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Climate

Cooling the emissions from coal-fired power plants would significantly reduce the levels o...

A team of physicists from the University of Oregon (UO) has calculated that cooling the emissions from coal-fired power plants would result in a reduction of the levels of dangerous chemicals entering the atmosphere, including CO2, by 90 percent. While cryogenic treatment would also see a 25 percent drop in efficiency, and therefore result in electricity costs increasing around a quarter, the researchers believe these would be offset by benefits to society, such as reductions in health-care and climate-change costs.  Read More

The frozen Rhine river close to Mainz during the winter of 1962/1963 (Photo: Frank Sirocko...

Some clever cross-referencing has helped an international team of researchers establish a link between low periods of solar activity and frosty European winters. The Sun's level of magnetic activity follows an 11-year cycle. Peaks in this cycle pose a threat to telecommunications and electricity networks and it's long been suspected that there's a correlation between the opposite end of the cycle and extreme winters in Europe. A lack of historical average temperature data makes it difficult to confirm this link, but scientists have filled the gap by studying the comings and goings of 19th Century riverboats on the Rhine.  Read More

NASA's stunning Perpetual Ocean animation visualizes ocean currents (Image: NASA/Goddard S...

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center is an unlikely entrant in the SIGGRAPH Computer Animation Festival. Its “Perpetual World” animation may have failed to appeal to the judging committee of the 2011 edition of the competition, but it sure succeeded in catching our eye. The jaw-dropping animation visualizes the flow of surface ocean currents around the world. The raw data regarding the currents from June 2005 through to December 2007 has been turned into a work of art reminiscent of van Gogh.  Read More

Research by scientists from Columbia University and NASA suggests that painting rooftops w...

It's long been suggested that white rooftops could help reduce the heat bubble microclimates that surround our cities simply by reflecting solar radiation directly back into space, and in 2010 we reported on NCAR efforts to demonstrate the effect through computer modeling. A new study goes one better, putting the theory into practice and pitting three white materials against one another on three New York rooftops. The results of the study appear to be overwhelmingly positive, with white roof coatings reducing peak rooftop temperatures in summer "by an average of 43 degrees Fahrenheit (about 24 degrees C)."  Read More

A new study has concluded that sunshade geoengineering is more likely to improve crop yiel...

In the face of potentially catastrophic effects on global food production, some have proposed drastic solutions to counteract climate change such as reflecting sunlight away from the Earth. A new study from the Carnegie Institution for Science examining the effects of sunshade geoengineering has concluded that such an approach would be more likely to improve food security than threaten it.  Read More

An artist's impression of the ESA/NASA ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (Image: ESA)

The first joint mission between the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA that will study the chemical makeup of the martian atmosphere is scheduled for 2016. The ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter marks an unprecedented alliance between the two agencies for future ventures to Mars and is the first in a planned series of joint missions leading to the return of a sample from the surface of the Red Planet. Scientists worldwide were invited to propose the spacecraft’s instruments and the ESA and NASA have now made their selections.  Read More

The Urban Forest Map relies on community contributions to build information sharing, and c...

How do we get a good picture of what trees are where, how they are affecting or contributing to the environment, and what problems they might be susceptible to in today's changing world? The main problem with recording this vital information is (to borrow a line) “tree people like planting trees, they don't like entering data.” So why not throw the task open to the local community? The Urban Forest Map is a one-stop repository using information contributed from any willing group or individual and aims to engage community participation to build a complete, dynamic picture of the urban forest.  Read More

Dr Philip Rasch is Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's first Chief Scientist for Clima...

Scientists in the US have been cloud-spotting over shipping lanes and have noticed something more interesting than teddy-bear shapes and faces. They have detected that rising steam from passing ships has caused brightening in the clouds which they theorize alters the reflectivity of the cloud and prevents the energy from reaching the Earth. They propose that if this could be achieved artificially via geoengineering it could be an effective defense against global warming.  Read More

The EntroSys Motorcycle Air Conditioning system

Yes, a motorcycle air conditioner. As you can see in the picture, though, it’s not as dumb as it sounds. In fact, it’s pretty clever. Haven’t you ever watched bikers riding around in the summer heat wearing full leathers, and wondered how they can stand it? They can’t. They’re boiling to death in there. Some opt to wear shorts and T-shirts instead, but from a safety standpoint... it’s not a sensible alternative, let’s put it that way. What is sensible is a process that pumps cooled air into a vest that the rider wears under their jacket. And that’s just what the EntroSys Motorcycle Air Conditioning system is.  Read More

The FABLABHOUSE entry from Instituto de Arquitectura Avanzada de Cataluna is shaped for op...

Madrid will host the first European version of the Solar Decathlon competition this summer which sees teams from universities throughout the world designing, building and displaying efficient and sustainable solar homes. The overall competition winner being decided after the completion of ten trials aimed at gauging each entry's energy efficiency and sustainability credentials.  Read More

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