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Climate Change

Fish oils may reduce the methane released by cattle

Omega 3 fatty acids in fish oils have many documented benefits to humans including the reduction of cholesterol, but what of the benefits to animals and the environment in general? While assisting the heart and circulatory system in animals and improving the meat quality in cattle, it is also, according to researchers at the University College Dublin beneficial in reducing methane levels from flatulence when added to the diet of cattle, meaning it's also good for the environment.  Read More

A present-day salt lake in the south of Russia
 Pic Credit: Dr. Ludwig Weißflog/UFZ

A new report by an international team of scientists has suggested that the largest mass extinction in the history of the earth may not have been caused by volcanic eruptions, methane hydrate or the impact of an asteroid as previously surmised. It may actually have been triggered by giant salt lakes, whose emissions of halogenated gases changed the atmospheric composition to such an extent that vegetation was irretrievably damaged. While this is a lot less dramatic than a volcanic eruption or an asteroid, the effect would be no less devastating and may have implications for us today with forecasts predicting an increase in the surface areas of deserts and salt lakes due to climate change that researchers expect will also lead to an increase in the effects of these halogenated gases.  Read More

Just 51% of the population believe that climate change is caused by human activities

It just goes to show you what a bad state the education system is in when just 51% of the population believe that climate change is caused by human activities. Opinion Research Corporation surveyed 1,000 people in late January and found that 29% believe climate change is occurring naturally, 15% believe climate change needs to be proven scientifically either way and 3% believe climate change doesn’t exist. Oh, and for the record, of those who got it right, 55% were male, which means ... we're no longer sure whether to be more concerned about global warming or global ignorance.  Read More

The world's largest solar power facility, located near Kramer Junction, California, consis...

The concept of delaying global warming by adding particles into the upper atmosphere to cool the climate could unintentionally reduce peak electricity generated by large solar power plants by as much as one-fifth, according to a new study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  Read More

Image credit – Willem van Aken, CSIRO

March 24, 2009 The weather conditions that lead to Southern Australia’s past two devastating bushfires may be linked to lower than normal sea-surface temperatures in the eastern Indian Ocean, according to CSIRO research presented at the Greenhouse 2009 Conference today. The Ash Wednesday bushfires in February 1983 and the Black Saturday bushfires in February were preceded by months of very dry conditions. Those dry conditions were partly caused by cooler ocean sea-surface temperatures in the eastern Indian Ocean, which contributed to a substantial reduction in spring-time rainfall over the south-east of Australia.  Read More

Ultramafic rocks (in red) that potentially could absorb CO2 (Image: U.S. Geological Survey...

The debate about the benefits of using Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) to fight against climate change is ongoing. One one hand there are reservations regarding suitable sequestration sites that provide sufficient security to store CO2 for centuries as well as the cost of implementing such a system, which could draw important funds away from the development of renewable energy technologies. On the other, we are still heavily reliant on burning fossil fuels to produce energy and this infrastructure can't be replaced overnight. CCS is obviously attractive to existing power generation companies as it allows them to keep hold of their existing infrastructure and for this reason, it is more than likely that CSS schemes will continue to gather momentum. So where to we can CO2 be stored? Scientists at Columbia University’s Earth Institute and the U.S. Geological Survey have produced a new report that maps large rock formations in the United States that can also absorb CO2 and are exploring ways to speed up the CCS process.  Read More

The Microcycle bioreactor

We live in a society that is creating more toxic chemicals everyday. In nearly all forms of production many undesirable chemicals get produced which cannot simply be disposed of, even in industrial settings. If these chemicals are tipped down the sink or flushed down the toilet they will end up back in our water streams and pollute our precious and already strained environment. The standard solution is to transport harmful chemicals to distant chemical treatment facilities where they can be broken down and disposed of responsibly, but these processes use a lot of energy and often produce many undesirable byproducts such as oily polluting residues that end up in landfill. That's where this ecologically friendly bacterial treatment from Microbial Solutions' comes in. Microcycle, as it's known, turns toxic exhausted metal working fluids into grey water that is safe to dispose of into the sewerage system.  Read More

The Waste2tricity process

It’s common knowledge that the majority of electricity generation and waste disposal methods currently in widespread use are not very environmentally friendly. New British venture Waste2tricity aims to kill two environmentally damaging birds with one stone by taking carbon based waste, either municipal solid waste (MSW) or waste from business and industry, and converting it into clean electricity, thereby reducing the amount of rubbish going to landfill and potentially making a significant contribution to the UK electricity supply.  Read More

NCAR's AMSTAR digital storage library.

Analysis of the Earth’s climate relies on and generates a huge amount of data. No one knows this better than the folks at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), who have announced the arrival of AMSTAR, a new digital storage library that will preserve and protect 30 petabytes of valuable scientific data for the next 15 to 20 years. The new system, designed by Sun Microsystems, Inc. and based on the Sun StorageTek SL8500 Modular Library, will give NCAR five times its current storage capacity, enabling it to generate increasingly sophisticated computer studies of Earth’s climate.  Read More

The Cool Earth concentrator design

There is no doubt that mankind stands at a pivotal point in our history in relation to our consumption of global resources and the resultant impact on the planet on which we live. By far the biggest concern is our ever-growing appetite for energy to power the lifestyles we have grown not only accustomed to, but also dependent upon. Solar is one answer with great potential, but economics and the amount of power it can produce in comparison to fossil fuel power stations has held it back so far. Now new approaches like Cool Earth’s collectors are becoming advanced enough to effectively tackle these problems with technology that relies on inexpensive and free materials, is scalable, able to compete economically with fossil fuel power plants and is capable of delivering not just megawatts, but gigawatts of clean power.  Read More

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