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13 January 2020

Board game educates Japan about new energy source

A three-dimensional box that mimics an underwater ocean scene teaches players about an underwater fossil fuel resource in a new Japanese board game. Methane hydrate is a natural energy resource buried deep below the ocean floor surrounding Japan. This mixture of methane and ice, once extracted, can be converted into methane gas, a viable energy source. Chiharu Aoyama, an ocean resources professor at the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, suspects Japan’s citizens do not know about this natural resource. In 2016, Aoyama worked with Daiki Aoyama, a family member and game hobbyist, to design a board game to raise awareness about methane hydrate among Japanese people of all ages.

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11 December 2019

Scientists use night vision to help save bats’ lives

High-resolution radar and night vision cameras may help scientists protect bats from untimely deaths at wind farms, according to new research. Researchers are using these technologies to provide more specific details about the number of bats killed by wind turbines in Iowa.

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7 January 2019

Colorado’s Lake Dillon is warming rapidly

The surface waters of Lake Dillon, a mountain reservoir that supplies water to the the Denver area, have warmed by nearly 5 degrees Fahrenheit (2.5 degrees Celsius) in the last 35 years, which is twice the average warming rate for global lakes. Yet surprisingly, Dillon does not show adverse environmental changes, such as nuisance algal blooms, often associated with warming of lakes.

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16 August 2018

Acceleration of mountain glacier melt could impact Pacific Northwest water supplies

Seasonal snow and ice accumulation cause glaciers in the Cascade Range mountains to grow a little every winter and melt a little every summer. This annual melt provides water for much of the Pacific Northwest, which includes Washington, Oregon, Idaho and parts of Montana. Inhabitants of the region utilize this water for drinking, crop irrigation, generating hydroelectric power and other uses. Glacier melt provides supplementary water when less snowmelt is available, alleviating drought conditions or other impacts of dry periods.

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24 July 2018

Researchers develop model for predicting landslides caused by earthquakes

The 2008 Wenchuan earthquake in Sichuan, China killed tens of thousands of people and left millions homeless. Approximately 20,000 deaths — nearly 30 percent of the total — resulted not from the ground shaking itself but from landslides the quake triggered. A new model can help experts address such risks by estimating the likelihood of landslides that will be caused by earthquakes anywhere in the world. The estimates can be available within minutes, providing potentially life-saving information to people who are affected by earthquakes and the agencies and organizations charged with responding to them.

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25 January 2018

New study reveals how icy surface ponds on Himalayan glaciers influence water flow

The flow of water that supports hydro-electric and irrigation infrastructure in the mountain regions of Nepal and India is regulated by hundreds of large icy ponds on the surface of some of the world’s highest glaciers, scientists have revealed.

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24 January 2018

Dust on snow controls springtime river rise in West

A new study has found that dust, not spring warmth, controls the pace of spring snowmelt that feeds the headwaters of the Colorado River.

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6 December 2017

Cartogram maps provide new view of climate change risk

Scientists have developed cartograms — maps that convey information by contorting areas — to visualize the risks of climate change in a novel way.

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4 December 2017

Stronger storms hamper ability of streams and rivers to clean up pollution

Freshwater streams and rivers naturally clean up some forms of pollution originating from urban and agricultural areas, but increased storm intensity reduces this ability.

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16 November 2017

Groundwater recharge in the American west under climate change

Groundwater recharge in the Western U.S. will change as the climate warms–the dry southern regions will have less and the northern regions will have more, according to new research.

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7 September 2017

Increases in wildfire-caused erosion could impact water supply and quality in the West

A growing number of wildfire-burned areas throughout the western United States are expected to increase soil erosion rates within watersheds, causing more sediment to be present in downstream rivers and reservoirs, according to a new study.

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17 May 2017

Researchers track groundwater loss during drought in California’s Central Valley

A new study from researchers at UCLA and the University of Houston reveals estimates of significant groundwater loss in California’s Central Valley during the recent drought and sparks questions of sustainability for the important agricultural area.

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8 May 2017

Bands of extra-tough ice slow down cracks in Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf

The stability of the Antarctic Peninsula’s largest ice shelf may depend upon stripes of extremely strong ice running down its spine, a new study finds.

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4 May 2017

Hawaiian mountains could lose snow cover by 2100

A new study, accepted for publication in Earth’s Future, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, indicate that Hawaii’s two volcano summits are typically snow-covered at least 20 days each winter, on average, but that the snow cover will nearly disappear by the end of the century.

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2 May 2017

Development degrades Canary Island’s cherished sand dunes (+video)

A new study published in Earth’s Future, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, explores the impact of development on local wind patterns and dune formation on one of Spain’s Canary Islands. By reviewing aerial photographs and topographical measurements, the study’s authors watched how a city’s expansion altered local wind patterns and ultimately changed the surrounding landscape, jeopardizing the long-term sustainability of a major tourist destination.

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24 March 2017

Study shows as US drilling surged, methane emissions didn’t

A new study shows U.S. methane emissions did not grow significantly from 2000 to 2013 and are not likely to have been an important driver of the increase in atmospheric methane levels observed worldwide after 2007, as other studies have suggested. The new study provides additional insight into a question that has puzzled scientists for the past decade: what has been causing the increase in global methane levels since 2007?

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10 February 2017

Daily disturbance from upper atmosphere leaves its footprints on tropical rainfall

A team of scientists led by postdoctoral researcher Takatoshi Sakazaki, from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s International Pacific Research Center (IPRC), has analyzed satellite-based observations and computer model simulations of tropical rainfall variation throughout the day in an effort to determine the root cause of the temporal patterns. Their results, accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, show that daily tropical rainfall distribution is significantly shaped by heating of the upper atmosphere.

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27 January 2017

Global flood risk could increase five-fold with a 4-degree C temperature rise

A new report looks at flood risk and economic damages under different global warming scenarios with temperature increases of 1.5 degrees Celsius, 2 degrees Celsius and 4 degrees Celsius. It concludes that, if global temperatures rise by 4 degrees Celsius, the flood risk in countries representing more than 70 percent percent of the global population and global GDP will increase by more than 500 percent.

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5 January 2017

People aren’t the only beneficiaries of power plant carbon standards

Research has shown that carbon emission standards for the power sector benefit human health. But new research shows they would also benefit crops and trees.

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17 November 2016

Study finds widespread land losses from Gulf oil spill

A new study shows dramatic, widespread shoreline loss in Louisiana marshlands most heavily coated with oil during the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Following the spill, the length of shoreline that receded more than 13 feet (4 meters) a year quadrupled compared to the year before the spill. The land losses occurred mainly in areas where oil had washed ashore during the spill.

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