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Pipe: Climate and Health

Understanding plant-soil interaction could lead to new ways to combat weeds

Tue, 2014-03-25 13:35
Using high-powered DNA-based tools, a recent study identified soil microbes that negatively affect ragweed and provided a new understanding of the complex relationships going on beneath the soil surface between plants and microorganisms. The study allowed researchers to observe how three generations of ragweed and sunflower interacted with the microbial community in the soil. The plants interact with each other indirectly due to the differing effects they each have on the microbes in the soil.

Climate Change Art: That Sinking Feeling

Tue, 2014-03-25 01:00
A sculptor’s view of politicians yammering in the face of rising seas and a warming climate.

Lots of carbon dioxide equivalents from aquatic environments

Mon, 2014-03-24 11:13
Large amounts of carbon dioxide equivalents taken up by plants on land are returned to the atmosphere from aquatic environments. The findings were that emissions of carbon dioxide equivalents (as methane and carbon dioxide) from lakes, running water, dams, ponds, and wells correspond to on an average 42% of the expected natural carbon sink in India. This carbon sink may therefore be smaller than expected, illustrating that we do not have full knowledge on the natural greenhouse gas balance.

UN report looks at 2013’s extreme weather

Mon, 2014-03-24 08:28
United Nation’s World Meteorological Organisation says although there is no definitive link, events were consistent with human-induced climate change

As Listener and Saleswoman, E.P.A. Chief Takes to the Road for Climate Rules

Sat, 2014-03-22 01:00
On trips that are both listening tour and sales pitch, Gina McCarthy, the E.P.A. administrator, is trying to counter a fight against planned rules limiting emissions by power plants.

Spring snow goes downhill

Fri, 2014-03-21 18:49
Spring snow goes downhillEarlier melting a threat to water supply, Arctic iceIn recent years, spring snow has vanished even more quickly than computer models and climate scientists had expected, posing a research challenge and a potentially serious risk for water supplies. AtmosNews Category: Article type: Bob HensonYes

Bob Henson • March 27, 2014 | At some point in a typical winter, almost half of the entire Northern Hemisphere’s land area is plastered with snow cover. You’d expect that snow to disappear in the spring, and, even after this unforgiving U.S. winter, most of it will. However, in recent years, spring snow has been vanishing even more quickly than computer models and climate scientists had expected.

Deep ocean current may slow due to climate change

Fri, 2014-03-21 16:49
Far beneath the surface of the ocean, deep currents act as conveyer belts, channeling heat, carbon, oxygen and nutrients around the globe. A new has found that recent climate change may be acting to slow down one of these conveyer belts, with potentially serious consequences for the future of the planet's climate.

Permafrost thaw exacerbates climate change

Fri, 2014-03-21 16:48
Growing season gains do not offset carbon emissions from permafrost thaw, new research shows. Permafrost contains three to seven times the amount of carbon sequestered in tropical forests. The warming climate threatens to thaw permafrost, which will result in the release of carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere creating feedbacks to climate change -- more warming and greater permafrost thaw.

Cold short-cut to carbon dioxide storage

Fri, 2014-03-21 11:21
Could refrigeration technology -- against all the odds -- kick-start carbon dioxide storage in the North Sea? All over the world, scientists are on the hunt for solutions that will allow carbon dioxide to be captured from large power stations and industrial plants. Many of the methods in use today employ chemicals or advanced materials to extract carbon dioxide from flue gases. But now, a chilly alternative is showing signs of heating up. When carbon dioxide-rich gases are compressed and refrigerated, the carbon dioxide turns into a liquid -- like steam on a cold bathroom mirror -- and can be drawn off.

Forests crucial to green growth

Fri, 2014-03-21 10:17
The value of forests and tree-based ecosystems extends far beyond carbon sequestration; they are the foundation of sustainable societies. A new report promotes REDD+ and the Green Economy as together providing a new pathway to sustainable development that can benefit all nations. It claims this approach can conserve and even boost the economic and social benefits forests provide to human society.

Emerging carbon trading markets offer lessons

Fri, 2014-03-21 09:55
Carbon trading markets that attempt to limit greenhouse gas emissions have met with mixed political and policy success around the world. But each new attempt offers lessons that will make new markets more effective, a team authors says. These carbon markets are a key part of an emerging global policy framework that includes trading programs and other policies such as renewable energy incentives, carbon taxes, and traditional regulation. They have encouraged modest reductions in greenhouse gas emissions so far and expanded to cover a substantial and growing share of global emissions.

