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Nebraska Approves Keystone XL, But Requires Different Route Through State

Nebraska regulators have given the final approval for the Keystone XL pipeline to run through their state, eliminating the last major regulatory obstacle preventing the completion of the 1,179-mile pipeline system that would help carry tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada to refineries in Texas.

11/21/2017 12:52 AM
Study Pinpoints Arctic Shorebird Decline

A new study co-authored by WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) addresses concerns over the many Arctic shorebird populations in precipitous decline. Evident from the study is that monitoring and protection of habitat where the birds breed, winter, and stopover is critical to their survival and to that of a global migration spectacle.

11/21/2017 12:52 AM
Researchers pin down one source of a potent greenhouse gas

A study of a Lake Erie wetland suggests that scientists have vastly underestimated the number of places methane-producing microbes can survive—and, as a result, today’s global climate models may be misjudging the amount of methane being released into the atmosphere.

11/21/2017 12:52 AM
ESO Observations Show First Interstellar Asteroid is Like Nothing Seen Before

On 19 October 2017, the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope in Hawai`i picked up a faint point of light moving across the sky. It initially looked like a typical fast-moving small asteroid, but additional observations over the next couple of days allowed its orbit to be computed fairly accurately. The orbit calculations revealed beyond any doubt that this body did not originate from inside the Solar System, like all other asteroids or comets ever observed, but instead had come from interstellar space. Although originally classified as a comet, observations from ESO and elsewhere revealed no signs of cometary activity after it passed closest to the Sun in September 2017. The object was reclassified as an interstellar asteroid and named 1I/2017 U1 (`Oumuamua) [1].

11/21/2017 12:52 AM
Previous Evidence of Water on Mars Now Identified as Grainflows

Dark features previously proposed as evidence for significant liquid water flowing on Mars have now been identified as granular flows, where sand and dust move rather than liquid water, according to a new article published in Nature Geoscience by the U.S. Geological Survey.

11/21/2017 12:52 AM
Thinking Big by Burning Small

A recent paper by scientists from Wits University in South Africa shows how creative fire management can increase habitat for wildebeest and other grazing animals in national parks.

11/21/2017 12:52 AM
Filling the Gap: High-latitude Volcanic Eruptions Also Have Global Impact

Volcanic eruptions always seize the attention of climate scientists, because the sulfate aerosols formed in the volcanic plumes may stay months to years in the stratosphere—the second layer of the Earth’s atmosphere—resulting in the increase of radiation reflection from the Sun back into space, and therefore cooling the Earth's lower atmosphere or troposphere in a long time period. It is traditionally believed that because of atmospheric circulation patterns, eruptions in the tropics could have an effect on the climate in both hemispheres while eruptions at mid or high latitudes only have impact over the hemisphere where they erupt.

11/21/2017 12:52 AM
Exposure to benzene during pregnancy: a pilot study raises concerns in B.C.

Peace River Valley, in northeastern British Columbia, has become known in recent years as a place of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas – "fracking," as it's commonly called. What are the health impacts related to living near fracking sites where contaminants, including volatile organic compounds, are released? To try to answer that question, Élyse Caron-Beaudoin, a postdoctoral researcher at the Université de Montréal Public Health Research Institute, studied a group of pregnant women who live in the area. Her results were published this week in Environment International.

11/21/2017 12:52 AM
Reusing Waste Energy with 2D Electron Gas

Novel approach utilizes high mobility two-dimensional electron gas, boosting thermoelectric conversion efficiency.

11/21/2017 12:52 AM
The Hydroponic, Robotic Future of Farming in Greenhouses

When you think of automation, you probably think of the assembly line, a dramatic dance of robot arms with nary a human laborer in sight. But that’s child’s play. The grandest, most disruptive automation revolution has played out in agriculture. First with horses and plows, and eventually with burly combines—technologies that have made farming exponentially cheaper and more productive. Just consider that in 1790, farmers made up 90 percent of the US workforce. In 2012, it was 1.5 percent, yet America still eats.

11/21/2017 12:52 AM
As Oceans Warm, the World's Kelp Forests Begin to Disappear

A steady increase in ocean temperatures — nearly 3 degrees Fahrenheit in recent decades — was all it took to doom the once-luxuriant giant kelp forests of eastern Australia and Tasmania: Thick canopies that once covered much of the region’s coastal sea surface have wilted in intolerably warm and nutrient-poor water. Then, a warm-water sea urchin species moved in. Voracious grazers, the invaders have mowed down much of the remaining vegetation and, over vast areas, have formed what scientists call urchin barrens, bleak marine environments largely devoid of life.

