ScienceDaily: Top Environment News: Stronger winds may explain puzzling growth of sea ice in Antarctica, model shows

Jay Owen Earth Systems Science


Stronger winds may explain puzzling growth of sea ice in Antarctica, model shows

Posted: 17 Sep 2013 09:19 PM PDT

Much attention is paid to melting sea ice in the Arctic. But less clear is the situation on the other side of the planet. Despite warmer air and oceans, there’s more sea ice in Antarctica now than in the 1970s — a fact often pounced on by global warming skeptics. The latest numbers suggest the Antarctic sea ice may be heading toward a record high this year. The reason may lie in the winds. A new modeling study shows that stronger polar winds lead to an increase in Antarctic sea ice, even in a warming climate.

Human activity affects vertical structure of atmospheric temperature

Posted: 17 Sep 2013 10:23 AM PDT

Human influences have directly impacted the latitude/altitude pattern of atmospheric temperature. That is the conclusion of a new report. The research compares multiple satellite records of atmospheric temperature change with results from a large, multi-model archive of simulations.

Death and disability from air pollution down 35 percent in the US

Posted: 17 Sep 2013 09:50 AM PDT

Improvements in US air quality since 1990 have sparked a 35 percent reduction in deaths and disability specifically attributable to air pollution.

Wetlands more cost-effective in nutrient removal, but multiple payments would be of uncertain value

Posted: 17 Sep 2013 09:48 AM PDT

Removing nitrogen from the environment “the natural way” by creating a wetland is a long-term, nutrient-removal solution, more cost effective than upgrading a wastewater treatment plant, but it isn’t necessarily socially beneficial to offer landowners multiple payments for the environmental services that flow from such wetlands, according to a new study.

Clean energy least costly to power America’s electricity needs

Posted: 17 Sep 2013 09:48 AM PDT

Findings show carbon pollution from power plants can be cut cost-effectively by using wind, solar and natural gas. It’s less costly to get electricity from wind turbines and solar panels than coal-fired power plants when climate change costs and other health impacts are factored in, according to a new study.

Energy from tides and currents: Best arrangement of tidal sails device determined

Posted: 17 Sep 2013 09:36 AM PDT

In the long sprint to find new sources of clean, low-cost power, slow and steady might win the race — the slow-moving water of currents and tides, that is. Just as wind turbines tap into the energy of flowing air to generate electricity, hydrokinetic devices produce power from moving masses of water.

Urban agriculture: The potential and challenges of producing food in cities

Posted: 17 Sep 2013 09:36 AM PDT

In light of their many benefits, urban gardens are popping up across the nation. But the challenges growers face must be understood and addressed if urban gardens are to become widespread and even profitable.

Heavily logged forests still valuable for tropical wildlife

Posted: 17 Sep 2013 08:33 AM PDT

New research has found rainforests that have been logged several times continue to hold substantial value for biodiversity and could have a role in conservation.

Environmental complexity promotes biodiversity

Posted: 17 Sep 2013 08:33 AM PDT

A new study helps explain how spatial variation in natural environments helps spur evolution and give rise to biodiversity.

First-time measurements in Greenland snowpack show a drop in atmospheric carbon monoxide since 1950s

Posted: 17 Sep 2013 08:33 AM PDT

A first-ever study of air trapped in the deep snowpack of Greenland shows that atmospheric levels of carbon monoxide (CO) in the 1950s were actually slightly higher than what we have today, not lower as has been predicted by computer models. And improved combustion technology has been linked to the lower CO levels.

French islands under threat from rising sea levels

Posted: 17 Sep 2013 08:30 AM PDT

By the year 2100, global warming will have caused sea levels to rise by 1 to 3 meters. This will strongly affect islands, their flora, fauna and inhabitants. Scientists have studied the impact of rising sea levels on 1,269 French islands throughout the world. Their model shows that between 5% and 12% of these islands could be totally submerged in the future. On a worldwide scale, they predict that about 300 endemic island species are at risk of extinction, while the habitat of thousands of others will be drastically reduced.

Accurate computer model of RNA tetraloop

Posted: 16 Sep 2013 05:39 PM PDT

A computational model accurately simulates the complex twists of a short sequence of RNA as it folds into a critical hairpin structure known as a “tetraloop.”

Model of dangerous bee disease in Jersey provides tool in fight against honeybee infections

Posted: 16 Sep 2013 06:11 AM PDT

Scientists have modelled an outbreak of the bee infection American foulbrood in Jersey, using a technique which could be applied to other honeybee diseases such as European foulbrood and the Varroa parasite.