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Environmental refugees to top 50 million in 5 years

(10/11/2005) Amid predictions that by 2010 the world will need to cope with as many as 50 million people escaping the effects of creeping environmental deterioration, United Nations University experts say the international community urgently needs to define, recognize and extend support to this new category of 'refugee'.

Africa Heats Up -- climate change threatens future of the continent

(10/11/2005) A series of recent studies have revealed a sobering future for the majority of Africa, a future predicated by undeniable and significant climate change. The threat traverses all levels of the environmental, social, political and economic spheres, from heightened socio-economic disparity to dwindling fish populations, from civil strife to desperate hunger. The greatest and saddest irony of this dark fate projected for the continent is that while Africa has the world's lowest levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions, contributing the least to global climate change, it has been forced to bear the brunt of the phenomenon.

NASA Discovers Life's Building Blocks Are Common In Space

(10/11/2005) A team of NASA exobiology researchers revealed today organic chemicals that play a crucial role in the chemistry of life are common in space.

Amazon at record low -- communities isolated, commerce stalled

(10/11/2005) The Amazon River in Peru and parts of Brazil is at its lowest level in 30 years of record keeping. While variable water levels are characteristic of the Amazon river ecosystem, the increasingly extreme fluctuations are of great concern. Low water levels are wreaking havoc on the shipping industry in the region. In Iquitos, a city in the heart of the Peruvian Amazon which is only accessible by plane or boat, ships and barges are having difficulty navigating the river, resulting in serious shipping delays. Local officials in Peru are blaming deforestation of the upper reaches of the Amazon in the Andes for the fall in river levels, although it is likely that larger forces are at least equally important. Warmer ocean surface temperatures in the Pacific and low sunspot activity is also affecting weather in the region, while warming in the north Atlantic -- which has helped trigger an unusually strong and destructive hurricane season -- may be preventing the formation of rain clouds over the Amazon Basin.

Organic solar cells will help spur viability of alternative energy

(10/10/2005) Organic solar cells being developed by a team of scientists from New Mexico State University and Wake Forest University could help spur viability of alternative energy. Unlike existing solar panels made of brittle silicon, these cells are made of plastic that can be wrapped around structures or even applied like paint. This flexibility could revolutionize the solar market.

Map of earthquake-affected region in Kashmir; city news

(10/10/2005) Two days ago a magnitude-7.6 quake struck the border region of Pakistan and India. Afghanistan was also affected. Much of the affected area is extremely remote and virtually impossible to reach by road due to landslides. Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf has appealed to the international community for help, especially for cargo helicopters to reach remote areas cut off by quake damage.

25% probability of 7.0 earthquake hitting San Francisco by 2025

(10/10/2005) There's at least a 25% chance of a magnitude 7.0 or greater quake occurring during the next 20 years in the San Francisco Bay Area according to a new computer simulation by researchers at the University of California, Davis. The research is presented in this week's edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Harvesting tornados as power plants; renewable wind vortex energy

(10/09/2005) Engineers are working to use artificial tornados as a renewable energy source according to an article in last week's The Economist. Storms release a tremendous amount of energy. Hurricane Katrina, a category 4 hurricane, released enough energy to supply the world's power needs for a year, while the typical tornado produces as much power as a large power station.

Sharks tracked by satellite

(10/09/2005) Electronic tags broadcasting from the dorsal fins of salmon sharks reveal that these top predators migrate from the glacial waters of Alaska to the warm seas off Hawaii, according to a new study in the journal Science.

Earthquake news for cities in Pakistan, India, Afghanistan

(10/09/2005) A powerful 7.6-magnitude earthquake near the Pakistan-India border Saturday killed more than 20,000 people.

News for earthquake-affected cities in Pakistan, India

(10/08/2005) A powerful 7.6-magnitude earthquake near the Pakistan-India border Saturday destroyed villages, triggered landslides and killed thousands.

Environment killing millions says World Bank report

(10/07/2005) A new report from the World Bank says millions of deaths can be attributed to environmental factors, including climate change, pollution, unsafe water, poor sanitation and hygiene. These environmental conditions are significantly affecting health -- responsible for about a fifth of all ill health in poor countries -- and impeding economic development and growth. The report also links cancer to the environment.