11/21/2017 12:52 AM
Light Green Plants Save Nitrogen Without Sacrificing Photosynthetic Efficiency

The top leaves of crops absorb far more light than they can use, starving lower leaves of light. Scientists designed plants with light green leaves with hopes of allowing more light to penetrate the crop canopy and increase overall light use efficiency and yield. This strategy was tested in a recent modeling study that found leaves with reduced chlorophyll content do not actually improve canopy-level photosynthesis, but instead, conserve a significant amount of nitrogen that the plant might be able to reinvest to improve light use efficiency and increase yield.  

11/21/2017 12:52 AM
NASA Spots Tropical Depression Kirogi Dissipating

Tropical Depression Kirogi made landfall in southeastern Vietnam on Nov. 19 and NASA's Aqua satellite passed over the storm as it was dissipating over land.  

11/21/2017 12:52 AM
Maps reveal landscape beneath Antarctica's weak underbelly

A UK team of researchers has produced high-resolution maps of the bed beneath a major glacier in West Antarctica, which will help them predict future sea-level rise from this region. Radar surveys of the land beneath Pine Island Glacier have revealed a diverse landscape under the ice with some surprises. The results are published today (20 November 2017) in the journal Nature Communications.

11/21/2017 12:52 AM
Maps reveal landscape beneath Antarctica's weak underbelly

A UK team of researchers has produced high-resolution maps of the bed beneath a major glacier in West Antarctica, which will help them predict future sea-level rise from this region. Radar surveys of the land beneath Pine Island Glacier have revealed a diverse landscape under the ice with some surprises. The results are published today (20 November 2017) in the journal Nature Communications.

11/21/2017 12:52 AM
Study looks at why ring-tailed lemurs raise a stink when they flirt with potential mates

A University of Toronto study finds that a unique ritual performed by male ring-tailed lemurs may come at a significant physical cost, but it likely helps their chances in securing a mate.

Ring-tailed lemurs are Strepsirrhines, a sub-order of primates who share a common ancestor with humans. They are very social animals, living in large groups with females dominating the group. Like other lemurs, they huddle in large groups in order to keep warm and maintain social bonds, with lower ranking males often excluded.

11/21/2017 12:52 AM
Two-thirds of children with concussions not receiving medical followups

In a study that looked at data over a 10-year period, York University researchers, in collaboration with the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES), found that more than two-thirds of youth and children with an acute concussion do not seek medical followup or clearance as recommended by current international concussion guidelines.

11/21/2017 12:52 AM
How the Alaska Pipeline Is Fueling the Push to Drill in the Arctic Refuge

The war over the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) — one of the most contentious and enduring environmental fights in U.S. history — is once again heating up. 

11/21/2017 12:52 AM
A new way to store thermal energy

In large parts of the developing world, people have abundant heat from the sun during the day, but most cooking takes place later in the evening when the sun is down, using fuel — such as wood, brush or dung — that is collected with significant time and effort.

11/21/2017 12:52 AM
Scientific Advances Can Make it Easier to Recycle Plastics

Most of the 150 million tons of plastics produced around the world every year end up in landfills, the oceans and elsewhere. Less than 9 percent of plastics are recycled in the United States, rising to about 30 percent in Europe.

11/21/2017 12:52 AM
Infrared NASA Imagery Shows Development of Tropical Depression 31W

NASA's Aqua satellite provided infrared imagery of the latest tropical cyclone in the South China Sea.

11/21/2017 12:52 AM
Taking a Spin on Plasma Space Tornadoes with NASA Observations

Interplanetary space is hardly tranquil. High-energy charged particles from the Sun, as well as from beyond our solar system, constantly whizz by. These can damage satellites and endanger astronaut health — though, luckily for life on Earth, the planet is blanketed by a protective magnetic bubble created by its magnetic field. This bubble, called the magnetosphere, deflects most of the harmful high-energy particles.

11/21/2017 12:52 AM
Plant Respiration Could Become a Bigger Feedback on Climate Than Expected

New research, led by the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, suggests that plant respiration is a larger source of carbon emissions than previously thought, and warns that, as the world warms, this may reduce the ability of Earth’s land surface to absorb emissions due to fossil fuel burning.

11/21/2017 12:52 AM
Seagrass is a Key Fishing Ground Globally

New research demonstrates that seagrass meadows are important fishing grounds all around the globe. The work highlights that there is an urgent need to start appreciating and understanding this role to be able to build more sustainable fisheries. A study led by Dr Lina Mtwana Nordlund at Stockholm University, published in the scientific journal Fish & Fisheries, examines the global extent to which these underwater meadows support fishing activity.

11/21/2017 12:52 AM
What Climate-Conscious Cities Can Learn From Each Other

In many ways, Essen is the envy of cities trying to move past their industrial days. Once the steel and coal center of Germany, Essen’s economic success in the early 20th century was evident in the dust blanketing the city and sulfur filling the air with the constant stench of rotten eggs. By one resident’s account, coal miners permanently wore black smudges across their faces, earning them the nickname waschbar, or “raccoons.”

11/21/2017 12:52 AM