Research

Weed cover in olive orchards enhances the ecosystem’s capacity as a CO2 sink

In the experiment, instruments measuring high frequency (10Hz) variables like CO2 concentration in the air, wind velocity and direction.

Scientists at the University of Granada (UGR) studied the effects and benefits of maintaining vegetation, or weed cover, in olive grove soil. In a recently-published article in the journal Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, these scientists showed their results after a year of measuring an olive grove in Jaen (SE Spain), which show that weed cover significantly increases carbon uptake, acting as a sink for one of the principal greenhouse effect gases, CO2. Read more »

How much plastic have humans made?

| Image 1 of 3 |
(Credit: UC Santa Barbara)

Humans have created more than 8 billion metric tons of plastic since the large-scale production of synthetic materials began in the early 1950s, a new study suggests.

The study provides the first global analysis of the production, use, and fate of all plastics ever made, including synthetic fibers. Read more »

Leaf beetles: Even a tiny dose of pesticide will impair reproduction

Dr. Thorben Müller is studying how pesticides affect leaf beetles. This research was supported by Bielefeld University’s Young Researchers’ Fund. Photo: Bielefeld University

The number of insects in Germany is declining rapidly – in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia alone, it has dropped by three-quarters within only 25 years. In a new study, biologists at Bielefeld University show the effects of pesticides and how even slight traces lead to long-term damage to beetles. One finding is that leaf beetles lay roughly 35 per cent fewer eggs after coming into contact with traces of a frequently used pesticide – a pyrethroid. The researchers also showed that female offspring develop malformations through the poison. Read more »

Ocean warmth predicts US drought and fire risk

Folsom Lake, California, in November 2015: Drought prediction is improving. Image: By Vince Migliore via Wikimedia Commons

By Tim Radford, Climate News Network Read more »

‘Omnipresent’ effects of human impact on England’s landscape revealed by University of Leicester geologists

Junkin’s Quarry, Nuneaton, representing an example of Worked Ground that was active from the 1840s to the 1980s.

‘Omnipresent’ signs demonstrating the effects of human impact on England’s landscape have been revealed by researchers from the University of Leicester.

Concrete structures forming a new, human-made rock type; ash particles in the landscape; and plastic debris are just a few of the new materials irreversibly changing England’s landscape and providing evidence of the effects of the Anthropocene, the research suggests. Read more »

Plastics leave permanent indestructible legacy

Stomach contents of an albatross chick photographed in the Pacific in 2009. Image: By Chris Jordan (via US Fish & Wildlife Service HQ)

By Tim Radford, Climate News Network
Read more »

Are estimates of our ‘carbon budget’ wrong?

Smokestacks filling the air with carbon pollution, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada © Owen Byrne, (CC BY-SA 2.0)

While most climate scientists, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, implicitly define “preindustrial” to be in the late 1800’s, new research suggests that a true non-industrially influenced baseline is probably further in the past.

The researchers are concerned because the baseline affects the available carbon budget for meeting the 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) warming limit agreed to in the Paris Conference of 2015. Read more »

APC launches competition to facilitate funding for the UK’s first automotive battery manufacturing development centre

The Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) has launched a competition to facilitate funding of the UK’s first automotive battery manufacturing development centre, in conjunction with Innovate UK. The funding opportunity is a major step forward in ensuring the UK becomes a global leader in the development and production of electric vehicles (EVs). Read more »

Henderson Island: the remote paradise with the world's biggest plastic problem

In the middle of the South Pacific Ocean, far from the urban, developed world, there is a small, lush, green island with white sand beaches. However, this uninhabited, remote corner of the tropics—Henderson Island—also has a trash problem. Read more »

Aquaculture is main driver of mangrove losses

Mangroves provide coastal protection and habitat for several species. Shahnoor Habib Munmun | Wikimedia Commons

By Dyna Rochmyaningsih

Expanding aquaculture in South-East Asia over the last two decades has been the main driver of mangrove loss in the world, says a study published in PLOS One this month (June 2017).
Read more »
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