“Scientists investigated the factors that influence forest cover in California’s Sierra Nevada. Bedrock may be as important as temperature and moisture, they found, in regulating the distribution of trees and other vegetation across mountain slopes.” Quoted from the National Science Foundation press release.
As a greenhouse gas, methane can trap about 20 times more heat than carbon dioxide. The White House announced a climate action plan to reduce methane emissions by targeting emissions from the oil and gas, waste disposal, coal mining, farming and other methane producing industries.
National Geographic has an article titled: “Green Fracking? 5 Technologies for Cleaner Shale Energy”. It explains five methods that are being employed to reduce the environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing.
National Geographic has an article reporting that urine is just 1 percent of domestic waste water, but it contains 80 percent of the nitrogen and 55 percent of the phosphorus. Methods of separating it from the waste stream and utilizing as a resource rather than a waste might be possible.
Over the past several years, white-nose syndrome has been killing tremendous numbers of bats in the United States. However, a new study in Europe shows several species experiencing a rise in population.
NASA’s Earth Observatory has an interesting image that demonstrates how they are able to measure geographic variations in evapotranspiration using satellite data. (Image of irrigated land from Idaho’s Snake River floodplain.
“In ecosystems around the world, the decline of large predators such as lions, dingoes, wolves, otters, and bears is [occurring in response to] habitat loss, persecution by humans and loss of prey combine to create global hotspots of carnivore decline.” Quoted from the Oregon State press release.
“In a case study of dams on the upper Missouri River, USGS researchers have demonstrated that an upstream dam is still a major control of river dynamics where the backwater effects of a downstream reservoir begin. In light of this finding, the conventional understanding of how a dam can influence a river may have to be adjusted to account for the fact that effects of river dams can interact with one another.” Quoted from the USGS press release.
“Researchers have discovered a new aquifer in the Greenland Ice Sheet that holds liquid water all year long in the otherwise perpetually frozen winter landscape. [...] The reservoir is known as a “perennial firn aquifer” because water persists within the firn – layers of snow and ice that don’t melt for at least one season.” Quoted from The University of Utah press release.
Messages in a bottle are usually found at beaches, however, one was recently found in a rock cairn on Ward Hunt Island, the closest land point in Canada to the North Pole. The message was dated 1959 and asked the finder to help document evidence of climate change.
Did you know that approximately 117 million people – over one-third of the total U.S. population – get some or all of their drinking water from public systems that rely in part on headwater, seasonal or rain-dependent streams?
“Human activities, a changing climate and natural disasters are rapidly altering the face of our planet. Now, with NASA’s Images of Change iPad application, users can get an interactive before-and-after view of these changes.” Quoted from the NASA press release.
“The U.S. Geological Survey recently completed an evaluation of the technically accessible storage resource for carbon dioxide for 36 sedimentary basins in the onshore areas and State waters of the United States.” Quoted from the USGS press release.
“Rain as acidic as undiluted lemon juice may have played a part in killing off plants and organisms around the world during the most severe mass extinction in Earth’s history.” Quoted from the MIT press release.
“Landscape change in Pennsylvania’s Sullivan, Wyoming, Armstrong and Indiana counties resulting from construction of well pads, new roads and pipelines for natural gas and coalbed methane exploration is being documented by the United States Geological Survey.” Quoted from the USGS announcement.
Christina Figueres, Executive Director of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, said… “It is abundantly clear that further capital expenditures on coal can only go ahead if they are compatible with the 2 degree Celsius limit.” Quoted from the United Nations News Center.
The Texas drought caused many drillers to reevaluate their sources of water. Many of them are now processing their water to remove dissolved and suspended materials and reusing it to fracture their next well.
“Rising global temperatures and changing human actions will significantly affect the behavior and distribution of mercury worldwide, according to a recent article by the U.S. Geological Survey and Harvard University.” Quoted from the USGS press release.
On Monday, the Glen Canyon Dam is scheduled to start releasing up to 37,200 cubic feet of water per second – that is an Olympic-sized swimming pool worth of water into the Colorado River every two minutes. The goal is to imitate a natural flood that will deliver sand to beaches and refresh river habitats.
In 1987, Thailand built a dam on the Khlong Saeng river. As the reservoir filled it transformed over 100 forested hilltops into islands. Now each island, along with its plant and animal inhabitants, is an experiment to test what happens with a forest environment is fragmented.
“Peru’s cloud forests are some of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in the world. Researchers have new evidence that shows rapid 21st century warming may spell doom for tree species in Peruvian cloud forests, with species losing 53 to 96 percent of their populations.” Quoted from the Wake Forest University press release.
“Acidification of the Arctic Ocean is occurring faster than projected. The increase in rate is being blamed on rapidly melting sea ice, a process that may have important consequences for health of the Arctic ecosystem.” Quoted from the USGS Newsroom.
“Take a look at groundwater with DCNR’s Bureau of Topographic & Geologic Survey’s Stuart Reese as he looks at how much groundwater Pennsylvania has, where it comes from, and why it’s so important to the water cycle.” Quoted from the iConservePA press release.
The Spring 2013 issue of Oceanus Magazine, published by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, is titled Fukushima and the Ocean. It looks at the triple disaster that hit Japan with an earthquake, a tsunami and a power plant failure.
“Scientists have discovered a vast plume of iron and other micronutrients more than 1,000 km long billowing from hydrothermal vents in the South Atlantic Ocean. The finding [...] calls past estimates of iron abundances into question, and may challenge researchers’ assumptions about iron sources in the world’s seas.” Quoted from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution press release.
“Despite the size and severity of the massive 2007 Anaktuvuk River fire on Alaska’s North Slope, much of the arctic vegetation has recovered and the tundra is likely to return to its pre-fire condition.” Quoted from the University of Alaska Fairbanks press release.
“A new computer simulation has revealed the epic, ocean-spanning journeys traveled by millimeter-sized coral larvae through the world’s seas. It is the first to recreate the oceanic paths along which corals disperse globally, and will eventually aid predictions of how coral reef distributions may shift with climate change.” Quoted from the University of Miami press release.
“What was surprising was the high biomass and diversity we found. This is the first time microbes have been identified living in the sediments of a subglacial Antarctic lake and indicates that life can exist and potentially thrive in environments we would consider too extreme.” Quoted from the British Antarctic Survey press release.
Human activity associated with natural gas production has been shown to cause earthquakes, an example is the disposal of waste liquids in high volume injection wells. So far there has not been a connection between human-induced earthquakes and the hydraulic fracturing process – yet many people make that association.
“This photograph taken by an astronaut on the International Space Station highlights a late summer plankton bloom across much of Lake Ontario, one of North America’s Great Lakes. Microscopic cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, can reach such large concentrations and color the water to such an extent that the change is visible from orbit.” Quoted from the Earth Observatory website.
USGS tested twenty household water wells in Sullivan County, Pennsylvania for methane. Seven of the wells contained detectable amounts of dissolved methane and two wells were considered to have an “elevated” methane content. None of the wells tested were located near currently producing natural gas wells.
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