Environment

The success of science based management in Alaska is emphasized in a newly released report. “Conserving Alaska’s Oceans,” was prepared by Natural Resources Consultants, a research organization based in Seattle, Washington and released by the Marine Conservation Alliance. The report outlines 30 years of improved ocean conservation in the waters off Alaska with recommendations for future action. The “Alaska Model” has been cited as a leading example of science-based management. In Alaska catch limits do not exceed the harvests recommended by science advisers, and there are no overfished stocks of fish. Alaska produces more than 50% of the nation’s seafood.

Over a span of two decades, warming temperatures have caused annual losses of roughly $5 billion for major food crops, according to a new study by researchers at the Carnegie Institution and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

From 1981-2002, warming reduced the combined production of wheat, corn, and barley—cereal grains that form the foundation of much of the world’s diet—by 40 million metric tons per year.

Researchers at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center report the results of a six-year experiment in which doubling the atmospheric greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) in a scrub oak ecosystem caused a reduction in carbon storage in the soil.

The scientists said this response suggests a limited capacity of Earth’s ecosystems to stabilize atmospheric CO2 and slow global warming. These findings add a new perspective and a measure of caution suggesting that elevated CO2, by altering microbial communities, may turn a potential carbon sink into a carbon source.

Previous studies have shown that plants will respond to higher CO2 by increasing growth and taking up much of the excess carbon.

The French Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC, or GIEC in French) has just announced the conclusions of its 4th report, which restates that global warming has increased the average temperature by 0.74°C over the last century. However, there is very little information about some parts of the planet, such as central Asia.

New research aimed at understanding the link between carbon dioxide emissions and climate change in boreal systems has found clear links between both Spring and Fall temperature changes and carbon uptake/loss. Dr Kevin Robert Gurney, assistant professor in the Earth & Atmospheric Science/Agronomy at Purdue University and Associate Director of the Purdue Climate Change Research Center, presented these results at the “Is a Warmer Arctic Adding Carbon Dioxide to the Atmosphere” session of American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in San Francisco, CA on December 17th.

The research examined the variations in carbon flux from boreal ecosystems, uncovered by the “inverse” method, in relation to measurements of temperature, precipitation and climate indices.

Using corncob waste as a starting material, researchers have created carbon briquettes with complex nanopores capable of storing natural gas at an unprecedented density of 180 times their own volume and at one seventh the pressure of conventional natural gas tanks.

The breakthrough, announced today in Kansas City, Mo., is a significant step forward in the nationwide effort to fit more automobiles to run on methane, an abundant fuel that is domestically produced and cleaner burning than gasoline.


Researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia and the Midwest Research Institute in Kansas City have developed a method to convert corncob waste into a carbon "sponge" with nanoscale pores.

In his Jan. 23 State of the Union address, President George Bush outlined his plan to reduce the nation's dependency on foreign oil by requiring the production of 35 billion gallons a year of renewable and alternative fuels by 2017, roughly five times the current target set by Congress of 7.5 billion gallons by 2012.

Among the most promising alternatives are fuels derived from biological material. Currently, the main biofuel used in the United States is ethanol distilled from kernels of corn. There are about 140 corn ethanol refineries nationwide, which produce more than 5 billion gallons a year.

A scientific panel revealed today that rising global demand for healthy seafood has exceeded wild capture fisheries' ability to provide all fish meals demanded by consumers. Aquaculture -- or the farming of seafood -- is helping to fill the gap between sustainable wild supplies and the public demand for seafood. Research unveiled at the AAAS Annual Meeting demonstrated the enormous potential for sustainable growth of healthy farmed seafood production, notably through advancements in feed efficiency and the ability to expand production in marine environments.

A new report on climate over the world's southernmost continent shows that temperatures during the late 20th century did not climb as had been predicted by many global climate models.

This comes soon after the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that strongly supports the conclusion that the Earth's climate as a whole is warming, largely due to human activity.

It also follows a similar finding from last summer by the same research group that showed no increase in precipitation over Antarctica in the last 50 years. Most models predict that both precipitation and temperature will increase over Antarctica with a warming of the planet.

Since the spring of 2005, scientists working for the Institute of Systems Biology and Ecology (ISBE) from the Czech Academy of Sciences have been focusing on research aimed at designing a physically-based algorithm to scale spectral and spatial data on vegetation, which is relevant to the development of the Sentinel-2 mission.


Map of total chlorophyll content (Cab)generated from the hyperspectral airborne AISA Eagle sensor (pixel-size 0.4 m) acquired in 2004 over Norwegian spruce at the Bily Kriz research site in the Czech Republic.

Credits: Institute of Systems Biology and Ecology (ISBE)