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Tremendous loss of ice in Greenland finds new NASA study
(10/19/2006) For the first time NASA scientists have confirmed that Greenland's ice sheet is shrinking. Using a new remote sensing technique that reveals regional changes in the weight of the massive ice sheet across the entire continent, researchers at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center found that Greenland suffered a net loss of 25 cubic miles (101 gigatons) of ice per year between 2003 and 2005.
Ozone hole is the largest and deepest ever recorded
(10/19/2006) NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists that this year's Antarctic ozone hole is the largest and deepest ever recorded. "From September 21 to 30, the average area of the ozone hole was the largest ever observed, at 10.6 million square miles," said Paul Newman, atmospheric scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. At the same time, scientists from the NOAA"s Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colo., found that nearly all of the ozone in the layer between eight and 13 miles above the Earth"s surface has been destroyed.
400 million year old gives evolutionary clues
(10/19/2006) A fossil fish discovered in the West Australian Kimberley has been identified as the missing clue in vertebrate evolution, rewriting a century-old theory on how the first land animals evolved.
Population of bizarre Mongolian antelope plunges 95% in 15 years
(10/19/2006) A group of scientists led by the New York-based Wildlife conservation Society (WCS) working in Mongolia's windswept Gobi Desert recently fitted high-tech GPS (Global Positioning System) collars on eight saiga antelope in an effort to help protect one of Asia's most bizarre-looking -- and endangered -- large mammals.
Traditional customs pit young versus old in Indonesia's Torajaland
(10/19/2006) Cultural Bankruptcy: Maintaining History at a Tremendous Cost in Sulawesi's Torajaland. The Torajanese people of Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, have long been renown for their extravagant celebrations of the dead in their funerals, graves and effigies. Just outside of Rantepao, the regional capital of Torajaland, ostentatious, costly and increasingly generationally divisive funerals take place on a regular basis. Like other indigenous cultures around the world, a growing rift between the young and old generations is calling the foundations of tradition into question.
In search of rare, high elevation monkeys in China
(10/19/2006) High in the cloud-shrouded Yunling mountains of northwestern Yunnan and southeastern Tibet (southwestern China) lives one of the world's most elusive monkeys, the Yunnan golden or snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus bieti). Despite dwelling the most extreme environment of any monkey species -- high-altitude evergreen forests at elevations from 3000 - 4500 m (9800 - 14,800 feet) where temperatures may fall below freezing for several months in a row -- today there are less than 2000 of Yunnan snub-nosed monkeys remaining. Hunting and habitat loss has brought the species, which is limited to a single mountain range and fragmented into 15 small sub-populations at risk to genetic bottlenecks and inbreeding depression, to the brink of extinction.
Commercial fishing can cause fish population imbalance
(10/18/2006) New research has found that commercial fishing can cause significant fluctuations in marine fish populations. Writing in Nature, scientists from several institutions and agencies argue that fishing can amplify the highs and lows of natural population variability.
Bears becoming couch potatoes thanks to dumpsters
(10/18/2006) Research by the Bronx Zoo-based Wildlife conservation Society (WCS) has found that bears living near urban areas are becoming couch potatoes, a third less active and weighing up to thirty percent more than bears living in more wild areas. Bears are apparently forsaking their natural food sources and spending more time foraging in dumpsters.
Brazil says no to rainforest privatization plan, asks Gore for help
(10/18/2006) On Tuesday Brazil rejected a alleged British proposal to fight climate change by 'privatizing' parts of the Amazon rainforest, according to Reuters. In an editorial published on the opinion page of Folha de S.Paulo newspaper, Environment Minister Marina Silva and Foreign Minister Celso Amorim said that the Amazon was 'not for sale'. Their comments were expected since Brazil has long objected to internationalization of the Amazon, seeing such attempts as a threat to its sovereignty. The 'Amazon privatization' report, which originally appeared in Britain's Sunday Telegraph newspaper on October 1, 2006, said that David Miliband, Britain's Environment Secretary, planned to propose an initiative that would turn parts of the Amazon into an 'international trust' wherein credible buyers could lockup parts of the rainforest for preservation. However, shortly after the article was published, Miliband's office strongly rejected the story.
Google worried about global warming?
(10/17/2006) Google said it plans to build a solar-powered electricity system at its Silicon Valley headquarters that be the largest solar installation on any corporate campus in the United States.
