Environmental Science

Environmental Science News -- ScienceDaily Environmental science news. Learn about current research into rainforest deforestation, sustainable development, energy use, air quality monitoring, mining processes and hazardous waste disposal. Updated daily.

  • Billions of gallons of water saved by thinning forests
    on April 24, 2018 at 8:02 pm

    There are too many trees in Sierra Nevada forests, say scientists. That may come as a surprise to those who see dense, verdant forests as signs of a healthy environment. After all, green is good, right? Not necessarily. When it comes to the number of trees in California forests, bigger isn't always better. […]

  • Blinded by the light: Climate change, the sun, and Lake Superior
    on April 24, 2018 at 8:02 pm

    Lakes tend to emit carbon dioxide (CO2) to the atmosphere, making them important players in the planet's natural regulation of its climate. However, the direction of the flow of CO2 between lakes and the atmosphere can be influenced by humans or by natural factors such as rainfall or air temperature. […]

  • Airborne dust threatens human health in Southwest
    on April 24, 2018 at 6:11 pm

    Researchers have found that in the coming decades, increased dust emissions from severe and prolonged droughts in the American Southwest could result in significant increases in hospital admissions and premature deaths. […]

  • Land use and pollution shift female-to-male ratios in snapping turtles
    on April 24, 2018 at 5:36 pm

    Current research shows that increasing global temperatures as a result of climate change are expected to produce more female turtles since their offspring are influenced by the nest's temperature. But now, a team of biologists has found that the nesting environment of turtles in agricultural habitats, which can ultimately lower nesting temperatures, can actually produce more males. […]

  • Record concentration of microplastic in Arctic sea ice
    on April 24, 2018 at 3:29 pm

    Experts have recently found higher amounts of microplastic in arctic sea ice than ever before. However, the majority of particles were microscopically small. […]

  • Artificial leaf as mini-factory for medicine
    on April 24, 2018 at 3:28 pm

    Using sunlight for sustainable and cheap production of, for example, medicines. The 'mini-factory' in the form of a leaf that chemical engineers developed in 2016 showed that it is possible. Now the researchers have come with an improved version: their 'mini-factory' is now able to keep production at the same level, irrespective of the variation in sunlight due to cloudiness or time of the day. As a result, this boosts the average yield by about 20%. This is due to a clever feedback system costing less than 50 euros that automatically slows down or speeds up production. This has removed a significant practical barrier for green reactors that operate purely on sunlight. […]

  • New take on early evolution of photosynthesis
    on April 24, 2018 at 1:37 pm

    Scientists have begun re-thinking the evolutionary history of photochemical reaction centers (RCs). Their analysis describes a new pathway that ancient organisms may have taken to evolve the great variety of photosynthetic RCs seen today across bacteria, algae, and plants. […]

  • Carbon capture could be a financial opportunity for US biofuels
    on April 23, 2018 at 7:51 pm

    With recent tax credits and other policies, removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it underground is not only possible but profitable for US biofuel refineries. […]

  • Earth BioGenome Project aims to sequence genomes of 1.5 million species
    on April 23, 2018 at 7:50 pm

    Scientists is proposing a massive project to sequence, catalog and analyze the genomes of all eukaryotic species on the planet, an undertaking the researchers say will take 10 years, cost $4.7 billion and require more than 200 petabytes of digital storage capacity. Eukaryotes include all organisms except bacteria and archaea. There are an estimated 10-15 million eukaryotic species on Earth. […]

  • Light at end of the tunnel for world's wildlife and wild places
    on April 23, 2018 at 7:50 pm

    A new article finds that the enormous trends toward population stabilization, poverty alleviation, and urbanization are rewriting the future of biodiversity conservation in the 21st century, offering new hope for the world's wildlife and wild places. […]

  • New control strategy helps reap maximum power from wind farms
    on April 23, 2018 at 4:50 pm

    Researchers have developed a way to extract more power from the wind. The researchers used supercomputers at the Texas Advanced Computing Center to filter out the effects of turbulence and apply control algorithms that can better manage the operation of wind farms. The approach has the potential to increase wind power generation by 6-7 percent with a estimated increase in revenue of more than $600 million nationwide. […]

  • Neutrons provide insights into increased performance for hybrid perovskite solar cells
    on April 23, 2018 at 4:50 pm

    Neutron scattering has revealed, in real time, the fundamental mechanisms behind the conversion of sunlight into energy in hybrid perovskite materials. A better understanding of this behavior will enable manufacturers to design solar cells with significantly increased efficiency. […]

  • Organic solar cells reach record efficiency, benchmark for commercialization
    on April 23, 2018 at 3:08 pm

    In an advance that makes a more flexible, inexpensive type of solar cell commercially viable, researchers have demonstrated organic solar cells that can achieve 15 percent efficiency. […]

  • New research modernizes rammed earth construction
    on April 23, 2018 at 3:08 pm

