March 28, 2013, from BBC
Commonly used pesticides are damaging honey bee brains, studies suggest.
Scientists have found that two types of chemicals called neonicotinoids and coumaphos are interfering with the insect's ability to learn and remember.
Experiments revealed that exposure was also lowering brain activity, especially when the two pesticides were used in combination....
Dr Christopher Connolly said: "We found neonicotinoids cause an immediate hyper-activation - so an epileptic type activity - this was proceeded by neuronal inactivation, where the brain goes quiet and cannot communicate any more. The same effects occur when we used organophosphates.
"And if we used them together, the effect was additive, so they added to the toxicity: the effect was greater when both were present."
March 28, 2012, from The Sideshow
When it comes to giant rat infestations, New York gets all the attention. But a breed of giant Gambian rats have been rapidly reproducing in the Florida Keys despite a decade-long effort to wipe them out. KeysNet reports the invasive African native species first began showing up between 1999-2001 after a local exotic animal breeder released eight of the rats into the wild.
"We thought we had them whipped as of 2009," said Scott Hardin, exotic species coordinator for Florida's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. "We think they have not moved far but they clearly reproduced," he said.
The rodents, officially known as the Gambian pouched rat, are the largest known breed of rats in the world. They can grow up to three feet in length and weigh as much as nine pounds. Wildlife officials fear that if the rodents make it to the Florida mainland, they could devastate local crops.
March 28, 2012, from Associated Press
One of Japan's crippled nuclear reactors still has fatally high radiation levels and hardly any water to cool it, according to an internal examination Tuesday that renews doubts about the plant's stability.
A tool equipped with a tiny video camera, a thermometer, a dosimeter and a water gauge was used to assess damage inside the No. 2 reactor's containment chamber for the second time since the tsunami swept into the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant a year ago. The probe done in January failed to find the water surface and provided only images showing steam, unidentified parts and rusty metal surfaces scarred by exposure to radiation, heat and humidity.
The data collected from the probes showed the damage from the disaster was so severe, the plant operator will have to develop special equipment and technology to tolerate the harsh environment and decommission the plant, a process expected to last decades.
March 28, 2012, from Reuters
A cloud of explosive natural gas boiling up from the North Sea out of a leak at Total's evacuated Elgin platform forced another shutdown off the Scottish coast on Tuesday as the French firm warned it could take six months to halt the flow... Total, which said the rupture of an unused reservoir above the main production source seemed to have been caused by its own engineers, is now looking at two main options to cut off the shimmering plume of gas rising above the sea: either drilling a relief well nearby, which could take six months, or - faster but possibly riskier - sending in engineers to "kill" the leak.
March 28, 2012, from Reuters
The world is close to reaching tipping points that will make it irreversibly hotter, making this decade critical in efforts to contain global warming, scientists warned on Monday.... Despite this sense of urgency, a new global climate treaty forcing the world's biggest polluters, such as the United States and China, to curb emissions will only be agreed on by 2015 - to enter into force in 2020
March 28, 2011, from Our Amazing Planet
Dynamic layers of warm Atlantic and cold Arctic Ocean waters around Greenland may be speeding the melt of the country's glaciers, researchers find.
"Over the last 15 years or so, the Greenland Ice Sheet has been putting a lot more ice into the ocean," said Fiammetta Straneo of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, in Massachusetts, who has spent years studying the ice-coated country that is currently responsible for about a quarter of worldwide sea level rise. "We're trying to understand why, as we thought ice sheets changed on much longer timescales, like thousands of years," she told OurAmazingPlanet.
Researchers know that warm air over Greenland melts surface snow and ice, but this process doesn't do enough melting to explain the extent of the glaciers' rapid retreat.
