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.

  • Radioactivity from oil and gas wastewater persists in Pennsylvania stream sediments
    on January 19, 2018 at 7:11 pm

    More than seven years after Pennsylvania officials requested that the disposal of radium-laden fracking wastewater into surface waters be restricted, a new study finds that high levels of radioactivity persist in stream sediments at three disposal sites. Radioactivity at these sites is 650 times higher than at unaffected sites upstream. The contamination comes from conventional, or non-fracked, oil and gas wastewater, which, under current state regulations, can still be treated and discharged into streams. […]

  • City lights setting traps for migrating birds
    on January 19, 2018 at 5:58 pm

    A new study has examined how light pollution lures birds into urban areas during fall migration, a trend that poses risk for the fowl that often fly into buildings and has increased with the addition of brighter LED lights. The researchers were interested in seeing what factors shape the birds' distributions and why they occur in certain areas. […]

  • Climate change linked to more flowery forests
    on January 19, 2018 at 4:35 pm

    New research has revealed a surprising relationship between surging atmospheric carbon dioxide and flower blooms in a remote tropical forest. […]

  • Animal carnivores could be our powerful allies
    on January 19, 2018 at 1:59 pm

    Animal carnivores living in and around human habitation are declining at an unprecedented rate -- but they may provide crucial benefits to human societies. Researchers have revealed that predators and scavengers ranging from bats to leopards and vultures are valuable to human health and well-being. […]

  • Temporary 'bathtub drains' in the ocean concentrate flotsam
    on January 18, 2018 at 10:53 pm

    An experiment using hundreds of plastic drifters in the Gulf of Mexico shows that rather than simply spread out, as current calculations would predict, many of them clumped together in a tight cluster. […]

  • Long-term warming trend continued in 2017: NASA, NOAA
    on January 18, 2018 at 10:37 pm

    Continuing the planet's long-term warming trend, globally averaged temperatures in 2017 were 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit (0.90 degrees Celsius) warmer than the 1951 to 1980 mean, according to scientists. […]

  • 20 percent more trees in megacities would mean cleaner air and water, lower carbon and energy use
    on January 18, 2018 at 9:24 pm

    Planting 20 percent more trees in our megacities would double the benefits of urban forests, like pollution reduction, carbon sequestration and energy reduction. The authors of the study say city planners, residents and other stakeholders should start looking within cities for natural resources and conserve the nature in our urban areas by planting more trees. […]

  • Using data mining to make sense of climate change
    on January 18, 2018 at 9:24 pm

    Experts have developed a new way of mining data from climate data sets that is more self-contained than traditional tools. The methodology brings out commonalities of data sets without as much expertise from the user, allowing scientists to trust the data and get more robust -- and transparent -- results. […]

  • human impact on forest still evident after 500 years
    on January 18, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    Researchers have used high-tech tools to more precisely view where these cleared sites were and how much lasting impact they had on the rainforest in the Amazon Basin in South America. […]

  • Recent advances in understanding coral resilience are essential to safeguard coral reefs
    on January 18, 2018 at 7:19 pm

    The most urgent course of action to safeguard coral reefs is to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, but concurrently there is also a need to consider novel management techniques and previously over-looked reef areas for protective actions under predicted climate change impacts. The conclusions were reached following a comprehensive review of the literature on the mechanisms of potential coral resistance and recovery across scales from global reef areas to the microbial level within individual corals. […]

  • Post-fire logging harms Spotted owls
    on January 18, 2018 at 4:41 pm

    Post-fire logging, rather than the wildfires themselves, is responsible for the steep decline in territory occupancy of the rare Spotted owls living in the forests of California. The study's results coincide with the strong consensus among hundreds of US scientists opposing post-fire logging operations due to a wide range of ecological harms. […]

  • Release of ancient methane due to changing climate kept in check by ocean waters
    on January 17, 2018 at 9:40 pm

    Ocean sediments are a massive storehouse for the potent greenhouse gas methane. But methane only acts as a greenhouse gas if and when it reaches the atmosphere. Environmental scientists recently set out to discover whether or not this ancient-sourced methane, which is released due to warming ocean waters, survives the journey from the seafloor and reaches the atmosphere. […]

  • Aid for oceans and fisheries in developing world drops by 30 percent
    on January 17, 2018 at 9:40 pm

    Financial aid to fisheries in developing countries has declined by 30 percent, finds a new study. Projects focusing on climate issues in fisheries had a 77 percent decline over the five years studied. […]

  • Researchers explore psychological effects of climate change
    on January 17, 2018 at 9:40 pm

    While some people have little anxiety about the Earth's changing climate, others are experiencing high levels of stress, and even depression, based on their perception of the threat of global climate change, researchers found. Psychological responses to climate change seem to vary based on what type of concern people show for the environment, with those highly concerned about the planet's animals and plants experiencing the most stress. […]

  • Future climate change revealed by current climate variations
    on January 17, 2018 at 6:11 pm

