Pipe: Climate and Health

Going negative with carbon

Sat, 2015-02-14 18:45
A growing number of scientists warn that low-carbon technologies might not be enough to curb global warming. The solution, they say, could require a new suite of carbon-negative technologies that actually remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Pakistan Braces for Major Water Shortages

Fri, 2015-02-13 00:00
Climate change and local waste and mismanagement have led to an alarmingly rapid depletion of Pakistan’s water supply, the minister for water and energy said.

Stopping at red lights exposes drivers to high levels of air pollution

Thu, 2015-02-12 21:20
UK commuters spend an average of about 1.5 hours a day at the wheel. Road vehicles in particular are known to emit polluting nanoparticles which contribute to respiratory and heart diseases. Now, researchers have found that where drivers spend just 2% of their journey time passing through traffic intersections managed by lights, this short duration contributes to about 25% of total exposure to these harmful particles.

[In Brief] This week's section

Thu, 2015-02-12 19:00
In science news around the world, the Institute of Medicine gives chronic fatigue syndrome a new name and recommends new diagnostics, the National Synchrotron Light Source II is dedicated, a National Institutes of Health idea to create an "emeritus award" for aging scientists is panned in the blogosphere, a South Korean newspaper reports that disgraced stem cell scientist Woo Suk Hwang is teaming up with respected researcher Shoukhrat Mitalipov on a new venture to work on cloning mechanisms, the U.S. Department of Energy pulls out of the country's planned first commercial-scale carbon capture and storage plant, and a just-released report details the reasoning behind three judges' decision to acquit six Italian scientists of manslaughter for failing to warn the public of the L'Aquila earthquake. Also, the U.S. Congress pushes for greater protections for farm animals in scientific research. And a "shattered" chromosome cures a woman born with a serious genetic disease.

[Report] Direct kinetic measurement of the reaction of the simplest Criegee intermediate with water vapor

Thu, 2015-02-12 19:00
Carbonyl oxides, or Criegee intermediates, are important transient species formed in the reactions of unsaturated hydrocarbons with ozone. Although direct detection of Criegee intermediates has recently been realized, the main atmospheric sink of Criegee intermediates remains unclear. We report ultraviolet absorption spectroscopic measurements of the lifetime of the simplest Criegee intermediate, CH2OO, at various relative humidity levels up to 85% at 298 kelvin. An extremely fast decay rate of CH2OO was observed at high humidity. The observed quadratic dependence of the decay rate on water concentration implied a predominant reaction with water dimer. On the basis of the water dimer equilibrium constant, the effective rate coefficient of the CH2OO + (H2O)2 reaction was determined to be 6.5 (±0.8) × 10−12 cubic centimeters per second. This work would help modelers to better constrain the atmospheric concentrations of CH2OO. Authors: Wen Chao, Jun-Ting Hsieh, Chun-Hung Chang, Jim Jr-Min Lin

The Risks of Climate Engineering

Thu, 2015-02-12 00:00
“If this is our Hail Mary, what a scary, scary place we are in.”

Carbon release from ocean helped end the Ice Age

Wed, 2015-02-11 13:20
A release of carbon dioxide from the deep ocean helped bring an end to the last Ice Age, according to new research. The study shows that carbon stored in an isolated reservoir deep in the Southern Ocean re-connected with the atmosphere, driving a rise in atmospheric CO2 and an increase in global temperatures. The finding gives scientists an insight into how the ocean affects the carbon cycle and climate change.

Satellites: Tough old birds

Wed, 2015-02-11 10:40

ON EARTH it is a fact of public life that politicians love to trumpet new infrastructure but take much less interest in maintaining what already exists. The same rule, it appears, applies in outer space. Many satellites launched for important purposes such as monitoring solar weather (bad solar storms can damage electrical equipment on Earth), tracking the climate and just helping people navigate are limping along in need of replacement. One that is about to be substituted is the Advanced Composition Explorer, a solar-weather satellite launched in 1997 with an intended lifetime of five years. After many postponements its replacement, the Deep Space Climate Observatory, should have got off the launch pad and into orbit on February 11th, as The Economist went to press. That still leaves a lot of other elderly satellites in similar need of retirement.

