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Saturday, January 17, 2015

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

NASA, NOAA find 2014 warmest year in modern record

Posted: 16 Jan 2015 12:39 PM PST

The year 2014 ranks as Earth's warmest since 1880, according to two separate analyses by NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists. The 10 warmest years in the instrumental record, with the exception of 1998, have now occurred since 2000. This trend continues a long-term warming of the planet, according to an analysis of surface temperature measurements.

NASA satellite set to get the dirt on Earth's soil moisture

Posted: 16 Jan 2015 11:54 AM PST

A new NASA satellite that will peer into the topmost layer of Earth's soils to measure the hidden waters that influence our weather and climate is in final preparations for a Jan. 29 dawn launch from California.

NASA mountaintop sensor finds high methane over Los Angeles

Posted: 16 Jan 2015 11:46 AM PST

A NASA study using two years of observations from a novel mountaintop instrument finds that Los Angeles' annual emissions of methane, an important greenhouse gas, are 18 to 61 percent higher than widely used estimates. The study is the first to demonstrate the feasibility of long-term mapping of greenhouse gases across an urban area from an elevated -- but still earthbound -- site.

New salmonella serotype discovered

Posted: 16 Jan 2015 11:38 AM PST

A new serotype of the salmonella bacteria has been discovered by Texan researchers. Because convention calls for a new serotype to be named after the city in which it is discovered, this one will be called Salmonella Lubbock. And while Lubbock is known for many things, like being the home of Buddy Holly, this new honor will provide new avenues for research into the bacteria's prevention, researchers suggest.

Unlocking the mysteries of the real Paddington bear

Posted: 16 Jan 2015 10:46 AM PST

WCS and partners in Bolivia, Colombia, and Peru have published four significant contributions towards the conservation of the real Paddington Bear -- the Andean bear (Tremarctos ornatus).

Peat fire emissions may shed light on climate change

Posted: 16 Jan 2015 10:45 AM PST

Researchers are beginning a study of the climatic effects of peat fire emissions. "This project is going to provide the much-needed information on peat smoke aerosol properties for integration in satellite retrieval algorithms and climate models," the lead researcher says. "Based on my initial findings, I hypothesize the peat smoke is made up of brown carbon and not black carbon. Brown carbon is a class of organic carbon aerosol which, unlike black carbon, strongly absorbs incoming solar radiation in the shorter wavelengths, or near ultraviolet."

Picture this: Biosecurity seen from the inside

Posted: 16 Jan 2015 08:54 AM PST

Scientists get an insider's view of plants under attack. They've developed a new biosensor that allows them to see, in real time, what happens when a plant's defence system swings into action.

New device for measuring how birds take flight

Posted: 16 Jan 2015 08:03 AM PST

A new device promises to answer long-held questions about the forces birds generate while flying, and could lead to the development of innovative, efficient unmanned aerial vehicles.

Antiquity of dairying on Emerald Isle revealed

Posted: 16 Jan 2015 07:44 AM PST

The antiquity of dairy farming in Ireland has been outlined by researchers in a new report. The research shows that dairying on the island goes back approximately 6,000 years, revealed through traces of ancient dairy fats found in pots dating to around 4,000 to 2,500 BC.

Satellite telemetry tracks bearded vultures

Posted: 16 Jan 2015 06:30 AM PST

The Pyrenees are home to continental Europe's only wild population of bearded vultures, a species classified as endangered in Spain. A study compiled by Spanish researchers reveals -- in a level of detail until now unseen -- the size of the home range of this bird species using satellite tracking technologies.

Wild pollinators at risk from diseased commercial species of bee

Posted: 16 Jan 2015 05:56 AM PST

Viruses carried by commercial bees can jump to wild pollinator populations with potentially devastating effects. The researchers are calling for new measures to be introduced that will prevent the introduction of diseased pollinators into natural environments.

New trick found for how cells stay organized

Posted: 16 Jan 2015 05:56 AM PST

Organization is key to an efficient workplace, and cells are no exception to this rule. New evidence suggests that, in addition to membranes, cells have another way to keep their contents and activities separate: with ribbons of spinning proteins.

Finding farmland: New maps offer a clearer view of global agriculture

Posted: 16 Jan 2015 05:55 AM PST

A new global cropland map combines multiple satellite data sources, reconciled using crowdsourced accuracy checks, to provide an improved record of total cropland extent as well as field size around the world.

Heart arrhythmias detected in deep-diving marine mammals

Posted: 16 Jan 2015 05:55 AM PST

A new study of dolphins and seals shows that despite their remarkable adaptations to aquatic life, exercising while holding their breath remains a physiological challenge for marine mammals. The study found a surprisingly high frequency of heart arrhythmias in bottlenose dolphins and Weddell seals during the deepest dives.

Volcanic eruption on Cape Verde Island

Posted: 16 Jan 2015 05:53 AM PST

A new volcanic eruption commenced on Fogo, one of the Cape Verde Islands, on November 23rd, 2014. This eruption continues to date, and is considered to be the largest eruption by volume, and in terms of damage, on the archipelago for over 60 years. Most damage was caused by lava flows advancing into populated regions, so that numerous buildings, homes and roads were destroyed. In total, three villages have been abandoned and thousands of residents have had to be evacuated.

Nanoparticles for clean drinking water

Posted: 16 Jan 2015 05:49 AM PST

One way of removing harmful nitrate from drinking water is to catalyse its conversion to nitrogen. This process suffers from the drawback that it often produces ammonia. By using palladium nanoparticles as a catalyst, and by carefully controlling their size, this drawback can be partially eliminated, researchers have discovered.

Perovskites provide big boost to silicon solar cells

Posted: 15 Jan 2015 01:35 PM PST

Stacking perovskites onto a conventional silicon solar cell dramatically improves the overall efficiency of the cell, according to a new study.

Undercover researchers expose new species of lizard for sale on Philippine black market

Posted: 15 Jan 2015 08:15 AM PST

Amid the black-market pet trade in Manila, researchers have discovered two species of water monitor lizard that previously were unknown to science. Manila's criminal trade in animals ranges from pet stores "with many endangered and illegal species hidden behind the scenes" to major international wildlife violators and wholesale smuggling rackets.

Coenzyme A plays leading role in nitric oxide function so essential to cell metabolism

Posted: 14 Jan 2015 11:06 AM PST

The molecule known as coenzyme A plays a key role in cell metabolism by regulating the actions of nitric oxide. Coenzyme A sets into motion a process known as protein nitrosylation, which unleashes nitric oxide to alter the shape and function of proteins within cells to modify cell behavior. The purpose of manipulating the behavior of cells is to tailor their actions to accommodate the ever-changing needs of the body's metabolism.

Abscisic acid treatments can prevent tomato blossom-end rot

Posted: 14 Jan 2015 08:55 AM PST

Root and foliar spray abscisic acid applications were studied to determine how ABA affects the incidence of blossom-end rot in distal tissue of tomato fruit. A combination of spray and root ABA applications resulted in the greatest decrease in blossom-end rot. ABA treatments were deemed effective in increasing fruit calcium and preventing BER in early stages of plant development, but were found less effective in preventing calcium deficiency in later stages of growth.

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