Extreme drought drops Amazon river to record low levels

(10/07/2005) The Amazon River in Peru and parts of Brazil is at its lowest level in 30 years of record keeping. While variable water levels are characteristic of the Amazon river ecosystem, the increasingly extreme fluctuations are of great concern. Low water levels are wreaking havoc on the shipping industry in the region. In Iquitos, a city in the heart of the Peruvian Amazon which is only accessible by plane or boat, ships and barges are having difficulty navigating the river, resulting in serious shipping delays. Local officials in Peru are blaming deforestation of the upper reaches of the Amazon in the Andes for the fall in river levels, although it is likely that larger forces are at least equally important. Warmer ocean surface temperatures in the Pacific and low sunspot activity is also affecting weather in the region. Brazilian meteorologists have discounted the theory that the severe hurricane season off the US Gulf coast has impacted the availability of moisture in the Amazon.

Nestle introduces fairtrade coffee, eco-friendly product goes mainstream

(10/07/2005) For coffee drinkers overwhelmed by choice in the coffee aisles, add this: Fairtrade coffee from the world's number one food group, Nestle.

Bush administration sued over forest decision

(10/07/2005) A coalition of 20 environmental groups sued the Bush administration Thursday to block road construction, logging and industrial development on more than 90,000 square miles of the nation's last untouched forests.

Genomes of 200 Human Flu Strains Reveal a Dynamic Virus

(10/06/2005) In the first large-scale effort of its kind, researchers have determined the full genetic sequence of more than 200 distinct strains of human influenza virus. The information, being made available in a publicly accessible database, is expected to help scientists better understand how flu viruses evolve, spread and cause disease. The genomic data already has enabled scientists to determine why the 2003-4 annual influenza vaccine did not fully protect individuals against the flu that season.

Simplified stereotypes of "typical" Americans, Brazilians, Chinese are common but mistaken

(10/06/2005) Simplified stereotypes of "typical" Americans, Brazilians, Chinese, and other groups are common but highly mistaken, according to a National Institute on Aging (NIA) study that examined the accuracy of national character stereotypes in 49 cultures worldwide. The finding has important implications regarding beliefs that characterize groups of people, including the elderly, the researchers said.

Link between ecosystems uncovered as fish in ponds help flowering plants

(10/06/2005) Fish and flowering plants would seem to have as much in common as pigs and beauty soap. But ecologists at Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Florida have found an amazing relationship between the different species that provides a new direction for understanding how ecosystems "hook up."

Great White Shark swims 12,400 miles, shocks scientists

(10/06/2005) A female great white shark tagged in waters off South Africa has completed the first known transoceanic trip for an individual shark, traveling farther than any other shark known, more than 12,400 miles (more than 20,000 kilometers) to the coast of Australia and back again, according to the Bronx Zoo-based Wildlife conservation Society (WCS) and other organizations in the most recent edition of the journal Science.

95% of mahogany from Peru is illegally logged says scientist

(10/06/2005) 95 percent of the mahogany that leaves the rainforests of Peru is logged illegally according to a scientist at the Research Institute of the Peruvian Amazon.

Climate change to affect migratory birds and animals

(10/06/2005) Climate change could affect and disrupt breeding, hamper migrations, and increase disease transmission in migratory birds and animals, a new report has warned. The report, Climate Change and Migratory Species, was commissioned by Defra and prepared by a group led by the British Trust for Ornithology, and draws together broad research on the effects of climate change migratory wildlife.

Google, MIT support $100 laptop for the world's poorest children

(10/06/2005) Google, AMD, Brightstar, News Corporation, and Red Hat have signed on to MIT's low-cost laptop initiative which aims to deliver a fully functional $100 machine to the developing world.

Weight of flooded Amazon river causes Earth to sink 3 inches

(10/05/2005) As the Amazon River floods every year, a sizeable portion of South America sinks several inches because of the extra weight -- and then rises again as the waters recede, a study has found. This annual rise and fall of earth's crust is the largest ever detected, and it may one day help scientists tally the total amount of water on Earth.

Satellite monitors health of coral reefs

(10/05/2005) Australian researchers have found Envisat's MERIS sensor can detect coral bleaching down to ten metres deep. This means Envisat could potentially monitor impacted coral reefs worldwide on a twice-weekly basis.

Poor aid response to storm damage in Central America

(10/05/2005) Tropical storm Stan has killed more than 120 people across Central America, including more than 60 in El Salvador and 50 in Guatemala, but international aid has been slow to arrive in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina.

