The Eco News Roundup brings stories and commentary about issues related to climate change, renewable energy and the environment.

Exclusive: Coastal flooding has surged in U.S., Reuters finds

Reuters) – Coastal flooding along the densely populated Eastern Seaboard of the United States has surged in recent years, a Reuters analysis has found.

During the past four decades, the number of days a year that tidal waters reached or exceeded National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration flood thresholds more than tripled in many places, the analysis found. At flood threshold, water can begin to pool on streets. As it rises farther, it can close roads, damage property and overwhelm drainage systems.

EPA Proposes to Replace and Reduce Harmful Greenhouse Gases

WASHINGTON – Today, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to prohibit the use of certain chemicals that significantly contribute to climate change where safer, more climate-friendly alternatives exist. This is the agency’s second action aimed at reducing emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a class of potent greenhouse gases, under President Obama’s Climate Action Plan.

This action is estimated to reduce greenhouse gases by up to 42 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2020, equal to the carbon dioxide emissions from the annual electricity use of more than five million homes.

Precipitation, not warming temperatures, may be key in bird adaptation to climate change

A new model analyzing how birds in western North America will respond to climate change suggests that for most species, regional warming is not as likely to influence population trends as will precipitation changes. “In general, our study suggests that if climate change results in winters with less precipitation, we likely will see a spring drying effect,” one researcher said. “This means that populations of drought-tolerant species will expand and birds that rely heavily on moisture should decline.”

NASA sees Hurricane Arthur’s July fourth fireworks on US East Coast

Hurricane Arthur made landfall on July 3 at (11:15 p.m. EDT) over the Shackleford Banks between Cape Lookout and Beaufort, North Carolina.

The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission or TRMM satellite, managed by both NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency flew directly over Arthur on July 3, 2014 at 19:22 UTC (3:22 p.m. EDT) as the hurricane was becoming increasingly more powerful. At NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland an analysis of rainfall from TRMM’s Microwave Imager (TMI) and Precipitation Radar (PR) instruments was overlaid on a combination visible/Infrared image taken from NOAA’s GOES-East satellite. The combined image showed that intense bands of thunderstorms north of Arthur’s well-defined eye were generating rainfall at a rate of over 98.4mm (3.9 inches) per hour.

We Are Making Ebola Outbreaks Worse By Cutting Down Forests

In a relentless sweep across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the largest outbreak of Ebola, a virus that causes to dramatic internal bleeding and often a hasty death, has now claimed 467 lives, from 759 infections, since February this year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

With victims identified across more than 60 different locations, there’s now a very real risk the outbreak will spread to even more countries, says Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), which calls the epidemic out of control.

WHO is now focusing on preparing for the disease’s inevitable spread to neighboring countries, not a small ask in poor countries with poor health care systems. “We want other countries in West Africa to be ready—bordering countries, Ivory Coast, Mali, Senegal, Guinea Bissau—to prepare themselves in case people affected with the disease may be also traveling,” WHO’s Dr. Pierre Formenty told a recent briefing in Geneva.

Record levels of solar ultraviolet measured in South America

A team of researchers in the U.S. and Germany has measured the highest level of ultraviolet radiation ever recorded on Earth’s surface. The extraordinary UV fluxes, observed in the Bolivian Andes only 1,500 miles from the equator, are far above those normally considered to be harmful to both terrestrial and aquatic life. The results are being published in the open-access journal Frontiers in Environmental Science.
“These record-setting levels were not measured in Antarctica, where ozone holes have been a recurring problem for decades,” says team leader Nathalie A. Cabrol of the SETI Institute and NASA Ames Research Center. “This is in the tropics, in an area where there are small towns and villages.”


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