Rainforests face myriad of threats says leading Amazon scholar
(10/17/2006) The world's tropical rainforests are in trouble. Spurred by a global commodity boom and continuing poverty in some of the world's poorest regions, deforestation rates have increased since the close of the 1990s. The usual threats to forests -- agricultural conversion, wildlife poaching, uncontrolled logging, and road construction -- could soon be rivaled, and even exceeded, by climate change and rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Understanding these threats is key to preserving forests and their ecological services for current and future generations. William F. Laurance, a distinguished scholar and president of the Association for Tropical Biology and conservation (ATBC) -- the world's largest scientific organization dedicated to the study and conservation of tropical ecosystems, is at the forefront of this effort.
Malaysia adopts new remote sensing technology to detect illegal forest burning
(10/16/2006) Last month Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Sri Najib Tun Razak announced that Malaysia will use a new remote sensing technology to detect illegal logging and forest fires in the country.
Brazil proposes compensation plan for rainforest conservation
(10/16/2006) Last month Brazil proposed the establishment of a fund to compensate developing countries that reduce deforestation, a move that follows a similar initiative by a coalition of developing countries led by Papua New Guinea and Costa Rica. The scheme could help cut greenhouse gas emissions that result from forest clearing and conversion. Deforestation currently is responsible for 20-25 percent of such heat-trapping emissions.
China needs 5 million cubic meters more of tropical timber by 2010
(10/16/2006) China needs 5 million cubic meters more of tropical timber by 2010 according to the September 15-30 ITTO Tropical Timber Market Report, a publication published by the International Tropical Timber Organization. China is already the world's largest consumer of tropical wood, importing more than twice the volume of tropical logs as India, the second largest importer on the list.
US population set to break 300m Tuesday
(10/16/2006) The U.S. population is expected to reach 300 million people on Tuesday, October 17 according to the U.S. Bureau of the Census. The world's largest economy has the fastest population growth (0.91 percent) of G-8 countries, meaning the country adds another 2.8 million people a year, equivalent to the addition of another Arkansas or Kansas. The United States is the third largest country in the world, behind China and India.
Forest fires result from government failure in Indonesia
(10/16/2006) Indonesia is burning again. Smoke from fires set for land-clearing in South Kalimantan (Borneo) and Sumatra are causing pollution levels to climb in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and Bangkok, resulting in mounting haze-related health problems, traffic accidents, and associated economic costs. The country's neighbors are again clamoring for action but ultimately the fires will burn until they are extinguished by seasonal rains in coming months
Unchecked global warming will cost trillions says report
(10/14/2006) A new Friends of the Earth-backed report by economists at Tufts University's Global Development and Environment Institute says that global warming could cost trillions of dollars should temperature increases exceed two degrees centigrade (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit)
Phytoplankton generate about five times as much energy as humans finds study
(10/14/2006) A new study estimates that oceanic phytoplankton generate about five times the annual total energy consumption of humans.
NAND PCs may have environmental benefits over standard hard disk PCs
(10/13/2006) Fujitsu announced it will start shipping PCs that use NAND-flash drives instead of standard hard drives. While the new format will be substantially more expensive -- on the order of $670 to replace a 20GB hard drive with a 16GB worth of flash memory -- it will make the laptops lighter and more shock-resistant, extend battery life by 30 minutes and improve system performance on start-up. The shift may have ancillary benefits as well: less energy usage and reduction of components that use metals. The following originally appeared on October 28, 2006 on mongabay.com.
Shell estimates cost of fighting climate change at 0.3% GDP
(10/13/2006) A new report by Shell Oil estimates that the cost of fighting climate change in the Britain by 2010 would be equivalent to just 0.3 percent of GDP. The report also says that the effort to address climate change could be worth £30bn ($56 billion) to businesses in the UK.
Insurance industry needs to do more to fight global warming
(10/13/2006) The insurance industry needs to do more to address the growing impact of climate-change induced damaged according to a report issued this week by insurance giant Allianz and environmental group WWF.
Methane from peat bogs may worsen global warming
(10/13/2006) New research says that methane released from peat bogs at the end of the past ice age worsen global warming. The study warns that a similar event could worsen climate change by causing a rapid shift in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations.
Solar Energy Powers Mainland China's Richest Man
(10/12/2006) The largest private fortune in mainland China may belong to Shi Zhengrong, the founder of the China's largest producer of photovoltaic equipment used to convert sunlight into eletricity, according to an article in today's edition of The Wall Street Journal.
