only 35 percent on Sunday evening, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said. Some residents who were forced to flee their homes ahead...
Posted: July 28, 2014, 7:56 pm
EcoWatch: Three Seattle area residents were arrested today after blockading train tracks at an oil facility at Tesoro’s Anacortes Refinery. The protestors were demanding an immediate end to the shipment of Bakken oil through Northwest communities, all new oil-by-rail terminals proposed for the Northwest and Clean Air Act violations by oil refineries. “Thursday’s derailment was the last straw,” said Jan Woodruff, an Anacortes resident who was blockading the tracks. “If federal and state regulators won’t...
Posted: July 28, 2014, 7:55 pm
Examiner: An ever-growing mountain of facts and scientific studies to support man-made climate change--not to mention extreme weather incidents and changing seasonal patterns being experienced every day--wasn’t enough information to keep the United States from taking the top spot in climate change denial, according to a UK Global Trends poll reported last week in EcoWatch that included 16,000 people in 20 countries. The US even beat Australia, which is unexpected since that country now has a climate change-denier...
Posted: July 28, 2014, 7:43 pm
Mongabay: As palm oil producers increasingly look to Africa’s tropical forests as suitable candidates for their next plantations, primate scientists are sounding the alarm about the destruction of ape habitat that can go hand in hand with oil palm expansion. A study recently published in the Cell Press journal Current Biology sought to take those warnings a step further by quantifying the overlap in suitable oil palm land with current ape habitat. “It’s a huge worry,” said lead author Serge Wich of oil...
Posted: July 28, 2014, 7:23 pm
Independent: More than three-quarters of the Tories’ top target seats in the next general election have been opened up for oil and gas exploration, Greenpeace has claimed. As the Government launched the latest bidding round for onshore oil and gas licences, which covers around half the country, the environmental campaign group warned that the licensing area also covered freshwater aquifers and intruded on 10 national parks. The analysis by Greenpeace comes after a ComRes poll of more than 1,000 people in...
Posted: July 28, 2014, 7:17 pm
LA Times: General Mills said Monday it would take new steps to combat climate change, including expanding its emission reduction targets to include its vast network of suppliers and contractors. About two-thirds of General Mills’ greenhouse gas emissions and 99% of its water use comes from its indirect operations such as the farms it purchases raw materials from. The Minneapolis-based company known for brands such as Cheerios, Pillsbury and Haagen-Dazs pledged to include their supply chain in its emission...
Posted: July 28, 2014, 6:57 pm
Guardian: Overwhelming opposition to the government's plans to expanding fracking across Britain was expressed by interest groups during an official consultation, whose results were released a day after ministers signalled a go-ahead for shale gas drilling around the country. The Department of Energy and Climate Change's report on the government's Strategic Environmental Assessment of its nationwide fracking plan recorded a wide range of objections, including from bodies such as Public Health England and...
Posted: July 28, 2014, 6:45 pm
Yahoo: Researchers from Stanford including former U.S. Secretary of Energy and Nobel laureate Steve Chu are currently working on “fixing” lithium-ion batteries in order to offer a longer charge to various devices that require such batteries, including smartphones and electric cars. A battery has three components including an anode that discharges electrons, a cathode to receive them and an electrolyte to provide electrons. Stanford researchers are trying to create a battery that has lithium in the anode...
Posted: July 28, 2014, 6:15 pm
Nature World: Antarctic fur seals are being born smaller and breeding less, experts are reporting. This, they say, is a direct result of changing climate conditions in their natural habitats. A study recently published in the journal Nature details how nearly three decades of data is showing an alarming trend: fur seal pups, namely the females, are being born smaller and smaller. "Over 27 years, we see pups being born with eight percent less body mass. We also see the females breeding later in age - at least...
Posted: July 28, 2014, 6:05 pm
Climate Central: The transportation sector is a major contributor to climate-changing carbon dioxide emissions, and, worldwide, it's also one of the most vulnerable sectors to the effects of climate change, according to a new report. In other words, climate change could mean "sun kinks' could warp train tracks in the heat, airplanes will be more expensive to fly, highway surfaces could soften in heat waves, roadways and bridges could be washed away in rising seas and storm surges, and storms in the open ocean...
Posted: July 28, 2014, 6:02 pm
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