Tiny algae signal big changes for warming Arctic lakes

The mighty polar bear has long been the poster child for the effects of global warming in the Arctic, but the microscopic diatom tells an equally powerful story. Diatoms are a type of algae that form the base of the food chain in watery habitats the world over. Disturbances among lake diatoms have exposed the impacts of rapid warming in the Hudson Bay Lowlands of eastern Canada, researchers reported Oct. 9 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

2012 death toll for bats reaches 600,000 due to wind turbines

Efforts to promote and develop new forms of sustainable energy have pushed wind power to the forefront. However, this type of power comes with a cost – as it often interferes with birds' and bats' migration, killing hundreds of thousands of these winged species. According to a new study from the University of Colorado Denver, more than 600,000 bats were killed by wind energy turbines in 2012. This has serious environmental repercussions as bats help pollinate crops and help control harmful insect pests.

Do drivers appreciate all the advantages of electric vehicles?

If we take a look at the electric vehicle market today and compare it with that of just 10 years ago the differences are enormous. This is an industry which has come on in leaps and bounds and while great progress has been made there is still more improvement in the pipeline. We have seen lighter cars introduced, we have seen better battery capacity and we have seen an array of innovative ideas to reduce the costs of running your electric vehicle. Even though there has been a major increase in the number of electric vehicles sold around the world, is there now a need to educate gasoline/petrol drivers about the benefits of electric vehicles? In many ways the electric vehicle sector has spent so much time improving technology that it has forgotten to educate the wider driving public about the benefits of this new mode of transport. When we say "new mode of transport" many people will not be aware that electric vehicles have been around in some shape or form for over 100 years!

How studying natural disasters can help us plan for future ones

Were you one of the many people who got stuck in an airport when the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull erupted in 2010? It wasn't a major eruption, and it happened a long way from the heart of Europe. But it cost society an absolute fortune by paralysing air traffic across northern Europe. According to Felix Riede, an associate professor of prehistoric archaeology at Aarhus University and the project manager of the Laboratory for Past Disaster Science, global warming and the increasing frequency of natural disasters constitute a huge challenge to modern society, which has a heavy infrastructure and increasing population density. Until now the solutions have involved expensive state intervention and technology-aided approaches, but Riede believes that the past contains a wealth of unexploited resources which could also provide solutions.

Scientists Develop New Technique to Predict Wildfires

Last year, over 9 million acres were burned in the US alone due to wildfires. While wildfires can be caused by natural events, they often burn out of control and may get to a point where they become uncontrollable, even when managed by firefighters. Despite their sparks of uncertainty and paths of destruction, researchers have found a way to predict wildfire growth through the lifetime of their blazes. Scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo., and the University of Maryland, have developed a technique that combines cutting-edge simulations of the interaction of weather and fire with newly available satellite observations of active wildfires. This is the first time computer modeling offers the promise of continually-updated daylong predictions.

Mom was right, eating a good breakfast IS important!

How many times have you been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day? Or don't skip breakfast? And, is eating more protein important to weight control? Think Dukan Diet and Atkins. The University of Missouri has the data to prove that this advice is sound. While Americans generally consume enough protein, they tend to eat a small amount at breakfast, moderate amounts at lunch, and the largest amount at dinner. New research presented today at The Obesity Society's annual scientific meeting in Atlanta shows that eating high protein sausage and egg-based breakfasts curbed hunger throughout the morning, compared with a low-protein breakfast (pancakes and syrup) or skipping breakfast, in 18-55-year-old women. "Eating a breakfast rich in protein significantly improves appetite control and may help women to avoid overeating later in the day," said Kevin C. Maki, principal investigator of the study and a research scientist with Biofortis Clinical Research, a Mérieux NutriSciences company.

Ocean acidification set to spiral out of control

The continued release of greenhouse gases into the air is set to bring about huge changes to land ecosystems as they are forced to adapt to rising temperatures. But the marine world — which is just as integral to human existence yet receives little attention during climate negotiations — will endure a similarly tumultuous time as emissions rise, scientists say. "Changing oceans will cause massive destruction of coral reefs, which, with their rich biodiversity, are the jungles of the sea," says Luis Valdes, the head of ocean science at UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC-UNESCO), and co-author of a forthcoming report into ocean acidification.

Ooo, la la! Meet Bouba!

The Wildlife Conservation Society's (WCS) Queen's Zoo in Flushing, NY has a new resident today. His name is Bouba and he is an Andean bear (Tremarctos ornatus) most commonly found in the Andes Mountains of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru western Bolivia and northwestern Argentina.

New Ice Monitoring Technique Offers Insight into Great Lakes

With winter weather fast approaching, we start to look at how the big chill will affects our economy. And for the Great Lakes, frozen ice is bound to affect shipping lanes and local fishing industries. Connected to the Atlantic Ocean by way of the Great Lakes Waterway, each year, millions of tons of cargo are moved onto the lakes, supplying the US and Canada with important commodities. In addition to economic impacts, the lakes have a significant effect on the regional environment and ecological systems so the importance of analyzing and observing these frozen waters is crucial for the region. Fortunately, two scientists from NASA and NOAA have developed a new space-based technique for monitoring the ice cover of the Great Lakes. "In the dark, it's difficult to read a map that's right in front of you," said Son Nghiem of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, one of the developers of the new technique. "Yet we now have a way to use satellite radars almost 500 miles [800 kilometers] out in space to see through clouds and darkness and map ice across the Great Lakes."

China’s Solution for Combatting Air Pollution? Convert Coal to Synthetic Natural Gas

The air pollution in China has become the stuff of legend, or rather of nightmare. The number of lung cancer cases in the capital of Beijing has increased by more than 50 percent in the past decade. Just last week, an eight-year-old girl in the province of Jiangsu was diagnosed with lung cancer. In September, the government announced its Air Pollution Control Action Plan, its latest initiative to address air pollution so bad that the smog over northeast China for the past two weeks has been visible from space.