Warming climate causing Alaska lakes to dry up
(10/12/2006) More than 10,000 Alaskan lakes "shrunk in size or completely dried up" between 1950 and 2002 according to a study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research--Biogeosciences. The study says that during this period, "Alaska has experienced a warming climate with longer growing seasons, increased thawing of permafrost, and greater water loss due to evaporation from open water and transpiration from vegetation; yet there has been no substantial change in precipitation."
Extinction may be linked to Earth's tilt and orbital variations
(10/12/2006) A new study suggests that variations in Earth's orbit and tilt may be linked to extinctions of mammal species. Examining the fossilized teeth of rodents over a 22 million year period, researchers lead by Jan van Dam of Utrecht University in the Netherlands found that the disappearance of mammal species -- which survive an average of 2.5 million years before going exinct -- cluster around specific cycles at one million and 2.4 million years. The one million year cycle correponds to wobbles in Earth's orbit, while the 970,000-year cycle is tied to shifts of the Earth on its axis. The cycles are assocation with lower temperatures and changes in precipitation.
Bering Strait land bridge may have flooded earlier than thought
(10/11/2006) Researchers have found evidence suggesting that the Bering Strait land bridge believed to be the major route for human migration from Asia to the Americas may have flooded about 1,000 years earlier than widely thought. The findings may help scientists develop ocean and climate histories for the region to better understand human migration. The study is published in the October issue of Geology magazine by researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Global warming and pollution could doom oysters
(10/11/2006) Oysters exposed to high water temperatures and a common heavy metal are unable to obtain sufficient oxygen and convert it to cellular energy, according to a new study presented at The American Physiological Society conference, Comparative Physiology 2006.
Higher oxygen levels could produce monster insects
(10/11/2006) Higher concentrations of oxygen could produce giant insects according to a paper presented at the Comparative Physiology conference currently meeting in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The paper, 'No giants today: tracheal oxygen supply to the legs limits beetle size,' based on research by a team of American researchers, offers evidence that Paleozoic insects were substantially larger because they had a richer oxygen supply. During the late Paleozoic period, about 300 million years ago, the air's oxygen content was around 35 percent, compared to 21 percent today. As a result some dragonflies had two-and-a-half-foot wing spans, while giant spiders roamed the ancient forests.
Photo of new bird species discovered in Colombia
(10/10/2006) A bird species new to science has been discovered on a remote mountain range in northern Colombia according to conservation International. The Yariguies Brush-Finch (Atlapetes latinuchus yariguierum), a large and colorful finch with black, yellow and red plumage, is described in the June issue of the scientific journal Bulletin of the British Ornithologists Club.
Fires in Central America worsen air quality in Texas
(10/10/2006) Agricultural fires in Central America can impact air quality and climate in Texas, Oklahoma, and other parts of the southern United States according to new research from NASA.
Photos from Xinjiang, a Muslim region in western China
(10/09/2006) Xinjiang, China's largest and western-most province, is one of the planet's most remote and desolate regions. Covering more than one-sixth the country's territory, Xinjiang borders Tibet, Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, and is dominated by ethnic minorities, notably the Muslim Uyghurs who make up nearly half the 18 million who live in the province. Xinjiang's ethnic mix reflects its historical importance as a central part of the Silk Road, a trading route used since ancient times to transport good between East and West.
Dust may weaken Atlantic hurricanes
(10/09/2006) Sahara Desert dust may weaken Atlantic hurricanes according to a new study published in the latest issue of the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
A look at the biodiversity extinction crisis
(10/07/2006) As tropical forests -- the world's biological treasure troves -- continue to dwindle, biologists are racing to devise ways to save them and their resident biodiversity. While many conservation biologists talk about population viability analysis and intricacies of reserve layouts, David L. Pearson, a research professor at the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University (ASU) in Tempe, Arizona, focuses on a different approach: education.
Massive coral bleaching in Madagascar
(10/06/2006) A new survey of reefs along Madagascar's southwestern coast found massive damage from coral bleaching, including some reefs that lost up to 99 percent of their coral cover. But the survey team, led by the conservation groups Blue Ventures and the Wildlife conservation Society (WCS) and funded by conservation International (CI), also found some signs of hope. Scientists discovered several small reefs with corals that appeared to be resilient to rising sea temperatures and could ultimately be used to reseed damaged reefs. These resilient reefs may also provide valuable information about how to protect corals from future damage.
Global warming threatens western U.S.