Python explodes after swallowing 6-foot alligator in Florida Everglades

(10/05/2005) The National Park Service released photos that show the carcass of an American alligator that was almost swallowed by a Burmese python.

Cancer death rates continue to fall according to the National Cancer Institute

(10/04/2005) The nation's leading cancer organizations report that Americans' risk of dying from cancer continues to decline and that the rate of new cancers is holding steady.

Evolutionary history of the origin of potatoes revised -- study

(10/04/2005) Humans have cultivated potatoes for millennia, but there has been great controversy about the ubiquitous vegetable's origins. This week, writing in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences, a team led by a USDA potato taxonomist stationed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has for the first time demonstrated a single origin in southern Peru for the cultivated potato.

SUV sales plummet, high gas prices cited

(10/04/2005) High gas prices caused American consumers to spurn sport-utility vehicles in September. Further, resale values for SUVs are falling as demand for the gas-guzzling vehicles softens while interest in smaller, more fuel-efficient models soars.

Oil companies help marine biologists to explore new frontiers in deep-sea oceanography

(10/04/2005) An idea from a young marine biologist at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton is revolutionising oceanography in the deep oceans. Dr Ian Hudson has been getting the oil industry to sign up to a project that has captured the imagination of companies and oceanographers across the world.

conservation agriculture holds promise for food production in Africa

(10/04/2005) conservation agriculture holds considerable promise for farmers in sub-Saharan Africa because it can control soil erosion, reverse land degradation, give more stable yields and reduce labour and fuel needs, FAO said today on the eve of the Third World Congress on conservation Agriculture in Nairobi .

El Salvador's tropical storm damage worsened by deforestation

(10/04/2005) Heavy rains and mudslides from Tropical Storm Stan have killed at least 30 people in El Salvador. Widespread deforestation has worsened in the impact of the storm by leaving barren hillsides vulnerable to mudslides and rivers susceptible to flooding.

Climate change boosts visitors to Alaska, Antarctica

(10/04/2005) A new advertising campaign launched Monday urges tourists to visit Alaska before they die. The billboards posted in Seattle, Washington; Los Angeles, California; and Minneapolis, Minnesota, show an Alaska license plate that reads "Alaska B4UDIE" -- or Alaska, before you die.

New battery lasts 12 years, helps stimulate nerves

(10/04/2005) With the help of new silicon-based compounds, scientists - and patients - are getting a significant new charge out of the tiny lithium batteries used in implantable devices to help treat nervous system and other disorders.

Food-borne diseases are a serious threat in Africa

(10/04/2005) Food-borne diseases are a serious threat to people in Africa, especially Africans already weakened from devastating conditions such as malaria and HIV/AIDS, two UN agencies warned today at the first-ever Regional Food Safety Conference for Africa.

90% of American men will become overweight, one third obses

(10/03/2005) 90% of American men were overweight or became overweight according to a 30-year study carried out by researchers at Boston University, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and other institutions. They study, which gathered data from 4,000 adults and tracked them over 30 years, also found that half of the men and women in the study who had made it well into adulthood without a weight problem ultimately became overweight while one in three subjects became obese.

Dark chocolate helps diarrhea

(10/02/2005) A new study conducted by researchers at Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland is the first to discover that a chemical in cocoa beans can limit the development of fluids that cause diarrhea. Cocoa beans contain a large amount of chemicals called flavonoids. Scientists believe that these flavonoids can be used to create natural supplements to ease diarrhea symptoms. Dark chocolate contains high concentrations of cocoa and may offer mild relief.

Sea turtles temporarily lose protection in wake of Hurricane Katrina

(10/02/2005) The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has granted shrimp trawlers a temporary 30-day exemption from federal Turtle Excluder Device requirements in certain state and federal waters off Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Turtle Excluder Devices protect sea turtles and other large marine animals from being captured in trawl nets. The exemption from federal TED requirements will expire at 11:59 pm on October 22, 2005, unless otherwise extended by NMFS.

Louisiana seafood products safe for consumption -- LSU AgCenter

(10/02/2005) Louisiana seafood products making their way to the market now are safe - despite disruptions and losses the industry suffered as the result of Hurricane Katrina, according to experts at the LSU AgCenter.

Dodging bullets in Brazil with Greenpeace

(10/02/2005) When self-confessed hippie and Innocent smoothies entrepreneur Richard Reed travelled to the Amazon, he wasn't sure what to expect. But it certainly wasn't Greenpeace activists with bullet-proof vests and night-vision goggles. This is his travel journal.

