The Eco News Roundup brings stories and commentary about issues related to climate change, renewable energy and the environment.
In the high-stakes race to realize fusion energy, a smaller lab may be putting the squeeze on the big boys. Worldwide efforts to harness fusion—the power source of the sun and stars—for energy on Earth currently focus on two multibillion dollar facilities: the ITER fusion reactor in France and the National Ignition Facility (NIF) in California. But other, cheaper approaches exist—and one of them may have a chance to be the first to reach “break-even,” a key milestone in which a process produces more energy than needed to trigger the fusion reaction.
The Forest Service announced today nearly $3 million in grants to improve tree canopy, forest cover and ultimately, water quality in six Great Lakes states, including Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, New York, Illinois and Indiana.
WASHINGTON, Sept. 10, 2012 –The number of dead trees on 750 million acres of public and private forests across America is on the decline for the second straight year, with most of the reductions seen in western states where bark beetles have infested millions of trees, according to a report released today by the U.S. Forest Service.
(New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded Columbia University and Cornell University almost $750,000 each to study the relationship between air pollution, weather and climate change. The grants are two of 14 that the EPA awarded to universities across the nation to fund research on technologies that can help the public and government agencies predict and prepare for the effects that extreme weather triggered by climate change can have on the nation’s air and water quality.
U.S. Forest Service and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) scientists have found that rising levels of ozone, a greenhouse gas, may amplify the impacts of higher temperatures and reduce streamflow from forests to rivers, streams, and other water bodies. Such effects could potentially reduce water supplies available to support forest ecosystems and people in the southeastern United States
e there more tropical cyclones now than in the past — or is it just something we believe because we now hear more about them through media coverage and are better able detect them with satellites? New research from the Niels Bohr Institute clearly shows that there is an increasing tendency for cyclones when the climate is warmer, as it has been in recent years.
Northern Alberta’s boreal forest shows a surprising resiliency to human intrusion, but University of Alberta researchers warn the landscape has a definite breaking point. The U of A research team led by graduate student Stephen Mayor found that up to a certain point plant life in the boreal forest responded to intrusions such as roadways and farm fields by actually increasing its biodiversity.
Global temperatures directly affect the acidity of the ocean, which in turn changes the acoustical properties of sea water. New research suggests that global warming may give Earth’s oceans the same hi-fi sound qualities they had more than 100 million years ago, during the Age of the Dinosaurs. The reason for this surprising communication upgrade is that whales vocalize in the low-frequency sound range, typically less than 200 hertz, and the new research predicts that by the year 2100, global warming will acidify saltwater sufficiently to make low-frequency sound near the ocean surface travel significantly farther than it currently does — perhaps twice as far.
At a meeting with New England commercial fishermen last December, physical oceanographers Glen Gawarkiewicz and Al Plueddemann from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) were alerted by three fishermen about unusually high surface water temperatures and strong currents on the outer continental shelf south of New England.
Evidence uncovered by a University of Tennessee, Knoxville, geography professor suggests recent droughts could be the new normal. This is especially bad news for our nation’s forests. For most, to find evidence that recent years’ droughts have been record-breaking, they need not look past the withering garden or lawn. For Henri Grissino-Mayer he looks at the rings of trees over the past one thousand years. He can tell you that this drought is one of the worst in the last 600 years in America’s Southwest and predicts worst are still to come.
Here are some other links you may find worthwhile:
• Climate Change News Digest
• Climate Progress from Center for American Progress
• Rocky Mountain Institute “an independent, entrepreneurial nonprofit think-and-do tank™ that drives the efficient and restorative use of resources.”
At BPI Campus our Progressive Agenda is:
1. People matter more than profits.
2. The earth is our home, not our trash can.
3. We need good government for both #1 and #2.
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