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Mongabay.com news articles on earth science in blog format. Updated regularly.









Hexavalent chromium, lead and arsenic found in flood waters

(09/15/2005) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released its daily update on Hurricane Katrina flood water sampling data for chemicals.


Hurricane Katrina to cost Louisiana fisheries $1.1 billion

(09/13/2005) The Louisiana Department and Wildlife and Fisheries' preliminary estimates indicate a potential $1.1 billion loss in retail fisheries revenue over the next year and an additional $150 million loss in oyster revenue in the second year due to Hurricane Katrina damage.


Hurricane Katrina Surface Water Monitoring Plan prepared

(09/12/2005) The Louisiana Office of Environmental Assessment has prepared a "Hurricane Katrina Surface Water Monitoring Plan" to determine the impact of Hurricane Katrina on water quality in affected areas.


Divers to monitor health of coral reefs in the UAE

(09/12/2005) The Emirates Diving Association is training its members and staff to monitor the health of the coral reefs and marine life in the UAE.


Gator season delayed due to Hurricane Katrina

(09/09/2005) The Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has delayed the opening and closing dates of the 2005 wild alligator harvest season in accordance with the provisions of R.S. 49:953B of the Administrative Procedure Act and LAC 76:V.701 due to Hurricane Katrina.


Surviving animals from New Orleans aquarium to be sent elsewhere

(09/09/2005) Surviving animals from the New Orleans will find new homes according to aquarium spokeswoman Melissa Lee. Despite escaping Hurricane Katrina with little physical damage, the Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans suffered significant loss of animal life when the facility's emergency generator failed and made conditions unlivable for most its animals.


Humans impacted climate thousands of years ago

(09/09/2005) New research suggests humans were influencing the world's climate long before the Industrial Revolution. Atmospheric levels of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, climbed steadily during the first millennium due to massive fires set by humans clearing land agriculture.


Vegetation growth in Arctic could add to global warming

(09/08/2005) Warming in the Arctic is stimulating the growth of vegetation and could affect the delicate energy balance there, causing an additional climate warming of several degrees over the next few decades. A new study indicates that as the number of dark-colored shrubs in the otherwise stark Arctic tundra rises, the amount of solar energy absorbed could increase winter heating by up to 70 percent. The research will be published 7 September in the first issue of the Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences, published by the American Geophysical Union.


Hurricane could hit San Diego

(09/08/2005) San Diego has been hit by hurricanes in the past and may be affected by such storms in the future according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). While a hurricane in San Diego would likely produce significantly less damage that Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, it could still exact a high cost to Southern California especially if the region was caught off guard.


States housing thousands of evacuees -- state by state estimates

(09/08/2005) Almost 240,000 hurricane victims are in Texas; 25,000 in Alabama; 60,000 in Arkansas; 15,000 in Tennessee; 15,000 in Georgia. More than 485 Red Cross shelters have been opened in 18 states including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia with more on standby. More than 142,000 evacuees are being sheltered by the American Red Cross. Meanwhile a debate has emerged on whether to call displaced victims of Hurricane Katrina "refugees," "evacuees," "victims" or "survivors."


Carbon reinjection strategies to be affected by climate change

(09/08/2005) An Earth System model developed by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign indicates that the best location to store carbon dioxide in the deep ocean will change with climate change.


$50 electronic food cards for hurricane refugees

(09/07/2005) Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns today issued two directives to further meet the food and housing needs of Hurricane Katrina survivors.


Whale uses fish as bait to catch seagulls then shares strategy with fellow orcas

(09/07/2005) An enterprising young killer whale at Marineland has figured out how to use fish as bait to catch seagulls -- and shared his strategy with his fellow whales.


Economic impact of hurricane close to neutral

(09/07/2005) The CBO projects 400,000 people will be unemployed due to Hurricane Katrina. Further, the hurricane is unlikely to have much impact on overall economic growth in the United States. Generally, the overall impact of natural disasters is often close to neutral since lost output from destruction and displacement is then compensated for by a big increase in reconstruction and public spending.


NASA offers assistance to hurricane victims

(09/07/2005) NASA science instruments and Earth-orbiting satellites are providing detailed insight about the environmental impact caused by Hurricane Katrina. Images and data are helping characterize the extent of flooding; damage to homes, businesses and infrastructure; and potential hazards caused by the storm and its aftermath.


Number of hurricane evacuees sheltered in various states, cities

(09/07/2005) These lists of shelters have been compiled from various press and government reports.


$170 million in emergency assistance for farmers

(09/07/2005) Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns today announced that USDA is making more than $170 million in emergency assistance available to agricultural producers suffering from Hurricane Katrina. In addition, USDA's Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) is implementing immediate changes to its Marketing Assistance Loan Program due to the hurricane.


Gas hydrates in ocean could trigger catastrophic climate change

(09/06/2005) Global warming will cause gasses trapped beneath the ocean floor to release into the atmosphere according to research presented at the Annual Conference of the Royal Geographical Society. The impact could initiate a catastrophic global greenhouse effect.