March 28, 2011, from The Daily Climate
Vegetation change underway in northern forests as a result of climate change creates feedback loop that prompts more warming, scientists say. Boreal forests across the Northern hemisphere are undergoing rapid, transformative shifts as a result of a warming climate that, in some cases, is triggering feedback loops producing even more regional warming, according to several new studies. Russia's boreal forest - the largest continuous expanse of forest in the world - has seen a transformation in recent years from larch to conifer trees, according to new research by University of Virginia researchers.... "The climate has shifted. It's done, it's clear, and the climate has become unsuitable for the growth of the boreal forest across most of the area that it currently occupies," said Glenn Juday, a forestry professor at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.
March 28, 2009, from Aspen Daily News
In ski towns like Aspen the conversation about global warming's local effect focuses around the threat of shorter winters, less skiing, and the possibility of our resort economy crumbling as a result.
On the other end of the spectrum in poor, developing nations it's more about fighting wild animals for clean water and spending your waking hours searching for firewood on an eroding landscape. And the hardships wrought by global warming in these countries are disproportionately shouldered by their women, as attested by the environmental leaders of Nicaragua, Mozambique and Jordan on Friday at the Aspen Environment Forum.
March 28, 2009, from Miami Herald
...People who study South Florida's environment say global warming is starting to have a significant impact on Florida's fish, fowl and flora... Changes in Florida's climate are far more subtle than, say, a melting Alaskan glacier. But the state has a lot at stake: Florida has 1,200 miles of coastline and 11 million acres of wetlands and low elevations, making it more vulnerable to rising seas, beach erosion and the inland movement of saltwater in places like the Keys.
The last report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said that tropical cyclones (which we call hurricanes) are increasing in intensity in some ocean basins, especially in the North Atlantic basin where hurricanes form, because of warming seas.
March 28, 2013, from Guardian
Peru has declared an environmental state of emergency in a remote part of its northern Amazon rainforest, home for decades to one of the country's biggest oil fields, currently operated by the Argentinian company Pluspetrol.
Achuar and Kichwa indigenous people living in the Pastaza river basin near Peru's border with Ecuador have complained for decades about the pollution, while successive governments have failed to deal with it. Officials indicate that for years the state lacked the required environmental quality standards....
In declaring the state of emergency, Peru's environment ministry said tests in February and March found high levels of barium, lead, chrome and petroleum-related compounds at different points in the Pastaza valley.
Pluspetrol, the biggest oil and natural gas producer in Peru, has operated the oil fields since 2001. It took over from Occidental Petroleum, which began drilling in 1971, and, according to the government, had not cleaned up contamination either.
March 28, 2009, from AFP
Researchers at a US Navy laboratory have unveiled what they say is "significant" evidence of cold fusion, a potential energy source that has many skeptics in the scientific community.... "To our knowledge, this is the first scientific report of the production of highly energetic neutrons from a LENR device," added the study's co-author in a statement... Paul Padley, a physicist at Rice University who reviewed Mosier-Boss's published work, said the study did not provide a plausible explanation of how cold fusion could take place in the conditions described.... "It fails to provide a theoretical rationale to explain how fusion could occur at room temperatures. And in its analysis, the research paper fails to exclude other sources for the production of neutrons," he told the Houston Chronicle.
March 28, 2009, from Agence France-Presse
The waters of Sydney Harbour plunged into darkness on Saturday night, with the iconic Opera House and Harbour Bridge killing their lights for an hour in a global call for swift action on climate change.
Chatham Island, the largest of a tiny group of Pacific islands 800 kilometres (500 miles) southeast of New Zealand, unofficially began Earth Hour by switching off its diesel generators at 0645 GMT, or 8:30 pm local time.
The 25-hour energy-saving marathon officially began in Sydney shortly after 0930 GMT with a spectacular switch to darkness for an hour before spreading across the world for more than 80 countries to take part at 8:30 pm local time.... "Even if a billion people turn off their lights this Saturday the entire event will be equivalent to switching off China's emissions for six short seconds," said Bjorn Lomborg, director of the Copenhagen Consensus Centre think-tank.