Rise of oxygen in atmosphere may have helped mammal evolution

(10/01/2005) The first, high resolution continuous record of oxygen concentration in the earth's atmosphere shows that a sharp rise in oxygen about 50 million years ago gave mammals the evolutionary boost they needed to dominate the planet, according to Paul Falkowski, Rutgers professor of marine science and lead author of a paper published Sept. 30 in the journal Science.

Two-headed turtle found in Havana, Cuba

(10/01/2005) A baby two-headed turtle was found in Havana, Cuba on a river bank in the city forest. According to scientists of the local aquarium who inspected the animal, the turtle appears to be in good health.

NASA satellites detect continuing decline in Arctic sea ice

(10/01/2005) Researchers from NASA, the National Snow and Ice Data Center and others using satellite data have detected a significant loss in Arctic sea ice this year.

Climate changing faster than ever -- sea levels may rise 1 foot by 2100

(10/01/2005) According to the calculations of scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, over the next century the climate will change more quickly than it ever has in the recent history of the earth. These results come from the latest climate model calculations from the German High Performance Computing Centre for Climate and Earth System Research.

Frogs may help in fight against HIV

(10/01/2005) A new weapon in the battle against HIV may come from an unusual source -- a small tropical frog. Investigators at Vanderbilt University Medical Center reported this month in the Journal of Virology that compounds secreted by frog skin are potent blockers of HIV infection.

Biofuels threaten rainforests as important European Commission decision lies ahead

(10/01/2005) To meet Kyoto protocol commitments, various European and other governments are encouraging the use of biomass as fuel (biofuel) in transport and electricity. Biofuels are mostly carbon neutral, and switching from fossil fuels to biodiesel is promoted as a solution to climate change.

Sun's role in global warming may be underestimated says Duke researchers

(10/01/2005) The physicists said that their findings indicate that climate models of global warming need to be corrected for the effects of changes in solar activity. However, they emphasized that their findings do not argue against the basic theory that significant global warming is occurring because of carbon dioxide and other "greenhouse" gases.

Green elementary school opens in Chicago

(10/01/2005) Youngsters at Tarkington elementary started their first day of classes Tuesday at a school where flowering plants grow on the roof. It's one of the nation's small but growing number of environmentally friendly schools, a stand-out because it sits in a major city better known for towers of steel and concrete.

Polar bears hold key to understanding health risk of environmental pollutants

(09/30/2005) Polar bears and people, at the chilly top of the Arctic's food chain, risk consuming a smorgasbord of industrial pollutants that have seeped into their habitat and pose potential health hazards.

Madagascar announces oil discovery; island nation to start producing crude in 3-4 years

(09/30/2005) Madagascar, the world's fourth largest island, announced the discovery of several oil blocks on land and offshore. The Indian island nation expects to start producing crude oil for the first time within the next 3-4 years, according to a report from Reuters.

Congo gorillas survive war, survey finds higher count than expected

(09/30/2005) New scientific surveys by the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have revealed some encouraging news about the status of the "eastern lowland" gorilla, known more properly as Grauer's gorilla.

Amazon river at record low levels; deforestation blamed

(09/30/2005) The Amazon River in Peru is at its lowest level in 30 years of record keeping according to a report in Peruvian daily newspaper El Comercio. Local officials say deforestation is the likely culprit of the low water levels. While variable water levels are characteristic of the Amazon river ecosystem, the increasingly extreme fluctuations are of great concern.

Gorillas use tools - photo documentation

(09/29/2005) For the first time ever, scientists have observed and photographed wild gorillas using tools, in one instance employing a stick to test the depth of a pool before wading into it, according to a study by the Bronx Zoo-based Wildlife conservation Society (WCS) and other organizations. Up to this point, all other species of great apes, including chimpanzees and orangutans, have been observed using tools in the wild, but never gorillas.

Is there a link between the Arctic and hurricanes?

(09/29/2005) Is there a cause-and-effect link between the warming trend in the Arctic and the recent increase in Atlantic hurricane activity?.

Now identified as likely origin of SARS; will bats be killed in China?

(09/29/2005) The likely source of the respiratory disease SARS is the horseshoe bat, a new study in the journal Science suggests. Researchers found a virus closely related to the SARS coronavirus in bats from three regions of China. The 2003 SARS outbreak killed 770 people and caused billions in economic damaged.