Human evolution linked to climate change says study

(09/06/2005) New evidence suggests human evolution was caused by specific periods of climatic change in Africa according to research presented at the Annual Conference of the Royal Geographical Society. These climatic influences played a crucial part in enhancing human development says Dr Mark Maslin, Senior Lecturer in Geography at University College London.


Fires in peat lands cost climate

(09/06/2005) The tropical rainforests of Kalimantan have long been threatened and increasingly endangered by deforestation and other invasive types of human activity. However, a lesser known ecosystem in the region that is literally coming under fire, is the tropical peat lands, particularly in the central area of the province of Indonesian Borneo.


White alligator, sea otters, penguins at New Orleans Aquarium OK, fish are not

(09/06/2005) Despite escaping Hurricane Katrina with little physical damage, the Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans has suffered significant loss of animal life. According to the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA), the aquarium has lost most of its fish. A skeleton staff is preparing to move some animals out of the facility and caring for surviving animals in the collection. The sea otters, penguins, leafy and weedy seadragons, birds (macaws and raptors), and the white alligator are fine.


Personal account of hurricane destruction along Mississippi Gulf Coast

(09/06/2005) The following is an eyewitness account of hurricane destruction along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Included is information on plans to provide pro bono services from out of state lawyers to the storm victims, many of whom will need assistance in dealing with insurance companies, relief bureaucracies, and possibly personal or small business bankruptcies in the aftermath of the storm.


Mississippi's poor areas have worst hurricane impact

(09/05/2005) People living in the path of Hurricane Katrina's worst devastation were twice as likely as most Americans to be poor and without a car -- factors that might help explain why so many failed to evacuate as the storm approached.


Poverty worsens hurricane impact -- AP analysis

(09/05/2005) An Associated Press analysis of Census data shows that the residents in the three dozen hardest-hit neighborhoods in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama also were disproportionately minority and had incomes $10,000 below the national average.


Zoo and Aquarium likely closed a year after hurricane

(09/04/2005) Despite escaping Hurricane Katrina physically unscathed, the aquarium facility in New Orleans has suffered a significant loss of animal life.


How to help the New Orleans Zoo and Aquarium after hurricane

(09/04/2005) Despite escaping Hurricane Katrina relatively unscathed, the zoo and aquarium facilities in New Orleans could use donations to help with the feeding and care of their animals.


Global Wildlife Center; Jackson, Birmingham, Baton Rouge Zoos OK

(09/04/2005) The American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) reports that the Jackson zoo, Birmingham zoo, Montgomery Zoo, and Baton Rouge Zoo came through Hurricane Katrina with relatively little damage. None of the facilties lost staff or animals and most of the damage was limited to fallen trees.


Aerial photos of Hurricane Katrina destruction

(09/02/2005) NOAA posted online more than 1450 aerial images of the U.S. Gulf Coast areas that were decimated by Hurricane Katrina. NOAA will be flying more missions in the days ahead that will yield hundreds of additional aerial digital images. The regions photographed on Tuesday range from Bay St. Louis to Pascagoula, Miss. The southeast coastal areas of Louisiana are being photographed on Wednesday. The aerial photograph missions were conducted by the NOAA Remote Sensing Division the day after Katrina made landfall at approximately 7:10 a.m. EDT on Aug. 29, 2005, in Plaquemines Parish, La.


New Orleans Aquarium and Zoo faring well since hurricane

(09/02/2005) Audubon Zoo, the Aquarium of the Americas, the Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species in New Orleans survived Hurricane Katrina relatively unscathed according to reports from operators of the facilities. However, in neighboring Mississippi, the Gulport Marine Life Oceanarium aquarium was totally destroyed.


NOAA posts photos from inside Hurricane Katrina

(09/02/2005) NOAA hurricane hunter WP-3D Orion and Gulfstream IV aircraft conducted ten long flights into and around the eye of Hurricane Katrina. Lt. Mike Silah, a P-3 pilot, got to see Hurricane Katrina up close and personal, especially when she was an extremely dangerous Category Five storm in the Gulf of Mexico. The day before the powerful and destructive storm made landfall on the USA Gulf Coast, Silah snapped a series of images capturing the eyewall of Katrina.


Hurricane news, by county and city, for LA, MS

(09/01/2005) Links to news updates. Organized by city and country.


NASA releases satellite photos showing flooded New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina

(09/01/2005) NASA released satellite photos showing destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina. The images, available on NASA's Earth Observatory web site clearly show signficant parts of the city inundated with flood water.


Environmental problems worsened Hurricane Katrina's impact

(08/31/2005) The loss of coastal marshlands that buffer New Orleans from flooding and storm surges may have worsened the impact of Hurricane Katrina.


Food safety tips after Hurricane Katrina

(08/30/2005) As Hurricane Katrina hits Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Florida, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants area residents to be prepared for the aftermath. FDA is providing important tips to help people affected by this storm to protect their health and food supply.