    Uncertainty surrounding the extent of future climate change could be dramatically reduced by studying year-on-year global temperature fluctuations, new research has shown. […]

  • Himawari-8 data assimilated simulation enables 10-minute updates of rain and flood predictions
    on January 17, 2018 at 5:55 pm

    Using the power of Japan's K computer, scientists have shown that incorporating satellite data at frequent intervals -- 10 minutes in the case of this study -- into weather prediction models can significantly improve the rainfall predictions of the models and allow more precise predictions of the rapid development of a typhoon. […]

  • New research to help reduce number of algae blooms that form annually
    on January 17, 2018 at 5:16 pm

    A new study shows that sampling headwaters where streams form can identify which landscapes are resilient enough to handle the rigors of farming and which are vulnerable to leaching toxic residue into waterways. […]

  • Coping with climate stress in Antarctica
    on January 17, 2018 at 5:16 pm

    Some Antarctic fish living in the planet's coldest waters are able to cope with the stress of rising carbon dioxide levels the ocean. They can even tolerate slightly warmer waters. But they can't deal with both climate change stressors at the same time, according to a new study. […]

  • California sea lion population rebounded to new highs
    on January 17, 2018 at 4:50 pm

    California sea lions have fully rebounded under the protection of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, with their population on the West Coast reaching carrying capacity in 2008 before unusually warm ocean conditions reduced their numbers, according to the first comprehensive population assessment of the species. […]

  • Ultrathin black phosphorus for solar-driven hydrogen economy
    on January 17, 2018 at 3:26 pm

    Researchers combined two different types of 2-D materials -- black phosphorus and bismuth vanadate -- to form a biologically inspired water-splitting catalyst. Normal sunlight could drive the reactions and careful design of the catalyst enabled the expected ratio of hydrogen and oxygen production. […]

  • Weather anomalies accelerate the melting of sea ice
    on January 17, 2018 at 3:25 am

    Researchers reveal why Arctic sea ice began to melt in the middle of winter two years ago -- and that the increased melting of ice in summer is linked to recurring periods of fair weather. […]

  • New process could slash energy demands of fertilizer, nitrogen-based chemicals
    on January 16, 2018 at 7:43 pm

    Nitrogen-based synthetic fertilizer forms the backbone of the world food supply, but its manufacture requires a tremendous amount of energy. Now, computer modeling points to a method that could drastically cut the energy needed by using sunlight in the manufacturing process. […]

  • New study shows producers where and how to grow cellulosic biofuel crops
    on January 16, 2018 at 6:13 pm

    A new report provides practical agronomic data for five cellulosic feedstocks, which could improve adoption and increase production across the country. […]

  • Nuclear power plants must be able to withstand fires caused by aircraft impacts
    on January 16, 2018 at 5:37 pm

    Researches examined the transport, evaporation and combustion of liquids in large-scale fire incidents. […]

  • Pharmaceuticals and other contaminants force fish to work much harder to survive
    on January 16, 2018 at 5:37 pm

    Pharmaceuticals and other human-made contaminants are forcing fish that live downstream from a typical sewage treatment plant to work at least 30 percent harder just to survive, researchers have found. […]

  • Europe's lost forests: Coverage has halved over 6,000 years
    on January 16, 2018 at 4:11 pm

    Research shows more than half of the forests across Europe have been lost over the past 6,000 years. […]

  • Magnetic liquids improve energy efficiency of buildings
    on January 16, 2018 at 2:36 pm

    Climate protection and the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions have been on top of global development agendas. Accordingly, research and development projects have been conducted on national and international levels, which aim for the improvement of the CO2-footprint in diverse processes. Apart from particularly energy-intensive sectors of the industry, the building sector in particular is among the biggest CO2-emmitters: from residential homes, manufacturing facilities and storage depots to big commercial buildings, about 40 percent of the energy consumption within the EU are due to the heating, cooling, air conditioning and lighting of buildings. […]

  • Shale gas is one of the least sustainable ways to produce electricity, research finds
    on January 16, 2018 at 1:50 pm

    Shale gas is one of least sustainable options for producing electricity, according to new research. […]

  • Slow 'hot electrons' could improve solar cell efficiency
    on January 16, 2018 at 1:50 pm

    Photons with energy higher than the 'band gap' of the semiconductor absorbing them give rise to what are known as hot electrons. The extra energy is lost very fast, as it is converted into heat so it does not contribute to the voltage. Researchers have now found a material in which these hot electrons retain their high energy levels for much longer. […]

  • Solar fuels: better efficiency using microwires
    on January 15, 2018 at 5:16 pm

    Researchers have made significant efficiency improvements to the technology used to generate solar fuels. This involves the direct conversion of energy from sunlight into a usable fuel (in this case, hydrogen). Using only earth-abundant materials, they developed the most efficient conversion method to date. The trick was to decouple the site where sunlight is captured from the site where the conversion reaction takes place. […]