Climate Change Complexities in the Northern Hardwood Forests

For residents of the northeastern United States, the abundant woodlands of the northern Appalachians provide an excellent getaway from the congested coasts. These woods are composed typically of hardwood trees like Oak, Ash, Maple, and Birch, changing to evergreen varieties at the higher elevations. Climatologists predict that the northeast will experience warmer and wetter conditions as the climate continues to alter. However, until now, there has been no exhaustive study conducted to see how the climate change will affect the biosphere of the northern hardwoods. A recent study found that this region will be susceptible to major disruptions to forest health, its maple syrup industry, the spread of wildlife diseases and tree pests, as well as changing timber resources.

Not Your Pilgrim’s Turkey

As we get ready for a great traditional Thanksgiving feast, I often wonder if this meal is really what the pilgrims and Native Americans would have eaten. Most likely our traditions have nothing to do with what really went down. We cannot even be sure that the first Thanksgiving had a turkey, and even if they did, according to a new study, this main dish would be genetically different than the bird present at the first Thanksgiving.

Better Place EV Company May Turn Into EV Gas Station

Israel's electric car company Better Place is going to experience an overhaul, and will manage its existing resources in a new way, according to Evan Thornley, the company's new CEO who just moved to Israel from Australia. Instead of focusing on selling Renault-made cars and charge plans to keep them juiced, the company is going to seek new agreements with other EV car manufacturers worldwide so that Better Place charge stations and battery replacement points will be the center of a new business model. Over the past month and a half, Better Place's global CEO Shai Agassi was ousted, and last week its Israeli CEO Moshe Kaplinsky decided to quit amidst speculation that the troubled company had become even more unstable.

Emissions Gap report warns of urgent need for climate change action

Action to tackle climate change needs to be urgently scaled up if the world is to have any chance of keeping a global temperature rise below 2 degrees C this century, according to UN Environment Programme (UNEP) research. The Emissions Gap Report, coordinated by UNEP and the European Climate Foundation, and released days before the convening of the Climate Change Conference of the Parties in Doha, shows that greenhouse gas emissions levels are now around 14 per cent above where they need to be in 2020. Instead of declining, concentration of warming gases like carbon dioxide (CO2) are actually increasing in the atmosphere-up around 20 per cent since 2000.

After Brief Decrease Last Year, Sea Levels Resume Their Steady Rise

It is no secret that for the last couple decades, as Earth's climate has been changing, sea levels have been steadily rising. But what is not so well known is that in 2011, sea levels throughout the world fell sharply. Of course, with a body of water as large as the world's oceans, a sharp fall only equates to one quarter of an inch (1 cm). It is nonetheless, a dramatic change in general trend which caught the eye of NASA and European researchers. Using advanced satellites, they were able to track average sea levels with precision accuracy. What they have found is that after this brief decrease in sea levels, the seas have been rising again and are now back on track with their trajectory of the last twenty years.

Great apes suffer mid-life crisis too

Homo sapiens are not alone in experiencing a dip in happiness during middle age (often referred to as a mid-life crisis) since great apes suffer the same according to new research in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). A new study of over 500 great apes (336 chimpanzees and 172 orangutans) found that well-being patterns in primates are similar to those experience by humans. This doesn't mean that middle age apes seek out the sportiest trees or hit-on younger apes inappropriately, but rather that their well-being starts high in youth, dips in middle age, and rises again in old age.

Climate change predicted to hit poorest hardest

All nations will suffer the effects of a warmer world, but the world's poorest countries will suffer most from food shortages, rising sea levels, cyclones and drought, the World Bank’s new report on climate change says. Under new World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, a former scientist, the global development lender has launched a more aggressive stance to integrate climate change into development. "We will never end poverty if we don't tackle climate change. It is one of the single biggest challenges to social justice today," Kim told reporters on Friday [16 November].

Owl wings may inspire new design for quieting aircrafts

Airlines and airports could soon be relying on nature for a unique way to reduce noise pollution after researchers found owl feathers are designed to minimize sound while in flight. Owls have long been known to have the uncanny ability to fly silently, relying on specialized plumage to reduce noise so they can hunt in acoustic stealth. Now researchers from the University of Cambridge, England, are studying the owl's wing structure to better understand how it mitigates noise so they can apply that information to the design of conventional aircraft.

Tall Tower Green House Measurements

A network of integrated greenhouse gas measurements in the UK and Ireland – the first of its kind in Europe – has been established by researchers at the University of Bristol. The UK DECC (Deriving Emissions linked to Climate Change) Network consists of a network of four stations in the UK and Ireland which make high-frequency measurements of all major greenhouse gases from tall towers. Measurements made from the UK DECC Network are used by the Met Office to assess and verify atmospheric trends and UK emissions of these greenhouse gases. They are set tall to avoid ground level effects. Similar tall towers exist on continental Europe.

General Motors Moves Deeper into the Electric Vehicle Business

GM is already the maker of the Chevrolet Volt, the first wide-selling domestic plug-in hybrid electric vehicle to hit the market. With new CAFE standards put in place by the US Government, and with growing public demand for cleaner vehicles, GM has decided to expand its electric vehicle inventory. According to GM's product development chief, by 2017, the US automaker will build up to 500,000 vehicles which utilize some sort of electric technology. Adding to its fleet of Volts will also be the new all-electric Spark, which goes on sale in select markets starting next year. The half-million vehicles expected to be produced would equal about five percent of its total global sales from 2011.