(10/06/2006) Global warming will cause drastic changes -- including reduction in snowpack, worsening droughts, increases in wildfire and invasive species, and loss of regional biodiversity -- in the American West if greenhouse gas emissions are not curtailed according to a new report from the National Wildlife Federation.
New bird species discovered in Colombia
(10/05/2006) A bird species new to science has been discovered on a remote mountain range in northern Colombia according to conservation International.
$24 million debt-for-nature swap in Guatemala
(10/05/2006) Tropical forest conservation efforts in Guatemala will receive $24 million under a debt-for-nature swap arranged by conservation International (CI), The Nature Conservancy, and the governments of the United States and Guatemala.
Weak El Nino returns to the Pacific
(10/05/2006) NASA satellite data indicates El Nino has returned to the tropical Pacific Ocean, although in a relatively weak condition that may not persist and is currently much less intense than the last major El Niño episode in 1997-1998.
Northeastern U.S. at risk from global warming
(10/05/2006) A new report warns that global warming will "substantially change" the climate in the northeastern if greenhouse gas emissions are reduced.
Borneo and Sumatra burn as forest fires rage
(10/05/2006) Forest fires are again buring across Borneo and Sumatra (Indonesia) according to satellite images released this week by NASA.
Hospitals go green
(10/04/2006) Some hospitals are going "green" in an effort to cut pollution and toxic emissions that hurt the health of patients and surrounding communities according to an article in today's issue of The Wall Street Journal.
Arctic sea ice levels fall
(10/04/2006) Arctic sea ice fell to the fourth lowest level on record according to researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Farmers fight FDA over pet turtle ban
(10/04/2006) Farmers are battling the FDA over the legality of turtles that were once commonly kept as pets according to an article in today's issue of The Wall Street Journal.
Up to 73 million sharks killed per year for their fins
(10/04/2006) Between 26 million and 73 million sharks are killed each year for their fins according to a new paper published in the October 2006 edition of Ecology Letters. The estimates are three times higher than those projected by the United Nations.
Albatrosses at risk due to fishing
(10/04/2006) About 1 percent of world's waved albatrosses were killed by fisherman in a one-year period according to a new study published online Sept. 26 in the journal Biological conservation
Wells Fargo Makes Largest Corporate Renewable Energy Purchase
(10/03/2006) Wells Fargo said today it will buy renewable energy certificates (RECs) to support generating 550 million kilowatt-hours of clean, renewable wind energy a year for three years. With this action, Wells Fargo becomes the largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy in the United States according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Salmon Farms Kill Wild Fish
(10/03/2006) New research confirms that sea lice from fish farms kill wild salmon. Up to 95 per cent of the wild juvenile salmon that migrate past fish farms die as a result of sea lice infestation from the farms. The results of the research have been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of The United States of America.
Poison frogs less toxic when habitat degraded
(10/02/2006) A new study suggests habitat degradation may put some frogs at greater risk of predation by reducing their toxicity. Studying Mantella poison frogs on the island of Madagascar, a team of researchers led by Valerie C. Clark, a chemistry PhD student at Cornell University who earlier this year published a paper describing the origin of frog toxins as being the insects upon which they feed, found that frogs collected from intact forests "consistently have a greater diversity of insect-derived toxins accumulated in their skin than do frogs from disturbed and fragmented forests."
Ozone loss hits record in 2006
(10/02/2006) The European Space Agency (ESA) said that ozone loss in Antarctica hit a record in 2006. ESA reports that ozone measurements made by the Envisat satellite showed the ozone loss of 40 million tons of ozone, a level exceeding the previous record ozone loss of about 39 million tonnes for 2000.
Privatize the Amazon rainforest says UK minister
(10/02/2006) At a summit this week in Mexico, David Miliband, Britain's Environment Secretary, will propose a plan to "privatize" the Amazon to allow the world's largest rainforest to be bought by individuals and groups, according to a report in the Telegraph newspaper online. The scheme, which has been endorsed by Prime Minister Tony Blair, would seek to protect the region's biodiversity while mitigating greenhouse gas emissions to fight global warming.
No mention of climate change in new hurricane research report
(09/29/2006) Strangely missing from a new hurricane research report from the National Science Board, a policymaking body of the National Science Foundation (NSF), is any mention of climate change.
