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18 December 2014
Scientists can use satellites to track wastewater plumes in the ocean, according to new research presented Tuesday afternoon at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco. Researchers from NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and other research institutions tracked wastewater plumes from the Los Angeles County and Orange County treatment plants in California during maintenance in 2006 and 2012, respectively. Each plant temporarily diverted wastewater into an older, shorter, shallower pipe. But treated sewage still contains contaminants, so each plant also conducted expensive ocean monitoring.
In tanks at the University of Iowa, mussels equipped with heart rate monitors are purifying water with their excrement. Like human heart monitors, the gadgets glued to the mussels’ shells provide information about activity and metabolism. But in the mussels’ case, this information is helping researchers understand how mussels cleanse the water of agricultural runoff.
13 November 2014
More people around the world live in flood-prone regions than did 20 years ago, increasing death tolls and economic damage from floods and the chances that flooding will cause similar losses in the future, a new study finds. The increased concentration of human populations in flood-risk zones could exacerbate an already expected upsurge in flood-related destruction in a warming climate, the researchers report.
The study has been accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union. Its authors used satellite images to show that a widely used proxy for population—the number of lights seen at night—increased globally along rivers by an average of 1.2 percent each year between 1992 and 2012.
26 August 2014
Climate change is hurting reproduction of the critically endangered Devils Hole pupfish, threatening the survival of the already small population, new research shows.
5 August 2014
Unforeseen, short-term increases in sea level caused by strong winds, pressure changes and fluctuating ocean currents can cause more damage to beaches on the East Coast over the course of a year than a powerful hurricane making landfall, according to a new study. The new research suggests that these sea-level anomalies could be more of a threat to coastal homes and businesses than previously thought, and could become higher and more frequent as a result of climate change.
24 July 2014
A shaky cell phone connection during a rainstorm can be an annoying nuisance. But now scientists are showing that these weakened signals can be used to monitor rainfall in West Africa, a technique that could help cities in the region better prepare for floods and combat weather-related diseases.
12 June 2014
By Alexandra Branscombe WASHINGTON, DC – Just a week after a 21,000-acre wildfire between Sedona and Flagstaff, Arizona, residents there are already bracing for mudslides that could surge down the burned slopes. These water-fueled flows of burned-out trees, loose rocks and mud can pack enough power to wipe out homes and roads. A new online hazard assessment system could help threatened communities in central Arizona and elsewhere in the western …
30 May 2014
By Alexandra Branscombe WASHINGTON, DC –Melting summer sea ice is opening up new shipping and drilling opportunities in the Arctic, bringing with them the potential for oil spills that could become trapped under the remaining sea ice and go unseen by current oil-detection methods. Now, a team of scientists is investigating a way to use sound waves to find this elusive oil. Scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts …
22 May 2014
Applying science to natural resource policy issues: Social science joins natural and physical sciences
By Jana Davis, Executive Director, Chesapeake Bay Trust As AGU members, we generally focus on the contribution of physical and natural science solutions to policy questions. But sometimes an issue calls for us to step outside the boundaries of these “hard” sciences to the social sciences. Areas in which many of us tend to be less comfortable. And less trained. Watershed restoration and protection can be just such an issue. …
23 April 2014
Discharged seawater pumped from the ocean and used for a renewable air conditioning system would overload surface waters with minerals that could potentially be captured instead for use in agriculture, according to a noted oceanographer.
6 November 2013
AGU has launched the Thriving Earth Exchange, a new initiative that supports communities as they protect themselves from hazards, adapt to a changing planet, and create sustainable futures. Featured in this week’s edition of Eos, learn more about the program where AGU members will work with local leaders to contribute their Earth and space science expertise to significant societal challenges. The Thriving Earth Exchange is inspired by a series of …
26 July 2013
In between bouts of hottish weather (I don’t count it as hot unless it’s well into the nineties and the humidity is fairly high) and the occasional cool day like today, we’ve been having some fairly spectacular thunderstorms in Buffalo. That’s no unusual thing in the summertime, but after teaching a chunk of an intro course about streamflow and what happens after it rains, I’ve started paying more attention to water features in my area.
28 June 2013
As President Obama announced sweeping policies Tuesday aimed at curbing carbon emissions and combating climate change, water resources experts at a Washington, D.C. meeting across town from where Obama spoke discussed the entwined nature of water conservation and energy production .”Saving greenhouse gas emissions saves water too,” said Robert Jackson of Duke University in Durham, N.C., as he and other panelists discussed retrofitting power plants that burn coal or other fossil fuels and turning to alternative energy sources.
4 June 2013
Water and energy are linked resources in ever-increasing demand in the United States. Energy production requires an abundant, reliable, and predictable source of water, a resource that is unfortunately in short supply already throughout large portions of the U.S. Additionally, developing water supplies can require large amounts of energy to extract, transport, treat, and distribute. As such, the water-energy nexus presents a significant challenge for our country’s water resource and …
19 April 2013
Over 80 scientists gathered at a conference here this week to share their latest research on past, current, and projected future sea level rise and to discuss how this information can be used to shape policy. Despite their diverse perspectives and expertise, one thing the scientists agreed on for sure: the rates and impacts of sea level rise are local and communities are facing a growing risk.
7 December 2012
Out of sight, out of mind – that’s the essence of carbon sequestration, an emerging technology designed to fight climate change by packing liquefied carbon dioxide in underground rock formations. But rocks have cracks, wells, holes, and other surprises that could let that carbon, so painstakingly injected, bubble back up to the surface again. Engineers and scientists need a way to watch for leaks that’s reliable and inexpensive. The solution, one scientist says, is already falling from the skies.
6 December 2012
No one knew what happened when a 7-foot wave hit Lake Erie’s shoreline, sweeping holiday weekend beach-goers off of their feet and swamping boats in their harbors on May 27 of this year. News reporters jokingly called it a tsunami, but explained it was just another wave surge in the wake of windy weather coming from the Canadian border. But it was a tsunami.
5 December 2012
In the Gangeshwar watershed in Rajasthan, India, farmers are at the mercy of their water supply. They use electrical pumps to capture well water for irrigating fields of wheat, rice, cotton and other crops. But wells often run dry, threatening crops and livelihoods. Melissa Rohde, now a graduate student in civil & environmental engineering at Stanford, in Palo Alto, California is working to find a simple, cost-effective way to measure …
28 October 2012
The winds are already increasing along the Eastern Seaboard tonight as Sandy heads northward. I was at Cape Henlopen in Delaware before dark, and the ocean was already roaring with 5-6 foot swells. There is still some disagreement int he model guidance but I’d put the chances of landfall between Rehoboth Beach, Delaware and Sandy Hook NJ at 70%. As Sandy turns into an extratropical storm the winds will no …
27 September 2012
Every summer in the Arctic, a vast system of ponds appears on the broad beds of floating sea ice, only to freeze again when the cold season returns. Researchers consider these transient bodies of water – called melt ponds — an important factor in climate change because they absorb sunlight and contribute to sea-ice loss. While warming has increased the fraction of Arctic sea ice where melt ponds form, global climate models have remained incapable of accurately predicting the influence of melt ponds, scientists say. A new model, which incorporates complex physics of the ponds, is generating predictions of sea-ice extent and thickness that match well with observations, the model’s developers report. The researchers are introducing this new capability just weeks after the extent of Arctic sea ice shrank to an unprecedented autumn low that climate models were unable to predict.