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"A new study using aerial imagery across the state of California has found that converting land to grow almonds between 2007 and 2014 has led to a 27% annual increase in irrigation demands -- despite the state's historic drought. The expansion of almonds has also consumed 16,000 acres of wetlands and will likely put additional pressure on already stressed honeybee populations".

(Posted by +rasha kamel​)
A new study using aerial imagery across the state of California has found that converting land to grow almonds between 2007 and 2014 has led to a 27% annual increase in irrigation demands -- despite the state's historic drought. The expansion of almonds has also consumed 16,000 acres of wetlands and will likely put additional pressure on already stressed honeybee populations.
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"The Deepwater Horizon oil spill six years ago caused widespread marsh erosion that may be permanent in some places, according to a new analysis of 270 miles of the Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama coasts. At the hardest-hit of 103 Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) sites, where oil covered more than 90 percent of plants' stems, widespread die-off of grasses at the marsh edge occurred, followed by up to two years of accelerated erosion as dying plant roots lost their grip on marsh soil".

(Posted by +rasha kamel​)
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill six years ago caused widespread marsh erosion that may be permanent in some places, according to a new analysis of 270 miles of the Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama coasts. At the hardest-hit of 103 Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) sites, where oil covered more than 90 percent of plants' stems, widespread die-off of grasses at the marsh edge occurred, followed by up to two years of accelerated erosion as...
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"Just above the Arctic Circle, in remote southwestern Greenland, UMaine researchers are seeking to better understand the effects of a changing climate on arctic lakes by looking at one of their smallest inhabitants—Discostella stelligera.
The research team conducted a large-scale experiment to test the role of a lake's thermal structure on populations of D. stelligera, a species of diatom whose abundance is often used as an indicator of warming induced changes in lakes throughout the Northern Hemisphere.
The team, led by Jasmine Saros, professor of paleoecology and lake ecology in the School of Biology and Ecology and the Climate Change Institute, shared the results of this study in a recent paper published in the journal Limnology and Oceanography Letters.
Diatoms, a type of single-celled algae which encase themselves in distinctive and elaborate glass-like shells, are very sensitive to environmental change. The microscopic silica fossils they leave behind accumulate in lake sediments and create a paleolimnological record of past environmental conditions that can extend thousands of years.
"In many lakes across the Northern Hemisphere, paleolimnological records have revealed that the relative abundances of D. stelligera changed over the past century, with these widespread shifts attributed to climate change," write the research team.
However the mechanisms underlying these observed changes were not well understood.
The team recognized that in some lakes in the Northern Hemisphere experiencing warming, like the ones they are studying in Greenland, populations of D. stelligera have remained the same, or even declined over the same time frame necessitating an inquiry into the environmental drivers behind these observed differences in change.
Saros and her team evaluated the abundance of the species in two small arctic lakes near Kangerlussuaq, Greenland over the summers of 2013 and 2014. Each lake was similar in size, depth, thermal structure and abundance of D. stelligera.
In many arctic lakes during the summer months a warm, less dense layer of water, heated by the sun, forms at the surface and 'floats' on top of the cooler, more dense water below. The point at which these two layers meet is known as the mixing depth.
A lake's thermal structure refers to this natural stratification of the water column.
Many climate- and environmental-related factors can influence a lake's thermal structure including atmospheric temperature, solar radiation, wind strength, changing water chemistry and turbidity".

(Posted by +rasha kamel​)
Just above the Arctic Circle, in remote southwestern Greenland, UMaine researchers are seeking to better understand the effects of a changing climate on arctic lakes by looking at one of their smallest inhabitants—Discostella ...
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"Africa's overall elephant population has seen the worst declines in 25 years, mainly due to poaching over the past ten years -- according to IUCN's African Elephant Status Report".

