Riverside 550 Megawatt Solar Project

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has just approved the Desert Sunlight Solar Farm, a 550-megawatt (MW) solar power project to be built in the California desert east of Palm Springs. The solar-photovoltaic facility will create more than 630 jobs at peak construction and infuse an estimated $336 million into the local economy. When built, Desert Sunlight will generate enough energy to power over 165,000 homes. "The Desert Sunlight Solar Farm is the largest photovoltaic facility Interior has approved thus far and, when built, will help power our nation and economy," Secretary Salazar said. "With 12 large-scale solar projects approved in the last 18 months, we continue to make significant strides in spurring innovation, job-creation, and investment in the private sector while strengthening America’s energy security." The facility will use thin film photovoltaic (PV) technology, which generates electricity with low visual impact, no air emissions, waste production or water use, and has the smallest carbon footprint of any PV technology. An on-site substation and a 230-kiloVolt (kV) generation tie line will connect the project to the Red Bluff substation which will convert the power from 230 kV to 500kV for transmission on Southern California Edison’s regional grid.

Martian Summer

A newly released image from ESA’s Mars Express shows the north pole of Mars during the red planet’s summer solstice. All the carbon dioxide ice has gone, leaving just a bright cap of water ice. This image was captured by the orbiter’s High-Resolution Stereo Camera on May 17, 2010 and shows part of the northern polar region of Mars during the summer solstice. The solstice is the longest day and the beginning of the summer for the planet’s northern hemisphere. The ice shield is covered by frozen water and carbon dioxide ice in winter and spring but by this point in the martian year all of the carbon dioxide ice has warmed and evaporated into the planet’s atmosphere.

Mold Exposure Has Greater Impact on Infants

The inhalation of mold can be extremely hazardous for the lungs, respiratory system, and overall well-being. Some people are more susceptible than others to the symptoms caused by airborne mold, but it is unhealthy for all. A new study recently published in the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology has shown that mold exposure has much greater impact in infants during their formative years. It found that infants living in moldy homes are much more likely to develop asthma by age 7.

Himalayan nations develop energy, water roadmap in lead up to climate summit

Kathmandu, Nepal: Experts from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal gathered in Kathmandu in late July for discussions on long-term energy security in the Himalayas, concluding a series of planning sessions that aim to put an ambitious 10-year regional climate change adaptation plan in motion.

Maldivian move to marine energy

Scotland will help the Maldives in developing the country's huge potential in renewable marine energy. A study of the archipelagic country's wave, tidal and ocean thermal energy will be conducted by Scotland's Robert Gordon University to establish the potential before adaptations are made.

Drought worsens in Midwest

Drought worsened in the Midwest during the last week as record-high temperatures stressed the developing corn and soybean crops, while cotton and pastures eroded amid a historic drought in the southern Plains. Nearly 38 percent of the Midwest was "abnormally dry" as of August 2, the climatologists said in a weekly report, the most since December 2008. Temperatures in the past week hit record highs from the Plains to the East Coast, in some cases rising above 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) for the first time in more than 20 years. "Exceptional drought" decreased modestly in Texas, the epicenter of the worst drought in decades, where 73.5 percent of the state was suffering from that most severe category, according to the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor, produced by a consortium of national climate experts

Woman Hiker Breaks Appalachian Trail Record

Jennifer Pharr Davis has hiked the 2,175-mile Appalachian Trail twice before. She has even written a book about the long slog and its endless rewards and challenges. This summer, she hit the trail yet again with the goal of going even faster than her 2008 time of 57 days and some hours. (Most through-hikers take six months or more). But that's not all. She also wanted to beat the official record of 47 days, 13 hours and 31 minutes, set by Andrew Thompson in 2005. The New York Times caught up with her part-way through the trek with an encouraging report. This week, she succeeded in her record attempt, finishing in 46 days, 11 hours, 20 minutes. That translates to an average of 47 miles a day.

Green House Gases Other than CO2

Carbon dioxide remains the largest by mass of potential green house gases affecting climate change, but other greenhouse gases measurably contribute to the problem. A new study, conducted by NOAA scientists and published online today in Nature, shows that cutting emissions of those other gases could slow changes in climate that are expected in the future. Discussions with colleagues around the time of the 2009 United Nations’ climate conference in Copenhagen inspired three NOAA scientists – Stephen Montzka, Ed Dlugokencky and James Butler of NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colo. – to review the sources of non-carbon dioxide (CO2) greenhouse gases and explore the potential climate benefits of cutting their emissions.