Fruit flies yield clues on cancerous tumor hotspots

Florida State University researchers have found that the epithelial tissues that line the surfaces of organs throughout the body intrinsically have hot spots for cancerous tumors.

DNA analysis of seawater detects 80% of fish species in just one day

A Japanese research group has used a new technology that identifies multiple fish species populating local areas by analyzing DNA samples from seawater, and proved that this method is accurate and more effective than visual observation.This research was carried out as part of the Japan Science and Technology Strategic Basic Research Programs by a group including Academic Researcher YAMAMOTO Satoshi (Kobe University Graduate School of Human Development and Environment), Associate Professor MASUDA Reiji (Kyoto University), Professor ARAKI Hitoshi (Hokkaido University), Professor KONDOH Michio (Ryukoku University), Project Assistant Professor MINAMOTO Toshifumi (Kobe University Graduate School of Human Development and Environment), and Adjunct Associate Professor MIYA Masaki (Head of Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences, Natural History Museum and Institute, Chiba).

Getting the Measure of Sustainable Economic Growth

The new Index of Sustainable Economic Growth shows there is a shift to strike a healthier balance between support for the economy, and care for essential social and environmental systems. But can it ever replace GDP as a measure of progress? 

Study: How Climate Change Threatens Mountaintops (and Clean Water)

Mountains are far more than rocks. They also confer various natural benefits—for example, about half of the world’s drinking water filters through their high-elevation forests, plants, and soils.Now, a new, first-of-its kind study, in the journal Nature, shows how these mountain ecosystems around the globe may be threatened by climate change.Rising temperatures over the next decades appear likely to “decouple” key nutrient cycles in mountain soils and plants, an international team of sixteen scientists reports. Their study suggests that this is expected to disrupt the function of mountaintop ecosystems, as plant communities above and at treeline are thrown into turmoil faster than trees can migrate uphill in a warmer world.

Climate models may underestimate future warming on tropical mountains

In few places are the effects of climate change more pronounced than on tropical peaks like Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya, where centuries-old glaciers have all but melted completely away. Now, new research suggests that future warming on these peaks could be even greater than climate models currently predict.Researchers led by a Brown University geologist reconstructed temperatures over the past 25,000 years on Mount Kenya, Africa’s second-highest peak after Kilimanjaro. The work shows that as the world began rapidly warming from the last ice age around 18,000 years ago, mean annual temperatures high on the mountain increased much more quickly than in surrounding areas closer to sea level. At an elevation of 10,000 feet, mean annual temperature rose 5.5 degrees Celsius from the ice age to the pre-industrial period, the study found, compared to warming of only about 2 degrees at sea level during the same period.

NASA Studies Cosmic Radiation to Protect High-Altitude Travelers

NASA scientists studying high-altitude radiation recently published new results on the effects of cosmic radiation in our atmosphere. Their research will help improve real-time radiation monitoring for aviation industry crew and passengers working in potentially higher radiation environments. Imagine you’re sitting on an airplane. Cruising through the stratosphere at 36,000 feet, you’re well above the clouds and birds, and indeed, much of the atmosphere. But, despite its looks, this region is far from empty.

NASA Sees Development of Tropical Cyclone 3S along Western Australia's Coast

A NASA satellite provided a look at heavy rainfall occurring in a tropical low pressure system as it was consolidating and strengthening into what became Tropical Storm 3S in Southwest Indian Ocean.On January 26 the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) warned that System 90P, a low pressure area moving westward over northwestern Australia would strengthen into a tropical cyclone and by January 27 it had become Tropical Cyclone 3S.The warm waters of the Southern Indian Ocean and low vertical wind shear are providing a good environment for tropical cyclone development.

100% renewable energy sources require overcapacity

Germany decided to go nuclear-free by 2022. A CO2-emission-free electricity supply system based on intermittent sources, such as wind and solar - or photovoltaic (PV) - power could replace nuclear power. However, these sources depend on the weather conditions.In a new study published in EPJ Plus, Fritz Wagner from the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics in Germany analysed weather conditions using 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2015 data derived from the electricity supply system itself, instead of relying on meteorological data. 

Globe-trotting pollutants raise some cancer risks four times higher than predicted

A new way of looking at how pollutants ride through the atmosphere has quadrupled the estimate of global lung cancer risk from a pollutant caused by combustion, to a level that is now double the allowable limit recommended by the World Health Organization.The findings, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition online, showed that tiny floating particles can grow semi-solid around pollutants, allowing them to last longer and travel much farther than what previous global climate models predicted.

Toxic Mercury in Aquatic Life Could Spike with Greater Land Runoff

A highly toxic form of mercury could jump by 300 to 600 percent in zooplankton – tiny animals at the base of the marine food chain – if land runoff increases by 15 to 30 percent, according to a new study.And such an increase is possible due to climate change, according to the pioneering study by Rutgers and other scientists published today in Science Advances.“With climate change, we expect increased precipitation in many areas in the Northern Hemisphere, leading to more runoff,” said Jeffra K. Schaefer, study coauthor and assistant research professor in Rutgers’ Department of Environmental Sciences. “That means a greater discharge of mercury and organic carbon to coastal ecosystems, which leads to higher levels of mercury in the small animals living there. These coastal regions are major feeding grounds for fish, and thus the organisms living there serve as an important source of mercury that accumulates to high levels in the fish people like to eat.”