July 25, 2010

Climate change complicates plant diseases of the future

Human-driven changes in the earth’s atmospheric composition are likely to alter plant diseases of the future. Researchers predict carbon dioxide will reach levels double those of the preindustrial era by the year 2050, complicating agriculture’s need to produce enough food for a rapidly growing population.
University of Illinois researchers are studying the impact of elevated carbon dioxide, elevated ozone and higher atmospheric temperatures on plant diseases that could challenge crops in these changing conditions.
Darin Eastburn, U of I associate professor of crop sciences, evaluated the effects of elevated carbon dioxide and ozone on three economically important soybean diseases under natural field conditions at the soybean-free air-concentrating enrichment (SoyFACE) facility in Urbana.

Assessing arsenic and cadmium susceptibility

BANGLADESH is a developing country where fisheries and aquaculture remain very important as a source to supplement animal origin nutrition, employment generation, improving environmental condition and earning revenue in foreign exchange. Environmental pollution now-a-days poses a great threat to human beings as well as to animal kingdom over the world. Water resource, being the prominent component of the environment, is getting polluted over the decades. Contamination of water environment with various pollutants has increased considerably in resent years in many parts of the world. Various heavy metal ions such as As, Cd, Zn, Cu, Cr, Ni, Pb, Hg etc. are entering into environment through various processes.

July 22, 2010

Nanotech coatings produce 20 times more electricity from sewage

Engineers at Oregon State University have made a significant advance toward producing electricity from sewage, by the use of new coatings on the anodes of microbial electrochemical cells that increased the electricity production about 20 times.
The findings, just published online in Biosensors and Bioelectronics, a professional journal, bring the researchers one step closer to technology that could clean biowaste at the same time it produces useful levels of electricity – a promising new innovation in wastewater treatment and renewable energy.

July 17, 2010

Sea Levels Rising in Parts of Indian Ocean

Newly detected rising sea levels in parts of the Indian Ocean, including the coastlines of the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea, Sri Lanka, Sumatra and Java, appear to be at least partly a result of human-induced increases of atmospheric greenhouse gases, says a study led by the University of Colorado at Boulder.
The study, which combined sea surface measurements going back to the 1960s and satellite observations, indicates anthropogenic climate warming likely is amplifying regional sea rise changes in parts of the Indian Ocean, threatening inhabitants of some coastal areas and islands, said CU-Boulder Associate Professor Weiqing Han, lead study author. The sea level rise — which may aggravate monsoon flooding in Bangladesh and India — could have far-reaching impacts on both future regional and global climate.
The key player in the process is the Indo-Pacific warm pool, an enormous, bathtub-shaped area of the tropical oceans stretching from the east coast of Africa west to the International Date Line in the Pacific. The warm pool has heated by about 1 degree Fahrenheit, or 0.5 degrees Celsius, in the past 50 years, primarily caused by human-generated increases of greenhouse gases.

July 15, 2010

Best hope for saving Arctic sea ice is cutting soot emissions

The quickest, best way to slow the rapid melting of Arctic sea ice is to reduce soot emissions from the burning of fossil fuel, wood and dung, according to a new study by Stanford researcher Mark Z. Jacobson.
He examined the effects of soot – black and brown particles that absorb solar radiation – from two types of sources. He analyzed the impacts of soot from fossil fuels – diesel, coal, gasoline, jet fuel – and from solid biofuels, such as wood, manure, dung, and other solid biomass used for home heating and cooking in many locations. He also focused in detail on the effects of soot on heating clouds, snow and ice.
What he found was that the combination of both types of soot is the second-leading cause of global warming after carbon dioxide. That ranks the effects of soot ahead of methane, an important greenhouse gas. He also found that soot emissions kill more than 1.5 million people prematurely worldwide each year, and afflicts millions more with respiratory illness, cardiovascular disease and asthma, mostly in the developing world where biofuels are used for home heating and cooking.

July 11, 2010

Heat waves could be commonplace in the US by 2039

Exceptionally long heat waves and other hot events could become commonplace in the United States in the next 30 years, according to a new study by Stanford University climate scientists.
“Using a large suite of climate model experiments, we see a clear emergence of much more intense, hot conditions in the U.S. within the next three decades,” said Noah Diffenbaugh, an assistant professor of environmental Earth system science at Stanford and the lead author of the study.
Writing in the journal Geophysical Research Letters (GRL), Diffenbaugh concluded that hot temperature extremes could become frequent events in the U.S. by 2039, posing serious risks to agriculture and human health.