Archives for December 2015

2015 Year in Review

As 2015 comes to a close, Mongabay is looking back at the year that was. This year saw President Obama reject the Keystone pipeline as historic droughts and a vicious wildfire season wracked the western US and Canada. The world committed to climate action in Paris as Southeast Asia was choking on the worst Indonesian haze in years, Shell aborted its plans to drill in the Arctic for the “foreseeable” future, and ExxonMobil is being investigated for lying to the public about climate risks. Here, in no certain order, are the top 15 environmental stories of 2015.

ENN: Top Stories

Functions Of Global Ocean Microbiome Key To Understanding Environmental Changes

Ocean Leadership ~

Arachnoidiscus sendaicus, a microorganism collected from the Falkland Platform in the South Atlantic Ocean (Credit: California Academy of Sciences Geology)

(Click to enlarge) Arachnoidiscus sendaicus, a microorganism collected from the Falkland Platform in the South Atlantic Ocean (Credit: California Academy of Sciences Geology)

The billions of marine microorganisms present in every liter of seawater represent a structured ecological community that regulates how Earth functions in practically every way, from energy consumption to respiration. As inhabitants of the largest environment on Earth, microbial marine systems drive changes in every global system.

(From ScienceDaily) — The function and behavior of this community will determine how the global ocean responds to broader environmental changes, according to a new review article published in the journal Science by University of Georgia marine scientist Mary Ann Moran.

The ocean microbiome covers the majority of Earth’s surface, extending an average of more than 2 miles deep to the sea floor. Made up of an extraordinary diversity of microorganisms, the ocean microbiome was one of the first microbiomes to be studied. As its distribution and makeup become better understood, questions about its functional capabilities under stress have grown.

 Read the full article here: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/12/151210181647.htm.

The post Functions Of Global Ocean Microbiome Key To Understanding Environmental Changes appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.


Consortium for Ocean Leadership

Polar Bears Must Work Harder On Faster Sea Ice Treadmill

Ocean Leadership ~

Polar bears on waters edge. (Credit: HowardPerry/iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

(Click to enlarge) Polar bears on waters edge. (Credit: HowardPerry/iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

Thinner sea ice is getting pushed farther by Arctic winds, which makes polar bears walk more to stay in the same place, increasing their need for food.

(From Scientific American) —  Polar bears live on floating rafts of sea ice, hunting for seals. But in the Arctic Ocean north of Alaska, the cold polar wind constantly blows that ice from east to west. Which means that the polar bears there are on a kind of treadmill.  

“If the bears don’t compensate that drift, they would all drift to Russia. So over the course of a year they need to walk back against that prevailing drift to remain in the Alaska territories.” David Douglas, a biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Juneau, Alaska.

Recently, researchers realized that the ice drift in this part of the Arctic Ocean has accelerated from about three kilometers per day up to five. That’s probably because climate change has made the sea ice thinner and easier for the winds to push. And that means the polar bear treadmill has sped up too.

 Read the full article here: http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode/polar-bears-must-work-harder-on-faster-sea-ice-treadmill/?WT.mc_id=SA_syn_RDFRS.

 

The post Polar Bears Must Work Harder On Faster Sea Ice Treadmill appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.


Consortium for Ocean Leadership

Eve Was Created From Adam’s Penis: Bible Scholar

Eve was not made from one of Adam's ribs, but was instead created using a bone in his penis, a Biblical scholar has claimed causing much controversy. Continue reading →
Discovery News

Claiming to represent ‘science’, the global GMO industry is built on fear, fraud and corruption

The more the GM industry claims to enjoy the support of ‘science’, the more it resorts to emotive attack and insult against its opponents, while doing its best to suppress the many scientific truths that are not to its liking, writes Colin Todhunter. In truth it is driven by profit, politics and ideology, and is based on fraud and the capture and corruption of governments and regulators.
Environment news & analysis, climate change reports –
The Ecologist

Widespread flooding hits Midwest with rivers still rising

(Reuters) – Rain-swollen rivers rose across the U.S. Midwest on Wednesday, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of people, threatening crops and livestock and putting scores of buildings underwater after days of unusual winter flooding that has killed 24 people.



Reuters: Environment

ALMA Spies Baby Stars’ Planetary Workshops

For the first time, astronomers have found compelling evidence that the dust-free gaps surrounding young stars are caused by massive exoplanets.
Discovery News

Scientists Discover That Salty Sea Spray Affects Clouds

Ocean Leadership ~

Oceans send plumes of sea spray into the atmosphere, altering the formation and duration of clouds (Credit: Warren Antiola/Flickr)

(Click to enlarge) Oceans send plumes of sea spray into the atmosphere, altering the formation and duration of clouds (Credit: Warren Antiola/Flickr)

All over the planet, every day, oceans send plumes of sea spray into the atmosphere.

(From The National Science Foundation) — Beyond the poetry of crashing ocean waves, this salt- and carbon-rich spray also has a dramatic effect on cloud formation and duration.

In a new paper published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Colorado State University atmospheric scientist Paul DeMott finds that sea spray is a unique, underappreciated source of what are called ice nucleating particles. These microscopic bits make their way into clouds and initiate the formation of ice, affecting the clouds’ composition.

“The presence of these particles is critically important for precipitation and the lifetime of clouds, and consequently, for their radiative properties,” DeMott said.

 Read the full article here: http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=136822&WT.mc_id=USNSF_51&WT.mc_ev=click.

The post Scientists Discover That Salty Sea Spray Affects Clouds appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.


Consortium for Ocean Leadership

Scientists Warn Light Pollution Can Stop Coral From Spawning

Ocean Leadership ~

Coral macro photos under blue moon light (Credit: Mike Jensen)

(Click to enlarge) Coral macro photos under blue moon light (Credit: Mike Jensen)

Israeli and Australian scientists have found that coral exposed to artificial light cannot detect moonlight and therefore fail to spawn.

(From ScienceDaily) — Their findings are published in the journal eLife. An association between light pollution and the health of coral reefs has been suspected since the 2007 discovery that moonlight triggers the mass release of eggs and sperm. The current study led by Bar-Ilan University, in collaboration with the University of Queensland, is the first to confirm the effect with field trials during a spawning event.

The researchers are also the first to show all the genes that are switched on and off during mass spawning. The snapshot provides new insights into the way external cues and corals’ internal circadian clock interact to prepare for reproduction and to synchronise the eventual release of spawn.

 Read the full article here: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/12/151215091421.htm.

The post Scientists Warn Light Pollution Can Stop Coral From Spawning appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.


Consortium for Ocean Leadership

Defeated: rich countries’ plan to impose investor rights in WTO trade deal

Rich nations at this month’s World Trade Organisation summit in Nairobi failed in key objectives, writes Alex Scrivener, like the inclusion of investor rights as in TTIP, TTP and CETA. But the unfair order of global trade remains in place, and the greatest danger for poor countries is that the neoliberal agenda will now be forced upon them in opaque regional and bilateral trade deals.
Environment news & analysis, climate change reports –
The Ecologist