Globally, 9 of the 10 warmest years on record occurred since 2000

The global average temperature last year was the ninth-warmest in the modern meteorological record, continuing a trend linked to greenhouse gases that saw nine of the 10 hottest years occurring since the year 2000, NASA scientists said on Thursday. A separate report from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said the average temperature for the United States in 2011 as the 23rd warmest year on record. The global average surface temperature for 2011 was 0.92 degrees F (0.51 degrees C) warmer than the mid-20th century baseline temperature, researchers at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies said in a statement. The institute's temperature record began in 1880. The first 11 years of the new century were notably hotter than the middle and late 20th century, according to institute director James Hansen. The only year from the 20th century that was among the top 10 warmest years was 1998.

Trucks and Diesel Air Pollution

It is annoying to be driving behind a truck especially one that smells of diesel combustion products. Doing something about that is desirable but it will come at a tremendous cost. trucks are bought and used for years. It is not something that you replace quickly because it is costly. A common trend in environmental reporting is to put things in terms of jobs vs. the environment. For the port cities such as LA environmental protection has become more important than jobs. Once upon a time a new truck might cost $20,000. Now they are six figures which hurts the small independent truckers in particular.

European Commission Aims to Cut Food Waste 50 Percent by 2020

Europe may be facing much larger problem than what to do with its food waste. But being pushed through the European parliament is a bill that will have widespread significance. That is because food waste accounts for one of the largest sources of overall waste going to landfills. Per year, the average person throws away 300 kg (660 lbs) per year, and of this, two thirds is still edible. MEPs are railing against what they see as unsustainable levels of waste. The resolution being passed through parliament is set to be approved today.

Prehistoric Peruvians enjoyed popcorn

Researchers have uncovered corncobs dating back at least 3,000 years ago in two ancient mound sites in Peru according to a paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The ancient corn remnants, which proved residents were eating both popped corn and corn flour, are the earliest ever discovered in South America and may go back as far as 4,700 BCE (6,700 years ago), over fifteen hundred years before the early Egyptians developed hieroglyphics and while woolly mammoths still roamed parts of the Earth.

Increase Gas Mileage by Preventing Friction Loss

A joint study from the VTT Technical Research Centre in Finland and America's Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) has concluded that at least one third of a car's fuel consumption is used in overcoming friction. Friction loss has a direct impact on both fuel consumption and as a result, air emissions. However, there is available technology and technology under development that will make it possible to reduce fuel consumption and emissions by 18 percent within a decade. Within 25 years, the researchers estimate fuel consumption can be reduced by over 60 percent.

New frog trumps miniscule fish for title of ‘world’s smallest vertebrate’

How small can you be and still have a spine? Scientists are continually surprised by the answer. Researchers have discovered a new species of frog in Papua New Guinea that is smaller than many insects and dwarfed by a dime. The frog trumps the previously known smallest vertebrate—a tiny fish—by nearly 1 millimeter.

Small efforts to reduce methane, soot could have big effect

Carbon dioxide may be public enemy number one in the fight against global warming. But taking aim at methane and soot has a better chance of keeping the planet cooler in the short run, a new study finds.

Maize Strength

Maize is known in many English-speaking countries as corn but is technically a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain seeds called kernels. Though technically a grain, maize kernels are used in cooking as a vegetable or starch. The Olmec and Mayans cultivated it in numerous varieties throughout central and southern Mexico. Between 1700 and 1250 BC, the crop spread through much of the Americas. The region developed a trade network based on surplus and varieties of maize crops. After European contact with the Americas in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, explorers and traders carried maize back to Europe and introduced it to other countries. Now the discovery of a new provisioning gene in maize plants that regulates the transfer of nutrients from the plant to the seed could lead to increased crop yields and improve food security. Scientists from Oxford University and the University of Warwick, in collaboration with agricultural biotech research company Biogemma-Limagrain, have identified the gene, called Meg 1.

Warmer summers causing colder winters

Warmer summers in the far Northern Hemisphere are disrupting weather patterns and triggering more severe winter weather in the United States and Europe, a team of scientists say, in a finding that could improve long-range weather forecasts. Blizzards and extreme cold temperatures in the winters of 2009/10 and 2010/11 caused widespread travel chaos in parts of Europe and the United States, leading some to question whether global warming was real. Judah Cohen, lead author of a study published on Friday in the journal Environmental Research Letters, and his team found there was a clear trend of strong warming in the Arctic from July to September. Existing predictions would also expect a warming trend during winter as well. But Cohen and his team found this was not the case for some regions, in a counter-intuitive finding that reveals more about the complexity of the world's climate system than any flaws in the science of global warming. "For the last two decades, large-scale cooling trends have existed instead across large stretches of eastern North America and northern Eurasia. We argue that this unforeseen trend is probably not due to internal variability alone," the scientists say in the study.

The Real Solar War: US Manufacturers and Installers Fight Over Cheap Chinese Panels

There is a heated debate going on between people who are supposed to be on the same side of the aisle. Yet, when you hear their passionate arguments and the way they describe the damage the other is causing the US, you start wondering if they actually share anything in common. No, I’m not talking about Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. I’m talking about Jigar Shah and Gordon Brinser. While Brinser and Shah might not be as well-known as the Republican candidates, the debate they’re having on the future of the solar industry might be more valuable to those concerned about the future of the US economy. Basically, the debate between the two is over a petition made to the US International Trade Commission/Department of Commerce (ITC/DOC) against Chinese solar panel import. The main question at the heart of this debate is: Does the US need to focus on manufacturing at all costs, or should it look for another way to create a healthy and sustainable economy?