Face recognition web search engine to launch soon
(09/29/2006) The Malmo, Sweden, based company Polar Rose will soon be introducing a Web-based search engine that can find photographs of people by analyzing pictures and identifying faces. The search engine-which will be the first of its kind in the world-is the result of research carried out by Jan Erik Solem at Technology and Society, Malmo University College. He will publicly defend his thesis on Friday, September 29
Tiger fur trade thrives in China
(09/28/2006) The illegal tiger and leopard fur trade continues to thrive in China according to recent investigations by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI). The organizations say that the trade is "operating without any hindrance from the Chinese government" and endangers surviving wild tiger populations in India
Methane emissions rising, could worsen global warming
(09/28/2006) Concentrations of methane, a greenhouse gas more than twenty times more potent than carbon dioxide, are rising in Earth's atmosphere finds a new study published in Nature.
Spiderman ability? Tarantulas spin silk from their feet
(09/28/2006) Researchers have found for the first time that tarantulas can produce silk from their feet as well as their spinnerets, a discovery with profound implications for why spiders began to spin silk in the first place.
Photos of newly discovered species in Brazil's Amazon rainforest
(09/28/2006) Brazil has announced the creation of a Amapa State Forest, a 5.7 million acre Amazon protected area larger than the state of New Jersey. According to conservation International (CI), 'the designation protects a crucial section of the Amapa Biodiversity Corridor of northern Brazil, which includes some of the most pristine remaining Amazon forest.' The Amapa Biodiversity Corridor -- which includes a variety of ecosystems including tropical forests, mangrove swamps, savannah, and wetlands -- is home to more than 1,700 species of animals and plants.
Protecting sea turtles in Costa Rica
(09/28/2006) Travel account -- monitoring sea turtle nesting sites on the beaches of Costa Rica.
California Oil Tax Pits Venture Capitalists Versus Big Oil
(09/27/2006) Oil firms are locked in a fierce battle with venture capitalists and environmentalists over Proposition 87, California's proposed oil tax, according to an article in today's issue of The Wall Street Journal. California votes on the initiative November 7.
Coral reefs survive tsunami but not cyanide bombs
(09/27/2006) The impact of a tsunami on a coral reef is minimal in comparison to human-caused damage according to a new study published in the journal Atoll Research Bulletin.
Negative messaging not effective for green movement, finds study
(09/27/2006) New research suggests that negative messaging is not effective in convincing people to adopt green initiatives.
Bush administration blocks report linking hurricanes to global warming
(09/27/2006) The Bush administration blocked release of a report suggesting that global warming is contributing to the frequency and strength of hurricanes, the journal Nature reported Tuesday. According to Nature, a panel of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists drafted a February report that linked recent hurricane activity to human-induced climate change. When the study was scheduled to be released in May, officials at the Commerce Department rejected the report on technical grounds and prohibited its publication.
Arctic ocean warms as global oceans cool
(09/27/2006) Scientists at the University of Alaska Fairbanks International Arctic Research Center say that warm water from the North Atlantic Ocean continues to surge into the Arctic Ocean potentially increasing ice melt in the region.
Not extinct? Ivory-billed Woodpecker may live in Florida
(09/26/2006) Researchers found evidence of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, a bird once believed to be extinct, in a remote river basin in the panhandle of Florida. The discovery, announced in Avian conservation and Ecology, was made in May 2005 by a research team led by Auburn University professor Geoff Hill. The bird was sighted on the Choctawhatchee River and though the team captured no photographs of the species.
Global warming: Earth's temperature near highest level in a million years
(09/25/2006) Earth may nearing its warmest level in the last million years according to a paper published by NASA scientists in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. James Hansen of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City and colleagues report that "Earth is now reaching and passing through the warmest levels in the current interglacial period" and that climate change is causing plant and animal species to migrate towards the north and south poles.
conservationists killed in Nepal helicopter crash
(09/25/2006) 24 people were killed in a helicopter crash in Nepal on Saturday September 23rd. Seven of the victims were staff members of WWF, a leading conservation group. The helicopter was carrying them from a conservation site at Ghunsa, in the remote eastern mountains of Nepal, according to WWF.
Boreal forests worth $250 billion per year worldwide
(09/25/2006) Boreal forests provide services worth $250 billion per year globally according to estimates by Canadian researchers. Mark Anielski, an Edmonton economist, says that environmental services from the boreal -- including carbon capture and storage, water filtration and waste treatment, biodiversity maintenance, and pest control -- are worth about $160 per hectare, or $93 billion per year in Canada alone.
Mars face photo dashes hope for existence of Martians
(09/25/2006) New images from the European Space Agency (ESA) show that the Red Planet's famous "Face on Mars" is nothing but a eroded hill.
