Human, Cattle Viruses Detected in Some Great Lakes Tributaries

Human and bovine, or cattle, viruses were detected in a small percentage of some Great Lakes Basin streams, with human viruses more prevalent in urban streams and bovine viruses more common in streams in agricultural areas, according to a recent U.S. Geological Survey-led study.

Taking Earth's Inner Temperature

The temperature of Earth’s interior affects everything from the movement of tectonic plates to the formation of the planet.A new study led by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) suggests the mantle—the mostly solid, rocky part of Earth’s interior that lies between its super-heated core and its outer crustal layer – may be hotter than previously believed. The new finding, published March 3 in the journal Science, could change how scientists think about many issues in Earth science including how ocean basins form.

NASA Study Improves Forecasts of Summer Arctic Sea Ice

The Arctic has been losing sea ice over the past several decades as Earth warms. However, each year, as the sea ice starts to melt in the spring following its maximum wintertime extent, scientists still struggle to estimate exactly how much ice they expect will disappear through the melt season. Now, a new NASA forecasting model based on satellite measurements is allowing researchers to make better estimates.Forecasts of how much Arctic sea ice will shrink from spring into fall is valuable information for such communities as shipping companies and native people that depend on sea ice for hunting. Many animal and plant species are impacted directly by changes in the coverage of sea ice across the Arctic. Uncertain weather conditions through spring and summer make the forecasting of Arctic sea ice for a given year extremely challenging.

Transforming the carbon economy: U.S. Energy Dept. task force recommends research

Most strategies to combat climate change concentrate on reducing greenhouse gas emissions by substituting non-carbon energy sources for fossil fuels, but a task force commissioned in June 2016 by former U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz proposed a framework in December 2016 for evaluating research and development on two additional strategies: recycling carbon dioxide and removing large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. These strategies were developed under a single framework with the goal to produce an overall emissions reduction for the Earth of at least one billion tons of carbon dioxide per year.

Climate research needs greater focus on human populations

Climate change research needs a greater focus on changing population structures when assessing future human vulnerability, argue IIASA researchers in a new perspective article in the journal Nature Climate Change.Climate research has provided a range of scenarios of showing how climate change will affect global temperatures, water resources, agriculture, and many other areas. Yet it remains unclear how all these potential changes could affect future human wellbeing. In particular, the population of the future – in its composition, distribution, and characteristics – will not be the same as the population observed today. That means that assessing likely impacts by relating the climate change projected for the future to today’s societal capabilities can be misleading. In order to understand the impacts of climate change on human beings, says IIASA World Population Program Director Wolfgang Lutz, climate change research needs to explicitly consider forecasting human populations’ capacities to adapt to a changing climate.

Cigarette smoke curbs lung's self-healing

Smoke from cigarettes blocks self-healing processes in the lungs and consequently can lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Researchers at the Helmholtz Zentrum München, partner in the German Center for Lung Research (DZL), and their international colleagues have reported this in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Aging faces could increase security risks

Images of our faces exist in numerous important databases – driver’s license, passport, law enforcement, employment – all to accurately identify us. But can these images continue to identify us as we age?

UBC team develops mobile sensors to monitor urban greenhouse gas emissions

Cities play a key role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change, but directly measuring emissions remains a challenge.

New USGS Streamgages Provide Flood Monitoring for Additional Philadelphia Neighborhoods

Philadelphia communities along the Schuylkill River and Darby Creek now have new tools to help inform residents of impending flooding. The U.S. Geological Survey recently installed three new streamgages in Manayunk, Eastwick, and downtown near 30th St., which will monitor water levels, and provide vital data used by emergency managers and flood forecasters to help protect lives and property.

Concurrent heat waves, air pollution exacerbate negative health effects of each

The combination of prolonged hot spells with poor air quality greatly compounds the negative effects of each and can pose a major risk to human health, according to new research from the University of California, Irvine.“The weather factors that drive heat waves also contribute to intensified surface ozone and air pollution episodes,” said UCI professor of Earth system science Michael J. Prather, co-author of the study, published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “These extreme, multiday events tend to cluster and overlap, worsening the health impacts beyond the sum of their individual effects.”