Environment

No-till farming uses cover crops to conserve soil and suppress weeds but many vegetable producers haven't embraced it yet.

The reason is simple; small-seeded vegetable crops struggle to emerge through thick cover crop residues. A recent program sought to see how it might work better with string beans, a common staple of many dinners, and possessing larger seeds. In both Illinois and Washington, USDA-ARS agronomist Rick Boydston and University of Illinois ecologist Marty Williams grew vetch, rye, and a combination of the two cover crops before killing them with a roller-crimper—a machine that evenly flattens and crimps standing plant biomass—or with a combination of the roller-crimper and a burndown herbicide.
A primitive, non-photosynthesizing microbe, Methanospirillum hungatei, which is thought to have existed since before the development of photosynthesis, possess genes similar to those that play a role in photosynthesis, finds a new study.

Photosynthesis, creating oxygen and carbohydrates such as glucose from solar energy, water, and CO2, is indispensable for many species on this planet. However, it is unclear exactly how or when organisms evolved the ability to photosynthesize. A team has discovered an evolutionary model for the biological function that creates CO2 from glucose in photosynthesis. 
A lot has been said about the so-called "hiatus" in Global Warming starting in 1998, a major El Niño year. Perhaps the best illustration of the problem with the talking point is an animation titled "The Escalator", over at skepticalscience.com.

There's a more fundamental issue with it, however, than failing to recognize the difference between short-term weather fluctuations and long-term climate change. The talking point is based on faulty reasoning about trend analysis and burden of proof, as I intend to argue.
In 2006, former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore predicted that we only had 10 years to stave off our carbon dioxide doom, with plummeting yields in Africa, the Himalayas melting and other doomsday scenarios happening by 2016. 
From 5,000 to 11,000 years ago, what is now the Sahara Desert had 10X the rainfall it does today and was home to hunter-gatherers who lived in the region's savannahs and wooded grasslands. By analyzing marine sediments, rainfall patterns in the Sahara during that 'Green Sahara' period have been pinpointed.
Though environmental activists are aghast that Republicans now control the White House, the Senate and the House for the first time since the 1920s, at least a few have come to some self-awareness that non-stop lobbying against jobs and poor people, and for higher regulations and cost, are to blame for why their candidate lost.

What they don't realize is that there is actually a great deal of opportunity for environmentalists during the Trump years. In most ways, he is a lot more like Democrats than he is like Republicans, they just need to stop being against everyone and everything except higher taxes and more federal rules.

It may be time to mix it up, when the writing is on the wall that being "anti-" is not working for anything except their bank statements.

How can we predict the climate so far ahead when we can't do an accurate weather forecast even ten days ahead? Well it is remarkable that we can forecast our weather even one day ahead, and by looking at how the forecasters do that we can begin to understand how the models can work over longer timescales. When I was a child in the UK in the 1960s, with our unpredictable weather, a cautious person would take rain gear with them almost no matter what the forecasters said. Even as late as 1987 we had Michael Fish's famous weather blooper. This broadcast is so famous here that it starred in the Olympics 2012 opening ceremony.

Back to Square 1 - First Steps in Climate Science


Step 1 - we humans discover that the Arctic accumulates more heat on a summer's day then the equatorial regions.

Step 2 - we realise that our atmosphere is heated not so much directly by the sun but by heat from the surface.


George Best not the footballer  circa 1580



Step 3 - we discover that heat and light are two separate forms of radiant energy

Donald Trump has just been elected as US president, as a Republican climate skeptic. So if you are from the US you may get the impression that this is a political debate between “lefties” who think climate change is real and “righties” who think it isn’t. But it’s only in the US that there still is a political debate at all. Here in the UK for instance it has cross party support, and we have a right wing government who have just ratified the treaty. For us, it was a matter for debate a decade or two ago, but the debate was already over some years back. We've decided action is needed, and there were many things we could have done, but the main thing was to do something, and the Paris agreement was what they came up with.

A mathematical model that assists in decision-making at a facility devoted to the cultivation and production of the common mushroom (Agaricus bisporus) has received the prize for the best scientific contribution during the 2nd International Food Operations&Processing Simulation Workshop, FoodOPS, held in Larnaca (Cyprus).