Dinosaurs survived rapid climate change
(09/23/2006) New research suggests the existence of periods of dramatic climate change during the Mesozoic Era, a time when dinosaurs ruled the Earth. The research, published in the September issue of Geology, presents evidence that ocean surface temperatures varied as much as 6 degrees Celsius (about 11 degrees Fahrenheit) during the Aptian Epoch of the Cretaceous Period 120 million years ago according to scientists from Indiana University Bloomington and the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research who examined ancient rocks from the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. The results challenge the idea that the period was characterized by a stable, hot and humid climate.
Birds evolved from gliding four-legged dinosaurs
(09/22/2006) Birds may have evolved from gliding four-legged dinosaurs accofding to new research by a University of Calgary paleontologist.
Ozone hole near record size
(09/22/2006) The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said Friday that hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica will expand this year to 27.9 million square kilometers (10.8 million square miles), its second-highest recorded level in history.
Add invasive species status to list of biofuel concerns
(09/22/2006) High energy prices over the past couple years have fueled interest in biofuels, which proponents say are less damaging to the environment and provide energy security not afforded by foreign oil and gas imports. Nevertheless, accompanying their rise in visibility, have been concerns over their environmental impact of converting natural vegetation for their production. Now scientists warn that some biofuel crops pose a risk as invasive species.
Virgin's Branson commits $3 billion to fight global warming
(09/21/2006) According to BBC News, Sir Richard Branson will commit all profits from his travel firms, including airline Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Trains, over the next tend years to fight global warming. The pledge, worth some $3 billion, was made at the on the second day of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York.
California sues automakers over global warming
(09/21/2006) California sued six of the world's largest automakers over greenhouse gas emissions charging that pollution their vehicles have caused billions of dollars in health damages. Auto industry representatives said the action was political and just in time for November elections.
California sues Bush administration forest law repeal
(09/21/2006) Yesterday California sued the Bush Administration over its repeal of the Clinton Administration's "Roadless Rule". According to a release from state Attorney General Bill Lockyer, "The Northern Federal District of California ruled the U.S. Forest Service violated federal environmental laws by stripping national forest roadless areas of protection from road-building and logging without performing any environmental analysis of the consequences. The court ordered the immediate reinstatement of protections for nearly 50 million acres of remaining undeveloped forests."
Dolphin Slaughter Resumes in Japan
(09/21/2006) As the annual dolphin drive hunts begin in the Japanese villages of Taiji and Futo, a consortium of scientists and zoo and aquarium professionals has launched a campaign to end the practices through public awareness and by appealing to the government of Japan to put an end to the hunts.
Rare, 90-million-year-old tree for sale
(09/20/2006) IThe National Geographic Society announced it will sell the Wollemi Pine, one of the world's oldest and rarest trees, to consumers in the United States this holiday season. Fewer than 100 tree exist in the wild.
Greenland's ice continues to melt
(09/20/2006) Data gathered by a pair of NASA satellites orbiting Earth show Greenland continued to lose ice mass at a significant rate through April 2006, and that the rate of loss is accelerating, according to a new University of Colorado at Boulder study.
Oldest juvenile skeleton discovered in Ethiopia
(09/20/2006) Discovery of a nearly intact 3.3 million year-old juvenile skeleton is filling an important gap in understanding the evolution of a species thought to be among the earliest direct ancestors to humans, says William Kimbel, a paleoanthropologist with ASU's Institute of Human Origins. Kimbel is part of the team that studied the skeleton of an approximately three-year-old female Australopithecus afarensis, the same species as the well known Lucy, from Dikika, Ethiopia.
Amazon rainforest has its first wireless city under poverty alleviation initiative by Intel
(09/20/2006) Intel unveiled what it is calling the "World's Most Remote Digital City" in the heart of the Amazon rainforest. The wireless, high-speed Internet network installation in Parintins, a town on an island in the Amazon River, is part of the tech firm's initiative to treat the world's poor as a market. Some economists have argued that addressing the world's poor in such a manner could bring benefits that they have not seen through historical aid efforts.