    A building method as old as dirt is being re-examined as a 'new' and viable modern construction material. Compressed soil, also known as rammed earth, is a method of construction that dates back centuries. […]

  • Trees with grassy areas soften summer heat
    on April 23, 2018 at 12:54 pm

    Trees cool their environment and 'heat islands' benefit from it. However, the degree of cooling depends greatly on the tree species and the local conditions. In a recent study, scientists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) compared two species of urban trees. […]

  • Tiny microenvironments in the ocean hold clues to global nitrogen cycle
    on April 20, 2018 at 9:06 pm

    A new study shows that nitrogen-feeding organisms exist all over the deep ocean, and not just in large oxygen-depleted 'dead zones,' changing the way we think about the delicate nitrogen cycle. […]

  • Grassland plants react unexpectedly to high levels of carbon dioxide
    on April 20, 2018 at 5:14 pm

    Plants are responding in unexpected ways to increased carbon dioxide in the air, according to a 20-year study. […]

  • Rare earth magnet recycling is a grind -- this new process takes a simpler approach
    on April 20, 2018 at 4:29 pm

    A new recycling process turns discarded hard disk drive magnets into new magnet material in a few steps, and tackles both the economic and environmental issues typically associated with mining e-waste for valuable materials. […]

  • Soil metals linked with cancer mortality
    on April 20, 2018 at 4:28 pm

    Epidemiologists and geologists have found associations between esophageal cancer and soils where lead is abundant, lung cancer and terrains with increased copper content, brain tumor with areas rich in arsenic, and bladder cancer with high cadmium levels. These statistical links do not indicate that there is a cause-effect relationship between soil type and cancer, but they suggest that the influence of metals from the earth's surface on the geographical distribution of tumors should be analyzed. […]

  • Squeezing more power out of solar cells
    on April 19, 2018 at 6:14 pm

    Physicists have published new research that could literally squeeze more power out of solar cells by physically deforming each of the crystals in the semiconductors used by photovoltaic cells. […]

  • New ant species from Borneo explodes to defend its colony
    on April 19, 2018 at 5:11 pm

    When their colony is threatened by an intruder, workers of a newly discovered species of ant can actually tear their own body apart, in order to release toxins and either kill or hold off the enemy. The new species is the first of the so-called 'exploding ants' to be described since 1935. […]

  • Small changes in rainforests cause big damage to fish ecosystems
    on April 19, 2018 at 5:09 pm

    Using lasers, researchers have connected, arranged and merged artificial cells, paving the way for networks of artificial cells acting as tissues. […]

  • Meteorite diamonds tell of a lost planet
    on April 18, 2018 at 6:48 pm

    Scientists have examined a slice from a meteorite that contains large diamonds formed at high pressure. The study shows that the parent body from which the meteorite came was a planetary embryo of a size between Mercury and Mars. […]

  • Efforts to develop water recycling technologies
    on April 18, 2018 at 6:14 pm

    Scientists are working to develop water recycling technologies that will transform waste from unconventional oil and gas development into reusable water. […]

  • Coal mining reduces abundance, richness of aquatic life
    on April 18, 2018 at 6:13 pm

    Coal mining, under current US regulations, has significantly reduced the abundance and variety of fish, invertebrates, salamanders, and other aquatic life in streams, according to a new study. […]

  • Republicans more persuasive than scientists on climate change
    on April 18, 2018 at 6:13 pm

    Regardless of political affiliation, people are more likely to believe facts about climate change when they come from Republicans speaking against what has become a partisan interest in this country, according to a new study. […]

  • Craigslist, other online exchanges, may be good for the environment
    on April 18, 2018 at 6:13 pm

    Online exchanges, such as Craigslist, may not just help consumers declutter and earn a few extra bucks -- a researcher suggests that using those exchanges may help inspire behavior that is good for the environment. […]

  • Cities and communities in the US losing 36 million trees a year
    on April 18, 2018 at 6:13 pm

    Nationally, urban/community tree cover declined from 42.9 percent to 42.2 percent between 2009-2014. This translates to losing an estimated 36 million trees or approximately 175,000 acres of tree cover annually. […]

  • Coho salmon die, chum salmon survive in stormwater runoff research
    on April 18, 2018 at 2:05 pm

    Scientists found that coho salmon became sick and nearly died, within just a few hours of exposure to polluted stormwater. But chum salmon showed no signs of ill-effects after prolonged exposure to the same water. […]

  • Bugged out by climate change
    on April 18, 2018 at 1:20 pm

    Warmer summer and fall seasons and fewer winter freeze-thaw events have led to changes in the relative numbers of different types of bugs in the Arctic. The study relies on the longest-standing, most comprehensive data set on arctic arthropods in the world today: a catalogue of almost 600,000 flies, wasps, spiders and other creepy-crawlies collected at the Zackenberg field station on the northeast coast of Greenland from 1996-2014. […]