Dust in the wind drove iron fertilization during ice age

Fri, 2014-03-21 09:55
A longstanding hypothesis that wind-borne dust carried iron to the region of the globe north of Antarctica, driving plankton growth and eventually leading to the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere has been confirmed by researchers. Plankton remove the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere during growth and transfer it to the deep ocean when their remains sink to the bottom.

Group Suggests New Rules for Further Cuts in Carbon Pollution

Fri, 2014-03-21 01:00
The Natural Resources Defense Council, which has had a strong voice in efforts to shape President Obama’s climate change agenda, sent a proposal to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Nutrition: Fat chance

Thu, 2014-03-20 12:01

THOSE who micromanage their diets instead of following Michael Pollan’s sensible rule of thumb—eat food, not too much, mostly plants—may be thrown into confusion by a paper just published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. It describes a meta-analysis (a technique which uses entire studies as single data points in an overarching statistical analysis) of 72 pieces of research involving more than 600,000 people.Some of these were of what those people ate, or said they ate. Some were of the levels of various fats circulating in their bloodstreams. Some were of both. All had looked for relations between these facts and a person’s subsequent cardiac health. And the meta-analysis comes to what will, to many, be counterintuitive conclusions.Rajiv Chowdhury of Cambridge University and his colleagues found that one bugbear, trans-fats, are indeed associated with heart disease—though they caution that only five of the studies they looked at had pertinent data on these. Other common beliefs, however, were not supported.They found no evidence that eating saturated fats or having high levels of circulating saturated fatty acids (the digested products of such fats) had any effect on cardiac disease. Nor did they find that omega-3 fatty acids, the current poster-boys of healthy eating, protect against heart disease.Omega-3 fats are widely sold in capsule form as...

Ocean's carbon budget balanced: Supply of food to midwater organisms balanced with demands for food

Thu, 2014-03-20 11:58
Ocean scientists have, for the first time successfully balanced the supply of food to midwater organisms with their demands for this food. The depth at which they consume this sinking material regulates our climate by determining how much carbon is stored by the ocean and how much remains in the atmosphere. The study in the North Atlantic focuses on 'marine snow' -- bacteria, microscopic animals and sinking organic matter.

Algae may be a potential source of biofuels and biochemicals even in cool climate

Thu, 2014-03-20 10:08
Algae are organisms useful in many ways in the transition towards a bio-economy. Even in a cool climate as in Finland, algae might be used to produce biochemicals and biofuels, besides use in capture of industrial carbon dioxide emissions. Algae are not yet profitably cultivated for energy production purposes. The cultivation is challenging especially in cool climate where there is little daylight in winter.

White House to Introduce Climate Data Website

Thu, 2014-03-20 01:00
President Obama and two advisers will inaugurate a website on Wednesday that will try to turn scientific data about global warming into mapped digital presentations.

Ancient food webs developed modern structure soon after mass extinction

Wed, 2014-03-19 16:48
Analysis of a highly detailed picture of feeding relationships among 700 species from a 48 million year old ecosystem provides the most compelling evidence to date that ancient food webs were organized much like modern food webs. The results are significant because they show that the Messel ecosystem developed a modern ecological structure, along with a modern biota, in a relatively brief 18 million year period following Earth's most recent die-off, the end-Cretaceous mass extinction, which disrupted ecosystem dynamics on a massive scale and served as a species diversity bottleneck.

Goldilocks principle: Earth's continued habitability due to geologic cycles that act as climate control

Wed, 2014-03-19 14:39
Scientists have shown how geologic process regulates the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Researchers have documented evidence suggesting that part of the reason that Earth has become neither sweltering like Venus nor frigid like Mars lies with a built-in atmospheric carbon dioxide regulator -- the geologic cycles that churn up the planet's rocky surface.

True value of cover crops to farmers, environment

Wed, 2014-03-19 12:48
Planting cover crops in rotation between cash crops -- widely agreed to be ecologically beneficial -- is even more valuable than previously thought, according to a team of agronomists, entomologists, agroecologists, horticulturists and biogeochemists. The research quantified the benefits offered by cover crops across more than 10 ecosystem services. Benefits included increased carbon and nitrogen in soils, erosion prevention, more mycorrhizal colonization -- beneficial soil fungus that helps plants absorb nutrients -- and weed suppression.

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