Rising carbon dioxide levels could devastate marine food chain

(09/29/2005) Rising carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could make oceans to acidic for marine organisms producing protective shells according to research published in the journal Nature. Such a development could be catastrophic for the ocean's food chain and devastating for world fisheries.

Decline of Arctic sea ice increases

(09/29/2005) Summer Arctic sea ice falls far below average for fourth year, winter ice sees sharp decline, spring melt starts earlier.

Flavanols found in chocolate have health benefits

(09/29/2005) Phytochemicals known as flavanols, which are found in chocolate, fruits and vegetables, can boost the levels of nitric oxide in the blood of smokers and reverse some of their smoking-related impairment in blood vessel function, according to a new study in the Oct. 4, 2005, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Shredded tires help make landfills more environmentally sound

(09/28/2005) Placing shredded tires on top of -- rather than in -- landfills can save money and benefit the environment, researchers from the University of Illinois say.

First picture of live giant squid

(09/28/2005) For the first time ever, scientists have observed a giant squid in the wild.

Alaska - climate change causing ancient lakes and wetlands to be replaced by forest

(09/28/2005) Lakes and wetlands in the Kenai Peninsula of south-central Alaska are drying at a significant rate. The shift seems to be driven by climate change, and could endanger waterfowl habitats and hasten the spread of wildfires

Cocaine destroying rainforest parks in Colombia

(09/28/2005) Cocaine is killing the great nature parks of Colombia. Government spraying of coca plant killer is driving growers and traffickers out of their usual territory into national parks where spraying is banned. Here they are burning thousands of acres of virgin rain forest and poisoning rivers with chemicals.

Key flavivirus discovery could lead to vaccines against mosquito and tick diseases

(09/28/2005) Researchers from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, have made the surprising discovery that flaviviruses, which cause such serious diseases as West Nile fever, yellow fever and forms of encephalitis, evade immune system defenses in different ways depending on whether they are transmitted by mosquitoes or ticks. This finding could lead to new approaches to developing vaccines and treatments against these illnesses.

China may reopen trade in tiger parts

(09/27/2005) China is considering reopening the domestic trade in tigers and tiger parts, banned there since 1993, a move that would spell disaster for the already endangered species, according to World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and TRAFFIC.

Birds and Bats Responsible for Seed Dispersal in Tropical Forests

(09/27/2005) Restoring the rich diversity of trees that once characterized expansive tracts of tropical rainforest gets a helping hand from native birds and bats. Just how big a role these winged gardeners play is a question ecologists from the University of Illinois at Chicago and several Latin American universities are about to find out by setting up essentially a living laboratory in Mexico's gulf coast state of Veracruz.

Drug-resistant Staph bacteria gaining genes for virulence

(09/27/2005) In a Brief Report in the September 22, 2005, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers at the University of Chicago describe three cases of rapidly progressive and ultimately fatal Staphylococcus aureus infections in small children.

Malaysia urges neighbors to help prevent haze

(09/27/2005) Malaysia urged its neighbours on Tuesday to ratify an agreement to control air pollution in southeast Asia, a month after forest fires in Indonesia caused some of the worst haze in the region in eight years.

First megatransect of Madagascar completed

(09/27/2005) Late last year an international team completed the first known transect of the island of Madagascar, the world's fourth largest island. The eight-month-long journey, dubbed "Hike Madagascar," took the group of intrepid hikers from the southern tip of Madagascar to the northernmost point of the island. The transect targeted rural communities along the eastern forest corridor, surveying villages and providing local farmers with techniques for improving rice yields and putting more food on the table for their families. The hike also provided a glimpse into some of the socioeconomic and environmental issues facing the island nation, which is one of the poorest in the world.

20,000 new species of animals discovered in 2005

(09/26/2005) The International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature expects that more than 20,000 species will be described by zoologists in 2005.

Capturing and storing the carbon dioxide could be key in minimizing climate change

(09/26/2005) A new assessment report finalized here today by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that capturing and storing the carbon dioxide (CO2) produced by power plants and factories before it enters the atmosphere could play a major role in minimizing climate change.

Galveston aquarium survives Hurricane Rita

(09/26/2005) The aquarium and other facilities at Moody Gardens in Galveston, Texas appear to have weathered Hurricane Rita according to press reports.

