Heading Towards a World without Corals

Every year brings new accounts of coral bleaching in the tropical oceans. Even the largest living structure on Earth, the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia, is under threat. According to marine scientist, J.E.N.Veron, in a couple generations coral reefs will no longer exist. Unless of course, humans find a different way to live that will not pollute the waters.

Windowfarms Crowdsources to Turn Urban Food Deserts into Food Desserts

Home gardening has surged in the past couple of years. Plenty of reasons account for the partial shift from factory farm to backyard farm: concern over nutrition, environmental issues, and economic worries.

Decline of West Coast Fog Brought Higher Coastal Temperatures Last 60 Years

Fog is a common feature along the West Coast during the summer, but a University of Washington scientist has found that summertime coastal fog has declined since 1950 while coastal temperatures have increased slightly.

Cap & trade, European style

A new regulatory regime for dispensing around 100 billion euros of carbon permits has been approved by EU regulators, granting steelmakers and oil refineries free emission allowances in an effort to shield them from international competition after 2012. Fears that tighter controls on CO2 emissions in Europe will drive factories to relocate abroad has led the EU to grant sweeping exemptions for industries deemed to be at risk. Existing proposals for the permits to be allocated according to carbon intensity "benchmarks" were approved with only slight modifications by the European Commission on 15 December.

NASA Earthquake studies advance science

Major advances in earthquake analyses using new technologies developed by NASA and are revealing surprising insights into a major earthquake that rocked parts of the American Southwest and Mexico in April, including increased potential for more large earthquakes in Southern California. At the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco, scientists from NASA and other agencies presented the latest research on the magnitude 7.2 El Mayor-Cucapah earthquake, that region's largest in nearly 120 years. Scientists have studied the earthquake's effects in unprecedented detail using data from GPS, advanced simulation tools and new remote sensing and image analysis techniques, including airborne light detection and ranging (LiDAR), satellite synthetic aperture radar and NASA's airborne Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR).

Arctic ‘Ice Refuge’ Envisioned As Region Warms Rapidly in 21st Century

As the Arctic rapidly warms in the 21st century and Arctic sea ice largely disappears in summer, a strip of year-round ice is likely to remain to the north of Greenland and the Canadian Arctic archipelago, providing a refuge for some sea-ice dependent wildlife, such as polar bears and ringed seals, according to researchers. A panel of scientists at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco said the remaining band of ice could provide a haven for some iconic Arctic creatures, although the disappearance of the vast majority of summer sea ice, probably by mid-century, will undoubtedly be bad news for polar bears, which use the ice as a feeding platform to hunt ringed seals. The remnant strip of summer sea ice will likely exist because prevailing winds blow sea ice away from the shores of Russia and toward Canada, according to Stephanie Pfirman of Barnard College. She and colleagues from Columbia University, McGill University, and the U.S. government said it is important to protect this ice refuge from the oil drilling and mineral exploration that is likely to spread through other parts of the Arctic as summer sea ice disappears and the Arctic Ocean becomes navigable for part of the year.

Foggy California

Traditionally one thinks of San Francisco as having quaint foggy mornings. Things change. Fog is a collection of water droplets or ice crystals suspended in the air at or near the Earth's surface. While fog is a type of a cloud, the term fog is typically distinguished from the more generic term cloud in that fog is low-lying, and the moisture in the fog is often generated locally (such as from a nearby body of water, like a lake or the ocean, or from nearby moist ground or marshes). Fog is a common feature along the West Coast during the summer, but a University of Washington scientist has found that summertime coastal fog has declined since 1950 while coastal temperatures have increased slightly. Fog formation appears to be controlled by a high-pressure system normally present off the West Coast throughout the summer, said James Johnstone, a postdoctoral researcher with the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean at the UW.

Almonds May Lower Risks of Type 2 Diabetes and Heart Disease

There are estimated to be 20 million people in the United States with either prediabetes or type 2 diabetes by the year 2020. Diabetes is one of the leading causes of heart disease, and half of all people with diabetes die from cardiovascular complications. A previous study has found the vitamin B1 to be an effective treatment for this affliction. Now, a new study from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey suggests that an almond-enriched diet can improve insulin sensitivity and lower LDL-cholesterol levels for people with prediabetes.

Eeny Miny Moe: Where Should the EV Charging Stations Go?

I don't envy the folks charged with determining where the public charging infrastructure should be installed to support the rollout of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs). The lucky owners of the first Volts and Leafs that are delivered during the next few weeks and months will primarily rely on home charging, but that will be complemented by public locations.

Japan, Tunisia Forge Sustainable Business Partnership in the Sahara

This past weekend at the second annual Japan-Arab Economic Forum, the governments of Japan and Tunisia formally sealed a deal to collaborate on a sustainable business project that takes advantage of Tunisia's ample solar resources. Together the two countries will be building a solar power plant in the Sahara desert, which is rapidly becoming a hot spot for some of the most innovative solar power projects in the world.