2010: A Hot Year Indeed

Weather is always an easy topic of conversation. The first eight months of 2010 tied the same period in 1998 for the warmest combined land and ocean surface temperature on record worldwide. Meanwhile, the June–August summer was the second warmest on record globally after 1998, and last month was the third warmest August on record. Separately, last month’s global average land surface temperature was the second warmest on record for August, while the global ocean surface temperature tied with 1997 as the sixth warmest for August.

Indian Murky Air Quality

Data from the Multi-angle Imaging Spectroradiometer (MISR) instrument on NASA's Terra spacecraft have been used in a groundbreaking new university study that examines the concentration, distribution and composition of aerosol pollution over the Indian subcontinent. The study documents the region's very high levels of natural and human-produced pollutants, and uncovered surprising seasonal shifts in the source of the pollution.

Restoring the Chesapeake

Reducing the delivery of nutrients to the Chesapeake Bay is one of the most important components of restoration efforts to achieve a healthy Bay ecosystem. The United States Geologic Service (USGS) has developed a new method for tracking the progress toward reducing nitrogen and phosphorus delivery from the watershed to the Bay. When evaluating the quality of the water entering the Bay, this new method takes into consideration seasonality, variations in river flow, and the long-term trends that are driven by the wide range of human activities in the watershed, such as wastewater treatment and changing land management practices.

World’s largest solar plant advances

The world's largest solar power plant cleared an important hurdle on Wednesday, laying the groundwork for a dramatic expansion in solar energy generation in the United States and around the world. The proposed $6 billion-plus Blythe, California plant, originally proposed by Chevron Corp. and Solar Millennium AG, won clearance to build from the California Energy Commission. The plant has a capacity of 1,000 megawatts. By comparison, for all of last year, the U.S. installed about 481 megawatts of solar energy, according to the Solar Energy Industry Association. The largest solar plants to date are in the 200-350 megawatt range.

Cure for Insomnia: Get Moving

You've been tossing and turning all night. Rolling over, the clock says 2:30 am. Instead of reaching for the bottle of Nyquil, or something even stronger, researchers from Northwestern University (NWU) have a much healthier alternative to falling asleep – aerobic exercise. Regular cardiovascular exercise can improve the quality of sleep, overall mood and vitality of insomniacs.

Agropolis: The Future of Urban Agriculture?

Last week at the Nordic Exceptional Trendshop 2010, held in Denmark, one presentation took urban agriculture to the next level. A collaboration with NASA, you might even say it launched urban agriculture out of this world, and into the future.The idea is called Agropolis, a combination grocery store, restaurant, and farm all in one building, employing the most advanced technologies in hydroponic, aeroponic, and aquaponic farming.

Electric Trucks to Deliver High Tech Chips: Potato Chips That Is

Here's some crunchy news for you. Usually when we hear about a chip-maker adapting the latest technology, we think of Intel, Motorola or AMD. But snack chip manufacturer Frito-Lay announced last week that they will be rolling out their first five all-electric delivery trucks in NYC, setting the stage for sixteen additional trucks this year and 150 more next year, making it the largest commercial electric truck fleet in North America.

Killing frost touches western Canada

Killing frosts hit crops in northwestern Alberta on Tuesday, but a widespread frost across the Canadian Prairies looks to arrive a day later than expected, a Canadian Wheat Board analyst said on Wednesday. The frost may have left little damage in the Peace region because wheat and canola crops there are mature enough to withstand it, said Mark Cutts, a crop specialist for the Alberta government. Frost is of particular concern to Western Canadian farmers this year because many crops are one to two weeks behind normal growth, leaving them vulnerable to damage that reduces quality.

Strange fruit: 8 tempting ideas from the orchard to brighten your week

Fruits are the jewels of any kitchen garden, but if you like unusual edibles then you're in for a treat, because many of the most productive and unusual plants produce delicious fruit that you'd be hard-pressed to find anywhere else.

Satellite Warning System of Natural Disasters

Looking down upon the Earth gives one the big picture. Up high in the sky are many man made satellites that are designed to look down and send information to various places. NASA is currently designing a pair of robotic probes to keep tabs on how the planet is changing and to help forecasters predict natural disasters, such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and landslides.