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Environment

Heat stored in the Pacific Ocean could be a ticking climate time bomb (Photo: Shutterstock...

Despite an overwhelming consensus among climate scientists that warming trends over the past century are most likely the result of human activities, some claim that a plateau in global surface air temperatures since 2001 is evidence to the contrary. However, a new study suggests the recent stabilization of air temperatures is a result of abnormally strong east to west trade winds, causing warmth to be stored temporarily beneath the western Pacific ocean.  Read More

The CRUTEM4 dataset provides Google Earth users with access to one of the most widely used...

Talking about the weather is a pastime as old as language, but climate researchers from the University of East Anglia (UEA) in the UK have just given people a whole lot more to talk about. As part of an ongoing effort to increase the accessibility and transparency of data on past climate and climate change, they've made one of the most widely used records of Earth's climate accessible through Google Earth.  Read More

Scientists have succeeded in converting plant waste to gasoline (Photo: Shutterstock)

By now, most people have at least a passing knowledge of biodiesel – it's diesel fuel made from plant or animal oils, as opposed to the more traditional and less eco-friendly petroleum. While it's a good choice for people with diesel-powered vehicles, those of us with gas-burning cars haven't been able to get in on the action ... although that may be about to change.  Read More

Stefanie Kring studies zooplankton gathered from wastewater lagoons

With dwindling non-renewable fuel sources creating an enormous energy challenge, the search is on to develop sustainable, renewable types of energy such as solar, wind and biofuel. One of the recent developments in this field comes from New York's Clarkson University, where new findings suggest that small organisms found in wastewater treatment lagoons could be used as biofuel feedstock.  Read More

The optical sensor system developed to detect the amount of salt on a road (Photo: UC3M)

Just as a good meal can be ruined by too much table salt, too much sodium chloride applied to road surfaces to prevent icing can have a detrimental effect on vehicles, infrastructure and the environment. Engineers at Spain's Carlos III University (UC3M) have developed an optical sensor intended to prevent excessive salt treatment by detecting the amount of salt already on the road in real time.  Read More

The humidity-driven flexing of a spore-covered piece of latex rubber (right) drives the mo...

Ozgur Sahin believes that water evaporation is the largest power source in nature. In an effort to demonstrate the potential of this untapped resource, Sahin and his fellow researchers have created prototype electrical generators with rubber sheets that move in response to changes in humidity thanks to a coating of bacterial spores.  Read More

The Salicornia is one species of halophyte that is a promising feedstock for biofuel produ...

Whenever the topic of plant-derived biofuels is raised, the issue of turning valuable arable land over to the task of growing feedstock is generally not far behind. A discovery by the Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium (SRBC) that desert plants fed by seawater can produce biofuel more efficiently than other well-known feedstocks could help alleviate such concerns.  Read More

The PLEASED project aims to turn plants into environmental biosensors (Image: Shutterstock...

Many claim that talking to plants helps them grow faster. But what if the plants could talk back? That’s what the EU-funded PLants Employed As SEnsing Devices (PLEASED) project is hoping to achieve by creating plant cyborgs, or "plant-borgs." While this technology won't allow green thumbs to carry on a conversation with their plants, it will provide feedback on their environment by enabling the plants to act as biosensors.  Read More

A new type of carbon nanotube sponge containing sulfur and iron could help clean up oil sp...

A new type of carbon nanotube (CNT) sponge that contains sulfur and iron has been developed and is proving to be more effective at soaking up water contaminants, such as oil, fertilizers, pesticides and pharmaceuticals, than previously seen. The magnetic properties of these nanosponges also make them easier to retrieve from the environment once the clean-up job is done.  Read More

Rawlemon has designed an aesthetic take on  solar power devices

Despite their noble cause of harnessing clean, renewable energy from the sun, solar panels tend to be aesthetically uninspiring. Solar start-up Rawlemon aims to change all that with a new, and undeniably beautiful, take on concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) technology.  Read More

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