Tsunami boosts rice yields, agriculture in Aceh province

(09/26/2005) Rice, the region's staple food, is not the only crop thriving on tsunami-affected land in Indonesia's Aceh province, which suffered the worst damage and loss of life in the Dec. 26 disaster.

What to pack for your visit to the rainforest

(09/26/2005) Visiting a tropical rainforest promises to be a memorable experience. Rainforests house around half the world's plant and animal species and are home to indigenous people who live in ways quite unlike those in the western world.

Bird sanctuary in Malaysia damaged by illegal logging and forest clearing

(09/26/2005) According to the New Straits Times, loggers are illegally clearing the protected forest of Gunung Panti to plant oil palm.

Malaysia to build palm oil biodiesel plants to counter high oil price

(09/26/2005) According to the AFP, Malaysia announced that it will build three plants to produce biodiesel from palm oil, as part of efforts to reduce its dependency on foreign oil and increase demand for domestically produced palm oil.

Doctors ill-prepared to diagnose, treat bioterrorism diseases

(09/26/2005) More than one-half of 631 physicians tested were unable to correctly diagnose diseases caused by agents most likely to be used by bioterrorists, such as smallpox, anthrax, botulism and plague, according to a Johns Hopkins study published in the Sept. 26 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

Galveston, Houston aquariums survive Hurricane Rita

(09/26/2005) The aquarium and other animal facilities at Moody Gardens in Galveston, Texas along with the Houston aquarium appear to have weathered Hurricane Rita according to press reports.

Insurers not disclosing climate change-related risks finds FOE study

(09/26/2005) A new report by Friends of the Earth shows that America's property and casualty insurers are doing a very poor job in disclosing climate change-related risks in their SEC filings on material risks facing the firms. Only 5 companies out of the 106 surveyed referenced climate change issues in their SEC reporting, despite the growing body of evidence that climate change will produce increasingly intense storms.

Hurricane news for specific towns in Texas

(09/24/2005) Hurricane Rita slammed into Texas and Louisiana early Saturday, flooding coastal towns, sparking fires and knocking power out to more than 1 million customers, but largely sparing Houston, New Orleans and the region's oil refining industry.

Gabon sets aside 10 percent of country as protected parks

(09/24/2005) In a move that sets a new standard in African conservation, the nation of Gabon, which contains some of the most pristine tropical rainforests on earth, announced today that it will set aside 10 percent of its land mass for a system of national parks. Up to this point, Gabon had no national park system. The Gabonese government has been working closely with The Wildlife conservation Society (WCS) on conservation issues for the past ten years. The announcement is a major victory for Africa's wildlife.

Supernova could be responsible for extinction of the mammoth

(09/24/2005) A distant supernova that exploded 41,000 years ago may have led to the extinction of the mammoth, according to research that will be presented tomorrow (Sept. 24) by nuclear scientist Richard Firestone of the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab).

Summers in arctic getting longer and hotter

(09/23/2005) In a paper that shows dramatic summer warming in arctic Alaska, scientists synthesized a decade of field data from Alaska showing summer warming is occurring primarily on land, where a longer snow-free season has contributed more strongly to atmospheric heating than have changes in vegetation.

193,000 barrels of oil spilled in Gulf wetlands due to Katrina

(09/23/2005) Reports from the Coast Guard indicate that at least 193,000 barrels of oil and other petrochemicals have been spilled in wetlands and coastal areas in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The storm ruptured pipelines, damaged oil storage facilities, and chemical production plants.

NOAA Biologists to study marine contaminants from hurricane

(09/23/2005) The NOAA Research vessel the Nancy Foster this week is working off the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama to study the effects of Hurricane Katrina on marine resources and the ecosystem. During the cruise, biologists will take water samples and look at sediments in the Mississippi river. They will test fish and shrimp for evidence of toxic contamination and pathogens that might affect human health.

Penguins and sea otters rescued from hurricane settling in at Monterey Bay Aquarium

(09/23/2005) The 19 penguins and two sea otters rescued from the New Orleans Aquarium of the Americas are currently behind the scenes during their quarantine period. The penguins are being housed in a former dive locker, now called the "Penguin Hospitality Suite." We hope to put some or all of them on exhibit in the near future with our penguin colony in "Splash Zone." It will be a family reunion of sorts, as several of the birds in the two colonies are related.