Enhancing microbial activity contributes to the remediation of soil and groundwater contaminated with pesticides

Wed, 2015-02-11 08:32
The addition of carbon, which is required as a nutrient by the microorganisms in soil and groundwater, was found to be the most promising remediation method in the remediation of soil and groundwater contaminated with the pesticide atrazine. There is a demand for the remediation method, as atrazine is the most common pollutant found in groundwater in Finland.

Panel Urges More Research on Geoengineering as a Tool Against Climate Change

Wed, 2015-02-11 00:00
The National Academy of Sciences panel said that with proper governance, experiments of climate intervention technologies should pose no significant risk.

Studying microscopic phytoplankton: Prototype ready for the open ocean

Tue, 2015-02-10 13:32
Its name refers to one of the biggest animals in the sea, but ORCA, the Ocean Radiometer for Carbon Assessment instrument, will be observing the smallest. If selected for a flight mission, ORCA will study microscopic phytoplankton, tiny green plants that float in the upper layer of the ocean and make up the base of the marine food chain.

Scientist to gather greenhouse gas emissions from melting permafrost

Tue, 2015-02-10 13:08
A NASA scientist who has developed a novel suitcase-size instrument to measure column carbon dioxide and methane is taking her recently patented instrument on the road this summer to comprehensively measure emissions of these important greenhouse gases from Alaska's melting permafrost.

NASA scientist advances methane sounder to measure another greenhouse gas

Tue, 2015-02-10 12:57
A NASA scientist who has played a key role developing and demonstrating a new technique for gathering around-the-clock global carbon-dioxide measurements is applying the same general principles to develop a new laser instrument sensitive to another greenhouse gas -- methane.

In Geoengineering Study, Science Academy Sees Merit in CO2 Removal, Risk in Reflecting Sunlight

Tue, 2015-02-10 11:00
A panel of experts finds too many risks in techniques for blocking sunlight to justify this method in countering global warming.

Climate Change Is of Growing Personal Concern to U.S. Hispanics, Poll Finds

Tue, 2015-02-10 00:00
Hispanics are far more likely than whites to view global warming as a problem that affects them personally and to support policies aimed at curbing it, a New York Times poll has found.

Buckyballs offer environmental benefits

Mon, 2015-02-09 16:15
Treated carbon-60 molecules have the ability to recover valuable metals from liquids, including water and potential pollutants. In testing various metals, researchers found that charge and ionic radius influence how the metals bind to the hydroxylated buckyballs.

Electricity from biomass with carbon capture could make western US carbon-negative

Mon, 2015-02-09 13:07
Biomass conversion to electricity combined with technologies for capturing and storing carbon, which should become viable within 35 years, could result in a carbon-negative power grid in the western US by 2050. That prediction comes from an analysis of various fuel scenarios. Bioenergy with carbon capture and sequestration may be a better use of plant feedstocks than making biofuels.

Climate change efforts backfire in Brazil's steel industry, doubling carbon emissions

Mon, 2015-02-09 12:28
New research shows that climate change mitigation efforts in Brazil's steel industry have failed. Instead of reducing greenhouse gas pollution, scientists discovered that these strategies, promoted under the global Kyoto Protocol, led to an overall doubling of carbon dioxide emissions in the industry.

A Sleepless Night’s Fancy Nears Space After 17 Years

Sun, 2015-02-08 00:00
The Deep Space Climate Observatory, a 1,250-pound satellite intended to serve as a sentinel for solar storms, is to lift off Sunday from Cape Canaveral.

The New School Takes a Big Step Beyond Divesting Fossil Fuel Stock

Sat, 2015-02-07 00:00
The historically progressive school plans to bolster its curriculum to include more attention in its courses to climate change and sustainability.