Tree rings could settle global warming hurricane debate
(09/20/2006) Scientists have shown that ancient tree rings could help settle the debate as to whether hurricanes are strengthening in intensity due to global warming. By measuring different isotopes of oxygen present in the rings, Professors Claudia Mora and Henri Grissino-Mayer of the University of Tennessee have identified periods when hurricanes hit areas of the Southeastern United States up to 500 years ago. The research could help create a record of hurricanes that would help researchers understand hurricane frequency and intensity. Currently reliable history for hurricanes only dates back a generation or so. Prior to that, the official hurricane records kept by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Atlantic basin hurricane database (HURDAT) are controversial at best since storm data from more than 20 years ago is not nearly as accurate as current hurricane data due to improvements in tracking technology. The lack of a credible baseline makes it nearly impossible to accurately compare storm frequency and strength over the period.
Extent of Mercury Pollution More Widespread, Report Shows
(09/20/2006) Mercury pollution is making its way into nearly every habitat in the U.S., exposing countless species of wildlife to potentially harmful levels of mercury, a new report from the National Wildlife Federation shows.
Arctic ice hole larger than Britain forms, shocks scientists
(09/20/2006) European Space Agency satellite images acquired from 23 to 25 August 2006 have shown for the first time dramatic openings larger than the size of the British Isles in the Arctic's perennial sea ice pack north of Svalbard, and extending into the Russian Arctic all the way to the North Pole. The agency says the findings are shocking to scientists. 'If this anomaly trend continues, the North-East Passage or 'Northern Sea Route' between Europe and Asia will be open over longer intervals of time, and it is conceivable we might see attempts at sailing around the world directly across the summer Arctic Ocean within the next 10-20 years,' said Mark Drinkwater, a scientist with ESA.
$230B for moon return but only $30M for deep ocean research?
(09/19/2006) Unless you're a space buff, you probably missed the latest news from Mars. The Rover mission has now determined that a promontory scientists call "McCool Hill" is 85 feet taller than nearby "Husband Hill." Stop the presses! Exploring new frontiers in the quest for knowledge has inspired humans for centuries, and today's extraterrestrial search for alien life forms and clues to our origin, captures the public's imagination like few others.
China makes environmental moves as problems mount
(09/19/2006) China, the world's most populous country and fastest growing economy, faces a host of environmental problems. Energy and water shortages, water and air pollution, cropland and biodiversity losses, and escalating emissions of greenhouses gases are all concerns as the country moves towards world superpower status. While these issues could threaten to destablilize the country and derail economic growth, it appears that it is taking steps to address some of these challenges.
Expansion of agriculture in the Amazon may impact climate
(09/19/2006) A new study from NASA scientists shows that forest clearing for large-scale agriculture has recently become a significant cause of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. The researchers warn that this change in land use may affect the region' climate and the Amazon's ability to absorb carbon dioxide, a potent greenhouse gas.
War-torn Congo Announces Two New Parks
(09/18/2006) The Minister of forestry Economy of the Republic of Congo announced today plans to create two new protected areas that together could be larger than Yellowstone National Park, spanning nearly one million hectares (3,800 square miles). Instead of bison and elk, these new protected areas contain elephants, chimpanzees, hippos, crocodiles, and some of the highest densities of gorillas on earth. The announcement was made by Minister Henri Djombo and officials from the Bronx Zoo-based Wildlife conservation Society (WCS) at the United Nations.
Climate Change Threatens Lemurs
(09/18/2006) Tropical rainforests are among the most stable environments on Earth, but they are still no match for global climate change. Dr. Patricia Wright, the widely admired primatologist and Professor of Anthropology at Stony Brook University, finds that climate change could mean the difference between survival and extinction for endangered lemurs.
New species of 'walking' shark discovered
(09/18/2006) Two recent expeditions led by conservation International (CI) to the heart of Asia'Coral Triangle' discovered dozens of new species of marine life including epaulette sharks, 'flasher' wrasse and reef-building coral, confirming the region as the Earthapos;s richest seascape.
Shift from hard drives to flash may have environmental benefits
(08/29/2006) A leading technology research group says flash, or solid state memory drives may soon replace the standard hard drives in laptops. Over the past few years, flash memory technology has been claiming an increasingly sizeable share of the market, particularly in the form of USB drives. According to the Gartner Group, the NAND flash market has grown from 1.56 billion in 200 to 11.42 billion in 2005, with even higher projections for the next two years. This summer, Samsung set a new bar by releasing computers that utilize flash memory storage, negating the need for traditional magnetic disk media. The implications of a shift for laptops are significant for a number of reasons including changing performance demand, market trends and investment opportunities. Unconsidered at this point, but nonetheless compelling, is the possible environmental impact of such a transition.