(Posted by +rasha kamel​)
Africa's overall elephant population has seen the worst declines in 25 years, mainly due to poaching over the past ten years -- according to IUCN's African Elephant Status Report.
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"Unless it does more, the United States probably will fall short of goals set under last year's Paris agreement to dramatically reduce emissions of heat-trapping gases, according to a new study.
The U.S. pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in 2025 by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels. But taking into account current efforts by state and local governments, the nation will only reach about four-fifths of that goal, according to a study in Monday's Nature Climate Change.
Looking at all types of greenhouse gases from energy and other sources— carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and various fluorocarbons— two scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Lab figure the U.S. will have to cut about 1,660 million tons of annual emissions. But current, proposed and even less concrete policies would only reduce about 1,330 million tons, leaving a gap around 330 million tons, they calculated.
The statistics have large margins of errors of plus or minus of hundreds of million tons.
"We can't get there with our current set of policies," said study lead author Jeffrey Greenblatt, a senior scientist at the national lab. "We would fall short of the target if there is no further action."
That doesn't mean that the U.S. can't reach its goal, it's just it has to do more and it can, Greenblatt said. He said he was optimistic that with more action the U.S. could come close to the 26 percent goal, if not achieve it.
The biggest reduction that Greenblatt and his colleague Max Wei calculate would come from the Obama administration's clean power plan that would cut carbon pollution from power plants, mostly coal. But that plan is on hold in the courts. If it doesn't go into effect, it will be even harder for the U.S. to reach its Paris goal, Greenblatt said. It's also a policy that Republicans, including Donald Trump, have vowed to repeal if they win.
Greenblatt and Wei have counted on gains from that policy, but it's still not enough.
So how could the U.S. get to its goal? Greenblatt and Wei briefly looked at a dozen possible ways, but none of them individually would bring huge reductions.
"I think it's going to be a variety of smallish efforts to get there," Greenblatt said".

(Posted by +rasha kamel​)
Unless it does more, the United States probably will fall short of goals set under last year's Paris agreement to dramatically reduce emissions of heat-trapping gases, according to a new study.
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"If water temperatures in the Gulf of Maine rise a few degrees by end of the century, it could mean trouble for lobsters and the industry they support, according to newly published research".

(Posted by +rasha kamel​)
If water temperatures in the Gulf of Maine rise a few degrees by end of the century, it could mean trouble for lobsters and the industry they support, according to newly published research.
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"Many people are concerned about conservation of the planet's cute and cuddlies. But in a world of global climate change, sometimes we must prioritize which species we can and should save from extinction. Scientists are helping us make those determinations by looking at the fossil record".

(Posted by +rasha kamel​)
Many people are concerned about conservation of the planet's cute and cuddlies. But in a world of global climate change, sometimes we must prioritize which species we can and should save from extinction. Scientists are helping us make those determinations by looking at the fossil record.
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"Sea level rise is caused primarily by two factors related to global warming: the added water from melting land ice and the expansion of sea water as it warms".

(Shared originally via +NASA Climate Change​ and posted by +rasha kamel​)
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"Around 7 million years ago, landscapes and ecosystems across the world began changing dramatically. Subtropical regions dried out and the Sahara Desert formed in Africa. Rain forests receded and were replaced by the vast savannas and grasslands that persist today in North and South America, Africa and Asia.
Up to now, these events have generally been explained by separate tectonic events—the uplift of mountain ranges or the alteration of ocean basins—causing discrete and local changes in climate. But in a new study, a team of researchers has shown that these environmental changes coincided with a previously undocumented period of global cooling, which was likely driven by a sharp reduction in atmospheric carbon dioxide.
The research, led by a Brown University geologist and published in Nature Geoscience, is based on a newly developed record of global sea surface temperatures spanning the past 12 million years. The record reveals a distinct period of cooler sea surface temperatures spanning 7 million to 5.4 million years ago, the end of the Miocene epoch. The global climate during the Miocene is known to have been much warmer than the present. During the cool period detected in this study, sea surface temperatures dropped to near modern levels.
"This is the first time the late Miocene has been put in a context of global sea surface temperatures, and we were surprised to see the amount of cooling we found," said Timothy Herbert, professor in the Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences at Brown, who led the study. "In light of this temperature change, the paleobiological observations from this period start to make a lot more sense."
The new record of sea surface temperatures was derived from ocean sediment sampled at 17 different sites around the world. The sediment preserves the remains of a plankton species that varies cellular chemistry with temperature. By measuring amounts of those temperature-sensitive molecules, scientists can recreate temperature through time".

