30 May 2014

Sonar could spot oil spills hidden by Arctic ice

Sonar could spot oil spills hidden by Arctic ice

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 …

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22 May 2014

Snow photos sought to illuminate snowmelt puzzle

Snow photos sought to illuminate snowmelt puzzle

In some places, where trees protect snow from sun and wind, it actually melts faster than in open areas. That’s what scientists concluded recently when they did a review of global data about snowmelt. Now, to gather much more data needed to deeply understand the discovery, and to make it useful for land and forest management, those same scientists are reaching out to an unlikely pool of collaborators: hikers, forest managers and other outdoors enthusiasts throughout the Pacific Northwest.

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20 May 2014

New research questions emerge from Arctic melting

New research questions emerge from Arctic melting

What is hidden within and beneath Arctic ice? Why does winter matter? What is being irretrievably lost as the Arctic changes?

These are just some of the emerging questions that scientists are being challenged to answer about the rapidly changing Arctic in a new report, “The Arctic in the Anthropocene: Emerging Research Questions,” released last month by the National Research Council’s Committee on Emerging Research Questions.

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15 May 2014

Humans caused nearly 90 percent of sea level rise from warming of upper ocean, study says

Humans caused nearly 90 percent of sea level rise from warming of upper ocean, study says

Human-generated emissions are largely responsible for warming the top layer of the ocean over the past four decades, causing water to expand and sea level to rise, according to a new study.

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14 May 2014

Volcanic ash creates sticky situations for jet engines

ash plume

WASHINGTON, DC — Thousands of airplane passengers were stranded in airports across Europe in 2010 when Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano spewed billions of cubic feet of volcanic ash into the sky. The large cloud of ash – enough to fill at least two football stadiums – threatened to clog jet engines and cause airline accidents.

But it is not just large volumes of volcanic ash that can cause problems for jet engines. Volcanic ash can melt when it gets inside the hot engine and even small amounts of the melted ash can do harm by coating the interior of turbines, interacting with protective coatings, or sticking to parts that cool the engine.

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9 May 2014

New study brings weaknesses of Southern Ocean geoengineering to the surface

New study brings weaknesses of Southern Ocean geoengineering to the surface

A plan to reduce carbon from the atmosphere by adding large amounts of iron to the Southern Ocean around Antarctica may not be as effective as previously thought, according to new research.

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8 May 2014

Airborne measurements confirm leaks from oil and gas operations

drilling rig

During two days of intensive airborne measurements, oil and gas operations in Colorado’s Front Range leaked nearly three times as much methane, a greenhouse gas, as predicted based on inventory estimates, and seven times as much benzene, a regulated air toxic. Emissions of other chemicals that contribute to summertime ozone pollution were about twice as high as estimates, according to the new paper, accepted for publication in the American Geophysical Union’s Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres.

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7 May 2014

In vicious cycle, waves found to grow as Arctic sea ice declines

mooring float

Recently, I’ve analyzed the first known measurements of wave action in a portion of the Arctic Ocean called the Beaufort Sea, and what I’ve found is striking. The loss of Arctic sea ice from global warming is allowing for bigger waves which, in turn, are likely to further accelerate sea-ice loss and hasten the disintegration of Arctic Ocean shorelines.

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23 April 2014

Proposed seawater-based air conditioning could benefit farmers

 Proposed seawater-based air conditioning could benefit farmers

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.

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3 April 2014

Cutting back on refrigerants could drop greenhouse gas emissions

Cutting back on refrigerants could drop greenhouse gas emissions

Research published this month in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, calculates the environmental impact of phasing down hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, under the Montreal Protocol. The landmark 1987 agreement phased out the use of ozone-depleting refrigerants, like chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), leading to increased used of replacements that include HFCs.

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