Acid rain affects one-third of China
(08/28/2006) One-third of China is impacted by acid rain according to officials quotes Sunday by state media. The Associated Press reports that China's factories are sending ever increasing amounts of sulphur dioxide -- the chemical that causes acid rain -- according to Sheng Huaren, deputy chairman of the Standing Committee of parliament. Emissions of sulphur dioxide have risen by 27 percent since 2000.
One year later: Hurricane Katrina in review
(08/28/2006) While hurricane Katrina was the most devastating, causing 1833 fatalities and over $81 billion in damage, it was not the strongest storm of the year -- both Hurricane Rita and Hurricane Wilma were more powerful. Katrina, which at one point in the Gulf of Mexico was a Category 5 hurricane, was only a Category 3 hurricane when it made landfall near New Orleans on August 29, 2005. Nevertheless, the damage was extensive.
Remote island provides clues on population growth, environmental degradation
(08/25/2006) Halfway between South America and New Zealand, in the remote South Pacific, is Rapa. This horseshoe-shaped, 13.5 square-mile island of volcanic origin, located essentially in the middle of nowhere, is 'a microcosm of the world's situation,' says a University of Oregon archaeologist.
Climate change causing early spring
(08/25/2006) Spring is arriving earlier across Europe than it did 30 years ago according to new research published in the journal Global Change Biology. Scientists from 17 nations examined 125,000 studies involving 561 species and found that spring is beginning on average six to eight days earlier than it did 30 years ago. The researchers said that in countries where rapid increases in temperature have occurred, that figure is almost doubled.
Climate change caused dramatic changes in Antarctica 14 million years ago
(08/25/2006) Climate change 14 million years ago produced catastrophic drainage of subglacial lakes in Antarctica causing dramatic changes in the continent's landscape according to new research.
Why some Himalayan glaciers aren't melting due to climate change
(08/25/2006) New research into climate change in the Western Himalaya and the surrounding Karakoram and Hindu Kush mountains could explain why many glaciers there are growing and not melting. The findings suggest this area, known as the Upper Indus Basin, could be reacting differently to global warming, the phenomenon blamed for causing glaciers in the Eastern Himalaya, Nepal and India, to melt and shrink.
North Atlantic Ocean freshening could weaken Gulf Stream
(08/24/2006) A new analysis of 50 years of changes in freshwater inputs to the Arctic Ocean and North Atlantic may help shed light on what's behind the recently observed freshening of the North Atlantic Ocean. In a report, published in the August 25, 2006 issue of the journal, Science, MBL (Marine Biological Laboratory) senior scientist Bruce J. Peterson and his colleagues describe a first-of-its-kind effort to create a big-picture view of hydrologic trends in the Arctic. Their analysis reveals that freshwater increases from Arctic Ocean sources appear to be highly linked to a fresher North Atlantic.
Recovery of biodiversity after dinosaurs was chaotic
(08/24/2006) The recovery of biodiversity after the end-Cretaceous mass extinction was much more chaotic than previously thought, according to paleontologists. New fossil evidence shows that at certain times and places, plant and insect diversity were severely out of balance, not linked as they are today. The extinction took place 65.5 million years ago. Labeled the K-T extinction, it marks the beginning of the Cenozoic Era and the Paleocene Epoch.
Genetically modified tree could be used for cellulosic ethanol biofuel
(08/24/2006) A tree that can reach 90 feet in six years and be grown as a row crop on fallow farmland could represent a major replacement for fossil fuels. Purdue University researchers are using genetic tools in an effort to design trees that readily and inexpensively can yield the substances needed to produce alternative transportation fuel.
Feathers, human hair used to fight oil spill in Philippines
(08/24/2006) The Philippines has asked for hair clippings from salons and chicken feathers to help fight the country's worst oil spill, according to a report from Reuters. The oil spill occurred August 1 after Solar I, an oil tanker chartered by Petron Corp. sank in rough seas. About 1700 barrels spilled initially, but because the tanker sank in deep water with as much as 15,300 barrels of bunker oil, more is expected to leak into the surrounding environment. According to Greenpeace, about 320 kilometers of coastline -- including a coral reef located in a marine reserve and 27 coastal villages -- have been affected by the spill.
Tropical rain forest insects have diet similar to temperate insects
(08/24/2006) A study initiated by University of Minnesota plant biologist George Weiblen has confirmed what biologists since Darwin have suspected - that the vast number of tree species in rain forests accounts for the equally vast number of plant-eating species of insects.
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