Archives for September 2016

Matthew strengthens into Category 4 hurricane: NHC

(Reuters) – Hurricane Matthew has strengthened into a Category 4, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said on Friday adding that a Hurricane Watch has been issued for Jamaica.


Reuters: Environment

Potentially harmful chemicals widespread in household dust

Household dust exposes people to a wide range of toxic chemicals from everyday products, according to a study led by researchers at Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH) at the George Washington University. The multi-institutional team conducted a first-of-a-kind meta-analysis, compiling data from dust samples collected throughout the United States to identify the top ten toxic chemicals commonly found in dust. They found that DEHP, a chemical belonging to a hazardous class called phthalates, was number one on that list. In addition, the researchers found that phthalates overall were found at the highest levels in dust followed by phenols and flame retardant chemicals.

ENN: Top Stories

Wetlands and agriculture, not fossil fuels could be causing a global rise in methane

Research published today in the American Geophysical Union’s journal Global Biogeochemical Cyclesshows that recent rises in levels of methane in our atmosphere is being driven by biological sources, such as swamp gas, cow burps, or rice fields, rather than fossil fuel emissions.

ENN: Top Stories

World deforestation: we're losing a forest the size of NYC every 2 days!

This is an issue of global concern. Climate change, urbanization, and resource depletion (more mouths to feed, burn wood in stoves for, graze more cattle for) is still happening at a fast an alarming clip, influencing our planet’s ability to store CO2 emissions, and protect diversity. 

ENN: Top Stories

Millions of Trees are Dying Across the US

Throughout the U.S., trees are dying at an astonishing rate. The reasons for the die-off vary from location to location — drought, disease, insects and wildfires – but the root cause in many of these cases is the same: climate change.

The epidemic is even threatening the oldest white oak tree in America, a 600-year-old giant in New Jersey that predates Columbus’ visit to the Americas.

ENN: Top Stories

The Deepwater Horizon Spill May Have Caused ‘Irreversible’ Damage To Gulf Coast Marshes

Ocean Leadership ~

(Credit: Hans Deryk, Reuters)

(Click to enlarge) Gulf oil reaching marshes. (Credit: Hans Deryk, Reuters)

The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill has been called one of the worst environmental disasters in American history — and more than six years later, scientists are still investigating how much damage it actually caused. Now, a new study suggests the spill may have permanently marred one of the Gulf shore’s most important ecosystems.  

(From Washington Post/by Chelsea Harvey) The study, published Tuesday in the journal Scientific Reports, finds the oil spill caused widespread erosion in the salt marshes along the coasts of Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi. And the researchers say there’s a chance these marshes might never completely grow back.  

Marshes “provide a variety of important services,” said lead study author Brian Silliman, a marine conservation biologist at Duke University. “They benefit humans, including acting as pollution filters, absorbing nutrients as they run off from the land before they get into the estuary, helping to suppress harmful algal blooms. They also act as breakwaters and buffer the shoreline from erosion.”  

They’re also important carbon sinks — in fact, research suggests that coastal wetlands may absorb several times more carbon per unit of area than tropical forests do. And they also provide habitat to a wide variety of animals that are staples of human fisheries, including shrimp, crabs and small fish.

Read the full article here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/09/27/the-deepwater-horizon-oil-spill-may-have-caused-irreversible-damage-to-marshes-along-the-gulf-coast/?utm_term=.00e470ae065d

The post The Deepwater Horizon Spill May Have Caused ‘Irreversible’ Damage To Gulf Coast Marshes appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.


Consortium for Ocean Leadership

Global warming to breach 2C limit by 2050 unless tougher action: study

OSLO (Reuters) – Global warming is on track to breach a 2 degrees Celsius threshold by 2050 unless governments at least double their efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions, scientists said on Thursday.


Reuters: Environment

Longest record of continuous carbon flux data is now publicly available

Around the world — from tundra to tropical forests, and a variety of ecosystems in between — environmental researchers have set up micrometeorological towers to monitor carbon, water, and energy fluxes, which are measurements of how carbon dioxide (CO2), water vapor and energy (heat) circulate between the soil, plants and atmosphere. Most of these sites have been continuously collecting data, some for nearly 25 years, monitoring ecosystem-level changes through periods of extreme droughts and rising global temperatures. Each of these sites contributes to a regional network — i.e. the European Network (Euroflux) or the Americas Network (AmeriFlux) — and the regional networks together comprise a global network called FLUXNET.

ENN: Top Stories

92% of the world's population exposed to unsafe levels of air pollution

A new WHO air quality model confirms that 92% of the world's population lives in places where air quality levels exceed WHO limits. Some 3 million deaths a year are linked to exposure to outdoor air pollution. Indoor air pollution can be just as deadly. In 2012, an estimated 6.5 million deaths (11.6% of all global deaths) were associated with indoor and outdoor air pollution together.

ENN: Top Stories

Greenland May Be Losing Ice Even Faster Than We Thought

Ocean Leadership ~

A study just out in the journal Science Advances finds that previous studies may have underestimated the current rate of mass loss on the Greenland ice sheet by about 20 billion tons per year.  (Photo courtesy of Fiamma Straneo, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

(Click to enlarge )A study just out in the journal Science Advances finds that previous studies may have underestimated the current rate of mass loss on the Greenland ice sheet by about 20 billion tons per year. (Photo courtesy of Fiamma Straneo, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Rapidly melting Greenland may be shedding its ice even faster than anyone suspected, new research suggests. A study just out in the journal Science Advances finds that previous studies may have underestimated the current rate of mass loss on the Greenland ice sheet by about 20 billion tons per year.  

(From The Washington Post / by Chelsea Harvey)– Generally, scientists estimate ice loss in Greenland (and elsewhere around the world) using data from satellites. But the new study suggests these satellite studies may have included some incorrect assumptions, causing them to miscalculate the amount of mass actually disappearing from the ice sheet each year.  

The assertion revolves around a concept known as “glacial isostatic adjustment,” or the tendency of land to bounce back after a large weight of ice has been removed from it. Over the past 25,000 years or so, since the last great Ice Age, the planet’s surface has been slowly springing back into place.

An important part of this effect is driven by the flowing of the Earth’s mantle, a layer of thick, oozing rock beneath the Earth’s crust, said Michael Bevis, a geophysicist at The Ohio State University and a co-author on the new study. When a heavy weight, such as a huge ice sheet, forms on the Earth’s surface, the resulting high pressure causes the rocky mantle to begin flowing out from underneath it. When the weight is removed, the mantle gradually begins to flow back into place.

Because satellite studies generally draw their conclusions about ice loss based on changes in the Earth’s surface, scientists must make corrections to account for this effect. But the new paper suggests that our current correction methods may not be entirely accurate — at least, not for Greenland. The study points specifically to the measurements yielded by theGRACE satellites, a set of twin crafts that estimate ice loss based on changes in the pull of gravity as they orbit around the earth.

Read the full article here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/09/21/greenland-may-be-losing-ice-even-faster-than-scientists-thought/?utm_term=.0fefdeb21497

The post Greenland May Be Losing Ice Even Faster Than We Thought appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.


Consortium for Ocean Leadership