New Orleans Aquarium, Zoo escape Hurricane Katrina

(08/30/2005) The Audubon Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans apparently survived Hurricane Katrina relatively unscathed according to a report in The Baltimore Sun. Hurricane Katrina hit the Louisiana city Monday.


Hurricanes getting stronger due to global warming says study

(08/29/2005) Late last month an atmospheric scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology released a study in Nature that found hurricanes have grown significantly more powerful and destructive over the past three decades. Kerry Emanuel, the author of the study, warns that since hurricanes depend on warm water to form and build, global climate change might increase the effect of hurricanes still further in coming years.


Global warming may have triggered worst mass extinction

(08/29/2005) A dramatic rise in carbon dioxide 250 million years ago may have caused global temperatures to soar and result in Earth's greatest mass extinction, according to a study published in the September issue of Geology. Global warming, which may have produced temperatures 10 to 30 degrees Celsius higher than today, would have had a significant impact both on oceans, where about 95% of lifeforms became extinct, and on land, where almost 75% of species died out.


Bacteria's combined weight exceeds that of all fish in world's oceans

(08/24/2005) Researchers at Oregon State University and Diversa Corporation have discovered that the smallest free-living cell known also has the smallest genome, or genetic structure, of any independent cell - and yet it dominates life in the oceans, thrives where most other cells would die, and plays a huge role in the cycling of carbon on Earth.


Arctic ocean could have ice-free summers by 2100 says new study

(08/24/2005) The current warming trends in the Arctic may shove the Arctic system into a seasonally ice-free state not seen for more than one million years, according to a new report. The melting is accelerating, and a team of researchers were unable to identify any natural processes that might slow the de-icing of the Arctic.


Ocean hotspots revealed

(08/24/2005) A study of barnacles on the central Oregon Coast has revealed significant "hot spots" of ocean productivity where marine life has much greater reproductive potential - information that could be a key to the successful siting of marine reserves


Dubai's artificial islands have high environmental cost

(08/23/2005) Dubai, a city-state in the United Arab Emirates with a population of around one million, has lately embarked on an ambitious plan to boost its international standing in the eyes of the world's rich by building a number of artificial islands. These islands, which will house luxury residences, villas, and hotels, are a growing concern for environmentalists due to their impact on the local marine ecology.


Summit explores how fish could feed Africa

(08/22/2005) This week policy makers, industry leaders, and development experts are meeting in Abuja, Nigeria to discuss the future of African fisheries and aquaculture. The fisheries sector, consisting of both inland (freshwater) and marine fisheries, is a vital source of food and income to millions of Africans. Fish production, processing and trade provides employment for more than 10 million, while fish exports from Africa are worth US$ 2.7 billion annually. The following is a description of the summit from Fish for All, an initiative seeking to shape public policy on issues from issues as fish and development, fish and nutrition, health, livelihood, environment, gender, water, river basins and coasts, trade and economic growth.


Tsunami-orphaned hippo adopted by 100-year old tortoise

(08/19/2005) A baby hippopotamus that survived the tsunami waves on the Kenyan coast has formed a strong bond with a giant male century-old tortoise, in an animal facility in the port city of Mombassa, officials said.


Humpback whale tracked migrating between ocean basins

(08/18/2005) For the first time ever, a genetic study has followed a single humpback whale from one ocean basin to another, adding to traditional notions of the migratory patterns of these majestic marine mammals in the process, according to researchers from the Wildlife conservation Society (WCS), the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), and New York University.


Animals behaving strangely; climate change the culprit?

(08/11/2005) For the first time, scientists have found a direct relationship between global warming and the evolution of contemporary wildlife.


All albatrosses dead in transoceanic race

(08/01/2005) All 18 albatross competitors died in the 2005 Big Bird Race.


Food demand greater threat to wildlife than global warming

(07/28/2005) A redoubling of human food demand over the next 50 years that could imperil vast tracts of wildlife habitat. Recognizing the food demand, however, would shift government research funds from climate models to politically incorrect agricultural research stations-our main hope to double crop and livestock yields.


EU to charge passengers carbon tax for vacation flights

(07/26/2005) The European Commission wants to begin tacking carbon emission charges on airlines in its strategy to tackle climate change, according to a document released by the EU executive Commission yesterday. Airlines would likely pass these fees on to passengers, who would see ticket prices rise by up to 9 euros ($10.86) for a return flight.


Polynesians came from Taiwan says new study

(07/13/2005) Polynesians, history's greatest seafarers who settled islands across a vast area of ocean from Madagascar to Easter Island, originated in Taiwan, according to a new genetic study published in the journal Public Library of Science Biology.


Madagascar hopes movie will boost tourism and economy

(07/07/2005) The Indian Ocean island nation of Madagascar is hoping that a recently released Dreamworks' movie will spur tourism in the country despite its lukewarm success in the American box office.



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