(Posted by +rasha kamel​)
Around 7 million years ago, landscapes and ecosystems across the world began changing dramatically. Subtropical regions dried out and the Sahara Desert formed in Africa. Rain forests receded and were replaced by the vast ...
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"Camera traps set up in the Allentsteig military training area in Austria's northeasternmost state have captured snapshots of a wolf family: a wolf pair and two pups. The youngsters are the first to be born in the country since the last wolf disappeared in 1882, says WWF Austria".

(Shared by +Terrence Lee Reed​ & posted by +rasha kamel​)
Good news for wolf recovery in Europe! - I fucking love biodiversity - ‪Google+‬‏
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"A new study paints a picture of an Earth that is warmer than it has been in about 120,000 years, and is locked into eventually hitting its hottest mark in more than 2 million years.
As part of her doctoral dissertation at Stanford University, Carolyn Snyder , now a climate policy official at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, created a continuous 2 million year temperature record, much longer than a previous 22,000 year record. Snyder's temperature reconstruction, published Monday in the journal Nature , doesn't estimate temperature for a single year, but averages 5,000-year time periods going back a couple million years.
Snyder based her reconstruction on 61 different sea surface temperature proxies from across the globe, such as ratios between magnesium and calcium, species makeup and acidity. But the further the study goes back in time, especially after half a million years, the fewer of those proxies are available, making the estimates less certain, she said.
These are rough estimates with large margins of errors, she said. But she also found that the temperature changes correlated well to carbon dioxide levels.
Temperatures averaged out over the most recent 5,000 years—which includes the last 125 years or so of industrial emissions of heat-trapping gases—are generally warmer than they have been since about 120,000 years ago or so, Snyder found. And two interglacial time periods, the one 120,000 years ago and another just about 2 million years ago, were the warmest Snyder tracked. They were about 3.6 degrees (2 degrees Celsius) warmer than the current 5,000-year average.
With the link to carbon dioxide levels and taking into account other factors and past trends, Snyder calculated how much warming can be expected in the future".

(Posted by +rasha kamel​)
A new study paints a picture of an Earth that is warmer than it has been in about 120,000 years, and is locked into eventually hitting its hottest mark in more than 2 million years.
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"Shrubs are more widespread than trees in nature and on Earth. A new study explains their global success. It turns out that the multiple stems of shrubs are of key importance. This feature contributes to both better growth and better survival than in trees of similar size, according to the research team behind the study".

(Posted by +rasha kamel​)
Shrubs are more widespread than trees in nature and on Earth. A new study explains their global success. It turns out that the multiple stems of shrubs are of key importance. This feature contributes to both better growth and better survival than in trees of similar size, according to the research team behind the study.
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Scientists and engineers helping save the planet.
Introduction
The Azimuth Project is an international collaboration to create a focal point for scientists and engineers interested in saving the planet. Our goal is to make clearly presented, accurate information on the relevant issues easy to find, and to help people work together on our common problems.  We need your help! 

The Azimuth Project includes a wiki, a blog, and a discussion forum

This Azimuth page here on Google+ lets you keep track of news related to energy, the environment and sustainability.  Posts on this page are written by Rasha Kamel, John Baez, Jim Stuttard, Frederik De Roo and David Tanzer.  The posts reflect the individual authors views and taste; we don't agree about everything!