CCNY-Led Interdisciplinary Team Recreates Colonial Hydrology

Hydrologists may have a new way to study historical water conditions. By synthesizing present-day data with historical records they may be able to recreate broad hydrologic trends on a regional basis for periods from which scant data is available. Lack of reliable historical data can impede hydrologists' understanding of the current state of waterways and their ability to make predictions about the future. That was the case for the rivers of the northeastern United States between 1600 and 1800, a period that runs from just before the first European settlers arrived to the onset of the Industrial Age.

Europe moves ahead on Cap & Trade, Japan seen shelving carbon emission trading scheme

Japan is likely to shelve a plan to introduce carbon emissions trading as the troubled ruling Democratic Party bows to powerful business groups still recovering from a costly downturn. If confirmed, it would be a massive reversal by the party, which has backed one of the toughest emissions reduction targets of any major economy and said emissions trading was a key way to achieve that goal and drive greater energy efficiency at home. It would also be a blow to hopes more top greenhouse gas polluting nations outside the European Union would usher in emissions trading, after efforts in the United States and Australia were shelved.

River Sources of Green House Gases

Nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, is a chemical compound with the formula N2O. At room temperature, it is a colorless non-flammable gas, with a slightly sweet odor and taste. Nitrous oxide is a greenhouse gas, accounting for around 6% of the estimated heating effect of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. According to 2006 data from the United States Environmental Protection Agency, industrial sources make up only about 20% of human caused industrial sources. Other human activity may account for 30%; tropical soils and oceanic release account for 70%. Human-caused nitrogen loading to river networks is a potentially important source of nitrous oxide emission to the atmosphere which may have been severely underestimated. It happens via a microbial process called denitrification, which converts nitrates to nitrous oxide and other gases.

Celebrate Day of Flight with BBC Earth

Friday (Dec 17th) commemorated the Wright Brothers' first successful flight in a "heavier-than-air", mechanically propelled aircraft. So BBC Earth is celebrating by bringing together some of their favorite images and videos of nature's greatest fliers! Shearwaters: These seabirds get their name from a special technique of flying known as 'shearing', in which they fly across waves with stiff wings and so the minimum amount of actual flying. Demoiselle cranes: The Nepalese often refer to Everest as 'the mountain higher than any bird can fly' but tell that to the Demoiselle crane. Able to reach altitudes as high as 26,000 feet these incredibly tough birds cross the Himalayas every winter to reach the warmth of India.

Summary of the 2010 North Atlantic Hurricane Season

The 2010 hurricane season in the north Atlantic has come and gone. Although, the US was hardly touched by this year's storms, it turns out that 2010 was one of the busiest hurricane seasons on record. There were 19 named storms, tied for the third highest on record (1887 and 1995). Of these, 12 became hurricanes, and five reached major hurricane status of Category 3 or higher.

The Paradox of Efficiency

Several thousand officials from 194 countries just gathered in Cancún, Mexico, for yet another global climate summit. Dissatisfied with the pace of climate diplomacy, many individuals are now wondering what they can do about climate change on their own. For years now, climate activists from Al Gore to Leonardo DiCaprio have argued that individual actions like driving more economical cars and using more efficient light bulbs are a crucial element in the effort to address global warming. The United Nations' climate panel and the International Energy Agency both echo this sentiment, insisting that higher energy efficiency could reduce energy consumption by up to 30 percent—making improved efficiency an effective remedy for climate change. But is this really true?

Large Scale Solar Power Installations On Public Lands

What do you get when you add public land in sunny Western states and a federal government that wants to develop renewable energy? The answer: an announcement by the Interior Department last week that it selected about two dozen potential sites for large-scale solar power installations on public lands. The sites are in six states: California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico. The Bureau of Land Management has 120 million acres in the six states, and 22 million acres could be identified as solar energy zones, but only 214,000 acres will be considered.

Deepwater Wind Farm to Use New Design

A Rhode Island company is planning to use a relatively new design for offshore wind platforms to build a large wind farm 18 to 27 miles off the coast of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Deepwater Wind's proposed wind farm, which would use four-legged platforms to support large wind turbines, could be located in water up to 52 meters (170 feet) deep. That is more than twice the depth of conventional "monopole" wind turbines.

It hasn’t happened since 1638!

This morning at about 2:30 am in the eastern US, we were treated to a very rare event. A total lunar eclipse that coincides with the Winter Solstice. How often can you be a part of something that has not happened in more than 300 years ago and will not happen again until 2094! The combination of a total lunar eclipse and the Winter Solstice means that the moon is very high in the sky, and is easy to observe and photograph. Skies were perfect over New Jersey (except for the ever present light from cities and towns). The weather was clear and cold, but a little windy. The moon started into the Earth's shadow around 1:30 am and was totally in the Earth's shadow by 2:41am. The totality phase lasted about 72 minutes and then the moon started emerging from the shadow

The Other Electric Vehicles

During the last few decades, increased concern over the environmental impact of the petroleum-based transportation infrastructure has led to renewed interest in an electric transportation infrastructure. Electric vehicles differ from fossil fuel-powered vehicles in that the electricity they consume can be generated from a wide range of sources. A key advantage of electric or hybrid electric vehicles is regenerative braking and suspension; their ability to recover energy normally lost during braking as electricity to be restored to the on-board battery. In 2003, the first mass-produced hybrid gasoline-electric car, the Toyota Prius, was introduced worldwide, and the first battery electric car produced by a major auto company. Other major auto companies have electric cars in development, and the USA and other nations are building pilot networks of charging stations to recharge them. So what about the rest of the world? The Russian automotive industry is not one that is totally familiar with the green changes towards electric vehicles and other models that have been sweeping other countries throughout Europe or the world. In fact, historically, there has never been much to say about the Russian automotive industry as a whole. Now, however, Russia is ready for her first hybrid car.