Conserving Top Predators Results in Less CO2 in the Air

While scientists have long-known that predators lead to carbon storage by reducing herbivore populations, a new study reveals a novel way in which top predators cause an ecosystem to store more carbon

The Jet Stream and Greenland

There are many dynamics in the world. There are many global phenomena. Add the the jet stream to climate change. Research from the University of Sheffield has shown that unusual changes in atmospheric jet stream circulation caused the exceptional surface melt of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) in the summer 2012. An international team led by Professor Edward Hanna from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Geography used a computer model simulation (called SnowModel) and satellite data to confirm a record surface melting of the GrIS for at least the last 50 years - when on 11 July 2012, more than 90 percent of the ice-sheet surface melted. This far exceeded the previous surface melt extent record of 52 percent in 2010.

Industrialisation of the Great Barrier Reef

The Australian Marine Conservation Society and WWF-Australia said today that Australia’s governments are putting the Great Barrier Reef at risk by failing to implement the World Heritage Committee recommendations around rapid industrialisation. Australia's Richard Leck, who has been attending the World Heritage Meeting as an observer, said Australia had been put 'on notice' by the World Heritage Committee.

Flying Thunder

Jets are quite loud especially if they fly over your home much less for those closer like passengers or those at an airport. When jet-powered passenger aircraft first went into service in the 1950s, their engines were as loud as rock bands. Times have changed, but public dismay over jet noise has not. EurActiv reports from the Paris Air Show. Today’s engines are on average 75% quieter than those produced at the dawn of the jet age. This is the result, manufacturers say, of steady technological improvements that along with more aerodynamic aircraft have reduced the nuisance of flying for passengers and those on the ground.

Arabian Sea at High Risk of Quakes and Tsunamis

Countries surrounding the Arabian Sea may be at a much higher risk of a major earthquake and tsunami than previously thought, say researchers. A tsunami in this area of the Western Indian Ocean could threaten the coastlines of India, Iran, Oman, Pakistan and further afield. The scientists say further investigation should feed into hazard assessments and planning for such events in the region.

Energy saving measures boost house prices, new research reveals

Energy saving improvements made to a property could increase its value by 14 per cent on average - and up to 38 per cent in some parts of England - new research has shown. For an average home in the country, improving its EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) from band G to E, or from band D to B, could mean adding more than £16,000 ($25,000 USD) to the sale price of the property.

Memory Loss and Gain

Would it not be nice to take a pill and regain that elusive memory? We are all forgetful at times and without a clue as to how to get it better. Memory improved in mice injected with a small, drug-like molecule discovered by UCSF San Francisco researchers studying how cells respond to biological stress. The same biochemical pathway the molecule acts on might one day be targeted in humans to improve memory, according to the senior author of the study, Peter Walter, PhD, UCSF professor of biochemistry and biophysics and a Howard Hughes Investigator.

Clinton Global Initiative, Ikea and Global Green USA team to bring backup solar power to NY and NJ

When Superstorm Sandy cut power to millions in New York, New Jersey and beyond, solar-powered generators helped some residents recharge. Now a new project aims to install backup solar energy systems in areas that remain vulnerable. Low-income residents who were devastated by Superstorm Sandy are going to be first in line for a new solar power generation project called Solar for Sandy from the Clinton Global Initiative, the environmental organization Global Green USA and Ikea. The idea is that grid-tied solar will help lower bills and provide back-up in an emergency, according to Global Green USA’s announcement. The program wants to start by equipping at least five community facilities with solar energy systems that can offer lighting, mobile phone charging, heating, cooling, and refrigeration for medicine. A small-scale version is being installed in Far Rockaway, Queens. After that's completed, one for the Red Hook community in Brooklyn is scheduled to be installed by Oct. 29. Last fall, that neighborhood was hit hard by flooding.

Martian Dry Ice Gliders

Glaciers move, or flow, downhill due to gravity and the internal deformation of ice on Earth. It is not the same when there is dry ice (frozen carbon dioxide). NASA research indicates hunks of frozen carbon dioxide -- dry ice -- may glide down some Martian sand dunes on cushions of gas similar to miniature hovercraft, plowing furrows as they go. Researchers deduced this process could explain one enigmatic class of gullies seen on Martian sand dunes by examining images from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) and performing experiments on sand dunes in Utah and California.

How can agriculture best adapt to changing climate?

Whether it’s swapping coffee for cocoa in Central America or bracing for drought in Sri Lanka with a return to ancient water storage systems, findings from a new report from the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) chart a path for farmers to adapt to climate shifts despite uncertainties about what growing conditions will look like decades from now. As this week's UN climate talks in Bonn continue to sideline a formal deal on agriculture, the study, Addressing uncertainty in adaptation planning for agriculture, which was published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences (PNAS), finds that the cloudy aspects of climate forecasts are no excuse for a paralysis in agriculture adaptation policies. "Climate projections will always have a degree of uncertainty, but we need to stop using uncertainty as a rationale for inaction," said Sonja Vermeulen, head of research at CCAFS and the lead author of the study. "Even when our knowledge is incomplete, we often have robust grounds for choosing best-bet adaptation actions and pathways, by building pragmatically on current capacities in agriculture and environmental management, and using projections to add detail and to test promising options against a range of scenarios."