Palm oil plantations decimating orang-utans says report

(09/23/2005) UK company demand for palm oil, a vegetable oil found in one in ten products on supermarket shelves, is driving the orang-utan towards extinction, new research reveals. The `Oil for Ape Scandal', published today by Friends of the Earth and the world's leading orang-utan conservation groups, concludes that without urgent intervention the palm oil trade could cause the extinction of Asia's only great ape within 12 years.

10 million people will need humanitarian assistance in Southern Africa

(09/23/2005) As many as 10 million people in Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe have been assessed as food insecure and will need humanitarian assistance until the next harvest according to a food security brief from USAID.

Fires rage in Bolivian rainforest

(09/23/2005) Fires have burned more than 1700 square miles (4450 square km) of Amazon rainforest and pasture in Bolivia, prompting the government to declare a state of emergency in two provinces.

European Space Agency analyzes Hurricane Rita

(09/23/2005) As Hurricane Rita entered the Gulf of Mexico, ESA's Envisat satellite's radar was able to pierce through swirling clouds to directly show how the storm churns the sea surface. This image has then been used to derive Rita's wind field speeds.

Modeling Hurricane Rita's Path

(09/22/2005) An advanced research weather model run by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is following Hurricane Rita to give scientists a taste of how well forecast models of the future may predict hurricane track, intensity, and important rain and wind features.

Natural resource management revolutionized around Cambodia's 'Great Lake'

(09/22/2005) When Patrick Evans first arrived at Cambodia's Tonle Sap Lake eight years ago, there were days when it seemed more like a militarized zone than one of the world's most productive freshwater fishing grounds.

Climate change could have significant impact on health of Australians

(09/22/2005) The Australian Medical Association (AMA) and the Australian conservation Foundation (ACF) are calling for a national response to one of the world's most significant environmental threats -- climate change and its effect on human health.

Researchers Discover Protein Signatures for Prostate Cancer

(09/22/2005) A new study shows that testing blood samples for antibodies that target prostate cancer cells may help identify patients with early stages of the disease. In the September 22, 2005, issue of New England Journal of Medicine, researchers report the findings may lead to a new test that could complement the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test in detecting early stage prostate cancer.

Cocoa innovations could help West Africa escape poverty

(09/21/2005) Ghana is leading efforts to use waste from cocoa farming to produce household products and drinks -- from fertilizer and soap to wine and brandy -- that will boost income for poor farmers.

What is a Category 5 Hurricane?

(09/21/2005) Hurricane Rita just strengthened to a Category 5 hurricane. A Category 5 hurricane is the strongest and most severe class of hurricane. The scale, known as the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale, classifies hurricanes by the intensity of their sustained winds, storm surge and flooding, developed in 1969 by civil engineer Herbert Saffir and National Hurricane Center director Bob Simpson.

Ant produces own natural herbicide to poison unwanted plants

(09/21/2005) For the first time, scientists have identified an ant species that produces its own natural herbicide to poison unwanted plants. Stanford University biologist Deborah M. Gordon and her co-workers describe the findings in the Sept. 22 issue of the journal Nature.

New York City to dim lights to protect migrating birds

(09/21/2005) New York civic leaders on Tuesday said the lights of buildings above the 40th floor will be turned off after midnight in the fall and spring migration seasons to save birds. Since 1997, more than 4,000 migratory birds have been killed or injured from colliding into skyscrapers, bird experts said.

Last 4 missing Gulfport dolphins rescued following hurricane

(09/21/2005) The NOAA Fisheries Service and the Marine Life Aquarium of Gulfport, Miss., working with a number of other partners, rescued the last four of the eight trained bottlenose dolphins that were swept out of an aquarium tank torn apart by the storm surge of Hurricane Katrina on August 29. Normally held in captivity, the dolphins don't have the necessary skills to survive on their own. They have survived various injuries and predators and have stayed together since the storm.

Biomimicry Employed by MIT Nanotechnology Researchers

(09/21/2005) The ocean is a perilous environment for a soft-bodied creature like a sea snail, so nature gives it an advanced nanostructured armor system that is stiff and strong yet lightweight. It's called a shell.

Stronger New Orleans' levees could have high real estate and environmental cost

(09/21/2005) Today The Wall Street Journal published an article on proposals for improving the levees around New Orleans. The city's existing flood-control system, which was designed to handle up to a Category 3 hurricane, failed during Category 4 Katrina and New Orleans was swamped with flood water.

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